Better Than The Angels

Posted by on Jun 3, 2007

By Mike Withem, Pastor

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

June 3, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Better Than The Angels”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:4-14

Scripture Text: Hebrews 1:4-14

Introduction:

 

A.   Before I say anything else, I want to make something very clear.

1. The ministry of angels is a very important ministry.

2. Let me read you a quote from John MacArthur’s commentary on Hebrews: “Angels minister to God and do His bidding. They are both spectators and participants in His mighty works, both redemptive and judgmental. They ministered to Christ in His humiliation. At the conclusion of His temptation angels came and ministered to Him. They also minister to God’s redeemed by watching over the church, assisting God in answering prayer, delivering from danger, giving encouragement, and protecting children. They also minister to the unsaved, by announcing and inflicting judgment.” (Page 24)

3. And so, the ministry of angels is a very important ministry.

 

B.   However, having said that, if Hebrews 1 teaches us anything, it teaches us that Jesus is better than the angels.

1. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 4 of our text, “Being made so much better than the angels.”

2. We began our study of Hebrews last Sunday by noticing how Jesus is better than the prophets.

3. This morning, as continue our study, we will notice how Jesus is better than the angels.

4. Now this raises a question.

5. Exactly how is Jesus better than the angels?

6. According to our text, He is better than the angels in at least three ways.

7. First of all, He is better than the angels when it comes to…

 

I.       His Epithet.

 

A.   What does the word “epithet” mean?

1. It means “name, title, or designation.”

2. Mr. Webster defines it like this, “a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person.”

3. And so, Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to His epithet.

 

B.   Notice again Vrs. 4 of our text, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

 

C.   As far as I know, there are only three angels that are named in Scripture.

1. First all, there is Michael, who’s name means “one who is like God.”

2. Then there is Gabriel, who’s name means “man of God.”

3. Finally, there is Lucifer, who’s name means “light bearer” or “day star.”

4. Lucifer, of course, rebelled against God and is today known by names such as “Satan, the devil, and that old serpent.”

5. I would imagine that all of God’s angels have names, although we do not know what they are.

6. We do know this, however, that Jesus has “a more excellent” (better) name! Amen?

 

D.   What is this “more excellent name” (epithet) that has been given to Jesus?

1. The answer is found in Vrs. 5 of our text, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”

2. Jesus is called something that none of the angels have ever been called, He is called the “Son” of God.

3. Do you remember what the angel told the virgin Mary just before she conceived the Lord Jesus, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS….He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest:” (Luke 1:31-32)

4. When Mary heard this, she asked the question, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34)

5. Listen to how the angel answered her question, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

 

E.   It’s interesting to note there that Jesus did not receive this special title (epithet) until after His incarnation (birth).

1. In Vrs. 5, the writer of Hebrews quotes a passage found in 2 Sam. 7:14, where the Lord told David, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.”

2. Notice the words “he shall be my son.”

3. God didn’t say, “He is my Son,” but rather, “He shall be my Son.”

4. Of course, if you know the context of this passage, you that first and foremost, God was talking about David’s son, Solomon, who succeeded (followed) him as king of Israel.

5. However, as the writer of Hebrews makes very clear, God was also talking about Jesus.

6. And so, Jesus did not receive this special title (epithet) until He was born in Bethlehem’s manger.

 

F.    Now what does this special name (title) imply?

1. It implies a very special relationship that Jesus enjoyed with God the Father, that none of the angels have ever enjoyed.

2. Do you remember what happened when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist?

3. According to Mat. 3:16-17, three things happened, other than the baptism itself.

4. First of all, “the heavens were opened.”

5. Secondly, “the Spirit of God” descended “like a dove.”

6. And then, last of all, there was “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

7. God never said that about any of the angels!

 

G.   Something similar happened on the mount of transfiguration. (Mat. 17:1-5)

1. After Peter had witnessed the transfiguration with his own eyes, he said this, “Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” (Vrs. 4)

2. While Peter was yet speaking, the Scripture says, “…behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Vrs. 5)

3. God never said that about any of the angels.

 

H.   And so, Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to His epithet.

 

I.    Notice, also, that Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to…

 

II.      His Eminence.

 

A.   Did you know that there are people today who worship angels?

1. (Illus.- Several years ago, I was out soul winning with a certain brother from the church. We knocked on a lady’s door and she invited us into her home. I will never forget the sight that greeted us when we entered that house. There were angels everywhere. Pictures of angels, paintings of angels, figurines of angels, other images of angels, they were everywhere! At first, I thought that perhaps this lady was a collector of some sort, but after visiting with her briefly, it became obvious to me that she actually worshiped angels. She was literally obsessed with angels!)

2. And so, there are people who worship angels.

 

B.   Should we worship angels?

1. Absolutely not.

2. In fact, Paul warned the Colossian believers about “angel worship” in Col. 2:18.

3. Listen to what he said, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen.”

4. It’s interesting that Paul referred to “angel worship” as an “intrusion.”

5. But that’s not all.

6. On at least two occasions, while the apostle John was in the process of receiving the book of Revelation, he found himself kneeling at the feet of angels.

7. Do you remember what the angels told him?

8. Listen to Rev. 19:10, the angel said, “See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God:”

9. And so, the answer is, “No, we should not worship angels.”

10.   Just as the angel told John, there is only One Whom we should worship, and that is God Himself!

 

C.   In fact, we are told in Vrs. 6 of our text that the angels worship Jesus.

1. Notice again what it says, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”

2. A good example of this is when Christ was born in Bethlehem.

3. Do you remember what the angel said to the shepherds who were watching over their sheep that night? He said, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people….For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

4. And then we are told that “…suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:13-14)

5. Another example of angels worshiping Jesus can be found in Rev. 5:11-12, listen as I read, “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;…Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

6. And so, even the angels fall at the feet of Jesus and worship Him!

 

D.   Why is Jesus worthy of our worship?

1. According to our text, one reason that He is worthy of our worship is because He is righteous!

2. Notice again Vrs. 7-9 of our text, “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire….But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom….Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

3. Both of these verses are a quotation from Psa. 45:6-7.

4. In this psalm, the Old Testament saints were told that One would come, through the line of David, Who would rule the world in righteousness.

5. This prophecy, of course, was and is fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

E.   How righteous is our Lord Jesus?

1. Listen, first of all, to 2 Cor. 5:20-21, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God….For he (God the Father) hath made him (God the Son) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

2. What did Paul say?

3. He said that Jesus “knew no sin.”

4. That’s pretty righteous, isn’t it?

5. Also, listen to 1 Pet. 2:21-22, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”

6. What did Peter say?

7. He said that Jesus “did no sin.”

8. That’s pretty righteous, isn’t it?

9. Finally, listen to 1 John 3:4-5, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law….And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

10.   What did John say?

11.   He said that in Jesus “is no sin.”

12.   How righteous is our Lord Jesus?

13.   His righteousness is a perfect righteousness.

14.   This is why He is worthy of our worship!!!

F.    And so, Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to His eminence.

 

G.   Notice, finally, that Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to…

 

III.    His Existence.

 

A.   Let me ask you a question.

1. How long have angels existed?

2. Someone says, “They have existed a long time!”

3. That’s true, but just how long have they existed?

4. The truth is, we don’t know how long they have existed, however, we do know this, we know that they haven’t always existed, because they are created beings!

5. Listen to Psa. 148:2,5, “Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts….Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.”

6. And so, while angels have existed for a long long time, they haven’t always existed, because they were created by God.

 

B.   Jesus, on the other hand, has always existed.

1. Notice again Vrs. 10-12 of our text, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:…They shall perish; but thou remainest; they all shall wax old as doth a garment;…And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

2. These verses teaches us at least two things about our Lord Jesus.

3. First of all, they teach us that He has always existed.

4. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 10, “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth;”

5. Did you notice the words, “in the beginning”?

6. Now this doesn’t mean that Jesus had a beginning, because He didn’t, but rather that “in the beginning,” when the world was created, Jesus was already there.

7. The apostle John put it like this in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….The same was in the beginning with God….All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

8. Not only do these verses teach us that Jesus has always existed, they also teach us that He will always exist.

9. Notice again Vrs. 11-12 of our text, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;…And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

10.   The writer of Hebrews said it like this in Heb. 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

11.   And so, not only has Jesus always existed, but He always will exist.

 

C.   Do you know why this is true?

1. It’s true because Jesus is God! (Amen?)

2. He is the eternal, everlasting God!!!

3. The psalmist put it like this in Psa. 90:2, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

 

D.   And so, Jesus is better than the angels when it comes to His existence.

Conclusion:

 

A.   Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying, this morning.

1. I thank God for angels because of how they minister to us today.

2. But let me tell you something, as thankful as I am for the angels, I am even more thankful for Jesus!

3. Do you know why?

4. Because Jesus is better than the angels.

5. He is better than the angels when it comes to His…

-epithet (a more excellent name),

-eminence (angels worship Him),

-existence (He is the everlasting God).

 

B.   Do you know this Jesus who is better than the angels?

1. If not, you can know Him.

2. He loves you.

3. He died for you on the cross.

4. He will save you this morning, if you will only come to Him and trust Him as your Savior.

5. Will you do that this morning???