And He Shall Reign Forever and Ever

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “And He Shall Reign Forever and Ever” from Hebrews 2:5-9.

Hebrews 2:5-9 (ESV)

Jesus Made Fully Human

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Jesus Christ reigns.

  • Angels do not reign.
  • Adam should have reigned.
  • Jesus came as the second Adam to reclaim that reign.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are some things that you are in charge of?
  • Why didn’t Adam reign like he was supposed to?
  • Who reigns supreme instead of Adam?
  • Why does Jesus Christ reign as the second Adam?

Neglecting A Great Salvation

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Neglecting A Great Salvation” from Hebrews 2:1-4.

Hebrews 2:1-4 (ESV)

Warning to Pay Attention

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Do not neglect the gospel of your salvation.

  • Great harm came by neglect of a lesser message.
  • Greater harm comes from neglect of a greater salvation message.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are some things that young children are warned about by their parents?
  • Why is it so important to pay attention to these things?
  • What does God command us not to neglect?
  • How does God testify to the gospel of our salvation?

Apples and Oranges; Jesus and Angels

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Apples and Oranges; Jesus and Angels” from Hebrews 1:4-14.

Hebrews 1:4-14 (ESV)

So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The Son Superior to Angels

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Jesus is categorically superior to the angels.

  • He is superior in name.
  • He is superior in rule.
  • He is superior for his love of righteousness.
  • He is superior in His identity as creator.
  • He is superior in His eternality.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What does it take to be important in the eyes of the world?
  • How is importance in God’s eyes different?
  • Who is Jesus superior to according to today’s scripture passage?
  • In what ways is He superior to the angels?

Gospel Centered

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If someone asked me to describe our church in a few words, one of the things that I would tell them is, “We are a gospel-centered church.” I think that is absolutely true, but I also think that might not be totally clear. Let me tell you what I think that means.

First, it means we have a biblical understanding of the gospel. We believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again and this for the sins of His people. Those who repent and believe that gospel, who put their trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, will have eternal life.

Second, it means that the gospel defines our worldview. The gospel is not a small add-on. It is how we see the whole course of history and reality. God created us for Himself, we rebelled and so sin and death came into the world, but God in mercy, reached out to bring about redemption which plays out and comes to it’s conclusion in Christ. He will come again and we will be with the Lord forever. That shapes our whole perspective on our earthly lives.

Third, it means our church family is primarily a family in the gospel. The church is a community of people with almost nothing in common except what’s most essential, and that is the gospel, and that forms us into a new humanity.

Fourth, it means that the gospel is believed, preached and taught as the central message of the church. It means we hold to that and refuse any compromise on the gospel.

Fifth, it means that we trust the gospel to be powerful to draw people, grow the church, and change lives. It means we don’t do gimmicks. We faithfully hold forth the word of truth; the ordinary means of the extraordinary gospel, and God will take care of bringing growth and resources. No fads are needed or allowed.

Sixth, it means that we see the scripture in light of the gospel. The Old Testament is not just a Jewish book, and then the New Testament is the gospel for non-Jews. No, the gospel is concealed in the Old Testament through types and prophecies until it is revealed in the NT.

Seventh and finally, it means we are always holding forth the gospel and calling men to salvation. A gospel-centered church is evangelistic. We call our people to be gospel-centered in their day-to-day lives, so that as many as will may come to the Lord.

Superior Revelation

Pastor Jay continues the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Superior Revelation” from Hebrews 1:1-3.

Hebrews 1:1-3 (ESV)

God’s Final Word: His Son

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Jesus is the supreme revelation of God.

  • He is the Son of God.
  • He is the heir of all things.
  • He is the means of creation.
  • He is the radiance of God’s glory.
  • He is the exact imprint of his nature.
  • He upholds the universe by his power.
  • He made purification for our sins.
  • He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are some things that your parents have told you and shown you?
  • Who did we learn that Jesus is today?
  • What did Jesus do for us?
  • Where is Jesus now?

The Reckoning

My heart is heavy as I write this post. It seems that we have been bombarded lately with constant reminders of the sin and brokenness in our world. On Sunday, nearly 300 were killed by bomb attacks in Baghdad. A similar bombing at the Istanbul airport killed 45 last week. Another 49 were killed in a mass shooting in Orlando. Sexual sin and confusion is rampant in our culture. Religious liberty is facing dire challenges in Iowa and California. Unborn children are systematically murdered every day all over the country.

And just this week, racial tensions again escalated with the tragic shootings of Alton Sterling and Philander Castile by police. Two days later, in apparent retaliation, twelve Dallas police officers were ambushed and shot by a sniper, killing five of them.

My heart cries out for justice and echoes the lament that runs throughout Scripture in the face of sin and evil, “How long, O Lord?”

In the midst of this, I’m reading through the minor prophets, and yesterday I came to Amos. If I had to summarize the theme of Amos, it’s that sin will have a reckoning. The book starts out in comfortable territory as it pronounces judgment on all of the nations around Israel. So far, so good. Shame on all those pagans. But then, God turns his attention to Israel (and Judah).

God first lists the rampant sins of the nation (Amos 2:3-4:5), which are many and include social injustice, corruption, and religious perversion. Then he shows them all that he has done to judge their sin, with the intent of turning the nation back to him (4:6-11), but each section ends with the sad refrain, “yet you did not return to me, declares the LORD.” And then comes the stinging conclusion in verse 12:

“Therefore this I will do to you, O Israel,
because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” – Amos 4:12

Yikes. Prepare to meet your God. There will be a reckoning. Sin will not escape God’s justice. This verse makes me tremble, knowing that our country deserves God’s wrath and judgment. Knowing that God does not ignore the kinds of evil and violence that we see all around us.

But these verses also make me tremble because I am all too aware that I am personally deserving of God’s wrath. I have rebelled against him and broken his law. I have trampled his holiness and his glory by going after idolatrous pleasures. I have ignored those in need and pursued my own ease. In short, I have the fatal disease of sin that spread from Adam to the entire human race (Romans 5:12). Personal sin will face the wrath and judgment of God as surely as the sin of any nation will.

There will be a reckoning for all of us. Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” The wrath of God, so terrible and perfectly just, is stored up like flood waters behind Hoover Dam. One day, that wrath will be released on sin, and justice will finally be served.

But praise God that in Christ, God demonstrated not just love but also mercy to sinners. When the innocent man Jesus went to the cross the wrath of God for all of my sin, and for all of those who believe in Jesus Christ, was poured out on him. His death was the reckoning for my sin, for all time! Let that truth sink into your soul. It leaves me breathless. How can it be that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, would die for my sin? All I can do is to let my soul overflow in praise and worship to him.

This side of eternity, we will still mourn as we witness injustice and tragedy. We should not minimize the pain and suffering of these events, and we are called to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). But as we long and ache for the reckoning, we trust in God’s ultimate justice. And we praise him for his amazing act of mercy in the cross, that made us no longer objects of his wrath. That is the message that will bring transformation to a hurting world, and that is where we put our hope.

-Pastor Jonathan

Behold the Superior Worth of Jesus

Pastor Jay starts the series on Hebrews with this week’s sermon “Behold the Superior Worth of Jesus” from Hebrews 12:1-3.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Behold the superior worth of Jesus and nothing else will compare.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are some of your favorite possessions?
  • Out of those favorite possessions, what would be hardest for you to let go?
  • What does Jesus show us through the way in which He endured opposition?
  • Why is it important to be reminded of Jesus’ example when we face opposition?