The King of the Kingdom of God – August 10, 2014
INTRODUCTION – Kings….. They have ruled kingdoms – large and small – since the earliest days of human history; ……… and each of them have left their indelible mark on those kingdoms. Some were noble men as far as nobility of man goes; some were hideously evil, and wrought all kinds of devastation in their wake.
Kings in most of human history ruled with absolute authority. Some kings sensed the need to steward that authority and power in the fear of the Lord. Most abused it to one degree or another. A kingdom ruled by a human king in history typically was made up of a certain range or scope of land; all the peoples that lived on that land; all the laws of the land; etc. These kingdoms – some which were established millenniums ago all reflected the convictions and values of their king.
Commentators on life and history and the role kings played in both life and history have made a few choice remarks I’ve noticed over the years re: Kings. For instance:
Mark Twain said, “All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they’re a mighty ornery lot. It’s the way they were raised.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson – also tongue in cheek – said of kings, “If you shoot at a king you must kill him.” Referring to the severe consequences of ever coming against a king and his rule or way of ruling.
George Bernard Shaw proclaimed, “Kings are not born; they are made by artificial hallucination.” Referring perhaps to our foolish tendency to put our hope and trust in them…
A Yiddish Proverb states, “The soldiers fight, and the kings are heroes.” Referring to the tendency of kings to not be “boots on the ground”, not be willing to sacrifice and lay their lives down, but quick to enjoy the glory that often came when their military leaders won victories by their own sacrifice.
Denote a bit of cynicism in these quotes? I could have shared many more.
Even when we reflect upon some of the greatest kings of human history – like for instance King David – – – whatever glory and accomplishment they obtained is always marred by their inevitable missteps and blind spots and snares and sins. David was a wonderful king in many ways; but he also lusted after another man’s wife; had her forcibly brought to his palace while her husband was at war, where King David should have been;……… when he found out she was pregnant with his child – he had her husband brought home for a spell so that hopefully he would have sex with his wife and everyone would think King David’s baby was in fact Bathsheba’s husband’s baby, but being a loyal soldier and man of principle – Bathsheba’s husband refused to enjoy conjugal rights while his fellow soldiers fought and denied themselves that right; so King David had him placed on the front lines in such a way that he would be killed which he was; …….. and we could talk about his unwillingness to deal righteously and justly with one of his sons who raped one of his daughters from another wife….and there are other sins we could talk about.
So you need to know that the longer we have lived life on this sin infected earth – the more we have probably been affected by all of this corruption and duplicity of kings or presidents or premiers – and thus – when we focus our attention upon the kingdom of God and the king of this Kingdom – Jesus Christ – we may have some challenges fully seeing Him and embracing and trusting Him as He is ….and not seeing Him through the lens of what we have experienced with earthly kings or earthly gov’t leaders.
But the other side of the coin is – – this is one huge reason why the gospel of the kingdom of God is very good news. Our King is radically different than any human king that has ever governed in human history or who ever will, and thus so very radically different is the kingdom He governs or rules – – for one thing is for sure – – a kingdom is always deeply impacted by the character and nature of its King.
By the way – before we begin our meditation on the King – Jesus Christ – – I want to say to those of you students in middle, high school or college – – the more you can learn about the kings and the kingdoms they ruled throughout human history (including of course biblical history) the better you will be able to appreciate the kingdom of God, and the less you will be likely to put your hope in human kings and their kingdoms. While I wish I had taken math and science more seriously in highschool and college, I’m very grateful that God gave me a love for history and political science – even at a very early age.
OK – I want to start off our discussion this morning by reviewing a very important theme and truth in the Old Testament re: the coming kingdom of God – – and that is:
- The Messiah was always to be a King, not just Savior. Many of the prophets prophesied of Him as such by either literally calling Him a King or by describing the kingdom He would preside over and lead.
Psalm 2:1-6 (read)
Isa. 9:6,7 “…and the government will rest on His shoulders….”
Isa. 11:1-5 (do not read)
Isa. 42:1,3,4 (do not read)
Zech. 9:9 “Behold your King is coming to you.”
- The Wise Men worshipped Him as such – Matthew 2:1-3, 11
- Jesus Himself claimed to be a King, not just a Savior, not just a friend
Matthew 18:23 – parable about forgiving others based on how you have been forgiven and the consequence of not doing so at the hands of the King in the now
Matthew 25:31-46 – Jesus’s description of how He will judge everyone when He returns (read it)
The testimony of His critics as to His claims
Luke 23:2 “And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” & John 19:12 “As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” (clearly His critics believed He claimed to be a King)
Very revealing conversation with Pontius Pilate the Romans governor
John 18:36, 37 – Jesus with Pilate – – “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king? Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world….”
- The Confession of the Early Church – how did they proclaim or portray Jesus?
All the disciples: Acts 17:5-7 – – great response to Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica – – so much that the Jews became jealous, “But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”
Apostle Paul in his discipling of Timothy – twice in his first letter:
I Tim. 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen”
I Timothy 6:15 “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time – He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom n man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
BTW – any experiences in Paul’s life that might have helped him know Jesus as King and not just as Savior? Damascus road; deliverance from jail with Silas; deliverance from being stoned; protection on the wrecked ship;
The Great King & the Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, “All authority have been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, …”
The resurrected martyrs: Rev. 15:3 (read vs. 1-3)
The apostle John (from “the angel”): Rev. 17:12-14 (read); cf. 19:11-16
- Rival kings
Satan – Rev.9:11 “They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”
Kings of the earth – Psalm 2:2,3,10
- Characteristics of the King
The King of the Kingdom of God is everything that the kings of the earth have never been able to fully be:
- Caring & Compassionate forever– “Eternal Father” – Isa. 9:6; Dan. 2:44, 7:13,14
- Almighty – infinite in power “Mighty God” – Isa. 9:6
- Full of wise counsel and glad to give it to each and every subject of His kingdom – “Wonderful Counselor” Isa. 9:6; “…The spirit of counsel and strength..” Isa. 11:2
- Calmer of nerves, anxiety, fear – – “Prince of Peace” – Isa. 9:6,7
- Just and fair – “…to establish and uphold it with justice…” Isa. 9:7; 11:3,4 He will never look the other way or just out of sheer exhaustion and overwhelmedness not deal justly with the wicked.
- Righteous – “…. and righteousness”Isa. 9:7
- Faithful – “And faithfulness the belt about His waist.” Isa. 11:5
- Tender & gentle with the oppressed and afflicted – Isa. 42:3 (read vs. 1-3)