Have Faith

Explore the Bible Series

September 10, 2006

 

Lesson Passage: Hebrews 2:5-18

 

Introduction: The Book of Hebrews deals with people who considered abandoning the Christian faith, and the entire treatise evidences a spiritual urgency that may prove off-putting and distressing for many contemporary readers.  Last week’s lesson ended with a strident, earnest admonition concerning the very real danger of drifting away from the faith.  The author of Hebrews peppered this book with periodic warnings about the peril of apostasy, and present-day readers must wrestle with the meaning and application of these exhortations.  In particular, Hebrews addresses two kinds of persons: (1) the presumptuous professor of religion who gives little evidence of true saving faith and (2) the genuine believer who struggles with issues of assurance. 

 

(1)   Some professing believers give little evidence of the new birth. No transformation of heart, affections, or conduct occurs, and the spiritual life drifts with the currents and eddies of the world. Nevertheless, many of these presumptuous persons believe, without proper evidence, that they have a saving interest in the Lord Jesus.  They think like worldly men and live by worldly standards, but foolishly assume that the drifting currents of the world will wash them toward the Savior.  Hebrews offers sober warnings to the drifting masses (See 2:1).

(2)   Other folk give every evidence of genuine saving faith, but they struggle with issues related to assurance.  Like Bunyan’s “Little Faith”, these individuals treasure the Lord Jesus; that is, they are certain of Christ, but they remain uncertain of their own saving interest in the Savior. Again, the Book of Hebrews has much to say to persons who have problems in this area.

 

No doubt, persons who fall into each of these categories sit in Baptist Sunday School classes and worship services every Lord’s Day.  Indeed, some who read this Bible outline may study this lesson with sleepy, complacent presumption and will awaken to their peril only at the moment of death.  More likely, some of my dear readers really struggle with assurance.  They are certain of the Savior, but uncertain of their own standing in grace.  Perhaps, they find themselves in a church setting where it is impossible to be transparent with fellow Christians, and these poor folk suffer quietly through the dark night of the soul.  Nothing seems to bring relief from theri terrors, and assurance remains a distant wish rather than a present reality. 

 

Take heart, dear readers, Christ has sent you help, and you will find aid for the maladies of your soul in the pages of the splendid Book of Hebrews. This marvelous treatise addresses both the presumptuous and the perplexed. 

 

Some years ago, I attended the Southern Baptist Founders Youth Conference, in Panama City, Florida.  In preparation for one of the services, I contemplated the nature of genuine saving faith.  The following observations helped me think through some of thee assurance issues for myself, and I share them with you in hope that you will see these principles reflected in our study of Hebrews Two.

 

  1. Saving faith embraces Christ as the Scriptures reveal him: prophet, priest, and king.  Many profess faith in a “Christ” of their own making.  The Bible, on the other hand, demands that the true believer receive the scriptural portrait of the Redeemer.  As we observed in Chapter One, our current study (Hebrews Two) unmistakably reveals Christ in his three-fold office. 
  2. Saving faith is satisfied with Christ; that is, it is not a “Christ-and” faith.  The Book of Hebrews thoroughly addresses this concern.  Again and again, this treatise demands that Christians stay centered in the supremacy of Christ: not Christ plus the angels, not Christ plus the Mosaic Law, not Christ plus the Old Covenant priesthood—Christ and Christ alone satisfies the heart needs of true believers.  Those who find satisfaction with the substance can never find satisfaction in the shadow.
  3. Saving faith delights in Christ.  He reigns supreme in the heart because of the excellency of his character, person, and work.  True believers find that the Savior fills them with love, devotion, and rapture.  He is the Pearl of Great Price, the Treasure Hidden in a Field.  Hebrews extols the supremacy, incomparability, and ascendancy of the Lord.
  4. Saving faith continues with Christ.  Those who drift away from the faith never found themselves moored to the delightful Savior.  Having savored the glorious Bread of Heaven, no other fare will satisfy the soul.  To whom else shall we turn?  He alone has the words of life.  Again, Hebrews persistently affirms the unparalleled and unrivaled supremacy of Christ. 

 

As we consider the second chapter of Hebrews, recall these themes, and, more importantly, examine your faith to detect these qualities in your own profession as a disciple of Christ.

 

 

Outline of the Lesson Passage:

 

I.                    Mankind’s Supremacy to the Angels (2:5-9)

A.     (v. 5): The Lord created the world and subjected the created order to the dominion of man (See Genesis 1:26-28), not to the dominion of angels.  Just as God gave dominion to man at the time of creation; so, redeemed men will reign, with Christ, in the world to come. 

B.     (v. 6-8): Mankind, at present, does not enjoy the exalted position for which he was created.  For a time, man was made lower than the angels; indeed, the passage indicates (v. 6b) that man, in his own right, does not deserve the exalted station God has reserved for his people. 

C.     Christ’s restoration of his people (v. 9): How shall men come to the elevated position described in verses seven and eight?  The Lord Jesus identified with fallen men by becoming, himself, a little lower than the angels (v. 9a).  Jesus received honor and glory, and he, through his death leads the sons of God to share in his exalted standing. By the grace of God, Jesus, the text affirms, tasted death for everyone.  We must determine the meaning of “everyone” in light of the immediate context.  Notice the following references that define the parameters of this term.

1.      (v. 10) “bringing many sons to glory”

2.      (v. 11) “those who are being sanctified”

3.      (v. 12) “my brethren”

4.      (v. 13) “the children whom the father has given me”

5.      (v. 16) “the seed of Abraham”

 

II.                 Christ’s Identification with and Work on Behalf of his Brothers (2:10-18)

A.     Christ’s brotherhood with his people (vv. 10-16)

1.      Christ made perfect through suffering (v. 10): This verse does not imply that Jesus became perfect; that is, Jesus did not progress from moral imperfection to impeccability of character.  Instead, this phrase means that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the purpose for which he came into the world; he brought many sons to glory through his suffering.

2.      Christ (he who sanctifies) and his people (the sanctified) come from the same source, the Father; thus, he who sanctifies and the sanctified have become brothers, sharing the same Father (v. 11).  Hebrews affirms the Lord’s brotherly connection with his people by citing three Old Testament passages (Psalm 22:22; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 8:18).

                  B. Christ’s office and work on behalf of his brothers (vv. 14-18)

                                 1.  a great high priest chosen from among his brethren (vv. 16-17)

                                 2.  through death he destroyed the one who had the power of death     

                                      (v. 14)

                                 3.  he broke the lifelong bonds of the fear of death (v. 15)

                                 4.  he became a merciful and faithful high priest (vv. 17-18)

Conclusion:

  1. Have you embraced Christ precisely as this passage presents him?  Do you welcome him as a prophet who brings God’s word to you?  Have you received him as your high priest who atoned for the transgressions of sinners?  Do you submit to and glory in his lordship?
  2. Do these observations about the person and work of Christ bring great satisfaction to you?  As people observe your life, do they conclude that you are satisfied with Christ?  Is your manner of life a constant testimony that you find greater satisfaction in worldly attainments than you do in the person of Christ?
  3. Do you delight in Christ?  Does the contemplation of his person and work thrill your heart?  Does exuberant worship flow from your heart as you consider the Savior? Can you honestly sing the following hymn?

                         All that thrills my soul is Jesus;

                         He is more than life to me.

                         And the fairest of ten thousand;

                         In my blessed Lord I see.

                          

  1. Have you continued with Christ?  Has the love of the world gradually and increasingly lost its hold on you?  Do you continue to discipline yourself in the means of grace?  Are you mighty in the Scriptures?  Do you give yourself to prevailing prayer?  Do you remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy?  Do the public worship of God and the preaching of the Bible bring particular joy to your heart?