Perfect Through Sufferings

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011

By Mike Withem, Pastor

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

July 1, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Perfect Through Sufferings”

Scripture Text: Hebrews 2:10-18

Introduction:

 

A.   Sunday before last we ended our study with Heb. 2:9.

1. Let’s look at that verse again, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

2. Notice that it says that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels.”

3. Now what does that mean?

4. It simply means that Jesus…

-became a man,

-became flesh and blood,

-became one of us, a human being.

5. This is what John 1:14 is talking about when it says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

6. Look again the first part of Vrs. 14 of our text, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;”

7. Look also at Vrs. 16 of our text, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”

8. Now, let me ask you a question, “Was Abraham a man? Was Abraham flesh and blood? Was Abraham one of us, a human being?”

9. The answer, of course, to all of these questions is, “Yes!”

10.  This reminds me of something that God said to Abraham immediately after He had stopped him from offering Isaac as a burnt offering, “…because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:…That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;…And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:16-18)

11.   This prophecy, of course, was fulfilled when Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels.”

12.   And so, when the Bible says that Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels,” it is referring to His becoming a man.

 

B.   Now this raises another question.

1. Why did Jesus become a man?

2. Well, as we saw two weeks ago, Jesus became a man so that He could suffer and die on the cross, thereby tasting “death for every man.”

3. But why did Jesus suffer and die on the cross?

4. According to our text, this morning, He did so for at least four (this won’t be a three point sermon) reasons.

5. First of all, Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could…

 

I.       Save Us From Our Sins.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 10 of our text, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

1. There are three things that this verse teaches us about Christ’s sufferings on the cross.

2. First of all, it teaches us that His sufferings were fitting.

 

3. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 10, “For it became him.” (In other words, it was fitting of Him, consistent with His character!)

4. To begin with, Christ’s sufferings were consistent with God’s holiness.

5. The fact that Jesus was a perfect sacrifice is all the proof of this that we need.

6. Listen to what the Bible says in 2 Cor. 5:21, “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.”

7. Not only were Christ’s sufferings consistent with God’s holiness, they were also consistent with God’s love.

8. Rom. 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

9. Not only were Christ’s sufferings consistent with God’s holiness and God’s love, they were also consistent with God’s grace!

10.   The Bible tells us in Eph. 1:7 that “…we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

11.   And so, Christ’s sufferings were fitting.

 

B.   Not only were Christ’s sufferings fitting, they were also fruitful.

1. Notice again Vrs. 10 of our text, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory.”

2. Because Jesus suffered and died on the cross, I am one of those “sons,” and one day I will be in “glory”!

3. I absolutely love 1 John 3:1-2, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:…Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

4. And so, Christ’s sufferings were fruitful.

 

C.   Not only were Christ’s sufferings fitting and fruitful, they were also fundamental.

1. In other words they were extremely important.

2. Notice again Vrs. 10, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

3. Of course, Jesus was already perfect in a moral sense.

4. However, it was not until after He suffered and died on the cross that He became perfect in a ministerial sense.

5. In other words, it was then that He perfected (completed) the ministry for which He came into this world.

6. This is why just before Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, He spoke these words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

7. Let me ask you a question.

8. “What if Jesus had of stopped short of actually suffering the death of the cross? Where would that leave us today?”

9. It would leave us without a Savior.

 

D.   And so, first of all, Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could save us from our sin. He also suffered and died on the cross so that He could…

 

II.      Sanctify Us For His Service.

 

A.   Look again at the first part of Vrs. 11 of our text, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one:”

1. Now what does it mean to be “sanctified”?

2. The Greek word (hagiazo) from which the word “sanctified” literally means “to purify or to make holy.”

3. And so, when the Bible tells us that we have been “sanctified,” it means that we have been “made holy.”

 

B.   Now you have to understand that there are two kinds of sanctification.

1. First of all, there is what can be called “positional” sanctification.

2. This is the “sanctification” (holiness) that we have as a result of our being (position) “in Christ,” which, of course, is a perfect holiness.

3. Listen again to 2 Cor. 5:21, “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.”

4. Because of our faith in Christ, as well as our position “in Christ,” we possess the righteousness of Christ, which, of course, is a perfect righteousness.

5. This is “positional” sanctification, however, there is also what can be called “practical” sanctification.

7. Practical sanctification, rather than being a completed work, is a continuing work.

8. In other words, there is a sense in which the saved have been sanctified (past tense) because of our faith in Christ, however, there is also a sense in which the saved are being sanctified (present tense) as we grow in Christ.

 

C.   Now notice something very precious here.

1. Because of God’s work of sanctification (both past and present), we have a very special relationship with God.

2. Notice again Vrs. 11-13 of our text, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,…Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee….And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

3. Verse 12 is a quotation from Psa. 22, and verse 13 is a quotation from Isa. 8, however, notice again the latter part of Vrs. 11, “…for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

4. I don’t know whether or not you knew this, but Jesus never called us “brethren” until after the cross.

5. Before Calvary, He called us disciples, friends, and sheep, but never brethren.

6. Turn with me to Mat. 28:8-10, “And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word….And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him….Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”

 

D.   Someone says, “What an honor to be called our Lord’s brethren.”

1. That’s true, but don’t forget that it is only because of God’s work of sanctification that we have this honor.

2. And so, Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could sanctify us for His service.

3. He also suffered and died on the cross so that He could…

 

III.    Set Us Free From Satan’s Shackles.

 

A.   Look again at Vrs. 14-15 of our text, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;…And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

1. Actually, according to these verses, there were two things from which Jesus set us free (delivered us).

2. The first of these was the “fear of death.”

3. You know, as well as I do, that the one thing that terrifies people more than anything else is death (the thought of dying).

4. (Illus.- I remember before I was saved, there were times when I would lie in bed and night and think about death, and literally tremble with fear. Even though I was only a teenager, the thought of dying terrified me.)

5. Thank God, Jesus delivered me from the “fear of death”!

6. How did He do it?

7. He did it by conquering death on my behalf.

8. Because Jesus died and rose again, death is no longer something to be feared, but rather something to be anticipated.

9. Death is no longer our enemy, but rather our friend.

10.   This is why Paul was able to boldly say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain….For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (Phil. 1:21,23)

11.   And so, by suffering and dying on the cross, Jesus set us free from the “fear of death.”

 

B.   He also set us free from the bondage (shackles) of Satan.

1. Listen to what Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus in Eph. 2:1-2, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;…Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

2. According to these verses, before we were saved, we were totally under Satan’s control.

3. Jesus put it like this when speaking to a group of unsaved Jews, He said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:44)

4. Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “…the lusts (desires) of your father ye might do,” but rather, “…the lusts of your father ye will do.”

5. And so, before we were saved, we were entirely under Satan’s control.

6. However, by suffering and dying on the cross, Jesus set us free from Satan’s shackles.

7. Paul put it like this in Col. 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

C.   And so, Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could set us free from Satan’s shackles. Notice, finally, that Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could…

 

IV.    Sympathize With Our Sorrows and Suffering.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 17-18 of our text, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people….For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

 

B.   There is a passage in Psa. 103 that gives me great comfort.

1. It says, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him….For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Vrs. 13-14)

2. The psalmist said, “For he knoweth our frame.”

3. In other words, “He knows what we are made of. He understands us. He understands what it is like to be human. He understands our sorrows and our suffering.”

4. But someone asks, “How can He possibly understand what it is like to be human? How can He possibly understand what it is like to walk in our shoes? How can He possibly understand what it is like to experience sorrow and suffering?”

5. He can understand because He was human!

6. He can understand because He did walk in our shoes!

7. He can understand because He did experience both sorrow and suffering!

8. Isa. 53:3 tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”

 

C.   Let’s jump ahead, for just a moment, to Heb. 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

1. Do you realize what this verse is telling us?

2. It’s telling us that when Jesus was “made a little lower than the angels,” when Jesus walked the face of this earth as a man, He experienced everything that we will ever experience in life, with only one exception, and that is “sin.”

3. This is why that, in the very next verse, we are encouraged to go to Jesus in our time of need.

4. Look at Heb. 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

5. What a blessing it is to be able to go to our Lord for help, and not have to explain to Him what we are experiencing, or how we are feeling, or why we have the need in the first place.

6. He already knows and understands these things.

7. Why?

8. Because He has walked in our shoes.

9. This is why He is able to sympathize with our sorrows and suffering.

 

D.   And so, Jesus suffered and died on the cross so that He could sympathize with our sorrows and suffering.

Conclusion:

 

A.   Now let’s go back to our original question.

1. Why was Jesus “made a little lower than the angels”?

2. Why did He become a man?

3. Why did He suffer and die on the cross?

4. There were at least four reasons, “so that He could…

-save us from our sins,

-sanctify us for His service,

-set us free from Satan’s shackles,

-sympathize with our sorrows and suffering!”

 

B.   If you are not saved, this morning, why would you not want a Savior Who has done so much for you???