Why God Became Man – 2015

Why God Became Man – 2015
Hebrews 2:5-18 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 20, 2015 • Christmas Sermons


Andy Woods
Why God Became Man
12-20-15 Hebrews 2:5-18 Christmas Sermons

If we could open our Bibles this morning to the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, and verse 5; the book of Hebrews chapter 2, verse 5. This morning we’re going to be moving quickly, we’re going to cover verses 5-18 and the title of our message this morning is Why God Became Man. And of course, as you’ve figured out, probably, we’re taking a little break from 2 Timothy this morning; we’re bringing a special message related to Christmas, which is coming up this week. Now my wife, as that verse was being read earlier, Hebrews 2:14 about Satan being rendered powerless, she kind of look at me as that verse was on the screen like are you crazy, what does this have to do with Christmas; where’s Isaiah 7:14, where’s Micah 5:2, where’s Luke 1, where’s Luke 2. You put up Hebrews 2:14, what is the matter with you? I’ve got to be careful, it’s her birthday today.

But I think, as you’re going to see this morning as we look at Hebrews 2:5-18 you’re actually going to see this is a very Christmas passage because what exactly are we celebrating at Christmas time? What we’re celebrating is Jesus Christ, the eternally existent Second Member of the Triune Godhead, stepped out of eternity into time and took on human flesh. That transaction took place at the point of the virgin conception. The moment Jesus was miraculously conceived in Mary’s womb is the moment that humanity was added alongside deity to Jesus Christ, the Second Member of the Trinity. And as the pregnancy process took place, roughly nine months later Jesus was born into this world.

So what we are actually celebrating at Christmas time is this incarnation, enfleshment, if you will, of the Son of God. And then the question really becomes this: Why was it so necessary for God to become man? I mean, why did it have to happen this way? And that’s where the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, verses 5-18, gives us tremendous, tremendous insight. Had Jesus Christ, the Second Member of the Triune Godhead not become man eight things, or realities, could not come into place for the human race. These are blessings, or realities, that can transpire no other way other than through the incarnation, the enfleshment of the Son of God.

And so what I’d like to walk you through this morning very quickly are eight reasons, they’re laid out in chronological order in the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 5 through verse 18, eight reasons why God became man, because after all, He is “the reason for the season.” And in this hustle and bustle of this time of year, in the midst of gifts and wrappings and family reunions and Christmas parties, as you know and as I know in this business of this time of the year it’s so easy to lose sight of what God did and we kind of forget the reason that we’re celebrating.

But Hebrews 2:5-18, through these eight reasons gives us eight reasons why we need to keep Christ in our Christmas. And I think as we look at these we’re going to grow in great gratitude and appreciation for what God has done for us through the birth of His Son into the world which we commemorate this time of the year.

And before we look at these I want to also invite you to our Christmas Eve service this Thursday; we recognize here at Sugar Land Bible Church that Christmas Eve is more of a family time and so we try to keep our service fairly short; I do give a brief message that lasts about twelve minutes, not that I have it timed or anything, some of you don’t think I can preach for only twelve minutes so you might want to come just to validate that that’s true, it actually can happen. Actually last year we got out a little early. So we’re going to be singing some traditional Christmas songs; we’re not going to rock out for Jesus or anything like that, traditional Christmas songs! We’re going to do some candlelight, candlelight service and we’re also going to have a short message from the Scripture. But it’s just a great opportunity to keep Jesus in the foremost of our thinking during this time of the year where we can get so easily distracted. So if you don’t have plans I invite you to that, Thursday night from 6:00 to 7:00.

Why did God become man? Reason number 1, God became man to restore God’s original purpose for man. Notice, if you will, Hebrews 2:5-9, notice what it says: “For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. [6] But one has testified somewhere, saying, “WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? [7] ‘YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CORWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS. [8] YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subjected to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. [9] But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus Christ, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor….”

Why did God become man? Reason number 1, to restore God’s original purpose for man. This is really a foundational question. When God created our forbearers, Adam and Eve, what was His original design for them? And if we can figure out what His original design was for them we can figure out why God brought man into existence. And to answer this question the author of the book of Hebrews, because we really don’t know who the author is, the author of the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8 and verses 4-6, “What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? [5] For You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” Now watch this, Psalm 8:6, “You make him to rule over the works of Your hands’ You have put all things under his feet.”

You’ll notice that the writer to the book of Hebrews there in verse 6 says, “But one has testified somewhere, saying,” now I tell the students when I give them an exam at the college, that’s not going to pass for an answer. If I ask you where a Scripture is you can’t say we’ll someone has somewhere said something saying. You’re going to have to give me a specific Scripture.

So why did the author of Hebrews say someone has said something? Because the book is the book to the Hebrews; Hebrews were Jewish Christians, Hebrews by definition knew the Old Testament, what we call the Old Testament, backwards and forwards. So for the author to quote Psalm 8 would be an exercise in redundancy to the Hebrew mind. Everybody knew where Psalm 8 was and were well familiar with it.

And in Psalm 8, what you discover is God’s original plan for man. You have “made him to rule over the works of Your hands’ You have put all things under his feet.” Now this should ring a bell because this is how the book of Genesis reads. Genesis 1:26, God’s original instructions to man on day six of creation. It says, “Let them,” that would be Adam and Eve, “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 says exactly, almost exactly the same thing. [Genesis 1:28, “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”]

When God brought Adam and Eve into existence what was His purpose? What was His design? It was to create an office and the fancy name for it is the office of theocratic administrator which simply means someone who governs for God. God gave Adam and Eve, because it says “them” authority, and He gave them authority over the physical world; it talks there in Genesis 1 about cattle and creeping things that fly; and He’s speaking there of the physical world that God created. And then in day six of creation God created Adam and Eve and gave them authority over the earth, and they were to govern the earth, not for themselves, but they were to govern it on God’s behalf. And that’s what we call the office of theocratic administrator.

And very quickly, what you see in the book of Genesis is Genesis 3, the fall of man, where Satan comes into Eden, now remember, Satan is an angel, a fallen angel, but he came into Eden in Genesis 3 as a talking snake, a talking serpent, an animal that spoke. And people say that’s a very strange way for Satan to operate, why is he operating that way? The answer is there’s a specific strategy Satan is using; he is trying to pervert or destroy or unseat the office of theocratic administrator. He’s trying to create a scenario whereby Adam and Eve are no longer governing the animal kingdom for God, but they are actually listening to the animals, and in the process rebelling against God, because this talking serpent, or this snake told them you’re not going to die if you eat from the tree of knowledge. And they ended up believing the serpent, that they were supposed to be governing on God’s behalf, and in the process they rebelled against God.

And the moment that sin took place in Genesis 3 is the moment this office of theocratic administrator disappeared from planet earth. In fact, it was at that specific point in time that Satan was given the keys to this world; he was given the authority. That’s why 2 Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan “the god of this world.” [2 Corinthians 4:4, “in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”]

This is why Satan, in the temptations in Luke 4:6 says to Jesus, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomever I wish.” Now when Jesus answered Satan at that point Jesus never argued that what Satan said wasn’t true because it is true. Who handed the keys of this world, if you will, over to the devil? It was Adam that did, and the office of theocratic administrator consequently disappeared from the earth, Satan became, as John 12:31 calls him “the ruler of this world.” [John 12:31, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”]

This is why insurance companies… I always get mad at them because they talk about earthquakes and hurricanes being acts of God. Why don’t we give credit to where credit is due once in a while; it is the devil that is controlling many of these things that go wrong in the world because he is the god (little “g”) over planet earth in the interim. It’s not that God isn’t sovereign, it’s not that God doesn’t work His purposes out through His sovereignty, but by and large the world system is under the control of the former archangel, Lucifer, now known as Satan.
And so then, what is the point of the Bible? What is the storyline of the Bible? What is the Bible all about? What the Bible is all about is how this office gets restored to planet earth. When will this office be restored to planet earth? Answer: In the millennial thousand year kingdom, which is where human history is moving. You see, human history is not accidental, it’s not coincidental, it’s not random, it’s not serendipitous, it’s actually what we call linear (when you understand it from the biblical point of view), linear meaning it’s moving somewhere, things are going somewhere. God is guiding this earth somewhere and what he is guiding it back to is the office of theocratic administrator which He created in Eden, which Adam forfeited.

And you see, in the millennial kingdom of God, which will exist for a thousand years on planet earth, God the Father is going to govern, not the first Adam but the last Adam. I used to call, many times, Jesus the second Adam, but that is a great mistake. The Bible never calls Jesus the second Adam; it calls Him, 1 Corinthians 15:45, the last Adam, because if I say second Adam there could be a third Adam, there could be a forth Adam, there could be a fifth Adam. But when you say “the last Adam” there is nothing that can follow. [1 Corinthians 15;45, “So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.’”]

Jesus is “the last Adam.” Jesus will be governed by God the Father and Jesus will govern creation for God for a thousand years. And God simply cannot allow this earth to go out of existence until this great feat of human history is accomplished or else God loses. There has to be a time in history where what was lost in Eden is restored. And we, as Christ’s bride, are destined for that authority. Revelation 5:10 says, “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

Just as Adam governed with his wife, Eve, Jesus Christ is going to govern with His wife, the church. And this is why the Apostle Paul says things to the Corinthians, like you silly Corinthians, you’re suing each other, you’re having little squabbles with each other, do you not know that you will judge the angels one day, speaking of that authority that the born again Bible believing Christian is headed for. [1 Corinthians 6:3, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?…]

And in the book of Revelation Satan will be deposed and Christ’s kingdom will be installed. That’s why Revelation 11:15 says, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” And yet how can God’s purpose for man be restored unless God Himself becomes a what? A man! You cannot restore God’s purpose for man unless the second member of the Triune Godhead becomes man himself. And this is why the author of Hebrews, in verse 5, says, “For He did not subject to angels the world to come,” [Hebrews 2:5] the author’s point is what angel ever did this? What angel will ever accomplish this? This is something unique to Jesus Christ.

Now one of the things that’s happening in the book of Hebrews is that the writer is showing that Jesus is higher than the angels. Why would he have to make the point that Jesus is higher than the angels? Keep in mind who this is written to—Hebrews, Hebrew Christians… Hebrews, Jews, Old Testament Jews, revered angels. Why? Because angels were the messengers of God. In fact, you might want to jot down Daniel 9:20-23 which is a very critical prophecy called the prophecy of the seventy weeks, and that prophecy was given to Daniel through the angel Gabriel. [Daniel 9:20-23, “Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, [21] while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. [22] He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. [23] “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.’”]

That is a key piece of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle, given by God to Daniel through Gabriel. This is the pattern of the Old Testament; the Old Testament always holds up the angels as messengers of God. And yet if the writer can show that Jesus is higher than the angels he can show them very clearly that Jesus is a higher revelation than what you find in the Old Testament, because this crowd that the writer is speaking to was thinking of defecting; they were thinking of leaving the higher truths of Christianity to avoid persecution and go back into the temple system and its rituals, which was still functioning at the time this book was written. And if the author can show that Jesus is higher than the angels, he can show that Jesus is a higher form of revelation, and therefore leaving Him and retreating back to something else is leaving the best for something that, in fact, is inferior.

And the author says which angel accomplished this? Number 1, Jesus became a man to restore God’s original purpose for man, which would be an impossibility unless God became man Himself. And you see, what has happened through the first coming of Jesus Christ is the whole foundation is laid for this great victory that’s coming in the not too distant future, where this office of theocratic administrator will be restored.

You know, so many times we as Christians can be such, what I like to call pessil-millennialists, pessimistic about the world, pessimistic about our lives, and yet we should be the greatest optimists out there, because we have hope that what was lost in Eden is going to be restored because the foundation has been laid as God, the second member of the Trinity, became man.

There is a second reason why God became man. Notice, if you will, the second part of verse 9, “so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” The second reason God became man is to “taste death for everyone.” What is the penalty for sin? Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, you know God’s instructions at the tree of knowledge, “For in the day you eat from this tree is the day you will surely die. [Genesis 1:17, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”.]

And the moment that win was committed was the moment death came into the human race. Ezekiel 18:20 says the soul that sinneth shall surely die. [Ezekiel 18:20, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”]

James 1:15 says, “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” Romans 6:23, “For the wages” which is a cost, “the wages of sin is death…” Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for men to die once, and then comes the judgment.” The last time I checked the mortality rate is still 100%.
Now there are always little exceptions in the Bible: Enoch was translated to heaven before he physically died. [Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP….” The same with Elijah. [2 Kings 2:11, “As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.”]

Perhaps if we are the rapture generation, which I can’t guarantee we are, I hope we are, there’s a whole generation of Christians, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that will not see death. [1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but will all be changed, [52] in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”]

But absent from these little exceptions here and there death is an ironclad rule; death is the great equaler, death is the great leveler of the playing field. The mortality rate is 100% and this is what the human race is under. It is under this terrible prospect called death, and here I’m primarily speaking of physical death. And yet what did Jesus do? He experienced death in our place!

Now this raises an interesting question, doesn’t it? How can God die? I mean, can you kill God? I don’t think so. Well, how can God die? The answer is God becomes man so that He dies. Had God not become man it would have been impossible to kill God; had it been impossible to kill God He would not have tasted death for every man. And that really becomes the purpose of the virgin conception, the virgin birth. John 1:14 says, “And the Word” that’s Jesus, “became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory….” He was born into this world to die. Now fortunately He had the final victory because He rose from the dead, but He came into this world to taste, verse 9, death for every man. [Hebrews 2:9, “But we do see Him who was made for us a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”]

And that’s why this doctrine of the incarnation is so important. We sometimes call this the hypostatic union, if you’re interested in big words. What that simply means is Jesus, at the point of the virgin conception, becomes the unique God-man. What does that mean? He is the only being that has ever walked this planet who is both God and man, 100% God, 100% man. In essence what happened at the virgin conception is humanity was added alongside eternally existent deity. And there is rampant confusion about this today. People think Jesus just kind of switched from one to the other, He quit being God when He became a man, kind of like you change jackets. And they look at the incarnation as a subtraction. The incarnation, when properly understood is not a subtraction, it is an addition. He never stopped being God, something was added alongside deity.

John Walvoord, the great scholar, says this: “The act of kenosis,” now kenosis is a fancy word in Greek which means emptying; “The act of kenosis as stated in Philippians 2 may therefore be properly understood to mean that Christ surrendered no attribute of deity, but that He did voluntarily restrict their independent use in keeping with His purpose of living among men and their limitations.” [Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord, 143-44]

Jesus gave up nothing in terms of deity, attribute of deity; He gave up nothing in terms of His ability to perform miracles. What He did in His incarnation is He submitted the privileges and the use of His attributes of deity to God the Father and He lived in total submission to Him. In fact, had Jesus not submitted the attributes of deity to God the Father He could have called off the whole resurrection, had He chosen to do so. But because of the emptying of Christ, because of the kenosis, because of the incarnation, humanity is added alongside eternally existent deity so God can die. Verse 9 once again, “So that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” He died in my place. He died in your place. And yet without the virgin conception God can’t die, can He?

Now there are many people today that say well, you know, brother, Jesus only died for the elect; He only died for some chosen group of people, He didn’t die for the whole world. This is a doctrine in Reformed Theology called limited atonement, Christ died only for the elect. May I just say to you, look again at verse 9, “So that by the grace of God He might taste death for” the elect? No, it doesn’t say that; “He might taste death for everyone.” [Hebrews 2:9]

Christ’s death was for everyone on planet earth, everyone that has ever lived, everyone that will ever live. It’s for the rich person; it’s for the person that’s there on the freeway with alcohol in his breath at the overpass, asking for money that we’re embarrassed a little bit about and we drive by quickly, the death of Christ is for him as well. It’s for the wealthy, it’s for the poor, it’s for the healthy, it’s for the sick. It’s for all races, people of all socioeconomic groups. It’s not even just for Americans; it’s for the entire planet.

And so consequently what we teach and what we believe is the entire world is savable. Everybody on planet earth can be saved. Now they are not actually saved until they trust in the provision of Christ. They don’t move from savable to saved until they trust in what Christ has done. But the fact of the matter is everybody is savable. 1 Timothy 4:10 says, of Jesus, “…who is the Savior of all men, especially believers.” “Especially believers” but it broadens it to all men. 1 John 2:2 says, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” Why did God become man? To taste death for every man.

Number 3, third reason God became man. It is to bring many sons and daughters to glory. Notice if you will verses 10-13. “For it was fitting for Him for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in bringing” watch this, verse 10, “many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. [11] For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, [12] saying, ‘I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.’ [13] And again, ‘I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.” And again, ‘BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.’”

Notice, it’s very interesting here the repetition of the word “brethren.” You see that in verse 11, you see that in verse 12. What does that even mean? Christ’s brethren, Christ’s family, Christ’s brothers, Christ’s sons, Christ’s daughters? We have an answer to that in Matthew 12:46-50, which says this: “While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. [47] Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” [48] But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” [49] And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! [50] “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

What Jesus is revealing here is a spiritual family that he was on the precipice of creating, a family which transcends normal physical family relationship. We have our physical families but once you trust in Christ you are adopted into a spiritual family where you have commonality with people that you don’t necessarily share a bloodline with. And this is the great work of God whereby He begins to call people His sisters, His brothers, and so forth.

Romans 8:29 adds an interesting detail to this. Romans 8:29 says this: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He,” that’s Jesus, “would be the firstborn among many brethren.” Isn’t it an amazing thing that we are part of the spiritual family of God.

You may have had a lousy experience with your physical family; maybe you’re in conflict today with a brother or a sister physically and it gets rough this time of the year because Christmas time is when families get together. You may have been isolated from your parents. You may have been isolated from your own children somehow. But isn’t it interesting that in the midst of these various failures that we have with our physical families we do not lose hope, although it can be discouraging. We do not lose hope because we are part of something that is much grander and bigger, which transcends normal physical family lines, the spiritual family of God.

And as Christ’s brethren we experience exactly what He experienced. What did He experience? Momentary suffering, and yet where is Jesus now? He is in a position of glory, isn’t He? In fact, in John 17:5 Jesus says, prior to His death, “Now Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Because He is the firstborn among many brothers we experience what He experienced. Right now we go through a season in this life of momentary suffering and yet we do not lose hope because this season or momentary suffering will be replaced with eternal glory. Why is that? Because we’re fitting into the paradigm; we’re fitting into the pattern. That’s why Jesus is the firstborn amongst many brethren.

Romans 6 tells us that the moment we trust Christ we are baptized, this is not speaking of water baptism, it’s speaking of identification, we are baptized or identified into Christ. [Romans 6:3, “Or do you now know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?”] What does that mean? It means what He experienced we experience. He died on the cross, He was buried, He rose from the dead, He ascended.

What happened to you the moment you trusted in Christ? You died, Romans 6. Your old self was buried, you were raised, just like Christ’s resurrection, to newness of life. And consequently your legal position, you may not feel like it is, it may not look like it is, it may not work its way out factually in daily life but legally what you are and where you are currently is at the right hand of the Father. Ephesians 2:6 tells us this. [Ephesians 3:6, “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”]

Why are we legally at the right hand of the Father? Because that’s where Jesus is. Jesus, by making me His brother, by making you His brother, by bringing us into the family of God has brought us into a family which transcends the physical family lines but it puts us into a pattern or a paradigm. We largely experience what Jesus experiences and the way it all works out is momentary suffering in this life but eternal glory to follow. Notice again Romans 8:29-30, “‘For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren’ [30] and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Is it not interesting that the very last word in verse 30 is “glorified.” Did you catch the tense of that word? It’s in the past tense. It’s looked at as something that has already happened.

You say well, I don’t feel glorified today, and you all don’t look very glorified either. [Laughter] But the fact of the matter is legally this is something that has already happened to you; you are destined for glory because of what Jesus did in our place, and absent the incarnation of Christ, absent the virgin conception of Christ, such a phenomena, such a reality, such a thing could have never, could NEVER take place.

This is why at Sugar Land Bible Church we preach the doctrine of eternal security, because if my glorification as a result of being Christ’s brother is etched in stone to such an extent that God can speak of it in the past tense, although it factually hasn’t happened yet, how in the world would I ever get a silly notion or idea in my mind that anything can derail my salvation. Satan can’t derail it. My own bad decisions, of which they’re manifold, can’t derail it either. It is a positional reality because you are part of the spiritual family of God.

There is a fourth reason why God became man. Number 4, it is to break Satan’s rule over the human race. Notice, if you will, verse 14, this is the verse that Ed Jones read and my wife looked at me like I was crazy. Verse 14, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Now earlier we said that Satan currently is the ruler of this world; that was the repercussion to the fall, that was the repercussion to the unseating of the office of theocratic administrator by the serpent.

The moment Satan became the ruler of this world simultaneously is the moment that the title deed to the earth was transferred from Adam to the devil. The title deed is ownership; Satan has custody, possession, of this title deed to the earth at the present time. You say well, this title deed to the earth, where is it spoken of? I’m glad you asked, the book of Revelation, chapter 5, verses 2-4. It’s called the seven sealed scroll.

Revelation 5:2-4, John writes what he saw in a vision and he says this: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ [3] And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it.’ [4] Then I,” that’s John, “began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it.” John sees the title deed to the earth in this vision and he starts to understand that no one can open it.

So what does John do? He starts to cry, the Bible says; he starts to weep uncontrollably. Well, what’s he crying about? He’s crying because if nobody can open this title deed the world, as we know it, goes on and on and on and on and on in its current trajectory. It goes on and on and on under Satan’s grasp, because Satan is the permanent ruler. In other words, drive by shootings, ISIS attacks, terrorist, cancer, earthquakes, death, disease, having your heart broken, emotional travail, cannot be opened.

Now would that make you cry? It would make me cry. That’s why John, when he sees this starts to sob uncontrollably. But there’s hope, you see. Revelation 5:5-7, “and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.’ [6] And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. [7] And He” that’s the Lamb, “came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”

Suddenly things are better now because there is somebody that can open the scroll and that somebody is Jesus Christ. Why? Because He’s qualified to do it. Why is He qualified to do it? Well, John says, number 1, He’s from the tribe of Judah; the kings come from Judah’s line, in the Old Testament, Genesis 49:10 indicates that. [Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”]

And number 2, Jesus did something which qualified Him even further, He entered human history to die in our place. He is this world’s… not only is He this world’s Creator, He is this world’s Redeemer. And had it not been for His death He would not have been qualified to open the seven sealed scroll. And had God not become a man, added humanity alongside eternally existent deity in the virgin conception He could not have died in our place, He would never have been qualified to open the scroll and the scroll continues within the grasp of the devil throughout the ages and the eons of time.

The first coming of Jesus Christ, His death laid the foundation for a future victory whereby in the events in the book of Revelation that scroll will be opened and the judgments will come to the earth and every time a judgment hits the earth Satan’s grip over the world gets a little looser. It’s kind of like with Pharaoh and the ten plagues; as those ten plagues came forth Pharaoh’s grip over the chosen people got a little looser and finally with plague ten he released them. Finally when these judgments in the book of Revelation have run their course Satan releases the earth and the glorious manifold earthly kingdom of God breaks forth on planet earth, the office of theocratic administer is restored and re-instituted and the world is as God designed it once again.

You want to talk about Christian hope? We’re the only ones that have it. You don’t get these thoughts out of the darkened mind of the human intellect. These are revelations that come from God. Satan’s defeat in the Bible happens in seven stages: first he’s kicked out of heaven, Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28. Then there’s a prophecy given about him in Eden, Genesis 3:15, that there is coming one from the seed of the woman who will crush your head. [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”]

And then whatever Satan was doing trying to corrupt the gene pool leading to Christ, in Genesis 6, that was stopped. And then came the cross and this is where Hebrews 2:14, amongst many other Scriptures that we could quote really comes to full bloom. “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Satan, as a result of the cross, has been convicted; we’re just waiting for the penalty. Anybody that understands the legal system understands there’s a difference between the guilt phase of a trial leading to a conviction and the penalty phase. In the guilt phase you’re found guilty by a reasonable doubt by a jury of your peers and then the judge, at a later point, imposes sentencing.

You see, we are living in between the conviction and the sentencing, we’re living right there in number 4, the victory has been won. The sentencing comes in the last three points in this outline; Satan will be removed from heaven permanently halfway through the Tribulation, Revelation 12:9. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”]

You know Satan, even in his fallen state, can go into heaven. Ask Job about that sometime. And then once this glorious millennial kingdom is established on planet earth Satan will be bound for a thousand years in the abyss. And at the conclusion of this kingdom Satan will finally be thrown into the lake of fire.

What started this whole chain of victory is the virgin conception, the death of the Son of God. And this is an important outline to understand because we have people today that are trying to argue we’re in the kingdom now. My response is I must be living in the ghetto section because I don’t see kingdom conditions. And they’ll use this to say look, brother, we are in the kingdom of God now, it’s in spiritual form, Jesus is reigning in our hearts. That’s what you call replacement theology, kingdom now theology, amillennialism, postmillennialism. It is a false teaching that the church has suffered under since, really, Augustine, back in the fourth century.

And most churches today by denominational affiliation believe this and teach this, and yet that’s not our belief because we are the Sugar Land Bible Church; the authority here is the Word of God, and when you look at the totality of the Word of God what you see is a conviction has happened but a sentencing, a punishment for the devil is yet to come. We’re living in between the two, and so the horrors of this earth, the sadness of the earth we look at as Christians as merely temporary, because of the virgin conception and God dying in our place.

There is a fifth reason why God became man and that is to remove the fear of death. Notice verse 15, “and [He] “might free those who through the fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” What is the greatest fear of the human race? It is death. Why are we so afraid of death? We are afraid of death because we don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side. We don’t really know, simply from the human point of view, what takes place after somebody dies. We have no insight into that other than the Scripture.

And so death is like a dark cloud, not only because it’s occurring regularly but it holds people in a state of bondage because if their mind is not illuminated by the Word of God death is something to be feared, death is something to be dreaded, death is something that causes great anxiety because of the unknown commodity of it. What exactly happens on the other side? May I just say to you that if you are “in Christ” today the fear of death is gone. Jesus, in John 11:25-26 says, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, [26] and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” Oh, maybe you’ll die physically, maybe not if we’re the rapture generation, but even if you die physically what does the apostle Paul say? “Absent from the body is to be” what? “present with the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:8, did you know that the Apostle Paul had no fear of death at all. [2 Corinthians 5:8, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”] Now this is a guy that was almost killed multiple times, as we study the book of Acts. And he was able to put himself in harmful situation after harmful situation to expand God’s purposes upon the earth because the man literally had no fear of death.

In fact, quite humorously (I think) in the book of Philippians, chapter 1, verses 21-23 Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is” what? “gain. [22] But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. [23] But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.”

Paul says you know, I’m a little bit bothered by this whole thing; if I had my way I would just check out. I’d rather die and go be with Christ which is far better, but for your sake, you Philippians, I’m stuck in this body, serving you, because God is using me to bless you. And so he almost blames the Philippians for cheating him of the joy of death. And that’s why you’re not dead yet. You’re not dead yet, I’m not dead yet because God has something He wants to bring forth through our lives in terms of service to somebody else. But the moment that is accomplished it’s far better to die and be with Christ for that is much better.

There is a sixth reason why God became man, number 6, to become our merciful and sympathetic high priest. Notice, if you will, chapter 2, verses 16-17. “For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham. [17] Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that he might become” watch this, “a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.” Why did God have to become a man? To become our merciful and sympathetic high priest.

Well, what’s a priest exactly? A priest is a representative; a priest is someone who represents us before God and God before us. What makes Jesus such a sympathetic and merciful high priest? The short answer to that is He became one of us. The moment humanity was added alongside eternally existent deity, the moment He was born into the world through the virgin birth and the moment He began to live as a man is the moment He was subjected to all of the limitations that beset us so regularly. The only exception was He never sinned, although He was tempted to sin.

When we pray to Jesus Christ what you have to understand is you are praying to someone who has stood in your shoes. Oh God, You just don’t understand what I’m going thru. Nonsense! God understands all of it because He became one of us and went through the identical limitations.

What do the Gospels tell us? Jesus was involved in labor and there I’m using the term of working with your hands; He was blue collar. He was the son of a carpenter, Mark 6:3. [Mark 6:3, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at Him.”] He knew what it was like to eke out a living. He understood financial limitations. He understood what it was like to come home at the end of the day and be so tired all you can do is pass out. He knew what distress was like, Luke 24:44. [Luke 24:44, “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Is your heart troubled today? Jesus experienced trouble Himself in his heart, John 12:27. He knew what it was like to be thirsty, hungry and tired. John 19:28; Matthew 4:2, John 4:6. [John 12:27, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” John 19:28, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’” Matthew 4:2, “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.” John 4:6, “and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”]

He even knew what it was like to lose a friend through death. He knew what sadness was like. He knew what it was like to shed tears. He knew what it was like to weep. John 11:35. [John 11:35, “Jesus wept.”] He knew what it was like to experience temptations. And in fact, Jesus has been tempted to points that we will never face because the devil took Him, in the wilderness, through those three temptations, if you understand them correctly, and He pushed Jesus to the furthest degree in temptation that a human has ever been pushed.

Are you ever frustrated with life because you can’t figure things out? Are you ever frustrated because something has happened in your life and you don’t understand why and the question marks swirl in your mind? Jesus understood that, He didn’t know everything in His humanity. He knew everything in His deity but not in His humanity. In fact, Matthew 24;36 says He didn’t even know when He was coming back. Harold Camping knows but not Jesus. [Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”]

See, He’s grappled the finitudes of humanity; He knows what it’s like. What does all of this mean? He can relate to us. When you come to Jesus with your problems He doesn’t just have an intellectual knowledge of your problems; He has an experiential knowledge of your problems. He is not a disinterested cold deity. He is someone who has actually lived in our place.

To my knowledge this concept of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ emanating from His humanity is a concept you will not find in any other religion of the world. You’re only going to find it in Christianity because Christianity is unique in its teaching of the incarnate Son of God. In Islam did Allah do any such thing? Of course not. How different Jesus is.

The author in the book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verses 15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. [16] Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Are you in need? Guess what’s available to you… “the throne of grace.” What is grace? It’s unmerited favor that Christ can’t wait to bestow upon you. And He can sympathize with you in your weaknesses, having sympathized with us by becoming one of us.

You’ll notice in verse 16 the reference again to angels, the writer says what angel has ever done such a thing as the incarnate Son of God. [Hebrews 2:16, “For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.”] I played basketball, my short size I realize gives me away. I played basketball from seventh grade all the way through my senior year in college and during all of those years I always had two kinds of coaches; I had some coaches that had never played the game themselves; I had other coaches that had played. And what a coach does is he gets in your face and he says you’ve got to work harder, you’ve got to push yourself, you’ve got to push past the pain that you’re in, you’ve got lift weights, you’ve got to run, you’ve got to work out. And as you’re going through the basic pain that you go through as an athlete, which coach had my respect? Not the one that had never played; what would he know about it, having never experienced it himself. But the coach that had played had my respect because he wasn’t telling me to do something that he himself had not already gone through.

There is a seventh reason why God became man; number 7, to make a complete purification for our sins. Notice verse 17, actually the second part of verse 17, “to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” What is propitiation? Propitiation means the cross has pacified, appeased and placated God’s anger against sin to such an extent that His anger is diverted from us. Propitiation simply means the wrath of God against me, because of my sin, has been satisfied. This is a wonderful word that is frequent in the Scripture, 1 John 2:2, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Romans 3:25, “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness…” and so forth.

What does all of this mean? God is not mad anymore; His anger against sin has been satisfied by what Jesus did. The only attribute that He can express towards you is love. Everything that comes into your life is not coming into your life because of anger; it’s coming in because of love. Sometimes we misinterpret it as anger but “whom the Lord loves the Lord” what? “disciplines.”
[Hebrews 12:6, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines….”]

Discipline is not anger; discipline is love. Discipline is designed to not make us bitter but to make us better. Because of propitiation everything that happens to you is a manifestation or an emanation of God’s love towards you. Why? Because the wrath of God has been satiated, propitiation. This is why Jesus, in His final words on the cross says, John 19:30, “It is” what? “finished.” Titus 2;14, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed….” Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.”

This is the difference here between Christianity and religion. Religion says God did most of it but you kick in your part. Well, what’s my part? Pay, pray and obey—God did His part, you do your part. Believing that will send you into hell. Believing that causes you to miss the grace of God. How different biblical Christianity is, at the bottom of the screen where it says Jesus did everything and I simply receive what He did as a free gift.

You know, you get into the Old Testament and you look at that Levitical system, that’s the Tabernacle, that’s the Mercy Seat inside the Holy of Holies, you know what God said about that whole system that He gave? He said in Psalm 40:6 I’m not satisfied with this system, I gave it but I’m not satisfied with it. [Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.”]

Why was God not satisfied with it? Because it pointed to something greater that’s coming, because this system could not permanently eradicate the sin problem. The only thing it could do is to “kick the can” down the road a year, and that’s what we call the day of atonement; when the blood was applied to the mercy seat, Leviticus 16, on the day of atonement by the high priest the only thing that happened is that God’s anger against sin was pushed down the road for one year, till they did the whole thing again. And that’s why there’s so much repetition in this system, animal sacrifices on and on and on, year after year. And how different the words of Christ are, who said, “It is finished!”

I have a lot of students that have student loans, and I said try this example on, see if this will work: you graduate from our college, you’ve got student loans, you can’t pay the loan back in a year, it’s due. You go to the bank, basically pleading, and they give you one year of grace. Another year comes and goes and you still can’t pay the loan back and you go back begging and pleading to the loaning institution and they say okay, we’ll give you grace for another year. And then the third year comes and this happens, and the fourth year comes and this happens, and this goes on and on and on and on. That was the Mosaic Law and Levitical system.

But one day you go to the bank and the banker says you know what, let’s do something a little different this year; instead of giving you another year grace period do you mind if we just pretended like you never borrowed the money at all; would that bother you? NO! That’s grace. Oh, and something else I wanted to bring to your attention, we had a great year here at the bank, we have an extra trillion dollars in our assets and if you don’t mind, I would just like to transfer that to your account. Do you mind if I do that? That’s Ephesians 1:3, where we have been blessed with every blessing in the spiritual places. [Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”]

Not only has the note of indebtedness been cancelled but we have been lavished with unfathomable riches in grace. None of it could have happened without the incarnation. This last one I’ll do very quickly because it repeats a point we made in number 6, to sympathize with those tested, verse 18, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

You go to Jesus Christ in your private prayer life and you describe your temptations to Him. You describe your heartaches to Him. You describe your disappointments to Him. And what does He become to us? Sympathetic! Why is that? Because as a man, thanks to the virgin conception, He experienced all of those things Himself, yet without sin. Christ doesn’t just have an intellectual understanding of our weaknesses and shortcomings; He has an experiential understanding.

Why did God become man? What’s Christmas about? To restore God’s original purpose for man, to taste death for every man, to bring many sons and daughters to glory, to break Satan’s rule over the human race, to remove the fear of death, to become our merciful and sympathetic high priest, to make a complete purification for sin, to sympathize with those being tested. Let’s do something this Christmas season, shall we? Let’s keep Christ in our Christmas. Let’s focus on what the whole thing, the birthday of Jesus, is all about. And perhaps you’re here visiting today and you may not even know Jesus personally. Our answer to that is the gospel; the gospel simply means good news, because as I have described Jesus did everything in our place. It is finished! You say well, what am I supposed to do? John 6:28-29 tells you what you’re supposed to do. This is the work you are to do which is to believe. [John 6:28-29, “Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ [29] Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”]

That’s it? That’s it! Believe is another way of saying trust, it’s another way of saying rely upon, it’s another way of saying dependence upon, it’s another way of saying having confidence in, it is a personal decision between you and God as the Spirit of God places you under conviction of your need to trust in what Jesus has done on the cross. It’s something you can do right now as I’m talking. It’s not something you need to raise a hand to do, walk an aisle to do, join a church to do, give money to do, make new year’s resolutions to do. It’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where you respond by faith to what Jesus has done. If that’s something that you have done or something that you are doing you have just altered your eternal destiny. That’s the gospel; that’s good news. If it’s something you need more teaching or information on I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray. Father, forgive us for our short-shortsightedness and how we so easily become wrapped up in things that don’t matter. Help us this Christmas season to be fixated on what You have accomplished as a direct result of the virgin conception. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said… Amen.