The Express Image Of His Person

Posted by on May 27, 2007

By Mike Withem, Pastor

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

May 27, 2007

Sunday Morning

“The Express Image Of His Person”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:1-3

Scripture Text: Hebrews 1:1-3

Introduction:

 

A.   Although Hebrews is a book considered by many to be difficult (hard) to understand, it is a book that believers today really need to read and study.

1. Why is this true?

2. Well, it’s true, first and foremost, because it is the Word of God.

3. If this were not true, God in His providence would not have allowed it to become canonized (a part of His holy Scriptures).

4. However, there are least two more reasons why believers really need to read and study the book of Hebrews.

5. The first of these is the fact that it exalts our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. One of the principle themes of the book of Hebrews is “the superiority of Christ.”

7. The writer of this book, especially in the earlier chapters, points out how Christ is “better.”

8. As we are going to see this morning, he begins by showing us how Christ is better than the prophets. (1:1-3)

9. He then goes on to show us how Christ is better than…

-the angels (1:4-2:18)

-Moses, (3:1-4:13)

-Aaron. (4:14-10:18)

10.   And so, one of the principle themes of the book of Hebrews is “the superiority of Christ.”

 

B.   Not only do we need to study Hebrews because it exalts Christ, but we also need to study Hebrews because it exhorts the believer.

1. It has been said that Hebrews contains at least five “warning passages.”

2. While this is true, I prefer to call them “exhortation passages.”

3. For example, we are exhorted (warned) against…

-drifting (2:1-4),

-unbelief (3:7-4:11),

-immaturity (5:11-6:12),

-willful sin (10:19-39),

-unresponsiveness (12:14-29).

4. If we will study the book of Hebrews carefully, and heed all of these exhortations, we will save ourselves a lot of pain and misery as believers.

5. And so, even though the book of Hebrews is considered by some to be a difficult (hard) book to understand, because it…

-exalts Christ,

-exhorts the believer,

it is a book that we, as believers today, really need to read and study.

 

C.   As I said a moment ago, the writer of Hebrews begins his letter by pointing out that Christ is better than the prophets.

1. Now please don’t misunderstand what the writer is saying here, because he is not saying that the Old Testament prophets were irrelevant or unimportant.

2. Nothing could be further from the truth.

3. The Old Testament prophets, in their day, provided a very valuable service.

4. What was this service?

5. Well, let’s read again Vrs. 1 of our text, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”

6. What valuable service did the prophets provide?

7. They were “spokesmen” (mouthpieces) for God.

8. In other words, God spoke to them, they then told the people what God had said.

9. Everything that the Old Testament saints knew about God and His will for their lives, they learned by listening to the prophets.

 

D.   Now this raises a question.

1. Why is Jesus better than the prophets?

2. He is better because by coming into the world and living amongst us for 33 years, He taught us so much more about our Heavenly Father than the prophets ever did.

3. Do you what to know what God the Father is like?

4. Then look at Jesus, because Jesus is the “spitting image” of His Father.

5. Look again at the first part of Vrs. 3 of our text, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”

 

E.   What can we learn about our Heavenly Father by looking at His Son? According to our text, one thing that we can learn is that our Heavenly Father is…

 

I.       Magnanimous.

 

A.   What does “magnanimous” mean?

1. It means “giving.”

2. It means “liberal.”

3. It means “generous.”

4. A “magnanimous” person is a person who has a “big heart,” and gives liberally and generously to those whom he loves.

5. This most certainly describes our Heavenly Father!

 

B.   Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.”

1. Now what did the writer of Hebrews mean when he said that Christ had been “appointed heir of all things”?

2. He simply meant that all of God’s creation (everything that God has created) belongs to the Son.

3. Listen to Psa. 2:7-8, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee….Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

4. The prophet Isaiah put it like this, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death:” (Isa. 53:12)

5. The apostle Paul put it like this in 1 Cor. 15:25-27, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet….The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death….For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.”

6. And so, all of God’s creation belongs to Christ.

 

C.   Of course, He is not currently “in possession” of that which rightfully belongs to Him.

1. Who then, is in possession?

2. The devil is, at least for the time being.

3. This is why the devil is called “the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4:4)

4. In 1 John 5:19, we are told that “the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

5. If this world belongs to Jesus, then why does it lie “in wickedness”? Simply because, for the time being, the devil is in possession.

6. However, one day that is going to change.

7. One day, Jesus is going to return to this earth, and reclaim that which is rightfully His.

8. Why? Because He has been “appointed heir of all things.” (Vrs. 2)

 

D.   But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor. According to this passage, God is magnanimous when it comes to His Son, but what about us?”

1. What has God given to us? This is where it gets good!

2. The fact is, everything that God has given to His Son, He has also given to us!

3. Listen to what Paul wrote in Rom. 8:16-17, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:…And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”

4. Do you know what a “joint-heir” is?

5. A “joint-heir” is an heir who shares equally in the inheritance.

6. This means that everything that God has given to His Son, He has also given to those who have trusted in His Son as Savior.

 

E.   But someone says, “That’s hard to believe!”

1. Turn with me to 1 Cor. 3:21-22,”Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;…Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;”

2. And so, from Jesus we learn that our Heavenly Father is magnanimous.

3. Looking at the Son also teaches us that our Heavenly Father is…

 

II.      Mighty.

 

A.   Just how mighty is He?

1. Look again at Vrs. 2 of our text, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”

2. How mighty is our Heavenly Father?

3. He is so mighty that He was able to make (create) “the worlds,” which includes not only planet earth, but also the entire universe.

4. Paul put it like this in Col. 1:16, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

 

B.   Not only did God create “all things,” but notice how He did it!

1. Turn with me, for just a moment, to Heb. 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

2. How did God create “all things”?

3. According to this verse, He did so by His “word.”

4. In other words, He spoke “the worlds” into existence.

5. This is in harmony with what we read in the book of Genesis about the creation.

6. For example, in Gen. 1:3, we read, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

7. And then in Gen. 1:9, we read, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

8. And then again in Gen. 1:11, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”

9. And then again in Gen. 1:24, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

10.   Notice the words, “And God said,…and it was so.”

11.   Only a mighty God could literally speak the worlds into existence!

 

C.   But that’s not all.

1. Not only is our Heavenly Father mighty enough to create “the worlds,” but He is also mighty enough to sustain (hold together) His creation after the fact.

2. Again, Vrs. 3 of our text says, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,”

3. (Illus.- I’m not an astronomer, but I’m smart enough to know that when you look through a telescope at this universe that God has created, you see order, not chaos. The reason you do is because God is a God of order, and He created the universe. Did you ever wonder how the order of the universe has been maintained for literally thousands of years? This is no mystery. It is maintained by “the word of his power.”)

4. (Illus.- One of the mysteries of physics is what keeps an atom together. While most Physicists will tell you it has to do with protons being positively charged and electrons being negatively charged, we know the truth, don’t we. We know that just like the universe as a whole, the smallest component of the universe, an atom, is also held together by “the word of his power.”)

5. The point is, our God is a mighty God! (Amen?)

 

D.   And so, looking at His Son teaches us that our Heavenly Father is mighty.

 

E.   But not only does looking at Jesus teach us that our Heavenly Father is magnanimous and mighty, notice finally that it also teaches us that He is…

 

III.    Merciful.

 

A.   This is an amazing passage of Scripture.

1. One reason it is so amazing is because it carries us all the way from Creation to Calvary.

2. Notice again Vrs. 3 of our text, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”

 

B.   Notice especially the words, “…when he had by himself purged our sins.”

1. There are two things that we can learn from these words.

2. First, we can learn that Jesus has “purged our sins.”

3. In other words, Jesus has cleansed (washed) us of our sins.

4. Now this raises a question.

5. How has Jesus cleansed (washed) us of our sins?

6. He did so by shedding His precious blood on the cross as a payment (an atonement) for our sins.

7. Listen to Rev. 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

8. In Rev. 7, we are told that John had a vision, and in this vision he saw “a great multitude” of people, “which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues,” standing “before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” (Vrs. 9)

9. The question was asked, “What (who) are these which are arrayed in white robes?” (Vrs. 13)

10.   Then the answer came, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Vrs. 14)

11.   And so, Christ has “purged our sins.”

 

C.   Not only has Christ “purged our sins,” but notice that He did it “by Himself.”

1. Again, Vrs. 3, “…when he had by himself purged our sins.”

2. What does this imply?

3. It implies that God does not need any help from us when it comes to purging our sins.

4. It implies that the blood that He shed on the cross was more than sufficient to cleanse us of all of our sins.

5. A lot of people think that when it comes to being saved, that God somehow needs our help, that there is something we must do to contribute to the process.

6. Nothing could be further from the truth.

7. I love that old hymn, “Jesus Paid It All.” The chorus goes like this: Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow!

8. Yes, Jesus “by himself purged our sins.”

9. (Illus.- A little boy came forward one day in a church service, professing His faith in Christ as Savior. When the preacher asked him to give a short testimony, he said, “Well, it was like this. I did my part and Jesus did His part!” The preacher, with concern in his voice, said, “Son, what do you mean by that?” The little boy replied, “I did the sinning, and Jesus did the saving!” Amen!)

Conclusion:

 

A.   Yes, Jesus is the “express image” of His Father in Heaven.

1. By looking at Jesus, we can learn at least three things about our Heavenly Father.

2. First of all, we can learn that He is magnanimous (He has given us all things).

3. Secondly, we can learn that He is mighty (He created and sustains the worlds by His Word).

4. Finally, we can learn that He is merciful (by Himself He cleansed us of all our sins).

 

B.   May I ask you a personal question.

1. Do you know this God?

2. Do you have a personal relationship with this God Who is so magnanimous, so mighty, and so merciful?

3. If not, you can.

4. How?

5. By trusting His Son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior!

6. You need to understand, that while God is, indeed, a merciful God, if you reject His mercy by rejecting His Son, you have nothing to look forward to but His wrath!