The Supremacy of God
Our scriptures today point us to the fact that Jesus is Supreme. Join as as we learn about what that means.
October 8, 2023
“THE SUPREMACY OF GOD”
by Ben Caldwell
Hebrews 1:1-3 says:
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV
Our passage for today is found in John; John 3:22 please turn there in your Bibles.
Our passage in John and this passage that I just read to you out of Hebrews both point us to the fact that Jesus is supreme. Sometimes when we think about God, we envision a God who is great! But we often picture a person who is really powerful. We don’t understand that God is… not just more powerful than us. But the Bible points us toward the superlative. God is the greatest; he out-paces any other because He is limitless. I once heard John Piper talking about the supremacy of God. These are the points he made:
“My prayer is that you will know… that you will press on to know the supremacy of Christ.
Supremacy of his deity
-equal with God the Father in all of his attributes
-The radiance of his glory and the exact image of his nature.
Supremacy of his eternality
-that makes the mind want to explode with the imponderable thought that Jesus Christ never had a beginning;
-he is simply there.
-all the galaxies are fragile, contingent, like a shadow in comparison to the substance of Jesus Christ.
Supremacy of his never changing constancy
-virtues that never change!
-Character whose commitment is constant, yesterday, today, and forever.
Supremacy of his knowledge
-makes the Library of Congress look like a match box.
-And makes all the information on the internet look like a 1940’s Farmer’s almanac
-makes all of quantum physics and everything that Steven Hawking has ever dreamed look like a first grade reader
Supremacy of HIS wisdom
-that has never been perplexed by any problem whatsoever.
-Nor can he be counseled by any person or any being in the universe.
Supremacy of his authority
-All authority is Mine in heaven and on earth and under the earth…
-Removing kings, setting up kings, doing according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.’
-No one can stay his hand or say to him what have you done?
Supremacy of his providence
-Without which no bird in the Amazon forest… has ever fallen from any limb. -without which not one hair on anyone’s head has ever turned white or black.
Supremacy of His word
-that is: His power… which upholds the universe by [supporting] all the galaxies, molecules, atoms, and subatomic reality, nobody has every yet dreamed of, down there where no one has yet looked.
-power to walk on water,
-to cleanse the leaper
-heal the lame
-open the eyes of the blind
-open the ears of the deaf
-cause storms to cease
-use two words to raise the dead “Lazarus, come forth.”
Or one word to raise the dead…. “I say to you: LIVE!”
Supremacy of his purity
-He never sinned
-He never had one millisecond of a bad attitude or sinful lust.
Supremacy of his trustworthiness
-He never breaks a promise
-He always keeps his word absolutely without fail.
Supremacy of His justice
-He will render all accounts settled in the end, in the universe either on the cross or in Hell.
-No injustice will remain when Christ is finished with his supreme justice.
Supremacy of his patience
-He has endured you and me for decades
-He has endured this city and brings the sun.
-He makes paradise rise in the sky
And Piper was just getting started. This is just a small sample from a whole sermon on God’s supremacy.
Let’s take a look at John 3:22 and following. It says:
“After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.”
John 3:22 NIV
Jesus withdrew to countryside and just “spent some time” with the disciples. -There is a kind of love and intimacy to their relationships.
-They were out of town getting to know each other.
Then this verse brings up a second issue. And that is that Jesus was baptizing. What did that baptism look like?
-It was certainly not the way we do baptism, in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus… because that hasn’t happened yet.
-It must have looked like John the Baptist’s version of baptism and it probably looked a lot like ceremonial washing… making yourself clean as you seek a proper relationship with God.
“Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.””
John 3:23-26 NIV
John and Jesus are baptizing in the same area.
-it leads John’s disciples to think about Jesus
-They are jealous for John
-That Jesus guy that you testified about is taking all our people!
-The folks are going to him instead of staying here to hear what you have to say.
-John isn’t jealous at all
“To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
John 3:27-36 NIV
THE SUPREMACY OF GOD:
JESUS MUST BECOME GREATER, WE MUST BECOME LESS
An author and Christian Counselor, Mitch Marlowe said, “John’s statement is quite profound. It is the truth of the gospel. You and I could learn much from this attitude and idea. Christ must become greater. You and I must become less.” And the real question is how do we do that?
“He must become greater; I must become less.””
John 3:30 NIV
We have been talking about this in our study of Romans.
-We are sinful people.
-The very nature of our being is sinful
-every part of our existence pulls us away from God
But through what Jesus did for us on the cross and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit given to us when we trust the things Jesus tells us…
-We are not bound by our sin.
-We are forgiven and made new.
-We are given the ability to live more under the guidance, power, and influence of the Holy Spirit.
John uses the example of a wedding. I think we all know how they work: The pastor is at the front, then maybe the groom comes in. The attendants process in. A cute little flower girl, maybe a handsome little ring bearer comes down the isle. Then the bride and the Father of the bride. He gives her away. The ceremony begins. And we come to the part in the wedding where the pastor says “Place your ring on the bride’s left hand and repeat after me. What if the Best Man started trying to steal all the attention… Men, how would you respond to that guy? Or what if the maid of honor took the bride’s bouquet, straightened the bride’s dress. And then started acting like everyone was there to see her? What if she started taking selfies in the middle of the ceremony or held up the reception, because she was busy talking to someone. That would be nuts, but brides what would you do? That kind of behavior would totally undermine what the ceremony and reception are all about. I think I would be mad, outraged at the audacity of those crazy people to think that the ceremony was all about them!
How must God feel about us? But that is exactly John’s point. This world and our sinful nature whispers to us:
-You are the star of the show.
-Do whatever you have to do to be happy!
-Life is really all about your wants and desires and fulfillment!”
BUT THAT IS NOT HOW GOD SEES IT:
Colossians 1:16 says:
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
Colossians 1:16 NIV
According to this verse, why were you created?
-You were created FOR God.
-In John’s illustration, the attention is appropriately placed on the groom… who is Jesus.
-It is our job to decrease, to step out of the way and help turn attention to Jesus.
-If everything was created through Him and FOR Him, then that’s my job and your job and everyone’s job to get out of the way!
The Westminster Shorter Catechism says it like this: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. So what should that look like in our lives?
Mitch Marlowe says: If you want to have the mindset of John the Baptist and allow Christ to become greater and you to become less, understand who Jesus is, forgive as you have been forgiven, love as you have been loved, become a student of God’s word, and spend time with Him in prayer.
I don’t think it is really that easy! If we are going to be real… completely honest.
The idea is to exalt Christ and not myself.
-Can I really say that I do that?
-I mean what about my self esteem? -Aren’t we supposed to love ourselves? -And frankly, I want others to love me. -And I don’t like it when people don’t love me.
-I find myself wanting Jesus to increase and for me to increase personally, financially, physically, and socially.
-I want to increase with HIM, because I am HIS servant.
But that isn’t what we are supposed to be about…Scripture says…
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
James 4:4-10 NIV
Does this mean that we should go around crying all the time? No.
-It is saying “Do whatever you have to do to submit yourself to what God wants, no matter what it is.
-Even if it makes you cry in this life, because that is how you will be exalted and raised up by God either in this life or in the next.
-Don’t worry about your finances
-Don’t worry about your self-esteem
-Don’t worry about whether or not people love you.
-Get busy asking God what He wants and do that.
-Pray that He increases in your life and that you decrease!
I suspect that there are some of you who are like me. You want to increase and you are tempted to follow Jesus to improve your quality of life.
-We need to forget that thinking.
-We need to get crazy about our God. -Stop praying for God to increase you.
-If God says sell the house you love and move to a trailer in the Ozarks to tell people about me, then that is what you should do.
-If He says you and your spouse take a young couple out to dinner and ask them about their lives, do it!
-If He says start a Bible study in your home, then do it. If He says give money to the church or volunteer for something or sing in the Christmas choir. Do it. -Humble yourself and become a radical follower of Christ.
-Let Him increase and yourself decrease!!!
-Pray that people will forget you and be drawn to HIM.
Jesus said: ““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Matthew 6:24 NIV
The real question on the table is:
-Do you believe that God is supreme? Or not.
-Do you trust what God has told us?
-Is your life reflecting what God says in His word, even if it seems difficult or scary?