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Christ Preeminent (His Session) 4/24/2022 Where are they...

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Christ Preeminent (His Session) 4/24/2022 Where are they now? Sometimes people ask this question of stars of yesteryear. Whether it me stars of the screen, the gridiron, or politics we are fascinated by people who once occupied the limelight but faded into relative obscurity. Sometimes, it turns out some former luminaries are doing normal people things— Working on a ranch Truck Driving Running a Small Business Uber Driver Practicing Law What about Jesus? Where is he now? Last week we celebrated Easter and the miracle of the bodily resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ. We all love and get excited about the resurrection—for good reason—but we can act like his resurrection is the end of the story and we have just to wait for his Second Coming. 1

But where is he now? He is in heaven—we know this because this is what we read in Acts 1, [9] And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. [10] And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, [11] and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9–11 Okay. He is in heaven, but what is he doing? That is what we are going to explore today—we are going to try and answer the question: What is Jesus doing today? He is sitting down. And it is incredibly important that he is sitting down. Him taking a seat means that some of his tasks are done and others are ongoing. We are going to see why it should be of great comfort to us that our Savior-King is seated in heaven. In this series we’ve entitled Christ Preeminent we have noted that Jesus is preeminent in his 2

Coming Living Dying Rising Sitting Hebrews. One day we will preach through this book—but today we going to note the fact that Jesus is seated and explore the significance of that posture. PROP: Take heart—your Savior King is still seated.

[1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. [3] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, [4] having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Hebrews 1:1–4 PRAY PROP: Take heart—your Savior King is still seated.

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Why is he seated? 1. Jesus has ALREADY made purification— After making purification for sins, he sat down “Purification” is a common OT word here. The writer to the Hebrews begins his book here telling us that Jesus made purification for sins. Purification for sins is what priests did in the Old Testament. From the jump, the writer to the Hebrews wants us to understand that Jesus is the last priest. We see this kind of language in Leviticus—I’ll show you an example: “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, [28] or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. [29] And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. [30] And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. [31] And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. Leviticus 4:27–31 4

THAT is purification in the OT. In chapters 4 – 6, we hear the following refrain, “If anyone sins….” 9 times. If anyone sins— -

By breaking a command unintentionally. By breaking a command intentionally. By wronging his neighbor. In any way or form

ANYTIME someone sins--the offender was to bring an animal to the priest, kill it and he/she would be forgiven. Do you see the problem? The people are forever sinning and going to the priests with animals to kill so that they might be forgiven. And the priests are working like dogs. Actually way harder than dogs. Dogs don’t work—they just cause trouble and sleep a lot. At least that is what mine do. They priests are working harder than bees. Constantly moving, killing, pouring, and atoning. It was the ultimate in job security because the nation was constantly sinning. There were no breaks or priest’s lounge for the priests to cool their heels.

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Most significantly, in the tabernacle and then the temple there were no chairs to sit down. Later in Hebrews the writer summed up the matter well— “Every priest stands daily at his service offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.” Hebrews 10:11 But when we peek at Jesus here in Hebrews 1, he is seated. Why? His priestly sacrificial work was completed. He was the first priest who offered the sacrifice to end all sacrifices—himself. Now, there is no other sacrifice for sins necessary. Jesus can sit down. One writer says, “After his sacrifice was offered and accepted, he did what no other priest serving in the tabernacle had done before. He pulled up a chair and sat down.” Take heart—your Savior King is still seated. We Christians need to remember that our Savior-King has been sacrificed for our sins, and there is nothing else required. Jesus is seated.

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Practically this means if you have trusted Jesus, when you sin (and you WILL sin), nothing but repentance is required of you. Nothing but confession and repentance. Sometimes we want to make ourselves feel better by dwelling on our heinous actions as a way of self-atonement, but that is not necessary. You do not have to internally beat yourself up—why? Jesus was beaten up for your sin. You don’t have to hate yourself—why? Jesus was hated for your sin. You don’t have to berate yourself—why? Jesus was berated for your sin. You don’t have to internally beat yourself—why? Jesus was beaten for your sin. You don’t have to metaphorically kill yourself—why? Jesus was killed for your sin. It is not that your sin is no big deal—it is—it killed our Lord. It is that there is no additional sacrifice required from you. Just repentance. Why? Jesus is sitting down. Jesus has ALREADY made purification. He is sitting down. There is no sacrifice left. No reason to stand up.

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But he is sitting for another reason— 2. Jesus has ALL Authority— Jesus did not just sit in any old chair. Michael didn’t pull out a folding chair from the closet and say, “You’ve been through a lot, have a seat.” The writer to the Hebrews says, After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, He sat at the right hand. That means he was given a throne—at the right hand of God—which is to say he shares the throne with God, actively controlling all things. Let me show you. Remember, in the NT, we are just told that Jesus ascended and there are references like this one here in Hebrews 1, that Jesus is at the right hand of God. 500 years before, Daniel saw a vision which turned out to be the Son’s coronation—

[13] “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. [14] And to him was given dominion 8

and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13–14

So, when Hebrews 1 says that Jesus was seated at the right hand of Majesty on high—we find that this is his ascendency to ultimate authority—over the entire created order. Hebrews presents Jesus as Priest but also a King. He is a king who is seated on the throne and his kingdom is one that shall not ever be destroyed. What is he doing now? He is sitting and waiting. Waiting for what? And we also know the location by the most quoted Psalm in the NT, 110: [1] The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110:1

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A footstool. What does that mean? Ancient Mesopotamian pictures and sculptures often show a conquering king to be grandly holding court with his foot on the neck or head of a defeated and humiliated foe. In other words, the opposing power was so defeated that the king could decide to use the defeated king as a footrest. Here is a picture of a sculpture.

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Right now, Jesus is waiting. And it is because he is gracious and merciful that he is waiting—any of his enemies will be destroyed. It is a picture of complete destruction. Are you his enemy? Any who do not willing submit to the Savior-king will be destroyed. His enemy is anyone who does not love and serve him. It is not enough just to do good things for Jesus—you must love him. It is also not enough to just say you love him, you must also serve him with your life. If you do not love him and serve him you are not acknowledging his authority. He has authority over all of us because he created all things—even us. He has the right to demand allegiance, but instead he offers mercy and grace to those who come and willing bow before him. Will you bow? Don’t delude yourself—if you clash with Jesus you will lose. He will make you his footstool. I don’t want any of you to suffer that fate. He doesn’t want to step on you—but he will—if you remain his enemy. This is also a comfort to those of us who have enemies because we are Christians. Sometimes we are going to be hated in this world 11

just because we love Jesus. We can see that our enemies, though they seem to get away with everything—are really getting away with nothing. One day—if they do not repent—they will be made a footstool under Jesus. Jesus has a kingdom that cannot be destroyed—AND ALSO—he will subdue all of his enemies. So, what have we seen? We can take heart, He is seated— There is NO sacrifice for sins left or necessary—Jesus ALREADY made purification. ALSO Jesus has ALL authority—he is ruling right now. Lastly, 3. Jesus is ALWAYS Representing Us— [1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things,

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The Father has spoken and continues to speak through his Son. The message of reconciliation and forgiveness has been echoing forth from the empty tomb now for centuries. Where at one time, the way to God was barred shut to sinners like me—now the way is open through the blood sacrifice of the Son of God. And now he is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. But—you might say—that is great and all for Jesus. It sounds good that he is the heir of all things—but we are supposed to take heart because our Savior-King is seated: How? [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—[6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4–7 Have you ever wondered how Paul could say that we are seated in the heavenly places? I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t feel seated in the heavenly places. I woke up this morning and hit snooze a couple of times, I sure didn’t feel like I was in heaven. I felt like I had a little bit of headache and needed a cup of coffee.

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Do you feel raised up with him and seated in heaven with Jesus? - When you get the news your rent is going up…again? No. - When you your baby refuses to sleep through the night…again? No. - When you can’t sleep and you feel like you are losing your grip on sanity? No. - When you are walking through the valley of the shadow of chemo? No. - When you get the news you are laid off? No. - When you have to fight to keep your mind out of the gutter? No. - When you are an empty nester and can’t find your purpose? No. We never FEEL raised up with him and seated in heaven with Jesus. BUT when we read, After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… When we read that he sat down—we can take great comfort. When he sat down we sat down with him. Let me see if I can explain this a little better so that it makes a bit more sense— The most common way the NT describes Christians is NOT: - Christians - Believers - Followers 14

- Disciples - Christ followers But as those who are “in Christ.” That little two word description—IN CHRIST—should bring us GREAT confidence. Do you remember a few weeks ago when we looked at Romans 5 and saw that everyone is either IN ADAM or IN CHRIST? All are represented by either Jesus or Adam. Christians, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ you are in Christ. That means: When we hear that Jesus died for our sins—we can know that we are dead to our sins. When we hear that Jesus has risen from the dead—we can know we are brought from death to life. When we hear that Jesus has ascended to heaven—we can know we have ascended in him. When we hear that Jesus has been seated in heaven—we can know we are seated with him. What sense does that make? Jesus is our trailblazer. He has opened a way to God—we will not taste the substance of death because Jesus has disarmed death by 15

rising. BUT ALSO, we can know that where he is we will one day be there also. How sure are we of this? So sure that the NT writers can say where he is we already are. He is seated in heaven at the right hand of God most high. And we are seated with him. NOW. Do you see why it matters that Jesus rose AND ascended to be seated at the right hand of God? If he just rose and wandered around between this realm and the heavenly realm that would be odd and not very comforting. He is here, he is there, he is everywhere, he is nowhere. BUT because he is raised and seated—we are now permanently united to him. Now and forever. There is no possibility of any separation. Why? Because of what Jesus is doing now—seated and enthroned in heaven. This is yet another reason that we MUST look away from ourselves. -

Our fledging faith Our weak constitutions Our countless temptations Our weighty trials 16

- Our pesky sin patterns If you think, “Man this guy is always talking about looking to Jesus—he is like a broken record.” Yes. Exactly. The NT is a broken record—look to Jesus the author and perfector of your faith. He is seated in heavenly glory RIGHT NOW. You will be too. Oh wait. You are now. We can take heart—we must take heart. He is seated— - No sacrifice for sin left - All authority is his - He is always our representative We can take heart—we must take heart. Jesus the conqueror of all our sin—has triumphed—and is seated. Jesus the king of the universe—has triumphed—and is seated. Jesus our GREAT representative—has triumphed—and is seated. We can take heart—we must take heart. 17

One of the reasons I don’t take heart—we don’t take heart is that we apt to look all over the place and not to Jesus seated on the throne. Look away from— -

Your remaining sin—and see your savior seated. Your angst over politics—and see your savior seated. Your fear over tomorrow—and see your savior seated. Your dreams—and see your savior seated. Your confused identity—and see your savior seated. Your skills & reputation—and see your savior seated. Your weakness—and see your savior seated. Your confidence and self-sufficiency—and see your savior seated.

Take heart friends—Jesus is seated. PRAY

[20] Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20–21

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