Betty Botter bought some butter, "But," she said, "this butter’s bitter. If I bake this bitter butter, It will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter - That would make my batter better." So she bought a bit of butter, Better than her bitter butter, And she baked it in her batter, And the batter was not bitter. So ’twas better Betty Botter Bought a bit of better butter.
We are not talking about better butter today but something better.
Many of us want something better: a better job, a better home, a better grade, better behavior from our children, better relationships with our spouses, children, family and friends, a better sound system, computer, car, etc.
There are times when we would do well to be content with what we have. Hebrews 13:5- Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have
Like my preacher friend Ben James used to say when I mentioned that we should be content, “I don’t think we should be content with some things.” There are times when it is good to seek something better especially for the church and our spiritual lives.
Philippians 3:13-14: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Book of Hebrews is a book that is showing us something better. The word “better” is used 13 times in this book. We find here lessons that show us that Jesus Christ is better.
Thesis: According to the first three verses: We have a better message and we have a better messenger.
We have a better message.
Since the first word of Scripture was written down there has been a good message for mankind. God spoke (vs. 1)
God did not speak his message all at once in the OT. It was written over a period of fifteen hundred years by more than forty writers. From time to time He spoke and in various ways.
As good as the OT is there is a problem. The Old Testament was fragmentary and incomplete. The Old Testament is progressive revelation. Genesis gives some truth, then Exodus, and it continues to build. It is progressive not in that it goes from error to truth, but it goes from incompleteness to a higher state of completeness.
Just because the Old Testament was progressive does not mean that it is wrong in any way. There is simply development. The distinction is not in the nature of the truth; it’s in the amount and time of it. Children are first taught letters; then they worry about the words and the sentences. God gave His revelation in the same way.
God spoke in past times to the “fathers,” the Jewish ancestors. Today He has spoken to us through His Son (Vs. 2). We now have a completed message with the NT.
The entire New Testament is centered around Christ. The gospels give His story, the epistles comment on it, and the book of Revelation tells about Christ’s future. No one prophet was ever able to grasp the whole truth. Only Jesus is the whole truth. The Old Testament was pieces and fragments, but Jesus is the full and final revelation.
We now have the completed written Word. Revelation 22:18-19: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
We have a better messenger.
Vs. 1- In the OT, God spoke through good men, the prophets. Men like Moses, Ezra, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel received messages from God and wrote them down.
2 Peter 1:20-21: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
In the NT, good and godly men also wrote down the Word of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
What is the difference between the two? Vs. 2
God sent the Word from heaven to speak to us. This is whom the NT writers speak of. The Word is the better messenger that the OT did not have.
Other faiths have prophets that they believe are the latest and best Word from God.
We have the final Word. John 1:14- The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Michael Card The Final Word: You and me we use so very many clumsy words The noise of what we often say Is not worth being heard When the Father’s Wisdom Wanted to communicate His love He spoke it in one final perfect Word He spoke the Incarnation And so was born the Son His Final Word was Jesus He needed no other one Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed And make a way divine And so was born the baby Who would die to make it mine
What makes our messenger better than any other messenger? 7 reasons:
He is the heir of all things (vs. 2)
Jesus Christ is the rightful heir to all God has. The Bible says that when He came to earth, He became poor for our sakes that we through His poverty might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). When Christ came to earth, He had nothing for Himself--He didn’t even have a place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). His clothes were taken from Him, and He was buried in a grave that didn’t belong to Him. On earth He was poor for our sakes, but one day He will inherit all things.
Through whom He (God) made the universe.
John 1:3:Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Colossians 1:16: all things were created by him and for him.
Jesus Christ is responsible for creating not only the physical earth, but also time, space, force, action, and matter. The writer of Hebrews does not restrict Christ’s creation to this earth; he shows us that Christ is the creator of the entire universe.
Radiance (Brightness) of God’s glory (Vs. 3)
It’s simply saying He is the shining forth of God. Just as the radiance of the Sun reaches the earth to light us, to warm us, to give us life and growth, so in Christ do we sense the warmth and radiance of God touching our hearts.
Jesus Christ can bring that light into our lives so that we can radiate the glory of God. We live in a dark world. The darkness of injustice, failure, separation, disease, and death surrounds us. A moral darkness exists as men are blinded by their appetites and passions. God sent His ray of light, Jesus Christ, into this dark world.
We are not the light, Christ is the light of the world. We are like the moon.
Exact representation of his (God’s) being
For me it is the image stamped on a coin but so much more. Exact representation. Christ is the personal imprint of God in time and space.
Colossians 2:9- For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form
John 14:9- Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
Sustains all things by his powerful word
Colossians 1:17: in him all things hold together. The Colossians Principle
Can we imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power to the laws of the earth and the universe?
He provided purification for sins
a) God couldn’t communicate with us and we couldn’t enter into fellowship with Him unless sin was dealt with, so Christ went to the cross, bore the penalty of sin for all who accept His sacrifice, believe in Him, and receive Him. Plan of salvation.
He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven
In the temple and in the tabernacle, there were no seats. Why? Because a priest never finished and so he never sat down. Sacrifices by the millions and they never sat down because it was never a finished work. Jesus made one sacrifice and when it was finished He sat down. There was nothing more to do. Hebrews 10:12: But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Conclusion and invitation:
Boston Celtics used to have a coach named Red Auerbach. One of the best basketball coaches of all time, he put together the Celtic dynasty that won championship after championship. He had a habit that always psychologically destroyed opposing coaches and players. He would conclude at some point in a game that the Celtics were far enough ahead that the opposition could no longer catch up. At that point, he would sit on the bench, light his cigar and watch the rest of the game. When Red sat down, the game was over. Nobody came back against the Celtics once that happened. This was devastating to the opposition because they knew that nobody beat the Celtics once Red sat down and lit his cigar. “Ultimate Symbol of Victory”
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. All opposition is conquered, all questions answered, all needs met. There are no doubts about what will be the end of history.