Christian Suffering Pt 4


God's Plan For The Subjection Of All Things Pt 4

Hebrews 2:16-18

Through Death He gives Aid to the Seed of Abraham

Today Jesus is Presented as a Great High Priest who suffered to make propitiation for sin and who gives Aid to men as one who suffered testing & temptation, He is able to Aid those who are tempted so that we who believe may come to Jesus confidently and humbly for His Aid in overcoming temptations.


Sermon Transcript

Take up your Bibles with me, will you. We celebrated Christmas yesterday. But I hope you're not done. We have yet a little more celebrating of the person, Jesus Christ the Lord this morning.

We turn again to the book of Hebrews and our ongoing study of this book. There is no need for us to depart from Hebrews, even if another Christmas should come. And we still be in Hebrews, as there will be much to celebrate about Christ wherever we are, for this book is Christologically wealthy. It is a treasure trove of truths about the deep things of Jesus Christ. And certainly this morning, a deep thing about Jesus Christ is associated with Jesus Christ, the God man, key term, man, for this morning. So I bring your attention to Hebrews, the second chapter. And let me begin reading in verse 14, though our study this morning will encompass verses 16 through 18. This gives us a wee bit of context, verse 14, Hebrews 2nd. chapter so follow along as I read,

"14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not [h]give aid to angels, but He does [i]give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being [j]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

Would you pray with me this morning? Father, God, as we prepare our hearts, to have your word preached and taught, we pray Your Holy Spirit to be a part of this process. As you innervated the words to be written, Oh, Holy Spirit, also we pray, make us understand, cause us to get it, to come to a greater knowledge of what Jesus Christ did when he became a man and how he is high priest. So that Lord, we might glorify you, and be confident in you and praise you all our days until we can finally see you face to face, and know you intimately in Your Presence. May you truly allow us to be in your presence today, as your word comes to us. This we ask, in Jesus name, amen.

Chapter Two, Hebrews is suffering. The theme of suffering continually but not suffering alone, the apparent paradox of the necessity of human suffering, for the attainment of subjection of those things that are out of order with God to bring them in and under order with God juxtaposed. But there's a juxtaposition between that idea and glory, honor and aid, glory, honor and aid.

Again and again, we have seen this movement, even that God in man's origin. In chapter two verse seven God had made man a little lower than the angels, yet crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of His hands and put all things in subjection under man's feet. Yet men fell and the subjugation of the world departed from man and became a curse against him. It is through the suffering of Christ that all of this is put back in subjection under Christ.

In verse nine, we see a Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, now crowned with glory and honor, there's glory and honor again, that he by the grace of God might taste death for everyone, and through that bring all back into subjection to himself. As a man. We have seen that it is necessary for all sons, and Christ names us to be part of the Sonship relationship that he has with God and allows us to be sanctified even through our suffering and suffering similar to his suffering. And that is the way in which glory and honor come to us in which we find ourselves put back in order.

Therefore, we are told he's not ashamed to call us brethren. Brethren, who have been sanctified through the very suffering that Christ suffered himself. That is not suffering on the cross necessarily, but the normal suffering of men. So therefore, we are sons in that the end of verse 13. "Here I am", Jesus says, "and the children God has given me."

Well, today, Jesus is presented to us as a great high priest. This is the first occurrence of this title given to Jesus here in Hebrews. And it shall be a part of our study now for a number of chapters. So we will not exhaust the meaning of what it means to be high priest today, but we will touch on what is in our context in chapter two. Jesus is presented as the great high priest, the great high priest who suffered to make propitiation for sin. And not only that, a high priest who gives aid to men, as one who also has suffered testing and temptation. And because he has suffered tempting and temptation, he is able to give aid to those who are tempted. So that we also we who believe may come to Jesus confidently and humbly for his aid in overcoming temptations. Does that sound like a good deal to you? That sounds like a great deal to me. Does that sound like something that is needed to you? It sounds like something that is needed to me. I want to pick up at the end of our last week's study by going to verse 16. And I'm so thankful I did not have time to put that into that sermon for it makes the perfect dovetail back together, between verses 17 and 18.

If we look at verse 16, we are presented with this aid given to the seed of Abraham and it is connected with the death of Jesus Christ. We have seen that Jesus Christ, partaking in flesh and blood in verse 14, and sharing in that flesh and blood. And through his death, he destroyed the power of death, and he who has the power of death, even Satan himself, he defeated him. And then it's almost amazing verse 16, pops up. For indeed, and when he says, Indeed, we're supposed to say, Oh, yes, indeed walk. And it's indeed this. For indeed, he does not give aid to angels.

We, if we've studied this, could have left behind in our mind that in chapter one, angels had been presented to us as both the glorious and fiery beings of God, and also in chapter one, as his messengers sent out to help those who believe. They are his ministering spirits. And then all of a sudden, in the middle of the suffering of Jesus Christ and his defeat of death and the devil, who is, by the way, an angel. We read this, he does not give aid to angels. Our mind must needs be drawn to the devil and to angels, whom and to whom God does not give aid. He does not give aid to angels. It's a factual statement that stands out starkly in the middle of our text, and we must appropriate it as fact.

This is God's declaration. And it is our experience. It is the experience of he who was at one time called Lucifer, the Archangel of God, that great angel of light, and music and power and ability, was such a glory of his own, that his glory in his sinful heart, made a desire to be more glorious than the God who had made him. And in that grasping after deity, Satan fell into sin, and will remain in that condemned condition for all eternity. Brothers and sisters, we need to mark that as a very sorrowful thing. The creatures who are made higher than us more beautiful than us in our original created form, when they fell, and Lucifer fell, not just by himself, right he fell, and he brought with him 1/3 of the heavenly hosts, which we now call not by their original names, but we call them by the names of the fallen ones, these spirits, demons, for whom there is no aid, he is now called the Devil and Satan, forever. He is the enemy of God, and always will be, irreparably. We can call it the total depravity of demons. One that cannot be fixed because God has declared it so.

Only man, of all God's creation, there is one creation made, like man, that's men. And how are they unique? In the creation account, we hear God made man in His image. Male and female, He created them in his image. And then God came in the image of man. When Jesus Christ came, verse 14, Hebrews chapter two, in as much then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same. God made man redeemable from their depravity. When all of man fell into sin, there was yet hope. Because in the plan and purposes of God, he had made man in His image he had made him such that God could come in image like man.

Pastor, you'd say, Pastor Fred, tell me how to understand that. Well, I can't. I just know it is, just like I now know it is that he does not give aid to angels. He does not give aid to angels, they are held in that position. It is a hard truth. But it's supposed to be hard so that we would see the magnitude of blessing, condescension, grace and mercy given to men. And I say that men both believing and unbelieving, all men have been given this privileged position.

The demons themselves knew they were stuck. They were stuck in this condition. I want to remind you of this and that you know this, because you've read about this before. I want you to look at Matthew chapter eight. In Matthew chapter eight, we see Jesus arriving in a country, getting out of the boat and there multitudes have been following him and etc. and etc. And it tells us in verse 28, when he had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, this, which we can also find translated as the Gadarenes, He is confronted by two demon possessed men that our Bibles tell us were exceedingly fierce. And they were fierce, so fierce that people stayed away from them, and they did not want to go near them. But these two men possessed of demons that are seen in a parallel passage in another gospel tell us one of them was full of so many demons, when Christ asked what his name is, they pronounced themselves Legion, meaning he was so full of demons and that he was so powerful with their power, that they were called the Legion. And then we read back in Matthew, verse 29, look at that verse. And suddenly they cried out, saying, quote, "what have we to do with you, Jesus?" Now listen to what they know to be true about Jesus, "you, Son of God. You come here? Or have you come here to torment us?"

Listen, before the time. Before the time they knew that their doom was sure as the hymn Martin Luther penned tells us low their doom is sure, and they know it. They are on a time clock, and their judgment is inevitable, and their imprisonment and their torment. No, they didn't just say, hell, it said, torment from which there is no aid. Angels get no help from Jesus. God didn't design it that way.

But God wants you to know that today. Before he tells you this, we missed the contrast, we missed the weight of the truth. Let's read it again. For indeed, he does not give aid to angels. But he does give aid to the seed of Abraham. At that point, we should just say like the psalmist "selah", which means in essence, let's think on this. Let's meditate on this, let's not let us go by this too quickly.

And it's even possible for us to go by too quickly, even in our observations of the text, isn't it because some of you have gone through there and all of a sudden, you've picked out something more because you're good observers of the text. I know most of you. And you have marked this title, Seed of Abraham. He does not give aid to angels. But he does give aid to the seed of Abraham and we happen to be in the book entitled Hebrews. Hebrews are indeed, from Abraham. And it could be that you're asking is the aid only to those people from the Hebrews? What is he saying? Is this a yikes moment for Gentiles? God does give aid to the seed of Abraham, but the rest of you forget about it.

Now, when we observe in our Bibles a question like this, we then must search out from the text, what does this mean? Before we go out of the text and say, read into it, perhaps say from the book of Romans, where you will find seed of Abraham, as well, but it has its own context. And this Hebrews has its own context, and this is written to the Hebrews. Why would God remind the Hebrews of being the seed of Abraham? Let me get first, if you will allow me, three options that you can take. And perhaps somebody can find more than me. But there's three options you could take.

When defining seed of Abraham, you could say, well, it might mean they're from national Israel, could be the first option, that they're part of the nation of Israel, a national identity. Secondly, you could call them of the seed of faith, like Abraham, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness, and in the book of Romans, all who are of the seed of Abraham, or of the seed of faith, but that's in that context. It's not here. But that's the second way you can look at it. Thirdly, you can look at it as the genetic seed of Abraham. What's your family tree? Well, my family tree goes all the way back to father Abraham, who had many sons, many sons had father Abraham, I am one of them. Only Israelites can say that, by the way. The genetic seed of Abraham is what is in our book. It's part of the reason we know it's written to the Hebrews, that all the references to the Old Testament, and their assumed knowledge of all the temple practices, etc. He is pointing out this very important thing. Even, even Hebrews, have the same need as the Gentiles. Even if you're born into the family of Abraham, you need God's aid, you need the aid of this high priest. That can be hard for a Hebrew at times. Because at times, the Hebrews used to say, God will not destroy us. We're of the promised people, Abraham. Oops. They still need aid.

It's a sinful thing to think God will save you because of who your great, great, great, great grandfather was, whether you are a Hebrew, or whether you are of the Gentiles. If your grandmother believes in God, that does not save you. If your grandfather believes in God, that does not save you, if your mother believes in God, and your father believes in God, that does not save you. You need to look to God for your own aid, or you are doomed. But the good news is there's aid. You can confidently come knowing Jesus Christ gives aid to you along with the Hebrews. In a sense, we can call to all Hebrew Christians and to all non-Hebrews, Come, come, come with us, we Gentiles to Jesus, Who gives aid. What kind of aid does He give? What kind of aid?

Remember again, we're in a context of suffering. And here we have it again in verse 17. A suffering that satisfied the wrath of God, listen, a suffering that satisfied the wrath of God, verse 17, therefore, in all things he Jesus had to be made like His brethren, see the repetition. Verse 14, in as much then as the children at partaking of flesh and blood, he likewise shared in the same verse 17, emphasis of content on the humanity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in all things, therefore, why, therefore, to give aid, in all things he had to be made, like His brethren, that he might be Listen, merciful and faithful High Priest, in the things pertaining to God.

He had to be made like his brother, a man, a human and as a man number one, in your notes under letter A, Jesus was judged a merciful and faithful high priest, mercy and faithfulness, but before that, the high priest idea, may I say that it is quite possible that some of us coming from our evangelical roots, if you will, we come from the Reformation roots are in the reformation where Martin Luther and many like him stood up and said, these things that are going on in the priesthood of the Catholic Church are in error.

They're not following the scripture of God and the priests who are part of the Roman Catholic Church are not leading people to God. But they're making merchandise of the people of God selling indulgences and other things that they protested against.

By the way, if you're a pro Protestant, you are a protestant, you protest against the Roman Catholic Church. And there's a sense in which I am still a protestant, and I am still protesting against the Roman Catholic Church, and their errors, in particular, orchestrated by what they call priests. And I think it's quite possible that we may have become insensitive to the role of a priest. And we may even have been become inured, or if you will, hardened to our desperate need for a priest. For a high priest. But one in particular, not a priest among men, as Jesus will be presented later, but a never dying priest, One who came first as a man.

We need aid. And we need aid in a very particular fashion by a High Priest. That's why this is here, in Hebrews. Listen, I give aid to the seed of Abraham. I came as a man to give aid to you as a high priest, but He uses a word that Hebrews would understand. To make propitiation.

Before I define that, let me say that in making propitiation, he is merciful. What is Mercy? Mercy is not getting what you deserve in judgment. Only the guilty need mercy. The kids roughhousing in the house, which they're not supposed to do, break mom's favorite lamp. They're guilty. Mom and Dad have a choice. Harsh punishment, or mercy. There's a time for both. But we as those who have fallen into sin, we who are sinners. I am a sinner. And a sinner is guilty by nature. Is it you who sinned and became a sinner? No. You are a sinner, therefore you sin. And because you're a sinner, you need aid. You need help. You need a high priest who's merciful, who does not give you what you deserve, yet one who is faithful to God, how is one both merciful and faithful to God?

In letting you off the hook, it's not being faithful to God who is justice and righteousness and purity and holiness. That's not being faithful. It is if in your mercy, you offer yourself as a sacrifice on behalf of the people. Notice our verse again. Verse 17, therefore in all things he had to be made, like His brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, listen, in things pertaining to God, those things which God cares about, those things that fall upon God's purview, which is everything, but it isn't the way in which God would look on us, in contrast to angels to whom he does not aid. A high priest helps people get aid from God the Father, and there is a need to acknowledge I need this high priest to get this aid.

He's both merciful and faithful. I should come to him because I know he's going to get 'er done, and he's going to be merciful in it. And how does he do it? Jesus made propitiation for the sins of the people. He had to be made like a man so that he can make propitiation. What is his propitiation? Propitiation is this. To satisfy, to satisfy the necessary wrath of God against sin, against transgression.

When we sin, we transgress those things pertaining to God, we don't do what he said to do, or we go against what he said to do in another way and defy him. From every little lie, to every great mission of the evil of man, there's a price. There is a price that is paid not to the devil, not to Satan, Satan does not control the punishment place of God. That is for God alone. God made hell just as he made heaven. And he made it as a place of torment for angels, and also for unbelieving men who think they need no aid from God. The high priest, Jesus came in the form of a man to satisfy the wrath of God against this transgression. That means the Justice meted out rightly, He is faithful to God in doing this. And that's why God can remain both just and the justifier because Jesus Christ came as a man and died in place of sinners. He took the full wrath of God upon Himself for all the sins that believers would ever commit. Meaning the means by which sin is forgiven, it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

By the way, when you look up this word, in that we have in Hebrews 17 propitiation, we're going to find it again in Hebrews nine, verse five. And there, it's going to be translated thus. Mercy seat. Mercy seat, the place on top of the ark, in the holiest of holies, in the temple of God, the wings of the cherubim reach across the top of the ark, that place the Spirit of God dwells is called the mercy seat. It is a seat of authority, as well as a seat of forgiveness. For only the authority of God can forgive by having mercy on you, and pouring his wrath upon Christ.

That's what Christmas is all about. Is this Jesus who came like a man to do this thing? And if you're a deep thinker, and I know many of you are, you're saying how could it possibly be that Jesus in one place in time, and just for a few days and time how would it be that he could suffer all the wrath? If you want to know how my mind works, even though the sin I did, not even to mention the sin all of you have done, but all the sins that everybody who will ever believe has ever done. How did he take that wrath on himself? I don't get it. Except what John MacArthur helped me with this weekend. He didn't intend to. As he was preaching to another text, he answered this question I've had and if this is slightly off, all I can say is I was in the barn and exercising and I ran to my pencil and wrote it down as fast as I could on a pad I keep there because this happens to me a lot.

This is as good a quote as I can get without it going back and listening to the whole thing again, which thing on Christmas week I did not have time to do but I put it here and hope God has grace that MacArthur won't say I misquoted him. But I think I've got at least the entire heart of what he said.

He asked this question, How could Jesus take all the wrath of God for all those sins on Himself in just a few hours? He answered it. Because He has, as God, an infinite capacity, and this is just almost too much to take to suffer wrath. Yes, he came as a man and that is an important feature to who he is, but as God, he has an infinite capacity to suffer the wrath of God, so that God can pour forth, if you will, and this is me now, MacArthur, he took the full blast furnace heat of the righteous anger of God against our transgression, and suffered infinitely in those few hours. Suffering. The wrath of God is pure torture.... pure torture. I don't say that, in the mean sense that which is done unjustly to people who don't deserve it. I'm saying the torture that sin deserves, because one of our problems is, as sinners even redeemed sinners, we don't think of sin as seriously as we should. Can I have an Amen?

We don't, because we don't examine ourselves or sin closely enough. Our theology on sin is weak. Let us remind ourselves that Jesus Christ spoke about hell more than he spoke about heaven. That's a fact, recorded in the gospels. And on one of those occasions, he gave a parable of a servant who had been forgiven much money. 10,000 talents, is what is placed in Matthew 18, about this servant, he owed an enormous sum of money that he would never ever, ever be able to repay, it was so large. It's like for those of us who live normal lives, to be something like a billion dollars, you owe a billion dollars. And the master, the King comes and says, I want my money. And this servant begs him and pleads, he pleads for him to let him go, and the master has mercy and lets him go. And as soon as a servant is let go, he goes out to a fellow servant who owes him money of only what would be less than a year's worth of wages, 100 days, and he asked him to give him the money. And when he begs with the same exact words, for mercy and for forgiveness, this terrible servant wouldn't give that. But then the King found out. Verse 32, of Matthew 18 says, Then the master after he had called him, this bad servant said to him, You wicked servant. I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Pay attention. Should you not also have compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and listen and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due Him?

What's the lesson of this parable? Verse 35. So my heavenly father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart does not forgive his brother, his trespasses. The mark of one who has been given mercy by the faithful high priest is that they are merciful to other sinners. Forgive us our trespasses, Jesus taught. What? As we, as we forgive the trespasses of those who trespass against us. Consequences for not having that heart, torture.

Such great love was poured on us by our master a debt we cannot pay was mercifully forgiven, because Jesus paid we then may not trample on that gift and not give it for this is love. So says John and First John 4:10. And this is love, not that we loved God, but that he left, but he loved us, and sent his Son.

Now let me just go from there and I'm bouncing back to Hebrews, who in all things had to be made like his brother and that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. That he loved us, John says and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Otherwise, torment of a certainty awaits. He suffered. Yes, he suffered and took upon Himself all that for the sins of the people.

What is Christmas? What is the rejoicing? It's also a humbling that Jesus Christ doesn't give aid to angels, and they will be tormented for forever. But he does give aid to the seed of Abraham, and you. That's why he came. Remember how chapter two started? Therefore we must give them more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels prove steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, zero in here. How shall we escape? If we neglect, so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard him? We've just heard. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Jesus came as a man to suffer to present himself as both a high priest and the sacrificial lamb for me, for you, and took the full torment of the wrath of God upon himself. That's why he cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" You need never know that. For the aid Christ has given you never to know that.

Believe that today, that he's your high priest, and your full sacrifice for all the sins you have committed, or ever will commit. Welcome to the best gift ever. Let's pray.

What can we say but thank you, and what can we do but praise You Lord Jesus, Father, God in heaven for giving us your son. Oh, Lord, imprint this on our hearts and minds today. Let us not go from here and shed this humbling truth. Let us rather in that humility embrace the mercy of Jesus and the faithfulness of his high priestly work to live confidently before you, having mercy for even as you taught us to pray, join me. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

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