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May 21, 2017

"A WEIGHTY QUESTION"

TEXT: Psalm 8: 1-9
READING:  Philippians 2: 1-18

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SUBJ: The majesty of Christ set off against the consideration of man in his lowly estate and the fact that Christ took our identity to Himself and suffered death in our stead.

AIM: That we might be in wonder as we both look to Him and ourselves; that we might be reminded of His infinite glory and the pit from whence we are digged.

INTR: A most wonderful picture of what was required of Christ in order to bring us to God is presented here alongside the praise of the Psalmist in a most eloquent way.
1. The psalm begins with a most wondrous declaration of the excellency of the name of the Lord and ends with the same words with the reason of that praise inserted in between.
2. It might seem at first reading that the Psalmist was simply addressing the high privilege given to men among the inhabitants of the earth and their elevation to dominion over creation. But then, we read: 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. Hebrews 2:6-8.
3. While the creative order is certainly in view, the ultimate dominion referenced here is by the man Christ Jesus, our representative.

THESIS: The determination of the Lord to redeem a people for His name is no light matter and it was such that took a place a little lower than the angels in order to accomplish the divine will and purpose and so elevate man (His people) to a place with Himself in Christ our Lord.

I. Praise given and strength dispersed (vv. 1-2)
1. David expresses first the acknowledgement of who Jehovah is and then adds the possessive “our Lord”
1) The infinite extent of the being of God is everywhere set forth and so the idea here is not merely a title – it is rather all that is declared concerning Him.
2) John Gill sees the Gospel as the declaration of that Name and all that it entails.
3) John Piper wrote a book entitled “God is the Gospel.”
4) And so it is recognized wherever it is declared “in all the earth.”
5) And so we will note the attachment of the Name to all that He has done in creation and in salvation.
2. He has set His glory above the Heavens and so we see the exaltation of Christ: For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Hebrews 7:26 (above the visible heavens, the angels and all that might be considered).
3. But, then, He has brought His strength to bear through babes, which we all are, but consider:
1) Samuel and the appearance of the Lord to Him at an early age
2) David, himself, and his rise from obscurity to power which appeared in his youth.
3) Consider the divine purpose here: the enemy falling to babes would demand the mighty hand of the Lord with them.
4. Consider also: And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? Matthew 21:16

II. An important consideration (vv. 3-8)
1. Who has not been awestruck at the sight of the heavens arrayed above us with all in the appointed place – noting the use of the term “ordained.”
2. Verse 4 poses the question to contemplate:
1) What is man it the light of all this
i. Fallen and weak and incapable of anything to recommend him to the favor of God
ii. Why should there be any consideration of him at all?
2) But then, to give him dominion over the works of His hands!
3. Of course, it is here that the words lead us away from mortal man to He who shall make men immortal through His own mortality.
1) This same One whose glory is above all others was made a little lower than the angels who cannot die. See But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Hebrews 2:9.
2) It was necessary so that He might redeem those that were all their lifetime in bondage through the fear of death.
4. The dominion that was given to Adam in the Garden is now restored to man in the person of Christ our Lord and it is over all the works of God
1) It includes all the domesticated creation and
2) It includes the beasts that might turn and rend at His command
3) The flight of the birds and the paths of the fish
4) All under His absolute control to do with as He will!
5. The question “what is man.”
1) The objects of divine love which was so great
2) That He sent His only begotten into the world to redeem them and
3) They are identified thusly: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6.

III. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!