Accusations are flying; Deflate-gate is in full swing. Somebody let air out of at least 11 of 12 game footballs to improve chances of winning (Patriots vs. Colts, 2015). All this after Spygate a few years back, incident of videotaping opposing team’s coaches. One writer declared that this should come as no surprise given the team’s past history. Then you have opposing opinions on how the whole thing should be handled. On the one side – even if they did cheat, it didn’t make the difference on who won the game; therefore they should not be penalized. On the other side – since they did cheat, and since cheating is wrong whether it changed the outcome or not, they should forfeit the win. Oh, and btw, don’t forget others who knew what was going on and sanctioned it.
You might wonder – how is this connected with our text? well, let’s consider a few things that may not be quite so obvious. Assuming the accusations are at least somewhat true, what sort of person would do this kind of thing? The game has rules, everyone expected to follow them, must just be honest mistake, right? Or is it outward evidence of inward character? To not play by the rules is to exhibit lawlessness; to know someone is not playing by the rules and ignore it is to condone lawlessness. The context here is football, principle applies to all of life and any rules, whether man’s rules or God’s laws.
Hang in there for just another minute. If Jesus was right – the kind of fruit produced is evidence of kind of tree it grew on (good tree/good fruit, bad tree/bad fruit) – then those who behave in lawless way must be lawless at heart. What we truly believe governs how we behave, conduct is a reflection of character. The kind of conduct displayed on the ballfield is outward evidence of kind of character possessed by the players. Character matters.
Now let’s look at Jesus. If Jesus Is the Best, he must have character that is superior to all others. That superior character should be evident in Jesus’ actions. Writer of Hebrews in 1:9-12 tells us Jesus is perfectly just, powerful Creator, eternal God and unchanging Savior. Is the sort of character that makes him alone worthy of our trust / confidence and our love / worship.
A. perfectly just v.9a
loved righteousness, hated lawlessness – ok, so what did he do about it?
17th century pastor, William Gouge, connects Lord Jesus with man after God’s own heart, David: see Ps. 119:47-48
“And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, Which I love, And I will meditate on Your statutes.”
the one who loves something will practice it zealously, spending every possible moment engaged in it – swimmer, musician, reader – true of one who loves God’s commands
if heart is set on righteousness – devoted to it and committed to it – righteousness governs every thought, word, deed
lived exemplary life: fulfilled all righteousness, met all requirements of the law
1 Pet. 2:21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Matt. 3:15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
because he loved righteousness, must hate lawlessness – the two are mutually exclusive; is why God commands: “Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate;” (Amos 5:15)
loved righteousness so much he took the sin of his people so they might have his righteousness
we want the people we love to have the kind of things we treasure – will encourage them to acquire it, maybe even get it for them
now, think of lengths we go to so loved ones hear Gospel and have opportunity to respond; broadens out to neighbors, friends, supporting missions work around the world
all good stuff, not even drop in bucket compared to Jesus – didn’t just come to tell us the good news, he came to be the good news
2 Cor. 5:21God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.
didn’t just show us how to live righteously, did what we could not do for ourselves so we can be righteous
defeated poster child for lawlessness (the devil) and destroyed his works
Satan, the accuser, can no longer justly accuse God’s chosen people, the ones he has justified, declared righteous:
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” (Rom. 8:33)
“He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14)
“For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
B. powerful creator v.10
laid the foundation – reminder: “heavens and earth” = universe = the whole creation
quotation here from Psalm 102:25-27, our call to worship this morning – cry of man in serious trouble, counting on Creator-God to provide help he needs
was the Son whom Father credits with creation – requires his preexistence: had to be there before it was so he could make it!
look up at sky, think “wow, God, look at what you did! beauty, variety, intricate detail, size and scope – you’re awesome!”
who do we have in mind when we think that? I know, God, but which person? the Father? He said it was Jesus who did it!
sometimes have difficulty keeping God straight! – sure, believe God is triune: Father, Son, Spirit; don’t always recognize presence and activity of each person in all of Scripture
Adam lived 6 or 7000 years ago, Jesus was born 2000 years ago, then Holy Spirit showed up at Pentecost, right? Yes….but….
“In passing from the Old Testament to the New, the reader is conscious of no violent discontinuity in the conception of the Spirit which he finds in the two volumes. …if there be any fundamental difference between the Old and the New Testament conceptions of the Spirit of God, it escapes us in our ordinary reading of the Bible.”
2 Pet. 1:21 “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
back up a little farther: Gen. 1:2 “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
and Jesus….John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
God, the Triune God, present and active in his fullness in Creation – just as Father, Son and Spirit each have their specific role in new creation (Eph. 1:1-14), same true in first creation
C. eternal God v.11a, 12a,c
before creation, without end – not simply that he got here first and started everything else (like the JW’s Jesus)
Jesus was there to lay the foundation and he will still be around after this creation has come to an end
listen carefully: the years of Jesus’ earthly ministry can be numbered, the years of his existence cannot – are without beginning or end
the Son, Jesus, not only eternal, he is eternally God – an inescapable truth woven into fabric of this passage and two OT quotations
I know we all believe that, so don’t be shy about affirming it…confidently; God’s word is clear about Jesus’ identity
repeated references to Yahweh, Jehovah throughout Psalm 102; here, the same creative work credited to Yahweh is ascribed to the Son
short practical note: read OT especially, all of Bible really with eyes open to see Jesus there (and Holy Spirit)
sovereign over creation – they (heavens and earth) will all grow old….You will fold them up…they will be changed
no hint here of distant God uninvolved and not interacting with his creation; Son is governing his kingdom, his creation
what we would expect from v.3: “he sustains all things by his powerful word”, will continue to govern into new heavens and earth – he will put away the old, will be changed, spread out new
D. unchanging Savior v.12b
self-existent – again, another clear reference, not only to superiority of Jesus, to his essential deity
they will be changed, you are the same – tells us if we are going to cling to something, should be Jesus, not stuff that changes, wears out, will be folded up and put away!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; / Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away; / Change and decay in all around I see; / O Thou who changest not, abide with me! (v.2)
God, and we’re talking about Son here, not only does not change, he cannot change – “change must be for the worse or for the better, but God cannot become worse or better.” Boyce, Systematic
don’t have to ever worry about outlasting duration of our salvation: the one who guarantees it is eternal and eternally unchanging
Eph. 1:4 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
Rev. 13:8 speaks of “the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” – names of those written there who have been redeemed by that Lamb
later on in Hebrews 6:19-20 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
chosen before the foundation of the world, redeemed by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, a forerunner who is a high priest forever
Is one place and one only where we can have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls – in the Lord Jesus, the Best, Superior in every way to all others. Make sure your anchor is made fast on our wonderful Savior.