Summary: Angels should never be worshiped. But we know there was a dangerous practice in the early church concerning the worship of angels.
Last week we started the new verse-by-verse series through Hebrews. I’ve been preaching for forty-six years, but I’ve never preached all the way through this book. There are many powerful passages in Hebrews I’ve preached from, but I’ve never walked verse-by-verse through it, so I’m excited about our adventure.
The title of our series is EYES ON JESUS, because we are going to be learning some powerful truths about the person, power, and prominence of Jesus. To me the climax of the book is in chapter 11 where we learn the names of those who are in God’s Hall of Fame of Faith. Then as we move into the twelfth chapter, the writer challenges us. He writes that since we are surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses, we should run with patience the race that is set before us. And that’s what we are doing every day, we’re running the race that is the Christian life.
This race isn’t a sprint; it’s an ultra-marathon. And we aren’t competing against each other. When I think about this race, I always smile when I remember the joke of the two guys out in the woods hunting squirrels and they came up on a big old hungry bear. They emptied their rifles into the bear, which only made him madder. They turned to run from it as it started chasing them. They were running for their lives. One of the old boys started kicking off his heavy hunting boots so he could run faster. His friend running beside him said, “Man, it’s no use kicking off your boots, you can’t outrun that bear.” His friend kicked off his second boot and said, “I don’t have to outrun that bear, I just have to outrun you!”
The Christian race isn’t a competition; in fact, we should be encouraging one another as we run the race. And the key to staying in the race is our focus verse for the series, Hebrews 12:2, which says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
Today we’re going to fix our eyes on Jesus and discover WHY He is superior to the angels. We’re going to read Hebrews 1:4-14. But before we do, let’s sing that little chorus again: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Hebrews 1:4-14. “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 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’? [That would be zero] 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 winds, his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness 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, O 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’? [Again, that would be zero] Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
That passage might have seemed a little convoluted for you, so let me break it down into bite-sized pieces. The writer quotes seven passages from the Old Testament and applies them to Jesus. You may know that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, but about 150 years before Jesus showed up at Bethlehem, the Greek rulers wanted to be able to read the Old Testament in their own language so seventy scholars were commissioned to translate the entire Old Testament into Greek. Because there seventy translators, it is called the Septuagint, and is designated by the Roman numeral for seventy, which is LXX.
This was a very important document, because Greek was the language spoken by most of the people during the 1st Century. And all of these seven quotations from the Old Testament we just read are from the Septuagint, not the Hebrew Old Testament.