First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday, January 22, 2023)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“The Supremacy of Christ!”
Psalm 2; Hebrews 1:1-4
“The Supremacy of Christ in Hebrews,” is the title of our new sermon series. This is not a verse-by-verse study in the book of Hebrews, rather, it’s a series of messages that reflects on what Hebrews teaches about the person and work of our glorious Savior.
Christology, our understanding of the doctrine of Christ, matters. As you may know, apart from Romans, Hebrews is the most doctrine-heavy book of the New Testament. This book compellingly preaches and re-preaches Christ. It has something to say to the brand-new believer as well as the seasoned follower of Christ. No other book of the Bible so thoroughly and powerfully demonstrates Jesus’ supremacy as Hebrews does.
As you may figure out from its title, the letter to Hebrews was written to those Hebrews, those from a Jewish background, who had converted to the Christian faith. It seems that some of them got confused about Christianity and thought it was another sect or branch of Judaism, another religious group. Some thought it’s the Jewish faith with some additions. The author of the letter, therefore, took the responsibility to correct that. Basically, the author was saying to the Hebrew community, “Make no mistake. Christianity is a brand-new thing. Faith in Christ is not a few modifications here and there. Christ is not another prophet, but He is superior.”
In order to prove his point, the author of Hebrews makes at least 6 statements throughout the letter basically saying: Jesus is better! Jesus is more glorious! Jesus is superior. The author pointed out that Christ is better than angels in chapters 1 and 2; Christ is better than Moses and He offers us a better rest in chapters 3 and 4; Christ is a better High Priest in chapters 4 to 7; Christ is Mediator of a better covenant in chapters 8 and 9; Christ provides a better sacrifice and He is the author of a better salvation in chapters 10 and 11. All this should lead us “to hold fast to our confession” and stand firm, immoveable in the Lord.
Each week in the next six weeks or so, I will be unpacking one aspect of Christ’s supremacy and greatness in Hebrews. For this morning, I would like to look at the introduction of Hebrews from Hebrews chapter 1:1-4. It seems to me that the author wanted to set up the stage and the tone for his argument of Christ’s greatness. As a way of introduction, the author of Hebrews lists a few important reasons why we should cling to Jesus. Let me highlight two this morning:
First: Jesus is the One through whom God Created the World
In Hebrews 1:1-2, we read, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.” “Through whom he also created the worlds.” There was a time when there was nothing except God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And the Son said: “Let it be!” And it was done! John 1:3 says, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” God the Son, who became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, created the whole universe of time and space and every single solitary particle, molecule, atom, quark, proton, neutron, and electron.
This is what Paul had in mind in Romans 11:36 when he declared, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.” Colossians 1:16 echoes the same truth, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” Through Christ, God created the worlds.
Second: Jesus Sustains the Universe by the Word of His Power
Hebrews 1:3 states, “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.” One of the most destructive heresies the church has battled is known as Deism. Deism emerged in the 17th century and eventually made its way to America. Deism argued that once God created the universe and everything within it, he in essence packed up his bags and left town. Or more accurately he left the universe. He wound up the world like a gigantic clock and now simply lets it run by its own power. He does not intervene to perform miracles. He does not providentially direct the affairs of humanity. He does not invade our world to answer our prayers. He is distant and remote and altogether uninvolved in the affairs of our world.
That’s not what the Bible teaches! The Bible teaches us that God created the world. Christ calls all things into existence out of nothing. In His providence, Christ sustains all things in existence. Not only that, but He takes all that He has created and is currently preserving and directs it toward its proper end and conclusion. He “carries along” everything to its appointed goal. He organizes, orchestrates, sustains this universe, all things, nothing is exempt, whether great or small, everything is being upheld and carried along by the risen Christ. And he does this by the “word of his power” or by his “powerful word”.
Friends, this first paragraph of Hebrews chapter 1 leaves us with a sense of awe. It leaves us with a wonder that can only be expressed in worship. We are left to marvel at the greatness and the supremacy of our Lord. We marvel at the Son’s authority and reign over all creation. We marvel at the truth that Christ sustains this universe by the word of His power. Nothing will ever happen to us that we will have to face it alone because Christ will sustain us through whatever hurdles life might throw our way. As we explore the theme of the supremacy of Christ in Hebrews, I hope that you and I will continually ask God to reveal to us the glory and the majesty of Christ. The best decision we will or have ever made is to cling to Christ, to call Him to be the Lord of your life. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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