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Thistletown Baptist Church

August 23, 2009

Not Ashamed to Call them Brothers

Hebrews 2:1-18 (ESV)

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. [2] For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, [3] how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, [4] while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

[5] Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. [6] It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,

or the son of man, that you care for him?

[7] You made him for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned him with glory and honor,

[8] putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. [9] But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

[10] For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. [11] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, [12] saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;

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 God has given me.”

[14] Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, [15] and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. [16] For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. [17] Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. [18] For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


1.This sermon is the result of beginning to read a book by Russell Moore … “Adopted for Life”. I have not yet read the whole thing but I was taken by a phrase in the book that Dr. Moore got from the Book of Hebrews 2:11 … .

2.In 1971 I moved in with the Russell family. My room mate was Stuart Russell and one of our favourite activities had to do with tormenting Stuart’s little brother, Erik. “Erik, go ask mom if you were adopted” 10-9-8-7-6-… “STUART!!” … Why was Stuart’s mother upset? Why is it an insult to tell someone he is adopted? “They’re not really his children …” …


a.Theme of the Book

b.Chapter 1&2

i.Ch. 1 – Jesus is better than the prophets as a voice of God – 1:1-3

ii.Better than angels – 1:4-2:9

Understanding who Jesus is, is crucial for understanding our adoption as sons into the family of God.

II  Whose brothers are we?


a.3:3 – greater than Moses

b.4:9 – the true Sabbath rest for the people of God

c.Greater than the priestly system, greater than the sacrifices offered by priests

d.Hebrews 13:20f

THIS is the One the writer to the Hebrews is talking about in Hebrews 2:11, who is not ashamed to call us brothers.

2.What is being said in Hebrews 2:11

a.2:10 – perfect through suffering – Jesus came into the world to be the perfect solution to the problem of our sin and its consequences

b.2:11 – Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers because He was here as a real human being. But Jesus was here as a sinless human being. He was here as a divine human being. But Jesus does not look at that. He looks at us and says – “I am in this with you”. He saddles up next to us and puts His arm around our shoulder and says “This is my brother”.

i.Dear ones – this Jesus of whom the Book of Hebrews speaks. This Jesus of whom we read in Col. 1:17-18, Phil. 2:5-9, Ephesians 1:20-22 … THIS Jesus is not ashamed to call those who are His – brothers. Hebrews 2:9

You can pick your friends but you’re stuck with your relatives. But even if you are stuck with them as relatives, you don’t have to let everyone know it. Do you have relatives you hope your friends never meet? Do you have cousins, brothers-in-law, parents that are just so embarrassing? What is it about them that makes you want to hide them in the attic? My mother had an uncle who she would not allow in the presence of her children – for our safety’s sake. Or maybe the old maid aunt who wears her clothes backwards and talks to imaginary friends, and hasn’t done housework since WWII ended. Or perhaps its just a relative who only calls when he needs money. Relatives can be so embarrassing.

III Who are Jesus’ Brothers?

1.If anyone has the right to hide His relatives from the world it is Jesus.

a.Our background is not too good – I Cor. 1:26-31, I Cor. 6:9-11. The pedigree is all wrong to not be ashamed of by our brother Jesus. Romans 5:8

b.Sometimes we look more like our natural family than the one God has adopted us into – Romans 7:15-24

IV How are we Christ’s Brothers?

1.Christians are part of the family of God by adoption.

a.Romans 8:15 (ESV) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

b.Romans 8:23 (ESV) And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

c.Galatians 4:5 (ESV) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

d.Ephes. 1:5 (ESV) he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

We are children of God through “birth” in one sense, but it is new birth and it is supernatural birth. We were not born as children of God. We were born in sin, strangers to God with a desire to do our own thing as opposed to God’s thing. We are the unadoptable children that orphanages and child placement services have difficulty finding homes for. We don’t fit the criteria for adoptable. We are too ill behaved, like the pre-teen who has been abused, has fetal alcohol syndrom and who acts out by pulling the whiskers off kittens and is untrustworthy around little girls. No one wants him. He is too hard, too dangerous, too old, too set in his ways and just plain too much effort. And if he ever was adopted it would be always pointed out to him that the reason he acts the way he does is because he’s not really a member of the family.

Maybe this is why we have such trouble with the whole concept of God saving by grace. We would never take an ill behaved, rude, disease ridden, disabled, uncontrollable child into our homes and we certainly wouldn’t give him our name and include him in the inheritance as a full son. And we don’t believe God would either. We impose our traits upon the Almighty. When God chose us, we say, it is because He saw something in us worth adopting, worth putting His name on, worth killing Jesus to get. He saw our faith, our faithfulness, our potential … . We dare not reach the biblical conclusion that God saw sin and disease and rebellion and hatefulness … and adopted us anyway. But that is what God did. He didn’t adopt us because of what we were. He adopted us because we were helpless and needy and loveless and doomed. He adopted us to rescue us from the world, from the devil, and from ourselves.

But note this. Our adoption is not to second class status. We have, as the NIV states it in Galatians 4:5 “the full right of sons”. How often do we see or hear people talking about children and adopted children as if those adopted were less than full children with all the rights of those born biologically into the family? This is not what God has done. He has adopted us as full sons. We are adopted and therefore we become children of God and as His children we have the full rights as first born sons to all the inheritance that all true sons possess – Col. 1:13 – God does not say “Only the sons born into the family by natural birth get the inheritance”.

2.He calls us brothers

a.Not brothers and sisters. Why aren’t the girls included? They are … . In fact, if he verse said “bothers and sisters” that would make the girls less than the boys in the family of God. It would mean that not all the children get the rights of sons. It would mean there is a boys inheritance and a girls inheritance. And in the culture in which the Bible was written the boys inheritance would be better – for girls got no inheritance at all. That is why it was so important that they get married. So if this verse said brothers and sisters it would be saying that the boys get something and the girls get nothing. But that is not what God has done in Christ. He calls us all brothers unashamedly because all – male/female, slave/free, Jew/Gentile all get all the inheritance. Thay are all brothers in the sense of first born sons. They all are co-heirs with Christ of the glorious inheritance of the saints.

3.Sons by adoption/brothers of Jesus Christ means:

a.that we have been lavished on with a great grace – I John 3:1 ..

b.that God treats us like true sons

i.Abba, Father – Romans 8:15

ii.Not as servants – See the Prodigal son … Luke 15:17-24; Galatians 4:4-6

iii.Discipline – Hebrews 12:5-11

iv.Inheritance – Rom. 8:16f

(1)The shared inheritance with Jesus Himself – Rom. 8:17

(2)An eternal inheritance – I Peter 1:3-5, Hebrews 9:15

(3)A glorious inheritance – Ephesians 1:11, 14, 18

(4)Identification – Romans 8:17

c.That we behave like family

i.I John 3:1-3

ii.Ephesians 5:5

V Closing Applications

1.The glorious privileges that God lavishes on people so that they have the right to be called sons of God and brothers of Jesus Christ is for believers only. Don’t leave here this morning basking in the wonders of Jesus calling you His brother, without shame, if you have never come to Him in faith for forgiveness of sin. If you are not trusting Christ He is indeed ashamed of you. You are not His brother. You are Hid enemy. You are of your father the devil. But that need not be the description that you carry from now on. You can know that Jesus is not ashamed to call you “brother” if you will turn from sin and submit yourself to Him.

2.We should be willing to make a connection between our adoption as sons by God into the glorious inheritance of the saints and the opportunities we have to bring unwanted, abused, abandoned children into – not just our homes – but into our lives as our children.