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Author:Rev. Mark Chen
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Congregation:First Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore
 Singapore
 ferc.org.sg
 
Preached At:
 
 
Title:The Supreme Son of God Makes Us Sons of God
Text:LD 13 Hebrews 1:1-2:13 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son
 
Preached:2021
Added:2022-05-06
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Trinity Hymnal Revised 1990, The Psalter 1912

TH 273 - Jesus Christ Is Risen Today 
Psalter 243 (stanzas 1-5) - Covenant Faithfulness 
TH 185 - Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned 

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mark Chen, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Very often, the phrase “the children of God” is used to refer to all mankind. In 2017, Pope Francis visited Myanmar and he said - “We are living at a time when religious believers and people of goodwill everywhere sense the need to grow in mutual understanding and respect and to support each other as members of our one human family, for all of us are God’s children.” Is Pope Francis saying that all people of all religions are the children of the Christian God? Similarly, he recently said practicing homosexuals have the right to be in a civil unions because they were children of God.

But not just the Pope. Mormons teach that all men and women are literally the children of God. How? Mormons believe that God and his wives have spirit children, and these children are raised to adulthood in heaven. Then they come down to be the souls of the babies born on earth. So therefore, all mankind, in Mormon theology are children of God.

Now, while we may reject Mormonism, some even here may affirm that all mankind are the children of God. But if we do, then what about Jesus’ words? He said to the Pharisees, that they were “of their father the devil.” Not everyone is a child of God.  Only those who are connected to Jesus, are called his children, or in Biblical terms, sons of God. In the Bible, a great variety of people were called sons of God.

In Genesis 6:2, the descendants of Seth were called the sons of God, but not the descendants of Cain. In Exodus 4:22, Israel was called God’s firstborn son. Psalm 89 calls David God’s firstborn. Even the prophets were sometimes called sons. God has many sons - all of them his. But why are they called sons? Because of Jesus. As our catechism says, we are children of God by adoption, through grace for Christ’s sake. While we are sons, above all, we know that there is only one supreme son - the only begotten of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We shall explore this theme this evening. The big idea is this - Christ is the son of God, being higher than all others, but he saves lowly sinners so that they can rule alongside him, giving them the high and exalted status of sons of God. We shall explore this idea in 2 declarations. Firstly, the Son of God is supreme. Secondly, we are saved to rule as sons of God.

The first declaration - the Son of God is supreme. But how is he supreme? The writer of Hebrews describes the Son of God as being better than the men of God. Verse 1 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” God actively communicated with his people by using the prophets - men of God. The prophets were heroes in the Old Testament. God spoke to Adam in the cool of the morning, Jacob in a dream, Moses from a burning bush, and Ezekiel through visions. They in turn spoke to the people. But better than these men - was the son of God - he hath spoken unto us by his son.

The word “his” is in italics, which means it isn’t there in the original. Literally, it is “hath in these last days spoken unto us by Son.” It was written like this to stress the word Son - to show there’s something special about the Son over the prophets. The prophets are dead, the Son is alive. The prophets are for times past, the Son for these last days. The prophets were men, the Son is God.

In Luke 9, when Jesus took Peter to the mount of Transfiguration, his clothes dazzled as he spoke with Moses and Elijah. And Peter was in awe - his master was in the company of 2 great prophets - Moses gave the law, and Elijah set up prophetic schools. Wow! But God put an end to his thinking. Jesus was not just one of the prophets. God declared - “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Jesus was not just a prophet, but the Son of God. While the prophets gave God’s promises, Jesus fulfilled God’s promises. He was the Word of God, come down. 

From verses 2 onwards, we see how the Son can be compared to these men. Verse 2 - as the Son, he created the world. The prophets didn’t do that. They were created by him. Verse 3, he was the brightness of God’s glory. Moses couldn’t even bear God’s full glory. Also, he was the express image or exact representation of God. God may have sent many prophets, but they were only men. Jesus was God himself. Furthermore, he sustains the whole universe - verse 3 - he “upholds all things by the word of his power.” Moses couldn’t even hold Israel together. Jeremiah was a failure in human terms - squatting in a septic tank because the people didn’t want to listen to him. Elijah ran away from a horrible battle to Mount Horeb. Their words were ineffective. But Jesus’ words calmed the storm. 

And verse 3 says, he purged our sins. He was not just a prophet, but a savior. The prophets could only talk about a sacrifice. Jesus was that sacrifice. By his sacrifice, as question 34 answers - he ransomed us, body and soul, from all our sins. And the Son was superior because he was king. Verse 3 - he sat down at the right hand. This was a place of honor, where angels worship him night and day, saying, Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts.

Which brings to the next defense of the son’s supremacy. He’s not only better than the men of God, he’s higher than the angels of God. These angels in Job 1:6 were called the sons of God. But this Son of God, was God’s natural and eternal son - higher than they were.

Now angels are powerful and amazing creatures. God said in Job that they sang at the creation of the universe. They sang at Christ’s birth. But what was heaven like when Jesus came back at his ascension? On that day, in verse 6, when God brought Christ his firstborn into the world of heaven, the angels worshiped him. Verse 7 also describes how they are his ministers, his servants. They wait on Christ. Why do they worship him and serve him?

There are several reasons we see here. Firstly, on the day he ascended, as verse 4 says, he was given a better inheritance - he was given a higher place than they. Ephesians 1:20-22 says, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, (these are the ranks of angels) and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”

Meaning, when Christ ascended, God gave him a name above every name or the highest title. And what title was that? Verse 5 says, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” The angels were sons of God, but they didn’t have this title. Only Jesus, the eternally begotten Son of God, did. What other title did he have? Verse 8 - he is king. “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.” 

Secondly, they worship him because of the work he had done as the priest-king. He has conquered his enemies. Verse 13 - “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” It was an ancient military practice for a defeated king to lie down prostrate at the feet of his conqueror and to kiss the feet. The conqueror would then place his feet on the neck of the one conquered - the enemy becomes a footstool. All of Christ’s enemies will be subject to him, and he will rule over them all. 

Now this is where it gets interesting. Who are these enemies? Whom has he conquered? These conquered ones are the very ones that he has saved. After his ascension he sent his spirit. Through his spirit he saves God enemies. Those that killed Jesus, who shouted for his death, 3000 of them he saved in one day.  And he is doing that until all of them are subdued. To those he had conquered, he has put his yoke on their necks. This reminds us of what Jesus said - come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and burden is light. To be saved from sin us to be conquered by Christ.

Those that Christ conquers are his loved ones. And what does verse 14 say of the angels? What do they do for those who are saved? “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” The angels serve Christians - not just Christ but Christians.

Now, imagine if you were Christ, as son of God, having saved your enemies by dying on the cross, and being raised from the dead because you were without sin; and you enter heaven, victorious to the praise and worship of the angels whose chief work is to serve you and your people; knowing that what you have been anointed to do, you have accomplished. How would you feel? Verse 9 says that Christ is joyful - “therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”  Jesus is happy today. He has an intensive joy. No one is happier than Jesus. And it was the hope of this joy - the joy that was set before him, that he endured the cross, despised the shame - to bring many sons - believers - to God.

Now we focus on believers, as the sons of God. That’s the second declaration - we are saved to rule as sons of God. The Son is supreme - higher and better than any of God’s creatures. He returned to heaven victorious after his work of atonement. He conquered the hearts of his enemies. He made them sons of God. The angels worship him. And he is joyful. Why? Because he restored us as a people to what God intended us to be - a holy nation.

When God created us, he created us to rule. Chapter 2 verse 5 says that believers will rule the world, not the angels -  “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come” In Genesis 1:26, God said that man would have “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

The word “over” is repeated again and again. Mankind was given authority over creation. And since angels are part of creation, man was to have dominion over them one day. Now, man is small, he’s nothing. He is sinful. Verse 6 asks why God would even think about or care for man - what is man that God considers him? It’s because God’s goal for man is to rule over everything. Verse 7 - “Thou madest him (for) a little (while) lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.”

And this we see in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” It is God’s design for man to rule even the angels. But we are a mess now - in our families, nations, organizations, churches. It’s because of sin. We have a great destiny, just not yet now. And yes, we are destined to rule, but not yet.  Verse 8 says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

This is why Christ died - verse 9. So that he could, as verse 10 says, to bring “many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” The son of God became the son of man, so that the sons of men, can become the sons of God. He restores us back to what we were supposed to do. But only the Christian. We were saved by our Lord to rule. 

And that’s what we see in the world “glory.” We are not glorious now. But one day, we will be. Most of these listeners were Jewish. That word - “bringing” would have jolted their memories. God had often used that word. In Exodus 3:7-8 he told Moses that he wanted to bring them out of the land unto a land flowing with milk and honey. In Exodus 6:6-7, he told Moses to tell the people that he would bring them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

God was determined to bring out many sons - so they could be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a chosen generation. He wanted them to be rulers. And the way he did this was to kill the firstborn of Egypt. And to accomplish our salvation and to raise us up in status, God killed his firstborn, that we might be sons.

But Jesus didn’t remain in the grave but he rose victorious, and one day so shall we. And that is why Christ is the captain of our salvation. He is our Lord. Our prince. He is the one that brings into reality what God intended for us to be. This is why we call him Lord - he has ransomed us, body and soul, from all our sins with his precious blood, and has freed us from all the power of the devil to make us his own possession. Verse 12 says that we are his brethren. Verse 13 says that we are the children that God has given to him to save.

Christ is supreme - better than men, higher than the angels. He’s worshiped for what he has done - he has brought many sons to God. And he’s full of joy because of that. We who were sinners - and unable to fulfill what God wanted of us - Christ, in dying for us, has restored that. One day, because of Christ, the captain of our souls, we as God’s children, shall rule over all things - having dominion.

Perhaps as we look at our lives, we don’t see anything very glorious. We are limping along, we’re struggling with sin, we aren’t very successful at ordering our own lives; how can we order the universe? We seem less like sons of God than a child of sorrow and of woe. If Christ saved us to be glorious, sinless, holy, perfect - then why aren’t we like that?

And perhaps some of you are tempted to say - it’s not worth it. Why should I limp along? Maybe I should just give up the Christian life. It’s too hard to cross the wilderness! The promised land has giants! I want my onions, my leek, my garlic in Egypt! I want to give into my sin! Hebrews 2:1 warns you - “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” If you forget that Christ is the supreme son of God and that he has died to save sinners and that he is the captain of our salvation, and you start to give into your sins, you may very well drift away because he was never your captain. The word slip at the end of the verse literally means to drift away. It speaks of a ship whose anchor has broken away from the ocean floor and it is dangerously drifting away from the harbor. If you are tired of believing, and you give up on Christ, the penalty will be harsh. Verse 3 asks - “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”

Don’t give up. Keep on believing. You’re not there yet but you will be. Let me draw your attention back to verse 8 - we will triumph over all things - that’s what God has promised, “but now we see not yet all things put under us.” You aren’t glorious, sinless, holy, perfect yet. You won’t be here on earth. But one day you will be. You are heirs. You don’t have it yet. 

But remember an important lesson. The son of God had it all. But he came to be a servant. He had to suffer. Then he reigned. The captain of our salvation, the Son of God, while he was on earth, had to endure much opposition from the devil and the devil’s children - so will we - so do we. But when he resurrected victorious, he ascended past the clouds, into the heavens, past the angels, through that sea of glass, and the smoke that separates God from all his creatures, and he sat down at the right hand of God. We are there positionally. 

We were children of the Devil. But because of Christ, he made us children of God. And before we can reign with him, we must suffer on this earth. But one day, at our deliverance and death, or when Jesus comes again and we will meet him in the clouds, we shall be there, because we are sons of God.

May that give us patience to live this Christian life, to battle sin, to have affections for Christ, as sons of God. To know we will reign one day. Just not yet. And let that hope of the joy that is set before us, let us endure our cross and shame here. Till that day where there are no tears. Amen. 

Sermon Outline

1. The Son of God Is Supreme

    A. He is better than the men of God

    B. He is higher than the angels of God 

2. We Are Saved to Rule As Sons of God

   A.  We shall rule

    B. We are saved to rule by our Lord (captain)




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Mark Chen, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2021, Rev. Mark Chen

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