Sermon: Paradise Regained (Hebrews 2:5-9)

Paradise Regained

Hebrews 2:5-9

The church is engaged in battle with the forces of darkness.  This battle doesn’t let up it doesn’t take a vacation and it doesn’t sleep.  Our struggle with Satan consists mainly in the realm of faith.  He assaults our belief.  Everywhere we turn he has a stumbling block set in our way.  Our arch enemy, the destroyer of souls wants our faith weak and inoperative.  What does he do?  Rather than having our eyes fixed on Christ, he would rather our eyes be fixed on the things of this earth.  When we focus on the here and now and the things we see, we are not walking by faith but walking by sight.

The subject of faith runs throughout the Book of Hebrews.  It is important that we understand what faith truly is.

A biblical definition of faith:

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

As we think about this definition we understand that faith really isn’t a thing to hold or to look at but it is the inclination or attraction of the heart to the promises made to us in the Bible.

Faith is saying, I believe so strongly that I will live my life in the shadow of these promises even though I’ve yet to see them firsthand. What we believe guides our lives.

We have a great example of what faith looks like at the end of chapter 11 of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:13 (ESV)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

These people lived their lives in the light of promises.

All these people died without receiving the promises but believed so strongly that they would come to pass pressed on knowing that this earth was not their real home.

*The primary claim of this text what man lost through sin, Jesus has regained through obedience.

Our greatest need as Christians is to have a faith that is not easily shaken.

Especially, in the Book of Hebrews we are called to believe certain things about Christ.  Hebrews shows us that Jesus is superior to the rituals of Judaism.  He’s superior to the prophets, angels, tabernacle, temple, and the greatest priest, Melchazdek.  Jesus is far and away better.

Hebrews 2:5-9 (ESV)

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.  [6] It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

[7] You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

[8] putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  [9] But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

1. Paradise Lost (Hebrews 2:5-8)

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.  [6] It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

[7] You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

[8] putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

The Puritan poet John Milton wrote the classic poem called Paradise Lost about the fall of Adam and Eve and the work of Satan to get them there.  As seen in Scripture, Satan is the great usurper of man’s privilege to rule this planet.

Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful
Seat
,–John Milton

When man was first created, he was placed in charge over this earth.

Genesis 1:26-28 (ESV)

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

[27] So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

[28] And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Originally, man was given dominion, control, of this earth.  He was to rule over it and have total influence over this planet.  When Satan tempted Adam and Eve, they fell from that role and Satan took what was theirs.  He usurped their role as ruler of this earth.  Paradise was lost.  Eden is gone and the world as we know it is being influenced by evil because Satan is reigning over planet earth.

Between the time of the fall and the time of a new heaven and new earth Satan’s influence is felt everywhere.

Man was commanded to subdue the earth- Bring about order as a result of influence.

Now, Satan is subduing the earth.  He is bringing about disorder as a result of his influence.  His current reign is felt everywhere.

Follow the flow of the text through point number 1 Paradise Lost…

God creates man and makes him ruler over planet earth and everything in it.  The writer says that it wasn’t the angels who were originally given this privilege.  The writer uses Psalm 8 to show that man was made of flesh and blood (a little lower) than the angels.  At the same time, mankind is crowned and is set in place to rule over this world, having everything placed under mankind’s authority and yet what we see is something different. So, John Milton had it right.  Paradise is currently lost.

Something happened 2000 years ago that disrupted Satan’s scheme.  When Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life and died a death to pay for the sin of His people, He began to put things back in order.  He began to subdue the earth.  Jesus was taking on the command that was given to Adam.  He would carry out Adam’s failed task.  The second Adam as Paul calls Him began to put things back in order.

When Jesus appeared on earth 2000 years ago He began in many ways to reign.  He spoke to sicknesses and diseases and they obeyed.  He rebuked demons and cast them out.  He even showed that He had power over death as he raised people from the dead.  He multiplied the loaves and fishes and turned water into wine, He had control over the elements of nature.  In many ways the Kingdom of God began when Jesus first came to earth.

Jesus is the Lord over the current world and the world to come.  This present world is in rebellion to His reign.  For whatever reason this current situation will work to bring Him the most glory.

At the same time this Kingdom is not fully seen yet.  There is coming a day when the earth will be made new.  It will be renovated and Jesus the Messiah will fully reign.  The question we should ask is to whom has the world to come been place under?  Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Angels will not govern the new heavens and new earth like they do this present earth, but it will be King Jesus.

Matthew 19:27-30 (ESV)

Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”  [28] Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  [29] And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.  [30] But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Jesus Christ will reign over the world to come.  So what’s at stake in neglecting so great a salvation?  We risk dieing an eternal death.  We risk spending eternity apart from the true King.  We risk loosing everything promised.

Hebrews 11:13 (ESV)

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

The heroes in the Book of Hebrews saw through the eyes of faith promises that would come to pass.  They believed God and lived lives that proved they believed God.  They lived for the future day when King Jesus would reign.  They didn’t place their trust in this current world that Satan’s is running.

2. Paradise Regained (Hebrews 2:9)

[9] But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Notice with me what the writer wants us to see in verse 9.  When Jesus was incarnate, He took on flesh and blood.  He partook with us of our humiliation.  He was made in the likeness of man.  In the garden of Eden, man was made in the image and likeness of God.  To redeem man, God had to be made in the image and likeness of man.  For about 33 years, Jesus was made lower than the angels,. He was earthly not heavenly.

Man originally was crowned with glory and honor.  Man was to rule this planet.  However, all that was lost when Adam and Eve fell into temptation and sin.  Now Jesus has been crowned with glory and honor.  Now He is the One who will subdue the earth.  Because of the death of Christ and His complete obedience to the Father’s will He has been crowned with honor and glory.

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Our Lord is not only the King of heaven but He is also the King of earth.

Man was originally crowned with glory and honor.  Satan steals it and places it on his head.  Jesus through His suffering and death crushed the head of the serpent and reclaims the crown.  He was made man so that the crown could be given back to man.

Jesus was also made man, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

2 Cor. 5:21 (ESV)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life.  His life is credited to His people.  Jesus died our death for us.  He tasted death for everyone.

What does he might taste death for everyone mean?  That’s an important point that we should look at a little.  To take this out of context one might believe a universal view of the atonement.  If the writer had in mind everyone on earth, he would be teaching a universal view of the atonement.  We know that it can’t mean everyone because everyone will not be saved.

Like with most passages that are somewhat confusing, the answer can be found if you just keep reading.  This is true in this case.

Hebrews 2:9-13 (ESV)

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

[10] For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.  [11] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,  [12] saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;

in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

[13] And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

Every one of the children given to Christ by the Father will be saved through the atoning work of Christ.  Christ’s death saves all of the elect.

As we see the many amazing truths that are taking place in this text we should be affected by the work of Christ.

He is reclaiming everything that Adam lost.  He has taken the crown off the head of Satan and has placed it upon His head.  If you are in Christ today you will partake of the eternal joy along with all the redeemed.  Those who are in Christ will be restored to our rightful role in the new earth.  Jesus will reign supreme and sin and death will be gone.

Do we believe this?  Do we live as if our rightful home is in heaven?

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Are you compelled to live by faith in the unseen Christ?

I pray we are like the saints of old who believed and lived by faith in all the promises of Christ.

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