"WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF FANTASTIC"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 3/23/97a.m. Hebrews 1:4-14
PROPOSITION: When we run out of those "fantastic" times in our lives, when the things we perceive in the spiritual or physical realm are not there to buoy us up, the call of the Spirit is for us to persevere in the reality of who Jesus is.
- THERE is a word that we use a lot in America today......to describe the quality of life that we are after, and have become accustomed to........it is the word "fantastic."
- NOW, the actual word may change from one generation to another. It may be "bad", it may be "rad", it may be "cool", "awesome", "mass rad"......but the meaning is the same.
- WE just love the "fantastic."
- THIS is true, even in the spiritual realm.
- WE are into "fantastic" there too.
* We want to "feel" saved. We want those fantastic feelings that go along with being born again......or we wonder if it is real.
* We want to "feel" the joy......ALL the time.
* We want to "feel" the presence of the Lord....and when we do not, we are tempted to give up, because the rewards are gone.
* We want to "feel" the supernatural power of God in our lives. We would line up for hours, in the rain, to see a genuine miracle of healing.
- WE would like to run on "fantastic".....all the time.....or at least charge our batteries on it from time to time.
- AND if you do not believe that this is true of us Americans, just watch how quickly the saints jump ship when there is something new and "fantastic" come to town in the form of an evangelist, some seminar on casting out demons, or a tape series on ten easy steps to divine healing.
* We want Kenneth Copeland to give us three ways to health, wealth and prosperity.
* We want Bill Gothard to give us eight easy steps to remove conflict from our lives.
* We want Robert Schuller to give us seven principles to be successful and love ourselves.
* Bill Bright has already given us four laws to win souls.
- AND as long as the "fantastic" is there.....we are hooked.
- BUT as Reuben Welch puts it in his book on Hebrews......."What happens when you run out of "fantastic" in your life?
- THE people to whom the book of Hebrews was written had run out of "fantastic"......in every way you can imagine.
* Some of them had been in Jerusalem when the Pentecostal power had fallen. They had seen the glory of God save 3,000 souls in one service....it was fantastic.
* They had witnessed signs and wonders....They were there when the Lord had healed the man at the Temple gate, as Peter prayed for him.......it was "fantastic."
* They had heard about the morning the angel of the Lord had loosed Peter of his chains, had opened the prison gate and set him free from execution...it was fantastic.
* Some of them had been a part of the fantastic fellowship of that first church in Jerusalem, where they broke bread and studied the Word together every day.
- BUT now, they were out of fantastic.
- THEY were scattered all over the place. They were being persecuted. They had lost whatever security they were accustomed to.
- AND many were longing for the reassurance of the supernatural once again.
- THEY remembered how that in critical times of Israel's history, God had sent angels to reveal His will to them.
* In Genesis 18, when Israel's future was in jeopardy because Sarah was barren, God sent three angels to reassure Abraham that he would have a son.
* In Genesis 19, when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to bring Lot and his family safely out.
* In Luke 1, when mankind needed a Savior, God sent an angel to tell Mary that she would conceive of the Spirit and the baby's name would be Jesus.
* In Matthew 4, when Jesus had overcome the temptation of satan in the wilderness, an angel came and ministered to Him.
* In Acts 12, when Peter was to be executed by Herod, God sent an angel to deliver him miraculously from prison.
- SO they were very familiar with the supernatural and the ministry of angels.
- THEY were hungry for more of the fantastic. They had run out of fantastic.
* Their joy was flat.
* Their vision was distracted.
* Their loyalties to God were weak.
- WHAT do you do when you run our of fantastic?
- THE writer of Hebrews pointed them back to Jesus.
* NOT angels.......but the One who created angels.
* NOT signs and wonders.....but the One who has all authority and power.
* NOT doctrines of demons.....but the One in whose presence they quake in fear.
* NOT divine healing....but the Healer.
- WHEN you run out of "fantastic" you get back to Jesus.
ii. better than fantastic
- THE writer of Hebrews points out how much better Jesus is than angels......or any other supernatural phenomena you may want to compare Him to.
1. Superior in Name
- IN Hebrews 1:4&5 he writes;
"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"?"
- THE name "angel" means messenger. They are sent from God.
- THEY were and are important. Throughout scripture and even in present times they;
* Release prisoners.
* Protect the people of God.
* Watch over our children.
* Instruct preachers.
* Encourage believers.
* Help travellers.
* Engage demonic powers in battle in the heavenlies.
- BUT their name is still messenger.
- HIS name is Jesus, Son of God, Messiah, Prince of Peace, Ruler of the Universe.
2. Superior in Dignity
- IN verse 6 it says;
"And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."
- WHEN it comes to honor, it is the angels who bow down before Jesus and worship Him.
- GOD commanded this superior honor to go to His Son, back in Deuteronomy 32:43 and Psalm 97:7.
- IN Revelation 5 they number ten thousand times ten thousand encircling the throne of God, singing, "Worthy is the Lamb!"
- EVENTUALLY every person that has ever lived on planet earth......every supernatural being......every supernartural phenomena......will bow down in worship to Jesus.
3. Superior in Nature
- VERSE 7 says;
"In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire."
- GOD says that His angels are servants, winds, flames of fire to serve His purposes.
- BUT of His Son, in verse 8 God says, "Your throne will last forever.
4. Superior in Role
- VERSE 8a says;
"But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...."
- THIS Jesus on the throne is not only God's final word in a prophet, a priest....but He is King.....He is God.
5. Superior in Example
- VERSE 8b-9 says;
".......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."
- NOT all angels remained true to God and faithful in righteousness. Some followed the rebellion of Satan when he was cast out of heaven.
- BUT Jesus never failed....never sinned.....He said what the Father said. He did what He saw the Father do.
6. Superior in Work
- IN verses 10-12 it says;
"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."
- EVERY created thing, as we know it today, will perish.
- THE second law of thermal dynamics observes the natural decay that is part of every created thing. Iron rusts. Cars run down. People wear out.
- BUT there will also be a rolling up of every created thing.......and a casting off of all that is stained by sin.....like an old garment.
- FANTASTIC cannot be expected to last forever.
- WHAT is it then that remains the same and will last without end? JESUS!!!!!
7. Superior in Achievement
- VERSE 13a says;
"To which of the angels did God ever say, 'Sit at my right hand....'
- NO angel qualifies to sit at God's right hand.
- NO experience, earthly or supernatural, qualifies for that place of honor.
- ONLY Jesus sits at the right hand of the Majesty.
8. Superior in Destiny
- THE last part of verse 13 says;
"......I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"
- THERE is coming a day when nothing and noone that has ever dared to stand in God's way will be able to stand before Him.
- GOD will make them a footstool for the feet of Jesus.
- THAT is His destiny......assured by the Father.
- FORGET about what you may think of as fantastic this morning.
- WHAT about the reality of who Jesus is?
- YOU are called to make a profound, very real committment to the uniqueness and finality of what God has spoken in His Son, Jesus.
- THERE is nothing else to this life.
- PAUL says in Colossians that everything else is a shadow.
- DO you believe that this morning?
- DO you believe that the Gospel of Jesus is ultimate.....in this life and in the life to come?
- IF you do......then is the reality of Jesus in your life making a difference in how you live?
- IT is so easy for those of us who have grown up in the church to say all the right words, play all the right words......but down deep inside, the reality of who Jesus is is not making a difference.
- COULD it be that there is a doubt as to who He is in your life?
- THIS great book of Hebrews is not just about theology.......it is about commitment to the real Christ.
- FORGET "fantastic" this morning.
- IS this Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Majesty, seated on the throne of your life.....free to make any demands He wishes and be assured of your quick and ready response?
JESUS BE THE LORD OF ALL