The Supreme Being
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 May 18, 1997
What is your favorite cartoon character or comic strip superhero? Is Superman your all time favorite fantasy figure? Or perhaps Batman or Power Rangers? We are bombarded by media presentations of supreme beings like Arnold Swartzennegar, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude von Damme. And more and more of these heroes are now presented as women, if not from a position of physical prowess then from a seductive standpoint. Many would like to wield their power and have their prowess.
And like people do, we try to take it into our own hands to manipulate nature to carry out our fantasy. The Nazis tried to create the super race by genetic breeding in WWII. Slave owners tried to breed a race of strong workmen by selective breeding - like your would breed animals for meat or milk production. We have known for years how to clone certain trees that produce abundant fruit. This is done by grafting a twig from a desirable variety onto a generic root stock. Genetic science is now experimenting with cloning certain domestic animals for superior production. When a desirable individual is bred at random, it would then be duplicated. We are in the beginning stages now to plan for doing this with humans. After all, we can now change parts from one to another like you would go to the junkyard for a used distributor off a wrecked car. But it looks now like we will just be able to run another one off the assembly line. Society has the blueprint imprinted in its mind from the stereotypes in Playboy and Playgirl. I happened to catch a bit of news on the TV in a place I was visiting the other day and was amazed at the men lined up to get the autograph of the Bunny of the Year. What are we worshipping? Will we just duplicate these gods and goddesses by cloning when we see, find, or produce a superior specimen? Mankind is somehow enamored by himself.
Did you read in the newspapers recently how the new supercomputer, Deep Blue, beat the world’s greatest chess champion? It makes you wonder whether computers possess intelligence or whether chess is just a game of statistics. But the paper said, “Computers can now watch, listen and learn. They can mull over a situation, assess possibilities and decide on a reasonable course of action to solve a problem. They can plan for the future and remember the past.” But does that make them intelligent? What is intelligence? Garry Kasparov, the human, was depressed at losing to the computer. I wonder if the computer was elated at winning? I wonder if a computer can sin? I wonder if a computer can know God? I wonder how the computer would do against a real superior being? In reality, a supreme being is more spiritual than material and physical. Everything material and physical cannot endure. We know that by experience as well as from Scripture. I even read in the paper that in Brazil, there are little ants, about a tenth of an inch long, that like to eat printed circuit boards. The computer case is the nursery and the heat from the power supply provides incubation. Will man never learn humility before the God of all creation?
The idea behind creating an intelligent machine like a computer is to bypass man’s unpredictability, but it is the unpredictability of man’s mind (leads, hunches, insights) that creates and designs, in the image of God, like our God who is also unpredictable, except in his holiness and other attributes. The paper quoted David Chalmers, a professor of philosophy at U of C at Santa Cruz as saying, “The best strategy for developing a computer with truly human-like qualities might be to mimic the evolutionary processes that yielded humanity. You could start with very simple organisms on a computer, design them so that they can reproduce or die out, and let evolution do its thing -- for the next 50 years or so.”
Another professor, Hammond, was quoted as adding, “At some point, if you build an intelligent thing, you might ask it if it is conscious, and it might tell you that it is. But that is not something we could ever have access to.” We have not yet been able to figure out God’s mind or man’s either. I certainly don’t have access to the logic of these statements. It makes me wonder just how conscious these professors are. But I do know that intelligence is a quality of God and of man made in God’s image. Intelligence is spiritual and our supreme being super model, perfect God become perfect man, is Jesus Christ.
We have seen so far in Hebrews that since Jesus is God, and man is made by God, we must pay attention to what Jesus tells us, and we must not neglect our worship of Him, because there is no fulfillment or rest for man outside of Jesus. This message is continued and amplified in today’s passage by telling us that we can only come to God through the ministry of Jesus. His ministry before us is as our Great High Priest, a supreme and superior being in a perfect pattern for man.
I. The supremacy of Christ as a sympathetic High Priest.
A. The supremacy of a High Priest from God: His identity. (v. 14)
1. He is the One who has passed through the heavens.
Ps. 90:2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Jn. 20:17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
2. He is the One who is named Jesus, the Son of God.
Php. 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Heb. 1:4 ¶ So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
a. He has experience as God.
b. We can have faith in him as God.
B. The supremacy of a High Priest for man: His significance.
1. He is the One who understands how we are made
Ps. 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Jn. 11:33 ¶ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
2. He is the One who understands our subjection to failure, even though he does not fail.
a. He has experience as man.
b. We can have faith in him as man.
The capacity to care gives life its deepest significance.
Pablo Casals (1876–1973)
To understand any living thing you must creep within and feel the beating of its heart.
W. Macneile Dixon
I never ask the wounded person how he feels; I myself become the wounded person.
Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
Instead of putting others in their place, try putting yourself in their place.
Empathy is your pain in my heart.
Halford E. Luccock (1885–1960)
3. He is the One who offers himself to us so that we might obtain the confidence of victory.
a. We obtain the confidence of victory through his mercy (not getting what we do deserve).
b. We obtain the confidence of victory through his grace (getting what we don’t deserve).
II. The supremacy of Christ as a qualified High Priest. (vv. 5:1-10)
A. The qualifications for a man to hold the office of High Priest. (vv. 1-4)
1. He must intercede for men before God.
a. He must be a man.
b. He must appease God.
2. He must relate to men in a gentle and understanding way. a. He is intimately acquainted with human nature.
b. He is intimately acquainted with himself.
3. He offers sacrifice for sin for himself and others.
a. He must have credibility to offer acceptable sacrifice.
b. He must have God’s call in order to be credible.
(1) This call is not self-appointed.
(2) It is in the manner of Aaron.
B. The qualifications for High Priest are only perfectly met in Christ. (vv. 5-10)
1. He was appointed by God the Father to become God the Son.
a. As God the Son he is also man.
b. As God the Son he is also High Priest.
(1) He did not appoint himself.
(2) His appointment was not in the manner of Aaron (human ancestry) but in the manner of Melchizedek (seemingly beyond human ancestry).
(3) Confirmed by God’s Word.
(4) Confirmed by God’s oath.
2. He suffered himself for the sins of others, having none of his own.
a. He was submissive.
b. He understands.
c. Therefore his intercession was heard.
3. He sacrificed himself for the sins of others, having none of his own.
a. He was obedient.
b. He is acceptable.
c. Therefore his sacrifice was perfect and complete.
4. He was raised from the dead for the salvation of others.
a. He is the source of life.
b. His life is obtained by the obedience of faith in his High Priesthood.
Rev. 5:2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?"
3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.
4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
Timeless Truth: Faith in Jesus covers it all because he covered it all. As perfect God and perfect man, he is the Supreme Being. Worship him and no one else. Do not be deceived by the spirit of the age.
Mt. 24:23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.
24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-- if that were possible.
25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
Unison Reading: #717 Hymnal
The Supreme Being
Hebrews 4:14-5:10 May 18, 1997
I. The supremacy of Christ as a s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ High Priest.
A. The supremacy of a High Priest from God: His i _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . (v. 14)
1. He is the One who has p _ _ _ _ _ through the heavens.
2. He is the One who is n _ _ _ _ Jesus, the Son of God.
B. The supremacy of a High Priest for man: His
s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . (vv. 15-16)
1. He is the One who u _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ how we are made.
2. He is the One who u _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ our subjection to failure, even though he does not fail.
3. He is the One who o _ _ _ _ _ himself to us so that we might obtain the confidence of victory.
II. The supremacy of Christ as a q _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ High Priest.
A. The qualifications for a m _ _ to hold the office of High Priest. (vv. 1-4)
1. He must i _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ for men before God.
2. He must r _ _ _ _ _ to men in a gentle and understanding way.
3. He offers s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ for sin for himself and others.
B. The qualifications for High Priest are only perfectly met in C _ _ _ _ _ . (vv. 5-10)
1. He was a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ by God the Father to become God the Son.
2. He s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ himself for the sins of others, having none of his own.
3. He s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ himself for the sins of others, having none of his own.
4. He was raised from the dead for the s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ of others.
Timeless Truth: Faith in Jesus covers it all because he covered it all. As
p _ _ _ _ _ _ God and p _ _ _ _ _ _ man, he is the Supreme Being.