Brand New | New Kingdom & King (pt. 2)

In the previous article of this series, I discussed the nature and coming of the Kingdom of God and what that means for Christians today. You should already note that for every kingdom there is a king. Throughout history, we’ve read about kings, their leadership, their conquests, and even bits about their personal lives. Despite their power, control and conquests, every king or world leader has clay feet. He is a mere man, fallible, imperfect, bound to fail in many areas or he may outright be a despot terrorizing his subjects.

Throughout the history of Israel’s kings (1 & 2 Kings; 1 & 2 Chronicles), we see just that – the inability of man to perfectly lead and sustain his territory and people to permanent places of peace and prosperity. Even Israel’s greatest King, David, a man after God’s own heart, had notable sins (2 Samuel 12). However, in God’s providence and kindness, He predestined that He would set His king on His throne to rule His people forever. God’s kingdom would be one that would be characterized by justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-7) contrasting the injustice, imperfections and sometimes evil that characterizes earthly kings. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13, God made this promise to King David –

12 When your (David) days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Who is this King?

Early on in his gospel, Matthew makes it clear in two ways that Jesus is the promised king spoken of in the Old Testament.  Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the covenant God made with David in 2 Samuel 7.

The first way that Matthew begins to unfold the true identity of Jesus Christ is by recording Jesus’ genealogy. In fact, Matthew begins his gospel with these words –

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

In the very first verse of the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is noted as the son of David, the son of Abraham. The genealogy then goes on to detail forty two generations from Abraham to Christ. For this article, the significance is noting that Jesus was a son or descendant of King David. Humanly speaking, Jesus came from David’s body, but what else does the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7 note? It says that God would establish His kingdom and not only that, but that kingdom would last forever. What we need to note about this covenant is that it is fulfilled in two different ways.  The second aspect of the covenant stated that an offspring of David would build God a house (temple) for His name. Scripture tells us that David desired to build a temple, but was forbidden by the LORD. So when was this fulfilled? We know Jesus didn’t build or oversee the building of any temple, so who built God’s house / temple? 1 Chronicles 22:6-19 records a conversation that reveals that David’s son, Solomon, was to build the temple and we see Solomon overseeing the construction of the temple in 1 Kings 6. So think of it this way – in Solomon, there was immediate fulfillment (the building of the temple) and in Christ there is a later and an ultimate fulfillment (the establishment of an eternal kingdom with Christ as king). In Revelation 22:16, Jesus Christ attests that He is the son of David.

kingofkingsThe second way that Matthew reveals the identity of Jesus as God’s promised king is by quoting the question of the magi – “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2) and by quoting Micah 5:2 in Matthew 2:6 pointing to Christ’s fulfillment of that ancient prophecy –

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Almost 2 chapters in of Matthew’s gospel we see that Jesus is (1) the son of David (2) recognized as a king by pagan magi and noted as the fulfillment of Micah 5:2.

As Matthew’s gospel continues to unfold, it becomes more apparent that Jesus Christ, though often misunderstood, is God’s chosen King to which He often admitted or others recognized (Matthew 7:21; 13:41; 16:19; 16:28; 20:21; 21:5; 25:31-46). The other gospels present the same picture of Jesus. Specifically Jesus’ angelic announcement details Him being the promised offspring of David who would rule forever (Luke 1:30-33). The Bible culminates revealing Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords ruling the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 1:5; 11:15; 15:3; 17:14; 19:16; 22:1-3).

The King’s Subjects and their Response

The subjects of the King, Jesus Christ, are Christians. Christians are those who have been born again by the Spirit and have responded with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They also, as previously mentioned, are the ones who have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). As subjects, the Christian’s response is worship and faith, evidenced by obedience and ongoing repentance of sin (Matthew 7:24-27; John 14:15-24; 15:1-11). Devotion to Christ must supersede all other relationships and is very costly (Luke 14:25-33), but not without the promise of great reward – namely Himself (Psalm 16:11)!

Unlike earthly kings, Jesus humbled himself and served us (Mark 10:45) so that He could free us from the reign of Satan’s and sin’s power. Being Christ’s subject is to experience true love, freedom and joy because it reconciles us to our God who longs to do us good and be our all satisfying joy.

It is imperative for all of us to understand that when we’ve been redeemed by Christ, we are to live a life that progressively displays His Lordship over every area of our lives. That is the right response to this King by His subjects.

Grace & Peace,

d.

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Brand New | New Kingdom & King (pt. 1)

In my previous article of this series, I stated that one of the biblical implications of having a new life is being part of a new kingdom, namely the Kingdom of God. Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,…”. Throughout the New Testament there are many mentions of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. These terms mean the same thing as well as the expression the kingdom of his beloved Son.

What is the Kingdom?

A close read of the Gospels, which mentions the kingdom over 85 times, reveals that the kingdom of God is not a geographical location or a matter of political rule. Two key texts that convey this are John 3:5 and John 18:36. In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus that entrance into the kingdom is a spiritual matter – being born of water and the Spirit. In other words, one must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. In John 18:36, Jesus tells Pontius Pilate that His kingdom is not of/from this world. By ruling out a geo-political kingdom, we naturally must ask ourselves what the Kingdom of God is. The Kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of God in the hearts of man and over all creation and is entered into by faith in Christ.

Has the kingdom come already or will it come later?

Yes. In one sense, the kingdom has already come and in another sense it is coming and has not yet been fully consummated. Theologians call this the “already, but not yet” aspect of the kingdom. There is a present and a future aspect of the kingdom. The Scriptures make mention of this nature of the kingdom in many places.

The Present Kingdom
• Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7, 12:28
• Mark 1:15
• Luke 10:9,11; 11:20; 17:20-21

kingdom of GodThe Future Kingdom
• Daniel 2:44
• Mark 9:1; 14:25
• Luke 9:27; 13:29; 14:15; 19:11; 21:31; 22:18
• 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 15:50
• Galatians 5:21
• Hebrews 12:28
• James 2:5
• Revelation 12:20

Seeing that Jesus said the kingdom was at hand (Matthew 4:17; 10:7) and had come upon (Matthew 12:28) His generation, how do we know that the kingdom had arrived? What marks the signs of the kingdom? To answer this we must go back to the definition of the kingdom. It is the rule and reign of God in the hearts of man and over all creation. To fully understand this we also must consider that another kingdom exists with another ruler. As previously stated, Colossians 1:13 tells us that once a person becomes a believer, that they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Beloved Son. This kingdom of darkness (the rule of Satan) entered the world through sin (Genesis 3), which brought the fall of man and everything that was subject to him. When the fall happened, the effects of rebellion went viral, if you will. This was the beginning of the kingdom of darkness. Now, all of humanity and creation are under the effects of sin and its implications. Sickness, disease, decay, death, environmental and natural disasters, relational strife, etc. all have their foundation in man’s rebellion against his Creator (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:19-21). When Adam and Eve transgressed God’s command, they ushered in the kingdom of darkness.

However, in the first coming of Christ and His ministry, we see that Christ ceased demonic activity, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, raised the dead, and forgave sins. All of these miracles were works that reversed the effects of sin. Sickness was eradicated, ailments were healed and life returned from the dead. One of the glorious promises for believers is that, in eternity, there will not be the presence of or the effects of sin. We can count on this because when Christ offered himself on the cross and resurrected from the grave, Scriptures tell us that Satan, sin and death were defeated forever (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15). Jesus’ miracles were a demonstration of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. In other words, Jesus was demonstrating glimpses of the reign of God over Satan and the effects of sin in particular instances which pointed to the future total reign of God in the new heavens and new earth.

What does all of this mean for Christians?

Every believer is already in the kingdom of God, even though the kingdom has not yet been fully consummated. Until that day, we are called to faithfully live on earth as citizens of His kingdom under the orders of our King awaiting His return (Philippians 3:20).

Grace & Peace,

d.

Brand New | New Life

As I stated in the introduction of this series of articles, I believe there are six foundational truths that new Christians should be familiar with very early on in their Christian life.  The first, which this article will focus on, is the reality of the believer’s new life. Let’s examine two texts:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Ephesians 2:1-6)

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,… (Colossians 2:13)

The Apostle Paul uses very vivid language concerning the former state of the Ephesian and Colossian believers.  In both texts, Paul says they were dead in trespasses and sins. The death that he is speaking of is spiritual death, which is due to the sinful nature every human is born with because of Adam’s sin.  Every human being born since Adam and Eve transgressed God’s command has been born with a sinful nature and is spiritually dead.  To be spiritually dead or dead in trespasses and sins is to be without spiritual life and separated from God.  This is why Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that no one can see the kingdom of God (or be in the kingdom of God) unless one is born again.

regenerationHowever, once new life is granted to unbelievers, they are in union with Christ and are spiritually alive. This is known as regeneration and the Holy Spirit is responsible for it (Titus 3:5;  John 6:63). Some of the terms the Bible uses to convey this reality are to have a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27), to be alive in Christ, born again or born from above (John 3:3), raised from the dead (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12, 3:1), new life (Romans 6:4) and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). This new life exists because the Holy Spirit not only causes spiritual life, but also because He indwells every believer (Ephesians 1:13) as a promise of future salvation. This new life also transfers us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).

Going from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive is no small matter. In fact, it is miraculous! Regeneration and conversion are miraculous gifts from God that change who we fundamentally are. Was that something you were taught early on in your Christian life? Imagine a new believer being taught this early in his Christian life.

Now that we’ve considered the new life and how that makes us subjects of the Kingdom of God, next we will consider the Kingdom, the King of the Kingdom and our relationship to Him.

Grace & Peace,

d.

Brand New

“Hello.”

“Hey, Aunt Kim!”

“Hey, Dave! How are you?”

“I’m good! I know I don’t call you often, but I was wondering if I could go to church with you next Sunday?”

“Sure! Why?”

“Well, I’ve become a Christian and I have a desire to be in church.”

About two days prior to that conversation back in September 1998, I found myself on my knees in my bedroom crying out to the Lord confessing my sins and receiving, by faith in Christ, the pardon for my sins. My conversion is what some would call a “Damascus Road” (see Acts 9) experience.  I was confronted by the Lord and drastically changed almost instantly.  The knowledge of sin and righteousness seemed to be crystal clear and I was overjoyed at the reality of my salvation.  Maybe you didn’t have that experience, but what I began to realize soon after my conversion is something that every Christian experiences.  I began to feel a tension between what I knew was right and what I was surrounded by, and the war within me.  I knew my life had to change.  I no longer had the desire to do the things that I once enjoyed doing and I had new desires and new affections for God and the things of God.  I knew there would be a risk of losing my girlfriend and some of my closest friends due to my new found love.  I needed someone to talk to.  I needed guidance. I needed to know how to live the Christian life and none of my peers were believers.  Thankfully, my aunt was there and she helped me as much as she could understand what it meant to live as a Christian.

discipleshipOver the course of my life as a Christian, it has been a joy to see the faith and excitement of new believers.  There is such a brokenness and a raw love for Christ and for others that it puts many seasoned believers to shame.  As great as that excitement is, it needs to be tempered with wisdom and discernment.  If you are a mature believer, one of the greatest joys you can experience is the joy of discipling a new believer. Aside from the gospel, there are some fundamental truths that need to run deep in the lives of new believers.  I’m sure you agree.

This became very clear to me due to a situation close to me.  As I began listening to particular conversations and questions more intently, six ideas came to mind as I thought about future conversations with this particular person. These six ideas were:

* New Life
* New King & Kingdompart 1 & part 2
* New Identity
* New Community
* New Goals
* New Destination

I am aware there could be many more categories and that there is some overlap between these, but I think these help lay a solid foundation.

In future posts, Lord willing, I will explain in detail what these are from Scripture and why they are important.

Grace & Peace,

d.