Sermon:  Our Champion

Summary:  Jesus is our champion in engaging in the conflicts and challenges of life.  
The only way he could become our champion was through becoming fully human yet 
divine, experience solidarity with us by living life as one of us, and to die for us 
and therefore defeat death on our behalf.  Since Jesus is our champion, we can take 
strong encouragement, knowing that we follow a captain who has blazed a trail to 
victory.

Know:  Jesus became fully human, yet was still fully divine, so that he could enter 
our world as one of us, defeat death, and bring us back to God.

Feel:  Encouragement, knowing that Jesus has already overcome, we just need to follow

Do:  Discuss the importance of the doctrine of the humanity of Christ and its 
implications for the Christian faith.  List reasons why this is a central tenant of 
the Christian faith and deviations are serious heresy.  Identify ways this teaching 
might help to strengthen Christian faithfulness.  

Text:  Heb 2:10-18

Scripture Reading:  1 Tim 2:3-6

Intro:
1.  Used to love super hero comics and cartoons 
	a.  Justice League, Ragman, Blue Falcon, Hong Kong Phooey
	b.  People drawn to heroes and champions
		- Not just because they have smooth voices and cool outfits
		- They have power and stand for what is good
	c.  Sometimes, things seem hopeless, so we hope for a hero
2.  Wouldn't you like to have a hero?
	a.  Someone that can ultimately rescue you from evil?
	b.  Someone who can stand up for justice and truth?
	c.  Someone who is powerful enough to do so?
3.  This morning's text is about a champion (Heb 2:10-18)
	a.  v.10 - Word used is "archegos"
	b.  Translated variously as: author, pioneer, trailblazer, leader, captain, 
	     champion 
	c.  Word used of heroes who deliver people from enemies
	d.  Same word used of Hercules - He was a "champion"
4.  Passage is talking about Jesus as our champion
	a.  All of us were sorely in need of a champion to rescue us
	b.  So, Jesus came to be that champion
	c.  How is Jesus our Champion?  Several ways...

I.  Incarnation
	A.  Chapter one emphasized his divinity, two emphasizes his humanity
		1.  Chapter one declares in many ways the Jesus is God
		2.  It says that he is the victor and is crowned with glory and honor
		3.  But first, he was made for a little time lower than the angels
	B.  Let's talk about the importance of the incarnation
		1.  What is the incarnation?
			a.  First of all, Jesus existed before
				- Chapter one says he created the world
				- Says of him, "Your throne is forever"
				- Agrees with rest of scripture
			b.  Second, Jesus became fully human
				- v.14 - Shared in our flesh and blood
				- Jn 1:14 - Word became "flesh"
					= Not just say he became human
					= Flesh is word philosophers used to talk about 
					   weakness of human nature
		2.  Cardinal doctrine
			a.  (1 Jn 4:1-3) - Those who deny it are anti-Christs
			b.  (2 Jn 7-11) - Not even to accept them into home
			c.  It is serious business
		3.  Early Church history dealt with various heresies of this
			a.  One was called "Docetism," from Greek dokeo, "to seem"
			b.  Basically, Jesus not really human, only "seemed" to be
			c.  Taught that He was fully God, but not fully human
			d.  Rightly denounced as heresy, church articulated 
			      incarnation in clear statements 
		4.  Bible teaches that Jesus became "flesh" was human
			a.  Some are uncomfortable with his humanity
			b.  Some accept divinity, but not humanity
	C.  ILL:  Excerpt from book, God Came Near 
"The Omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl. God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created. God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother. God had come near. He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty. No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla. Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts. Angels watched as Mary changed God's diaper. The universe watched with wonder as The Almighty learned to walk. Children played in the street with him. And had the synagogue leader in Nazareth known who was listening to his sermons... Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone-deaf. Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on him or vice versa. It could be that his knees were bony. One thing's for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached. To think of Jesus in such a light isówell, it seems almost irreverent, doesn't it? It's not something we like to do; it's uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer. He's easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable. But don't do it. For heaven's sake, don't. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.
D. Jesus was fully divine AND fully human 1. Bible declares this a cardinal doctrine 2. Our champion had to become one of us to be our champion 3. Brings us to our next point II. Solidarity A. Through his incarnation, Jesus demonstrated solidarity with us B. Look at how the text shows his solidarity with us, became one of us 1. First part of chapter - (Heb 2:6-7) a. Ps 4:8f - Originally talking about mankind - Made man a little lower than the angels - Exalted above the creature, to have dominion b. Here it is applied to Jesus - He became human - He ALSO is made a little lower than angels c. He participated in humanity 2. (v.11) - We are all from one, not ashamed to call us brethren a. All from one, Greek text not say one what? - Literally, it says "are all from one," - Does not supply an object - One what? b. Could be one Father, as many versions have it c. Or could be from one human nature - In other words, Jesus shared in the human nature - Fits with context - Jesus shared our human nature 3. Quotes from scriptures a. V.12 quotes from Psalm 22, considered to be Messianic - Ps 22:1 - Jesus quoted at crucifixioin - Details fit the crucifixion = (Ps 22:6-8) - People antagonized Him = (Ps 22:16-17) - Pierced hands and feet = (Ps 22:18) - Divide, cast lots for garments - Later part of Psalm declaration trust for deliverance = God will not abandon him = God will deliver him - (Ps 22:22) = Will proclaim name to "my brethren" = Jesus refers to "my brethren" = These are not just strangers, but his family b. Similar thing in v.13, from Isaiah 8:17-18 - Messianic passage - Is 8:14 - Refers to him as a rock to strike and a stone to stumble over - 1 Pet 2:8 quotes it - Then in v.18, the Children whom God gave me - Once again refers to us as family c. Point of these scriptures - Jesus considers us his family - We are not just people 3. (Heb 2:14) - Shared in flesh and blood a. "Shared" means to "participate in" b. Jesus not a savior from a distance c. Became a participant in our humanity C. ILL: What we are talking about is fellowship 1. We often get the wrong idea about what fellowship is a. Often think of fellowship as good times b. Fun activities and things of that nature c. Paul speaks of the fellowship of his sufferings 2. But it goes deeper than this a. Paul speaks of the fellowship of his sufferings b. Means to be a participant together 3. This kind of fellowship is much deeper a. Remember first year at camp - shared joys and hardships, that was fellowship b. Remember basic training and advanced training - Shared common goals, suffer together - Persevered together - That was fellowship c. If participate in scouting camp out, same thing 4. Jesus participated intimately in our humanity a. Shared suffering, temptations, challenges with us b. Truly became one of us c. Truly shared/participated/fellowship in flesh and blood D. This solidarity is very important 1. Jesus is not some distant savior who not relate to us 2. He became one of us 3. The only way he could be our champion and save us was become one of us 4. Brings us to our final point III. Perfection A. Was fitting to "perfect" the champion of our salvation through suffering 1. This mean Jesus was imperfect? 2. Not in the moral sense 3. Later, it says he was tempted, yet did not sin - 4:15 4. Only imperfect in the functional sense B. It was necessary for Jesus to become fully human to save us 1. v.17 - He "had" to be made like his brethren in all things a. Why? To become a merciful, faithful High Priest b. v.18 - To come to the aid of those tempted c. He knows intimately, and he knows what we need d. But it is more than just empathy 2. (v.14-15) - He rendered Satan powerless a. Satan used to have the power of death, through sin b. But Jesus did what for sin? Died on the cross - Only way for Jesus to die? - He had to become truly human c. Freed those who enslaved to fear of death - In Christ, death is just a transition - Worst that someone can do, kill you, go be with Lord d. Jesus promised life - Jn 10 - I have come that they may have life - Jn 11 - I am the resurrection and the life - He who believed in me will live even if he dies 3. Only way for Jesus to do this was through becoming human 4. (1 Tim 2:5) - One mediator, the "man" Christ Jesus a. Jesus needs to have experienced both sides of the gulf between man and God b. Had to be God, and also to be a man c. Only way to bridge gap was by becoming human & die d. In this way he became a perfect mediator, champion, captain, leader, trailblazer C. ILL: Elisabeth Elliot, missionary in jungles of South America, story 1. On a trip by foot with a native 2. Came to a HUGE gorge, log across it, native walked across 3. She looked down, terrified, native already done it 4. Came back, led her by the hand across, he knows, because he did it D. That is what Jesus did 1. Deep gorge between us and God cause by sin 2. Jesus on God's side because he is God, on ours because he is man 3. As our champion, leader, trailblazer, made a way across 4. Now, he can lead us across back to God Concl: 1. Truly, Jesus is our champion 2. Through incarnation, so he can become one of us and deliver us (inv) 3. Jesus is not a green lieutenant with just book knowledge, but an experienced veteran who has defeated the enemy and displayed courage under fire 4. He has already determined the outcome, our place is to follow him ========================================= Small Group Notes: Our Champion Summary: Jesus is our champion in engaging in the conflicts and challenges of life. The only way he could become our champion was through becoming fully human yet divine, experience solidarity with us by living life as one of us, and to die for us and therefore defeat death on our behalf. Since Jesus is our champion, we can take strong encouragement, knowing that we follow a captain who has blazed a trail to victory. Open: (Choose one) - What is the most helpful act a brother or sister has ever done for you? - How would you describe the ideal brother or sister? Explore: (Heb 2:10-18) 1. In verse 10, it calls Jesus the author/leader/pioneer/captain/champion of our salvation. Describe how he was made a perfect one. 2. Why did humanity need a Jesus that was flesh and blood like us, and not just some angel? 3. What is significant about the fact that Jesus refers to us as "my brothers" or "my brethren?" What does this suggest about the nature of his relationship with us? 4. (1 Jn 4:1-3; 2 Jn 7-11) - What do these passages tell us about the doctrine of the incarnation? How important is it and why? (See also: 1 Tim 2:5) 5. Discuss how Jesus is each of these titles mentioned in this passage - "brother" (v.11), author/pioneer/captain of our salvation (v.10), high priest (v.17). Apply: 6. Of the titles used for Jesus in this passage, which is most encouraging to you and why? 7. What perspective does this passage give you on death? 8. Describe how this passage and its teaching on Christ is an encouragement to you, and how you might use it to encourage others. Prayer