"THE PERFECT MAN"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 1/22/89a.m.(5/25/97) Hebrews 2:5-18
PROPOSITION: Man's highest purpose, his only glory, and one true freedom can only be realized as he is found, by faith, to be "in Christ Jesus."
- ONE of my favorite memories of Kathryn, our seven year old, is back when she was only 2.
- I ARRIVED back from the office one afternoon, and she was standing on the top of the stairs, with my bathrobe on, trailing a good three feet behind her........her hand stretched out towards me, palm down, announcing, "Me the king!"
- AND she has been trying to rule ever since.
- HUMOROUS in the relative innocence of a two year old, but devastating in an adult, for adult relationships.
- BUT I believe that those kinds of drives were built into us by God at creation.
- IN GENESIS 1:26, after God had created night and day, oceans and dry land, every type of vegetation, the moon and galaxies of stars, every creature on land an in the sea........He created man, and He said;
"Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
- A PSYCHOLOGIST in the 1940's, A.H. Maslow, thought he was being original when he discovered that man was driven by various needs;
* First, physiological needs, like food, water, shelter, warmth, comfort.
* Secondly, safety needs, like protection from the elements, from predators, and from injury.
* Thirdly, the need to belong and be loved.
* Fourth, the needs of self esteem.
* And, lastly, the need for self-actualization, that is the need for being the best, being fulfilled.
- I BELIEVE that Maslow was right.
- JUST look at the way Americans are driven.
- LOOK at the success of books on "Success"....and unlocking the human potential.
- LOOK at the growth of secular humanism, as it focuses on the centrality of the human spirit to all things.
- WATCH us strive, do anything in our power, to prove the "Me the king!"
* We will work 40 hours a week, raise the family, and carry a full load at college.
* Watch us put in 6, 18 hour days at our career, like people possessed.
* Watch us amass our fortunes, and try to out-build, out-play, out-save, out-drive everyone within arms reach.
* Watch us sacrifice marriages, children, health and sanity to be somebody.
* Watch nations slash and maim each other, to prove who is the king.
* Watch our inner cities, as the "Bloods" and the "Crips" try to establish who is the king of prescribed territories.
- THIS drive within your breast and mine shows up in the most unlikely places, and sometimes takes on the most hideous faces.
- WE are only doing what we were created to do.
- THE problem is that when sin entered the human race in the Garden of Eden, that built-in ability and desire to rule was permanently corrupted and perverted.
- THAT is why the world is in the awful mess it is in right now.
- IT is why so many of us carry scars and pain....some inflicted by others......others self-inflicted.
- WE are frustrated rulers who have lost the ability to be what we were designed to be.
- WE are war with ourselves.
- ALL the natural places that you and I may turn to reslove this inner conflict, will only prolong the agony, and increase the frustration.
- THERE is only one solution.
- TURN with me to Hebrews 2:5-18.
ii. jesus: our highest purpose
- I WOULD like, first to look at the drive, within you and me, for purpose.
- WE desperately want to count for something. We want our lives to have meaning.
- SOME try to find it in careers.......to provide products for those who do not have them, services for those who need them......who need you......but it is not there.
- SOME try to achieve purpose through educational pursuits........to gain knowledge that others do not have and teach and write about that knowledge.....but purpose is not found there.
- SOME try to find it in sports.....to excel in the skills of football, or basketball, or skiing......to be the best in their school or college or league.....but it is not to be found there (Tell story of Wally Hilgenberg and first Superbowl).
- SOME try to find it by helping their fellow man.....these people can be found in pulpits of the land, in social services, in medical fields or in counseling careers.....but it is not there.
- PURPOSE in life is illusive.
- AND those who appear to succeed at finding their purpose in life, in earthly pursuits, only end up spent out and disillusioned.
- MANY show up at their therapists office, or in drug or alchohol rehabilitation centers.
- THERE is only one place to find true purpose in life.
- THE writer to the Hebrews says;
"It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 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? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.' In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 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." (2:5-9)
- IN this passage the writer quotes from Psalm 8.....the principle reference being to the Messiah.....but secondary meaning also being God's purpose for mankind.
- WE were created to reign and rule over creation in dignity, with all things subject to us.......but we cannot reign or rule because man has become corrupted by sin.
- WHEN man fell in sin in the garden, he dragged all of creation down with him.
- EVERYTHING we touch becomes corrupt. Look at the diseases we have brought on ourselves, look at the mess we have made of the city, look at what we are doing to the environment, look at the family, look at the governments of the world.
- MAN'S dominion of the earth has failed.
- BUT God was not going to lose what He created.
- HE was not going to abandon something that He created as good.......and see it fail completely.
- SO He sent His Son to enter the scene and restore what had fallen......to bring back the dignity.....to bring back the high calling.....to restore the purpose.
- JESUS came and took on the very form of corrupt man, accepting a position lower than the angels for that time, when we did not deserve anything.
- ROMANS 5 says that;
* When we were helpless....powerless (verse 6).
* When we were sinners....cut off from a holy God (verse ).
* When we were enemies of God (verse 10).........Christ died for us.
- AND even though the earth does not appear to be subject to Him right now, the kingdom of God has come in Jesus.......and the fulfillment of God's original plan for man is in motion.
- THERE is a kingdom present, unseen by human eye, where Jesus reigns as its exalted head (I Peter 3:22).
- IT was set in motion by Jesus......evidenced by His life, death and resurrection.
- AND even now, through Jesus Christ, we can experience the powers to come........we can know, in part, the fulfillment of our purpose......through faith in Jesus Christ.
- ONLY when we find our fulfillment in Him are we truly free to pursue careers, family, possessions......and find true purpose.
iii. jesus: our glory
- ANOTHER drive that we have is the drive to be perfect.......to experience glory through our accomplishments.
- WE were created to be perfect.....in everything that we are and do.
- PERFECTION becomes our glory. I feel it as I hone my flying skills.....or work on something I write....or restore an old car.
- WE glory in perfection.
- IT is why we are critical of others........our fear of our own imperfections.
- IT is why we hate flaws in the homes we live in.
- IT is why we hate dings in our car doors......or smudged eye shadow.....or wrinkles in our dresses....or "D's" on our report cards.
- IN one way or another we are driven to perfect.
- IT should not be a surprise. That is how we were created.
- BUT, once again, sin corrupted that human drive when pride entered our experience.
- NOW, because of the consequence of sin, no one and nothing can ever be perfect.....without flaw or stain.
- THIS is because man is on the way to destruction.
- PAUL says that all creation is groaning under the load of this corruption.
- THE writer of Hebrews says;
"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. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, 'I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.' And again, 'I will put my trust in him.' And again he says, 'Here am I, and the children God has given me.'" (vv. 10-13)
- ONCE again, God was not willing to allow this corruption of His original design for man to be completely destroyed by sin.
- SO He came into our human condition because He loved us so.......and wanted to restore His perfection in us.......and bring us back to glory.
- AND He did it through His suffering on the cross.
- HE was not ashamed to enter our human condition....even after all we had done to destory it and corrupt it.
- AND He sanctifies us....makes us holy.....that we may enjoy His glory once again.
- THIS is the only place true glory it can be found.
- IT is only in Jesus.
iv. jesus: our freedom
- LASTLY, there is the drive for freedom.
- YOU find it in the home.....as that teenager tries to be free from parental authority.
- YOU find it in the work place......as that employee tries to be free from the control of the employer.
- YOU find it in the nations.......as different groups try to become free from the control of either benevolent or oppressive governments.
- EVERYBODY wants to be free.......free from control....free from fear.....free from death.
- ANTHONY Campalo was on Focus on the Family the other day and talked about the drive in young people to be free to "find themselves."
- AND very frankly he says, "Hey, there is nothing there to find." He concluded by saying that we can only find ourselves as we build and live out commitments we make. He said that we develop who we are........and that it is something that cannot be found by introspection or self-expression.
- MAN is held captive.
- BUT it is not his family or his employer or his government that hold him captive.......He is held captive by sin whose end is death.
- EVEN psychologists agree that the fear of death is at the heart of all human fears and bondage.
- THE writer to the Hebrews says;
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (vv14-18)
- JESUS did not come to earth for some sort of sentimental identification with man.
* He did not come as a divine tribute to the goodness of man (Rennaisance humanism).
* He did not come to raise the human nature to a higher plain (Catholic tradition).
- HE came in order to die and defeat satan.
- THERE was a once-for-all decisive encounter between God and satan on the cross.
- THE end result of the conflict was never in question.
- SATAN'S rebellion had no chance from the beginning.
- HE was a finite creature himself whose reign and tyranny end only in death.
- GOD has always controlled death. It is the end result of sin.
- AND the death sentence is pronounced on man who transfers allegience from the Creator to the creature....from light to darkness.
- BUT Jesus came and conquered death and satan on the cross and by His resurrection.
- SLAVERY to fear is broken.
- FREEDOM is here in Jesus Christ.
- THE sting of death is gone.
- WE are the objects of God's love and mercy who receive His Son as Saviour and Lord.
- PURPOSE..........found only in Jesus.
- GLORY.........nowhere else but in Jesus.
- FREEDOM........only in Jesus Christ.
- ALL other places you may search will only bring frustration and defeat and death.
- JESUS is here this morning and offers you life.
THERE'S NO ONE LIKE JESUS