The Glory of Christ Captured in Words (Hebrews Sermon 2 of 74)
September 12, 2010 | Andrew Davis
Exaltation of Christ
Introduction: The Beauty of the Diamond
Today I get to declare the greatness and the glory of the one that called me out of darkness into His wonderful light. I get to speak it, you get to listen to it and you get to rejoice in it too. Isn't that marvelous? We're going to celebrate Jesus today. That's what the text is all about. I believe as I said at the 9Marks Conference two days ago. I had a responsibility of speaking on the topic of preaching Christ from the Old Testament. And I just said it's my duty and responsibility in every text to get to Jesus. Every text. But may I say to you it's sometimes easier than others. And concerning this text, if you can't get to Jesus from this text you ought not to be preaching. This is all about Jesus and the greatness and the glories of Christ. It's my desire that God will just make Jesus shine radiantly in your hearts.
I have a number of hobbies. One of my hobbies is I like collecting engagement stories. I like to find out from married couples how they got engaged. Some of them are pretty ordinary and that's fine, it works. A couple got engaged and they get married, and that's fine. Some of them are astonishing, amazing. What some of these guys have done to come up with the way to propose to their soon to be fiancée. I had a friend that I met at seminary who was... This is definitely the riskiest proposal I've ever heard. He put the diamond ring in a very expensive conch shell and just put it on a beach in Northern California and had a friend watch it from behind a bush while he went and got his soon-to-be fiancée and as the sun was setting, they were just walking along the beach and there was this incredible conch shell. And she picked it up and the ring fell right into her hand, not into the sand at their feet where with a flashlight they're rummaging for three hours trying to find it, but right into her hand. Tears coming down, she puts it on her finger and they're engaged. Isn't that exciting? That's fantastic. I mean he swung for the fences and he hit a home run.
All right. That was the boldest I ever heard. The most cowardly I ever heard was a man who put his proposal… He taped it on a cassette tape and he had his soon-to-be fiancée play the tape in the tape player in the car there while he got something out of the trunk. And the engagement ring, the diamond ring was in the glove compartment and she listened to the proposal and he came around a minute or two later and all was well. She was wearing the ring. She was smiling. Everything was good. Wow. I said to him, "You weren't even there. When you got engaged you weren't even there."
When I was engaged I know it all worked out well. I'm glad. Oh, how our wives have to put up with us. But isn't it interesting though, it's always a diamond ring. I wondered where that tradition came from, and I didn't really track that down, but why is it always a diamond? And maybe it's because of it's the hardest substance that we know. It's unchanging. It's just still looks the same decade after decade. And also just with the skill of a jeweler it can just capture light and cause it to just radiate brilliantly. It's just beautiful to look at. And so it's a beautiful unchanging thing. Maybe that's why it's always a diamond. And I didn't realize this, but it wasn't until the late 15th century that jewelers knew how to grind facets on diamonds in perfectly symmetrical patterns in a way that would ideally capture the available light and just cause the gem to shine radiantly and brilliantly.
And it was a Belgian man in particular in 1475 that discovered that diamond dust is able to cut diamond. It's the only thing that can. And so he captured, he made these grinding wheels with diamond dust and olive oil and then started grinding facets, and he worked with it until he came to the realization that perfectly symmetrical pattern that we're well familiar with now, was the best for making the gem come alive with fire, with light, with brilliance. And he was the only one in the world that could do it and a particular nobleman, the Duke of Burgundy paid him 3,000 ducats of gold to make three perfect diamonds, and there are only three in the world like it. Now we're used to it, but it's still the kind of thing you're looking for when you go for a diamond. You're looking for the cut and the facets and how skillfully they're done. And I think as I look at the text of it that's what I thought of. I thought of a brilliant diamond and these various facets that capture the light of God and cause the light of God to come to our hearts radiantly, beautifully.
And the diamond is Jesus, and the facets are different aspects of Jesus in His ministry, in his personality there. Some of which are revealed in this text today. Not all of them, but some come alive and are just radiant. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to look at facets of Jesus today and we're going to see how he brings the glory of God just radiantly in our hearts. My goal is simple. I want you to love Jesus more than you've ever done before as a result of the sermon. I want your heart to be captured by Jesus. I want you to know that Jesus is enough. I want you to stop being idolaters. Because if you say in any practical way or any actual way, "Jesus is not enough" you're an idolater. But if Jesus is really enough for you, then you can be joyful and content in any and every situation that Jesus brings into your life and it's He that's doing it. We're going to talk about that today. The sun is the radiance of God's glory. And we're going to discuss how he is that.
Context in Hebrews
Now in the context this is the beginning of the Book of Hebrews, we did a whole overview of Hebrews last week, but this is the beginning, these are the first words. There's no introduction here, there's no Paul and apostle of Christ Jesus or any of these kind of things. The author, whoever he is, just gets right to Jesus. You see that? I mean just immediately we get right to Jesus. Why? Well because I believe these Jewish professors of faith in Christ were under tremendous pressure from their unbelieving Jewish family and friends and neighbors to turn their backs on Jesus and come back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To forsake Jesus particularly. And renounce Him as the Messiah, and come back to the God that they had always known. And so the author is getting right to business, and even with these three verses, how can you forsake this one? How can you forsake the one who is God's final word to the human race in these last days. The one who is the son of God, who radiates with the light of God, and shines God for it, and through whom God made the universe and sustains it, and who alone provided purification for sins and who is, at the present, sitting at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
How can you turn your back on Jesus and go back to anything at all? God will not have it. It can't be like that ever again. It is Jesus now. And it will be Jesus for all eternity. That's what He's doing, you see the context? So right away we are given Jesus. And though we are not Jewish professors of faith in Christ who are under pressure from our Jewish neighbors and friends to relinquish Christ, I tell you, you are under tremendous pressure every day to turn your back on Jesus. Every single day, so we need to hear this too, don't we? And that's what this text is all about.
So let's look at these various facets. This flamingly brilliant radiance of God's glory shining through Jesus, a stone with this morning's text, eight facets, Jesus's glory, as the final profit from God, the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the Heir of all things, the Display of God's glory, the Sustainer of the universe, the Final Priest and the King on His throne. That should be enough for us, don't you think? Tell me, do you think I'm going to get through all this today? I must. I must. We have new things to do next week, so let's go forward.
I. The Glory of Christ as the Final Prophet
The God Who Speaks
The first facet I see is the glory of Christ as the Final Prophet. "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways. But in these last days, He has spoken to us by His son." First of all, God speaks. The God that we worship, He speaks. Francis Schaeffer 1972 wrote a book entitled "He is There and He is Not Silent." It's foundational, it's fundamental to the Christian faith that God exists and He's not silent. The fact is that God is a communicating God, He speaks and we listen. Says, in Isaiah 1:2, "Hear all Heavens. Listen o earth for the Lord has spoken." From the beginning God spoke and created, the universe came into being by the spoken word of God. By the word of His power, all worlds came to be. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
Seven times in Genesis 1, God speaks and some new aspect of creation springs into being. But most significantly I think to us, God has chosen to communicate to us, human beings. In words. He's talking to us. And He did that from the start. In Genesis 2, He clearly communicated His will to Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die." God spoke that. In Genesis 3, God speaks words of judgement on the serpent and on Eve and on Adam for what they had done. God speaks judgement, and in Genesis chapter 4, God speaks a warning to Cain who is angry with God and with his brother because God didn't accept his offering and He speaks a warning to him. He warns him not to sin. Then He speaks judgement over him when he does sin.
In Genesis chapter 6, God speaks to Noah and tells him that a flood is coming and that he is to build an arch to save his family, and Noah obeys God, and so on through. God is a God who speaks, He communicates, He speaks words and His words have power.
How God Spoken Then: To the Fathers, at Many Times and in Various Ways
Well, how did God speak then? Well it says, "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers…" He spoke to our forefathers. So I think the author to the Hebrews was Jewish and was connecting himself to that ancestry that the Jews hold so dear. That ancestry that descendant from Abraham, the forefathers, the Jews, their Jewish lineage and ancestry. God spoke to the forefathers in the past in the era of the old covenant. And He did so through the prophets, God's spokesmen. They are intermediaries between God. They went and got the Word of God and brought it down, and we heard from the prophets, and the prophets told us what God was saying.
It says "at many times and in various ways." Sometimes it would be an audible voice, like when the entire nation of Israel was assembled at the base of Mt. Sinai and God spoke out of a terrifying cloud and storm and spoke the Ten Commandments, and they heard. They heard the voice of God and they were so terrified that they asked Moses to go and hear and speak from then on, and that was how the office of prophet really got established in the nation of Israel. "We don't want to hear this great voice anymore unless we hear and die."
But Elijah on Mount Horeb was up in that cave fleeing from Jezebel, you remember, and God spoke to him in a still, small voice. Quiet little voice. So just the range of the voice of God, simplest most common way is just, "The word of the Lord came to so and so and they spoke to Jeremiah or to a different... One of the prophets." Or he would speak in dreams and visions like in Daniel 7:1, "In the first year of Belshazzar King of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream." Or in Ezekiel 1:1, "In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month of the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God…" That's Ezekiel. And sometimes God spoke in symbols. He used symbols with prophets. Like He had Jeremiah look and he saw an almond branch. "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "I see an almond branch." It's a symbol that God is watching, because it sounds like the word for watching. And so God's watching over the Jews to see what they're doing.
Or then He shows him a pot boiling, boiling pot with boiling water. And it's tipping away from the north and it's pouring out. And God was using a symbol to say that judgement, the Babylonians, were going to come from the north like boiling water pouring over the land. He showed Amos a basket of ripe fruit and said that he time for judgment is ripe on the house of Israel. He commands Hosea to marry a prostitute as a symbol of the fact that Israel had been unfaithful to God. He had Ezekiel draw a picture of the city of Jerusalem and then build little siege ramps and siege works against that little tablet of clay that he had built. So it was symbolizing the siege that was coming on Jerusalem. And then He had him get an iron skillet and put it between him and his face, saying that God has turned his face away from the people, and he will not rescue them. And many times and in various ways.
Sometimes by providence, by God just doing things, he would communicate. Like, for example, when the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, you remember that? And it was brought into the Temple of Dagon to show that Dagon had triumphed over Yahweh. No he hadn't. God had a message that day for the people. Because the next day they found Dagon on his face before the Ark. You remember that story? Isn't that great? Like, "Oh, somebody didn't secure the idol very well. Let's nail it down and get it back up." No, no. You got it right. Let's try it part two. This time it fell down and it's decapitated and it's hands have been cut off. "Okay, we get it." It wasn't long before the Philistines were sending the Ark back. This is a great and terrifying God, and the people of Israel heard that story, didn't they. And they feared God greatly. God communicated through providence. Or when Uzzah grabbed hold of the Ark, and he was struck dead, didn't God communicate in that way? "You can't grab hold of me. You have to follow my laws or you're going to die."
Poetry, parables, paradox, mysteries, history, proverbs, commands, promises. At many times and in various ways.
God’s Final Word to the Human Race: His Son
But in these last days, He has spoken to us literally in his Son. That's literally what it says. "He has spoken to us in His Son." These last days, friends, we are in the last days. It refers to the unfolding of redemptive history, and there is nothing left now except the end of the world. That's the next thing that's coming. We're in the last days now. And in these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son. God's final word, then, to the human race is Jesus. I'm not saying the apostles didn't come after and say some things and reveal some things. I'm not saying that. But Jesus is still God's final word. You understand what I'm saying? He is God's final word to the human race. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us and we have seen His glory, glory of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus becoming flesh is God's word to the human race.
Michael Card, who's one of my favorite Christian recording artists, singers, we've had the privilege of having him twice here and one of my favorite songs of his is The Final Word. It's a Christmas song about the incarnation. This is what Michael Card wrote,
You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard. When the Father’s Wisdom wanted to communicate His love, He spoke it in one final perfect Word.
He spoke the Incarnation and then so was born the Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine. And so was born the baby who would die to make it mine.
Isn't that powerful? Jesus is in fact God's final word to you and me. There's nothing more to say. And literally, as I said, the author's saying he has spoken in His Son. I'm not saying that Jesus's words, like in the red letter addition of the Bible aren't important. They are. No one ever spoke like Jesus. But that's not all of what God was saying in Jesus. Just his being here, his Emmanuel, his being with us, he's speaking. God is speaking to us. "The Word became flesh… and we beheld his glory."
So just watching Jesus was seeing a message from God. Jesus's manner, his facial expressions, his actions, his gestures. All of it was a display of the glory of God. And he spoke most clearly through the cross and the empty tomb, amen? That's the clearest message he ever spoke in Jesus.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, God was speaking to the human race of His own holiness, of His own hatred of sin, of His own justice, and upholding the law. Of His mercy and His compassion to us, as lost sinners. Of the fact that we lost sinners can do nothing to save ourselves. It had to come to that, it's the only way. And the fact that in the resurrection, it was effective, forgiveness is ours. Triumph and victory over sin and death are ours. We can have it, and we will not really die. Even if we sleep, we will live forever. The resurrection is ours, the victory is ours. God is speaking in us, to you, and me, the Gospel.
The Superiority of Christ to the Prophets
And at the beginning, here, I think the author is giving us the superiority of Christ to the prophets. Christ is greater than all the prophets, greater than all of them. His message is greater. It's a better message, a better covenant. The rest of the chapter, the author is going to establish the superiority of Jesus to the angels, angels and prophets together, the mediators of the old covenant. So he's getting very quickly to his real point, the new covenant's better than the old covenant. And Jesus is the better messenger. He's better than the prophets, that's what he's saying here. The prophets spoke in the past. Jesus speaks now, that's what he's saying. The prophets spoke to the fathers. Jesus is speaking to us, now. The prophets spoke at many times, and in various ways, but Jesus speaks to us once for all time at the cross. That's what the author is saying, that's the first brilliant facet.
II. The Glory of Christ as Son of God
The second brilliant facet is the glory of Jesus as the Son of God. "In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son." The title "Son of God" is greater than the title given to any prophet. No prophet ever could have that title, "Son of God" or "God the Son," never. A prophet was merely a servant, a messenger of God. He was commanded by God to speak, and he could speak only what God commanded him to say. He was a sinner, like all of those who listened to him. But Jesus is the Son of God. We're going to get to this next week in verses 4-5, but this is the very thing the author does immediately after this. "So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs." What name is that? "For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my son, today I have begotten you." The superior name is the name 'Son.' He is the Son of God, and so we see the glory of Jesus in this title, Son.
John 3:16, He is the only begotten son. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He's the only begotten Son, and the love relationship between the Father and the Son is overwhelming and powerful. It is intimately, infinitely intimate and deep. It's beyond our ability to comprehend. At Jesus's baptism, as Jesus was being baptized, a voice came from heaven, says in Mark's Gospel that the heavens were ripped open. And it's like, God had something to say. And what did He have to say? "This is my son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased." That's what God wanted to say at Jesus's baptism. From eternity past, God has been loving His son. The father has been loving His Son. Before the foundation of the world, He loved him. And on into eternity future, he will love His Son. And we find our salvation in the center of that love, because we're in Jesus, we are loved. That's the love. If you're not in Jesus, you're not loved. But if you're in Jesus, you're loved like the Father loves His own Son. "As the father has loved me, so have I loved you," Jesus said. And so Jonathan Edwards said this, "The infinite happiness of the Father consists in his enjoyment of His Son."
That's what makes the father really happy is enjoyment that He gets of his only begotten Son. And he delights in saving us so that we become an image made after Him, that we are redeemed into the image of His son, so that he loves us as He loved Jesus, the first born among many brothers. The intimacy and perfection of their relationship, as I've said, is incalculable. John 1:18, "no one has seen God at any time, but the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him," or explained, and made Him known. What an interesting phrase that is, "in the bosom of the Father." I don't know what to make of it, but something like, Jesus is in God's heart. You remember at the last part of the Gospel, at the last supper, you remember when the apostle or the disciple whom Jesus loved, (we know it's John cause he never mentions himself). But he's there at the last supper, and he puts his head on Jesus's chest. Do you remember that, just lays his head on Jesus's chest, his head right there? I get the sense of that between Jesus and the Father. He's in the bosom of the Father. He loves his Father, and the Father loves Him, an intimate, powerful relationship. Perfect intimacy, John 5:20, "For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He's doing," everything.
III. The Glory of Christ as Creator of the Universe
Well, this includes labor on the universe. And so the third facet is Jesus as Creator of the universe. Verse 2, "Through whom He made the universe." The Father made the universe through the Son. Now the Greek word translated universe here, in the NIV, is sometimes translated ages, like eons...
So it's more than just length, width and height. It's also eras and eons, ages. He made everything through the Son. Through whom all things were made. Without Him nothing was made that has been made. Colossians 1:16: "For by Him all things were created. Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him."
So what are these prepositions? They're difficult. Through whom He made the universe. By whom He made the universe. For whom He made the universe. All of those things are true. They all teach us different things. I don't know how to conceive of this, but I guess the best way I can think of it is that the Father willed to create the universe and Jesus was the way He did it. It's through Jesus that it got done. That's the best I can make of it.
Jesus is the Word of God and through Jesus the universe exists. God spoke and Jesus was the Word He spoke. And so in some mysterious and powerful way, the Father and the Son labored together making the universe. Making light, making the sky, making the dry land. Making the trees and the vegetation and the seed-bearing plants. Making the sun and the moon and the stars. Making the fish and the birds. Making the animals and then making man in their image.
You get the feeling of the intra-Trinitarian conversation. "Let us make man in our image after our likeness." And so together they make the universe, Father and the Son. And the Father and the Son delight in their intimate working relationship. "The son, [John 5] can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves his Son and shows Him all he does. So they're working together
Recently a number of weeks ago, I went over to that Raleigh IMAX there with my kids, and we went and saw this thing on the Hubble Space Telescope, the repair of the space telescope from a year ago and just an awesome, a huge screen and just huge sound and it was just awesome. And it was just through the Hubble really… We were taking a tour of outer space and we're going along this corridor to the constellation Orion, and in Orion's belt, there's this certain place that these Hubble scientists are telling us is the birthplace of new stars. Well I don't know what all that is. All I'm saying is that they're there. The stars had to come from somewhere. Maybe they're still being made. But the Bible tells me that the Father's making them through the Son. Everything that gets made gets made from the Father through the Son, and that's awesome. So I was having a time of worship there in the IMAX. I don't know if anyone else was other than my family, but we were having a good time worshipping the Father's creation of these stars.
Now in Isaiah 40-49… Isaiah the Prophet is fiercely monotheistic, because he's fighting against the idolatry of Israel. Fiercely monotheistic. There is one God, and there is only one God and everything else is an idol. There are no other gods. There is no one like God. No one can even be compared to God. And one of the things that Isaiah points out is that God alone made the universe. There was no one with Him, no one helping Him, no one at all.
And so he says in Isaiah 44:24 "I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, " no one was with me. What does that have to do with this passage? Well if Jesus isn't God, then how do you put all that together? I don't understand how Jehovah's Witnesses and friends and neighbors, how they say Jesus is a created being. There's an infinite gap between the Creator and the created. Jesus is God the Creator, that's what it's saying. And the only way we can put it together is with the doctrine of the Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit together making the universe.
Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, John 1 all teach that Jesus created all things. Only way you can put that together is say Jesus is God.
IV. The Glory of Christ as Heir of All Things
The fourth glorious facet is the glory of Christ as the Heir of all things. I reversed the order a little bit, but you'll understand why. First the creation and then Christ appointed Heir of all things. What does this mean that He is heir? Well heir is the one, in that patriarchal system you had the father the patriarch of the family, and then one of his sons would be chosen to be the firstborn in that position.
Generally it was literally the first born, but it didn't have to be, and it would be one who would be designated as the heir. And the father would give everything to the first born. The heir would be beloved of his father, would grow up. The father would cherish the heir and train him in all the things he should do, the ways he should go, and there would be two key issues coming from being heir and that would be authority and ownership. You would be the authority in the family when the father was gone, and you would own everything that the father owned. It would all go to you. And if there were other brothers involved, they would get their father's wealth mediated through the first born. See what I'm saying?
I think this is precisely why Joseph's brothers hated him for that coat he was wearing, remember? Because Jacob gave him a coat, and I think it was symbolic of his status as firstborn in the family. I really think Jacob was still wresting with what Laban did wedding night when he thought he was marrying Rachel and he got Leah. And it's like he was waiting for Rachel to give him a son, and finally Rachel did and it was Joseph. And Joseph was in his mind firstborn, and his brothers hated him. Another story, another time. But he was the heir of Jacob. Jesus is the Heir of the Father, and He's heir of all things, and He has absolute authority over all things, and He will inherit all things. It's all His.
Only one difference, the Father is not going to die. Father is around forever, and so is the Son, and the Son is the Heir. And so Jesus says, "All authority in heaven and earth, has been given to me." God placed all things under His feet, He is the Heir. What that also means is that He has ownership of the universe, everything belongs to His. By the way, which makes Satan's temptation so laughable, "See this little world, that's all mine I can give it to anyone I want." Satan, what a misconception, you're going to hell. Jesus owns everything, and he can give it to whoever He wants. And so if you're in Christ guess what you are, you are heir of the world. Read it in Romans 4, it is through faith that Abraham received the promise that he would be heir of the world. Isn’t that awesome? And so we're going to get good stuff through Jesus.
But it all comes through Jesus and no other place. Only unlike Joseph's brothers, we're not jealous of Jesus, we're praising God for Him as Heir of all things and we're going to get a glorious inheritance if we suffer with Jesus. Because it says in Romans 8:17, "Now, if we are children, then we are heirs. Heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."
V. The Glory of Christ as Perfect Display of God
The fifth glorious facet, is the glory of Christ as the perfect display of God. The Son is the radiance of God's glory, and the exact representation of His being. He is the radiance, the bright shining-ness of God's glory. The only analogy I can come to with this, is the analogy of the sun and the solar system. And the sun shines in the sky 93 million miles away, this raging inferno of fusion released energy, and light and radiation, all kinds of stuff, the sun 93 million miles away. And it's awesome, and its power, seemingly limitless in its resources, it's like God to us in some sense. I'm not worshipping, I'm just saying it's an analogy. And we can't do anything to affect the sun, we can't change the sun, we can't get close to the sun. It is just overwhelming and powerful. But the sun mediates itself to us by light, and heat and radiation. You go out there on a sunny day, the whole world is glowing, don't you love the fall when the leaves are just radiating and it's just so beautiful and then the light coming from the sun.
And life comes from that light, photosynthesis is always coming from the sun across 93 million miles. Light, radiation, heat coming in, that's how we relate to the sun. Jesus is that intermediary between the Father and us. He brings the Father right to us. And there is one text, and I've quoted it before, but it's the best to me that explains this. In John 14:8-9 Philip said, "Lord show us the Father, and it will be enough for us." And Jesus said, "don't you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father." Jesus is not the Father, but Jesus came to show us the Father. And for Philip to say, "Show us the Father," is like, "Haven't you been watching me? That's what I'm here for, it's to show you the Father." "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."
And He is the exact representation of His being. The Greek word is character, which relates to a signet ring, engraved in golden ring, let's say. And the governor or a king, or a nobleman would have a signet ring, and when he wanted to write out some commands for some that were at a remote distance, he wanted them to know his will. He would write a letter and then he would seal it with sealing wax, and put his signet ring in that sealing wax. And the mark in the wax was the exact representation of what was in his ring. It represented him, it represented his authority. That's the word that the author uses. There's an exact representation of the Father and the Son. The same attributes, the same purposes, the same plans, the same everything. Jesus is as righteous is His Father, He's as holy as His Father, He's as powerful as His Father, He's as loving as His Father. He's as wrath-filled as His Father.
They're the same being in their character and essence, just different persons in the Trinity. And some day, we're going to live in a world that will be only radiated with the glory of God mediated through Jesus. We're going to be in the new heavens, and in the new earth. There will be no need for sun, or moon or stars for the glory of God will give that city light, and the lamb will be its lamp. Beautiful.
VI. The Glory of Christ as Sustainer of the Universe
The sixth facet is the glory of Christ as the Sustainer of the universe. Verse 3, "Sustaining all things by His powerful word." The universe, as I said before, was created by God to be a needy universe. The universe needs God every moment. That Him, I need the every hour, it is an understatement. The universe needs God every instant to keep existing. God created it that way, He did not create an independent universe.
Deists, in the 18th century, posited a universe that God created by some physical principles, scientific principles that just kind of run in a mindless machine sort of way. And God just lets the universe run on like that. That's not the God of the Bible, dear friends. Not only does God regularly interfere and do miracles, and do all kinds of stuff and mess things up from the human point of view and step in to time and do things. Not only does God do that, but the Bible actually reveals He is constantly holding the very atoms of the universe together. And if he didn't, it would stop existing. And Jesus is the way by which the Father holds everything together. In Him, Colossians 1, "In Him, all things hold together." Every atom holds together by Jesus. This obviously has profound ethical implications.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was in some mysterious way holding the cross physically together and the nails that were holding them up there. He was willing to die, you understand that? I don't either, but anyway, you know generally He willed to die and He held the universe together in order to die. What that means is He will exert effort to keep the universe together in ways that bring Himself and others great pain to achieve His purposes. You may never hear a clearer message on the sovereignty of God over all things than this right here, right now at this moment.
Jesus held Hitler's body together while he was making all those horrendous decisions. It is Jesus that holds air molecules together while typhoons and hurricanes destroy property and end human life. It is Jesus that holds bullets together in war zones and during drive by shootings that results in innocent little babies dying. He holds them together, and He will sustain the existence of human souls for all eternity. We preached on hell a few weeks ago, there is no annihilation. He wills to hold their souls together keep them conscious and alive.
You can't escape from Jesus anywhere you turn in the universe nor should you desire to because everything He does is good and right and wise. But He holds everything, He sustains the universe by His powerful Word. At every moment you continue to exist because Jesus wills it. That pew you're sitting on, been sitting on for so long now, such a long time, Jesus is holding it together. He wills to keep you up off the floor and He probably wills to keep you to the end of the sermon, but you'll have to decide that. But He wills all of the things that happen to you in your life. I know there's wickedness and evil in the world, and He does not will the violation of His laws and commandments and will bring people like Hitler to judgement for what they do. I'm just saying He sustains the universe, that's what I'm saying.
For in Him we live and move and have our being. And you know that He could will Satan out of existence anytime He wants, no effort from Him. He would stop willing Satan to exist. They're not equals, He can shot him down anytime He wants. He chooses not to. And why? For His own glory, for His own purposes. To win a greater more valiant triumph over him at the end. We've described that in talking about the second coming of Christ.
VII. The Glory of Christ as the Final Priest
Seventh facet is the glory of Christ as the Final Priest. "After He had provided purification for sins…" Why does this matter to you? Well you heard in my prayer, they're two categories of people listening to me today. Either those who are completely pure in God's sight from all of your sins through faith in Jesus. After He had provided purification. One of the messages of Hebrews is once for all time purified. Isn't that beautiful? You are pure in God's sight if you're a Christian. Away then with the guilty conscience, away with it. And away with the sins that defile our conscience too. Amen. Away with it all. After He provided purification from sins, He wills that you be completely pure, not just in standing before God, but just never to sin again. And He is working out a salvation whereby you will be completely pure. And He provides it once for all.
Sin is a great polluter, it defiles us, pollution. You guys remember in 1969 when the Cuyahoga River in Ohio burned? You remember that? Because it had all this filth being poured into it and it was on fire. That was a significant moment in the history of environmental concern in the US. How shameful is it that a river that 100, 200 years before you could get down on your hands and knees and drink from was now literally burning because of industrial pollution. That's disgusting, just disgusting. Disgusting that people just usually throw trash out of their windows on the streets and the highways and they were disgusting. I remember in the '60s and early '70s you see trash everywhere.
But I tell you there's no pollution as great as that of a soul that sins before God without the forgiveness of Jesus. It's defiled, it's polluted and only Jesus can purify your sins. And so there's is a second category I'm speaking to today. You who have never come to faith in Christ you stand now presently polluted, impure in God's sight because of your sins. I'm no better than you in and of myself and neither is any Christian, but know this you can be instantly made pure if you just come to Jesus. If you just come to Jesus you can be immediately cleansed of all your sins and forgiveness will be yours.
VIII. The Glory of Christ as the King on His Throne
Final facet is the glory of Christ as King on the throne. After he had provided purification for sins, He sat down with the right hand of the majesty in heaven and from that position, He wields that authority I talked about earlier. From the right hand of God, He intercedes for us, pleading for us, Romans 8. From the right hand of God. From the right hand of God He is enjoying pleasures forevermore, in the presence of God. At the right hand of God from that place He will come back to judge living and the dead. And since then we have been raised with Christ; we should set out hearts on things above, not on earthly things; where Christ is seated where? At the right hand of God. It says that again and again. Maybe 10 times in the New Testament talks about Jesus seated at the right hand of God. From that place, He will watch all of his enemies made a foot stool for his feet, the right hand of God. And the final authority is He will rule over heaven and earth from the throne of God at God's right hand forevermore.
What applications will come to Christ only in Jesus can you receive full purification for your sins, I've already said that. Don't leave this place in an unconverted polluted state. You don't need to. Just look to Jesus, He will cleanse you of all your sins.
And I speak now to Christians. Maybe you came in here with a guilty conscience. Maybe you have reasons for feeling guilty. You've sinned. You've violated God's laws. You've lusted. You've coveted. You've been angry. You've not been faithful to love your spouse and submit to your spouse, or to obey your parents. You've violated God's law in some way. But full forgiveness is poured out on you as you stand in grace. Romans 5:1 says, "Since we have been justified through faith. We have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and access by faith into this grace in which we are now standing." We're standing in a shower of grace, and you are forgiven.
And as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." And as you look at these, my final application is, can you just worship Jesus? Can Jesus be enough for you in the midst of your trial? And enough for you in the midst of your financial struggle, in the midst of your job problem, in the midst of your relational trouble and your family, in the midst of your health problem, in the midst of your loneliness, you've lost a loved one? Can Jesus be enough for you? Worship Jesus. Go through these attributes. Go through these facets, and let each one glow in your mind and say, "Thank you, Jesus. I praise you that you are God's final word. I want to hear what you have to say to me. I thank you that you're the Creator of the universe. Everything I see is coming from you. Thank you, Jesus." Just be a worshiper of Jesus today. Close with me in prayer.