The Superiority of Christ means the Superiority of His Gospel – A Sermon on Hebrews 1

Homiletical Idea: The Superiority of Christ means the Superiority of His Gospel

Introduction (For whole series)

Good morning church! Today I have the awesome privilege of both bringing you this morning’s sermon and introducing the series of sermons that pastor Tom and I will be preaching over the summer. Throughout the summer we are going to be preaching through the book of Hebrews. As me and Tom were praying about what book we would be preaching through and we decided that God was directing us towards Hebrews, I was actually a little bit scared. I have never really done any studying on the book of Hebrews and have had some interesting discussions over the different passages in Hebrews that are quite difficult to understand, but as I began to study the book for this morning’s sermon and the Holy Spirit began to show me different things in the book of Hebrews I got excited about both this sermon and this whole series! Hopefully as me and Tom preach through this intriguing book you will get a glimpse of why I have enjoyed studying it and come to understand some of the profound truths that the author has to share. Because I am launching our series on Hebrews this morning, I get to lay the groundwork for the following sermons by introducing you to the nature of the book of Hebrews itself.

With most books of the Bible we can say who authored it, who it was going to, and roughly when it was written; Hebrews is one of the few books where we cannot do this. Theories abound as to who wrote the book, some have suggested it was the apostle Paul, or Luke, some have suggested Barnabas, and starting with Martin Luther some have thought may have been Apollos. From the evidence we have in the book of Hebrews itself and historical data it is impossible to draw a sure conclusion on who wrote the book and to whom exactly he was writing. But, from what we find in the book of Hebrews, we are able to understand a little bit about the author, whoever he was, and his audience. Because of the in-depth discussion of the Old Testament and the use of the Greek translation of it, as well as the vocabulary found in the book, we can deduce that the Author himself was a Jewish Christian man from outside of Palestine who was well educated. He was most likely writing to Jewish Christians located in the city of Rome. The Jewish background of the audience is clear from the discussion of the Old Testament’s relation to the New upon which the book revolves.

The reason the author of Hebrews is writing to these Jewish Christians is because they appear to be going back to the life they once knew. Instead of following the Christian truths as taught by Jesus and His apostles these believers were drifting back into their old lifestyle of Judaism. The author of Hebrews writes to them warning that if they continue down the path they are on they will no longer be Christians. To encourage them in following Christ he writes of the Superiority of Christ over the way of life that the Jews were practicing. The letter has sometimes been mistaken as teaching that the Old Testament is bad, that the New Testament has rendered it useless; but what the author of Hebrews is trying to do throughout his letter is show how the New Testament  fulfills a lot of what the Old Testament pointed towards. This is primarily seen in the book of Hebrews in the contrast between two covenants between God and man.

Foundational to Jewish thought, found throughout the Old Testament, is the idea of God making covenants with His people. In the Old Testament we find covenants made with creation, Adam, Noah, the Israelites, and David. Our titles for the New Testament and the Old Testament actually come from this idea of covenant. The word we translate Testament is derived from the Latin word used to translate the Greek and Hebrew words for covenant. The title “New Testament” would mean “New Covenant.” Throughout the book of Hebrews the author has in his sights the covenant that God made with Israel at Mount Sinai, what is most often called the old covenant; it is this covenant with its priests and sacrifices and rituals that the author Hebrews contrasts with Jesus Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, especially in the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, we find the authors looking forward to a new covenant that God will make with His people; this will be an eternal covenant of peace made not just with Israel but with all believing people from every nation of the earth. In the New Testament we read that with Jesus Christ came the institution of this New Covenant, it is this covenant between God and all people made through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross that the author of Hebrews will continually contrast with the Old covenant made at Sinai. With this little bit of background as to the purpose of this letter to the Hebrews we can dive in and take a look at the book itself; if the Author is trying to get the attention of the Hebrews back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how exactly does He do it?

Introduction to the specific text: Illustration

Do any of you remember in the nineties how the culture, both inside and outside the church, seemed to have a real fascination with angels? During the nineties there were some popular movies and T.V. shows that portrayed angels interacting with men and women in the modern world; there were shows like Touched by an Angel, movies like Michael, City of Angels, and Christian Fiction novels like Frank Perreti’s Piercing the Darkness and this Present Darkness. In shows like touched by an Angel they were portrayed as helping men and women in this life and an idea of personal guardian angels was present in these different movies. More recently there has been a slew of movies dealing with fallen or evil angels and sometimes the correlation between angels and UFOs. Angels portrayed in these movies, shows, and books tend to be much like humans. Growing up I remember having the typical “cupid” idea of an angel: the Cherubim where babies with diapers and harps who lived on clouds. For the Jews during the time of Jesus angels were not babies with harps or invisible humans, but powerful beings created by God to be His messengers. These messengers were pictured as helping the people of Israel, they were seen as guardians of the nation itself, they were instruments God used to bring aid in people’s lives, and they were instruments He used to bring His divine judgment.[i]

In the 1 chapter of Hebrews the author is going to take aim at this Jewish idea of angels.

If you have a Bible with you turn with me to Hebrews 1, we will be looking at all of chapter 1 and the first 4 verses of chapter 2. That is Hebrews 1-2:4, you can find it before James but after Philemon. In these verses the author of Hebrews writes:

1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” 8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning and the heavens are the work of your hand; 11they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” 13And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 14Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? 2 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who hear, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

(There is so much in this passage that we could look at this morning but we are going to focus on following the author’s reasoning in this chapter and see how the message that he was giving to the Hebrews applies to us today)

Body

Christ is superior

The first four verses of chapter 1 provide an introduction to the entire book of Hebrews and, in the process of giving a tremendous exhortation on who Jesus is, gives an overview of much of what will be talked about throughout the book. Verse four functions as a transition between this introduction and the author’s argument in the rest of the chapter. From the end of verse three to verse four we read: “he[, that is Jesus,] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” This is the idea author of Hebrews is trying to convey through chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews: Christ is superior to the angels. In verse three we read that Jesus sat down at the right hand of His Father, this is something we see in the Gospels as well. At the end of the Gospels we read that Jesus, after His resurrection, tells His disciples that He has been given all authority over the heavens and the earth (Matt. 28:18) and He ascends to the right hand of throne of God (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Luke 22:69), to be at God’s right hand means that Jesus would share in God’s rule and was in position of favour with God. Throughout the rest of chapter one the author of Hebrews will argue from the Old Testament that Jesus is superior to the Angels in the name He has inherited, which is that of the Son of God, in His nature as eternity, and in His authority.

His first argument is that Christ’s name is superior to that of the angels. He argues this by applying three Old Testament Scriptures to Jesus that say He is the Son of God and worthy of worship. Now this may not seem like that powerful of an argument. If a little boy came up to you and said he was the son of Stephen Harper, you wouldn’t assume that he had the authority of Harper and was superior to you; that would be ridiculous! When the author of Hebrews argues that Jesus’s name as the “son of God” is superior to that of the angels, there is more going on. This is a title that no angel could claim; Jesus had a unique relationship to God. As the Son of God from all eternity, when Jesus takes up His place at the right hand of God He is taking up His position as the unique Son of God  and all the authority implied in that role. As God’s unique Son Jesus is equal to God, in v. 6 this is seen in the Old Testament quotation where the angels are told to worship Jesus. Only God is worthy of worship so equality with God is implied in the command to worship, something which angels can never receive. The title “Son of God” makes Jesus superior to the angels because it indicates His unique relationship to God the Father, His equality with Him, and the authority which He takes up when He sits down at the right hand of the Father.

The author of Hebrews then goes on to argue for Christ’s superiority over the angels from the contrast between their fleeting and created nature and Christ’s eternal nature. The description that the author of Hebrews gives of angels in v. 7 has the sense of the angels’ transitory nature; they were created by God and they serve His will. This quotation sets the angels within the created order. The contrast here in the Greek New Testament is made out to be quite strong; it’s like the English expression “on the one hand… but on the other hand.” The author of Hebrews contrasts this with Jesus’ nature as eternal and above the created order![ii] Jesus is superior to the angels because He created them and is himself uncreated!

The last argument that the author of Hebrews makes for the superiority of the son is from His power or authority. He asks the Hebrews rhetorically: “to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?” (v. 13) Jesus was given the position of authority over creation, He was given all authority in the heavens and the earth; of the angels the author of Hebrews writes “are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Jesus is superior to the angles because He has all authority while they, while powerful, are ministering spirits serving believers.

(Through these three arguments the author of Hebrews establishes the superiority of the Son; it’s really no contest. The angels have a lot going for them, they are powerful and stand before God in His throne room; but Jesus is God, He created the angels, they had a beginning but He is eternal, He has all authority in the universe and they have the comparatively miniscule role of ministering spirits. The author of Hebrews sets up His argument well and would have proved conclusively to His readers that Jesus is superior to the angels! But the question remaining in their minds, and I’m sure in yours, would be “why is it important that Christ is superior to angels? Why does the author of Hebrews spend the time to establish this contrast?” The answer to this question is given to us in Hebrews 2:1-4)

 

His word is superior

When I introduced this series on Hebrews this morning I said that the author of this letter is writing to Jewish Christians to turn them back towards the Gospel after they seemed to be drifting back into Judaism. This purpose becomes clear for the first time here in Hebrews 2 verses 1-4, the author writes; “therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels prove to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” The author of Hebrews sees the terrible danger that these Christians face, so he gives them a powerful warning of the danger they are in. Because Christ is superior to angels they need to pay much closer attention to the Gospel they received, lest they drift, or fall, away from it! In verse 1 the author uses a nautical analogy to outline the situation of the readers. The word we translate “pay much closer attention” was sometimes used of the action of holding a ship on course towards the harbor. The word we translate “drift away” also has a basis in a boat being carried away on the water. The imagery drawn by the author here is that of a ship which, if it does not hold its course, will drift away and be lost at sea. The author says that the Hebrews need to pay much closer attention to the message of the Gospel which they received, if they did not hold onto it they would drift away and be lost![iii]

The connection between the Superiority of Christ and the situation of the Hebrews comes from a role they understood the angels to have had in the Old Testament. Earlier I spoke of the idea of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant being prominent in the book of Hebrews, this is where the role of angels comes in. The Jews of the early Church believed that at Mount Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandments, God’s instructions for the people of Israel, and when God entered into a covenant with the people of Israel angels played an important role in delivering God’s law to Moses. In establishing the superiority of Christ over the angels the author of Hebrews is saying that the Gospel which Jesus brought is better than the Law which the angels brought. His argument is kind of like this:

Imagine that you are at work and your supervisor gives you a list of things to do. This list of things is valid, and because of his superiority in relation to you, you would follow his instructions. But if, after you have received this list, the manager, this supervisor’s boss, comes up to you and gives you a bunch of things to do; this group of things would superseded the list of instructions given by the supervisor. This is because the manger is both superior in relation to you, so he can tell you what to do, and superior to your supervisor, so his instructions will be more important than the supervisors.

It is this contrast in authority that author of Hebrews is going for in establishing the superiority of Christ over the angels. The message of the Old Covenant that they brought, though a good thing, is superseded by the message of the New Covenant brought by Jesus.

In verses 2 and 3 the author informs the readers of how much danger they are in. “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard”. The author writes that the message delivered at Mount Sinai by the angels had proven reliable, it was good and solid; it provided a legal standard by which every transgression or disobedience received its just punishment. The revelation at Sinai, delivered by the angels, was important, it had proved reliable, the logical conclusion which the author of Hebrews draws out is that the message delivered by someone superior to angels would be that much more reliable and greater of a standard! This Gospel was declared by Jesus and His apostles, while also being testified to by God and the Holy Spirit through signs, wonders, and miracles accompanied by the spiritual gifts.

The warning that the author draws out of this, the warning he brings to help correct the path of the Hebrews, is that if the message given at Sinai proved reliable and a grounds for judgment, how much more so would the greater salvation revealed by the superior Jesus Christ?

(In case you are experiencing fear that this sermon will descend into message of warning, don’t worry, there is a different application in this passage. The idea that the author of Hebrews conveys through chapter 1 and then the warning in chapter 2 is that)

 

The superiority of Christ means the superiority of His gospel

The superiority of Christ means the superiority of His gospel!

(The fact of who Christ is means that He is superior to angels, and if He is superior to the powerful angels, how much more is He superior to every created thing? Since the Gospel found in the New Testament is given by Him, it is superior in authority to everything else that would guide us in life and offer a way to be saved.)

 

How does this apply to our lives

In Bible College when we were learning how to be better preachers one of the things that we were shown to do to apply a passage in Scripture was find a parallel situation in lives of people in a specific church to what the biblical audience was going through.

As far as I know, thankfully, I don’t think we are in a parallel situation: not many of us are drifting away from the faith to go back to our old lives. But there are other ways to apply a passage in Scripture; we can apply the principle found in the passage to the different circumstances we find in our lives. The principle found in Hebrews 1-2:4 is that the superiority of Christ, the fact that He is the Eternal son of God who has all authority in the heavens and on the earth, means the superiority of His Gospel.

What the Hebrews were going back to wasn’t a bad thing, in fact it was a good thing! We are to use the Old Testament today, it is still God’s word to us and applies to our lives! The problem is that the Hebrews were following it the way they did in Judaism, they were following it as a way to be saved! With the coming of the New Testament came the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the rituals it held! No longer would the rituals save the Jews, it was, and is, only by faith in Christ, who all the rituals in the Old Testament pointed to, that one could be saved. The Jewish Christians being written to were turning back to a good thing, but they were putting it in place where it shouldn’t have been!

For those in our society who are not Christians, they trust in created things for salvation: they trust in the knowledge attained through science, pantheons of gods, unknowable forces, and self for salvation. The natural sciences, the real objects elevated to the level of god, and ourselves are inferior to angels, powerful created being who serve the maker of all these things, and, even more so, they are inferior to Jesus; He instituted the laws of science, created everything in the universe, made us, and created the angels. Because of His superiority it would make sense for someone to trust in the message He brought for salvation then in any created thing.

What about for those of us who already believe, how can the principle that the superiority of Christ means the superiority of His Gospel apply to our lives? I am sure that they are many ways in which this applies, but I think two are especially important in our daily lives. Because the Gospel was brought by Jesus and He is the eternal Son of God possessing all authority over this universe we can trust that the message it has is reliable! We can know, in the face of competing religions, that the way of salvation given in the Gospel is reliable, we can know this because it was delivered by the most reliable being of all; the Son of God Himself came and delivered it! The Superiority of Christ means the Superiority of His Gospel, it is reliable! The superiority of the Gospel over every created thing also has a profound effect on how we live our lives! If the word delivered by Jesus and written by the Apostles, both the Gospels themselves and the rest of the New Testament, is superior to everything in creation then that means that in everything it discusses we should listen to it over the competing voices of this world. As a guide for life we should follow the message brought by Jesus Christ over everything else in this world. Our cultures idea of success in life and the goals we should aim for is in drastic contrast to that of Scripture; if we are forced, as we often are, to choose between the idea of our culture and that of Scripture the superiority of Christ means that the obvious choice is scripture. Instead of doing everything in our means to gain power we are told to serve, instead of taking joy in the peace of massive amounts of money and an easy life we are told to take joy in the trials of life, in the pain and suffering, enjoying the peace God gives us through these times. Instead of fending for ourselves, we are to look out for others first and depend on God. While the things our culture puts before us often seem appealing, why would we trust something from the creation when we could follow and trust that which was brought by the creator?

(If the Christ is the highest authority in the universe, greater than all created things, shouldn’t His revealed Word be the highest authority for life, practice, ethics, and guidance in our lives? Shouldn’t His Word be higher than the news, horoscopes, astrology, Hollywood, Oprah, and the stock market?)

Conclusion

In Hebrews 1:1-4 and 2:1-4 we read; “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4Having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs…. 2 1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Almost 2000 years ago God came in the flesh to the earth and delivered a greater salvation, His Gospel; He delivered a message that is superior to everything found in the created order!

The Superiority of Christ means the superiority of His Gospel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exegetical Outline (Hebrews 1-2:4)

Exegetical Idea: Christ in taking his place at the right hand of His Father has become as much superior to the Angels as the name He has inherited is greater than theirs.

Exegetical Outline:

  1.                     I.            Introduction: God has spoken through His Son (1:1-4)
    1.                                      a.      God spoke long ago by the prophets (1:1)
    2.                                     b.      But now He has spoken through His Son (1:2-4)
  2.                  II.      Argument of the superiority of the Son over the Angels (1:4-2:18)
    1.                                      a.      The Son’s superiority to the angels (1:4-2:4)
    2.                                     b.      Argument showing the superiority of the Son (1:5-14)
    3.                                      c.      Application/purpose of contrast: If Christ is greater than the angels, so is the word that He brought over the word that they delivered. (2:1-4)
      1.                                                                         1.            The message declared by angels has proved reliable and a grounds for judgment (2:2)
      2.                                                                         2.            How much more the message  brought by the superior LORD testified to by God through miracles, signs, and wonders and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (2:3-4)
      1. His Son who is the creator and exact image etc. of God (1:2-3)
      1. Who is as much superior to the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs (1:4)
      1. Statement of Idea: The son is superior as the name He has inherited is greater than that of the angels (1:4)
      1. Argument 1: Christ as God’s Son, an equal worthy of worship (1:5-6)
      2. Argument 2: Contrasting the transitory and created nature of the angels to the eminent unchanging and uncreated nature of the son (1:7-12)
      3. Argument 3: Christ in the supreme position of power at the right hand of God contrasted with the angles as ministering Spirits (1:13-14)
      1. Summary: the angels are only ministering Spirit’s sent out to serve (1:14)
      1. Pay closer attention to what has ben heard, lest you drift away (2:1)
      1. For: the first message proved to be reliable and a ground for judgment, how much more the second (2:2-4)

 

Passage Outline (Hebrews 1-4:13)

  1.    Introduction to the book (1:1-4 )
  2. The Superiority of Jesus to the Angels (1:4-2:18)
  3. Christ is superior to the angels  in his name, in His nature, and in His authority (1:5-14)
  4. Therefore pay attention to His superior word (the reason for the evidence of Christ’s superiority over the angels)  (2:1-4)
  5. God subjected the world to come to Christ and not to the angels (2:5-18)
    1.                                       i.            Not to angels but to Christ (2:5)
    2.                                     ii.            Proved by Ps. 8:4-6 (v.6-9)
    3. Ps. 8:4-6 (6-8)
    4. Extent and state of subjection, explanation of Ps. 8:6 (v.8)
    5. Glorified and ruling state of Christ, explanation of Ps. 8:5 (v.9-15)
      1. State of Christ (v. 9a)
      2. Means by which the state was achieved (suffering of death) and reason for it (grace) (V.9b)
      3. Further explication of Christ’s suffering and reason for it (v.10-18)
      4.                                                                                             i.            That Christ may be made perfect through suffering for the purpose of sanctifying those who He calls brothers (v. 10-13)
      5.                                                                                           ii.            Christ partook of flesh so as to be like the “children” and that through death he might destroy the power of the devil and deliver the children (v. 14-15)
      6. Christ become like man, not like angels, explanation of Ps. 8:4-5a (v.  16-18)
        1. He became like man, lower than the angels, because it is the children of Abraham He helps (v. 16)
        2. Because it is men He helps He had to become like men in every respect that he might become a merciful and faith high priest (v.17)
        3. Because He suffered and was tempted He is able to help those who suffer and are tempted (v.18)
        4. The Superiority of Christ to Moses (3:1-6)
  6. Christ superior as the faithful Son over His house (v.1-6)
    1.                                       i.            Consider Jesus and His model of faithfulness (cf. O’brien 128-129) (v.1)
    2.                                     ii.            Moses was faithful as a servant but Christ was faithful as a Son (V.2-6a)
    3.                                   iii.            We are Christ’s house over whom He is faithful if we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in hope (v. 6)
  7. Warning about Perseverance and encouragement as to the rest of God, an exposition of Ps. 95:7-11 (the reason for the argument for Christ’s superiority over Moses)(3:7-4:13)
    1.                                       i.            Take care lest there be an evil unbelieving heart in you leading to you falling away from the living God, corresponding to v. 7 of the Ps. 95 (v.12-15)
    2. But exhort on another daily that you may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (v. 13) (but relating to the “leading you to fall way from the living God
    3. For we have come to share in Christ if we hold our original confidence to the end (endurance is a sign of a true present salvation) (v.14)
    4. As it is said, do not harden your hearts in rebellion, Ps. 95:8[?]
      1.                                     ii.            Unbelief is the cause of the failure of the Israelites led by Moses to enter God’s rest, exposition of  (v.16-19)
      2. Who was it that rebelled? The Israelites (v.16)
      3. And who was God angry at for 40 years? Those who sinned (v.17)
      4. Whom did he say would not enter His rest? Those who were disobedient (v. 18)
      5. Therefore the Israelites [v.16] did not enter God’s rest [v.18] because they unbelief [v.17-18] (v.19)
        1.                                   iii.            Therefore (because the Israelites failed to enter God’s rest because of sin) while this promise of rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it (because of unbelief) (4:1-11)
        2. Like them good news came to us, but this did not benefit them because of their unbelief [implication: the same for you if you do not believe] (V.1-2)
        3. For we who believe enter the rest, a rest for which it remains for some to enter (v.3-9)
          1. We who believe enter the rest (v.3)
          2. What is this rest? The Sabbath rest of God inaugurated on the seventh day of creation (v.3-4)
          3.                                                                                             i.            Ps. 45:11 [focus probably on “my rest” describing the rest] (v. 3)
          4.                                                                                           ii.            The rest is God’s Sabbath from the seventh day (v. 4)
            1. When is it to be enter? Eschatologically (they shall not (as in they have yet to and never will) enter my rest) (v. 5-9)
            2.                                                                                             i.            It remains to be entered, but disobedience led to the failure of those who received the previous good news to enter, exposition of Ps. 95:11 (v. 5-6)
            3.                                                                                           ii.            This rest still remains to be entered and it is the rest of God’s cessation of work (v. 7-9)
              1. Even though they were in the promise land there still was a day in the future (v. 7)
              2. If Joshua had brought them rest there would be no need to speak of a future day (v. 8)
              3. This sabbath rest therefore remains (is eschatological) and entering into this rest means the cessation of work as God did from His (v. 9-10)
              4. Therefore: strive to enter this eschatological rest so that you may not fall by the same disobedience that prevailed with Israel, disobedience will not go unnoticed (v.11-13)
                1. The warning; strive to enter this rest (v. 11)
                2. The word of God is living and active so disobedience will not go unnoticed; not creature is hidden from the sight of Him to whom we must give account (v.12-13)

 


[i] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 36; Charles Draper, Chad Brand, and Archie England, eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 66–67.

[ii] Peter Thomas O’Brien, The Letter to the Hebrews, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. ; Apollos, 2010), 71–72.

[iii] Pillar 81-82Ibid., 81–82.

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