This year the theme for our midweek Advent services is: The Surprising Miracles of Advent. The text for our sermon this evening is Hebrews 2:1-10. The theme for our sermon is: Why Would God Care For Man? Here is the Written Sermon.
Why Would God Care For Man?
Which is easier? It is easier to get into a raft and then float down a raging river? Or is it easier to jump onto a raft that is already riding down a raging river? The answer is clear and obvious, isn’t it? Get on at the beginning. This evening we aren’t going to do that. We are starting our Midweek Advent series in Hebrews 2, not Hebrews 1. So, I’m going to do my best to bring you on board.
Here in the beginning of chapter 2, the writer to the Hebrews holds out to his people this warning: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1 NIV)
The writer starts out these words with a stern, severe warning. He tells them that they need to hold onto what they have heard. If they don’t, they will drift away. And in the verses which follow, detail by detail, he lets them know how great a punishment is waiting for them if they let this great and amazing gift of salvation slip from their grasps. In the words which follow the writer to the Hebrews shows them how real this salvation is and how true God’s word is.
- God wanted to let them know that his message was real and serious by not just sending anyone to share it. God sent his powerful angels so show and prove his sincerity. Now can you understand why Gabriel was so angry with Zechariah? The angel Gabriel goes to Zechariah serving at the temple. He tells Zechariah that his son will be the second Elijah, the one who would plow and pave a way for the Lord to come. Zechariah doubted. Just think about that. God sent an angel to him. And he responds by doubting. Not surprisingly, Gabriel rebuked him and disciplined him. He tells him that he is the “Mighty one of God.”1 God cared for his people so much that he sent angels to share his truth with them.
- Not only were there angels. There were also human witnesses. There were patriarchs. There were prophets. There were apostles. There were so many of their fellow believers to affirm that God’s word was true and salvation was real.
- There were angels. There were witnesses. But God, himself testified that his word was true and his salvation was real with signs, wonders and powers.
- And you would think that that would be enough. But he did more. He sent to us his Spirit. And his Spirit poured out his gifts into us. He gave us faith to know this salvation and trust in it.
The writer gives them four unshakable proofs showing that God’s word is true and their salvation is real. Then he asks them the question: how will you escape? If you are careless with so great a salvation, how will you escape punishment?
These are piercing and powerful words, aren’t they? I look into myself and find many ways and many times that I have not held onto the words I have heard. There have been those times that God has gone out of his way to show me that his word is true. But I doubt. There have been so many times that God has shown me what is good and bad in his word and I debate. There have been so many times that God has shared with me his salvation and I respond by despising this great salvation. And I despise him in the exact same way as the Hebrews—not with outbursts of anger, but instead, with cool, careless apathy.2
The writer holds out to you and to me the same warning as he did to his Hebrews: Hold onto this great salvation. Because if you let it slip away, how will you ever escape punishment in hell?
The writer to the Hebrews starts out with real warning of wrath. But, in the words which follow he gives us another reason to hold onto this great salvation. The writer to the Hebrews tells us: “But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Hebrews 2:6 NIV)
Very quickly, the writer to the Hebrews is going to talk about Jesus. But what does he talk about first? He talks about us. He steps back and ponders a question from the psalms: what sort of thing is mankind that you would continually keep him in your mind? What sort of thing are the sons of men that you would continually care for them?
It’s a really good question, isn’t it? For if we think about it even a little bit, there are many, many reasons why God should not care for us nor keep us in his mind. Humanity at its best isn’t very much. Look at Adam and Eve in the garden. Look at them before they fell into sin. Neither of them was as pretty or powerful as the spirits of wind and fire, the Lord’s angels. Humanity at its best wasn’t very much. And yet, we see the Lord doting on them and fawning over them. We see such concern and care as he creates these humans and cares for them.
And if humanity wasn’t much before the fall, then what is it worth after the fall into sin? How many thousands and millions of humans has the Lord allowed into this world who are born hating him? We are not worth thinking about. We are not worth caring for. We are worth throwing away so that the Lord can move onto bigger, better tasks. We are worth being thrown away like the spiritual garbage we are.
Notice how the writer to the Hebrews asks the sort of questions we don’t want to ask. It has become popular to ask the sort of questions which point the finger at our God above. It has become popular to ask “if God was truly good, then why did he allow sin into the world at all?” It is a question that has no answer and pretends to know more than God does. But the writer to the Hebrews points the finger at you and asks the real question: why should God care about you?
It’s the sort of question that is impossible to answer, isn’t it? It’s the sort of question that makes you think that there is no answer. But, my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is an answer. Listen to what the writer to the Hebrews tells us: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9 NIV)
The answer that we cannot find by ourselves or in ourselves we find here. The grace of God is the answer. So great is his love for the unlovable that he gave such a great salvation to us. And in our final verse he describes what this grace means for us: “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10 NIV)
It is fitting. It’s not surprising. It’s just makes sense that a God who says that he is gracious, then shows that he is gracious by bringing Jesus to his glorious goal. Notice then the three ways God shows his grace:
- God brings Jesus to his goal, for whom and by whom the universe was made. God created the universe for humans. But do not forget, that God created the universe for Jesus and by Jesus. Why? He created the universe for Jesus so that Jesus could rescue the universe from the wrath of its sin through suffering.
- God brings Jesus to his goal of glory. But what is Jesus doing? He is leading many sons to glory. Oh, my brothers and sisters, how great is the grace of our God that he isn’t just concerned about humans to save them. No his grace is so great that he saves them by becoming one of them. He breathes our air. He is surrounded by us sinners. And one by one, he brings us, his brothers and sisters to our goal of heaven through suffering—but not our suffering. He brings us to heaven through his own.
- God brings his son to his Son to glory for a final reason. He brings him to glory because, if Jesus started this work of salvation then he needed to finish it. And the only way it could be finished was through suffering. The only way Jesus could finish the work of salvation was to taste death in our place.
How great is God’s grace that he gives us an answer to the question. How great is this salvation that Jesus would show his undeserved love by becoming our brother and saving us through suffering. What a great miracle. What a great truth.
Let me leave you tonight where we began. As the writer to the Hebrews told his people to not let go of what they heard, I say the same to you. Do not let what you heard from God’s word drift away. Do not let cool and careless apathy wash away your joy. Instead hold onto this great salvation. For God thinks about you and cares for you. And he proved this by becoming one of you. Amen.
2 τηλικαύτης ἀμελήσαντες σωτηρίας