One Comment to “Jesus Made Us to Be a Kingdom”

  1. Donald McMahon
    December 10, 2018

    “Jesus Made Us to be a Kingdom”
    (Revelation 1:1–9)(12.9.18)
    1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
    4 John,
    To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
    Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
    To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
    7 Look, he is coming with the clouds,
    and every eye will see him,
    even those who pierced him;
    and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
    So shall it be! Amen.
    8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
    9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: Jesus Made Us to be a Kingdom
    This past Tuesday night during Bible study, I was challenged to explain part of last Sunday’s sermon. This person perceived that while I was exhorting you to read and study your Bibles that I seemed angry. It wasn’t anger. I am passionate about people coming into a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. I am passionate about living out our lives as our God and Father intended. God’s holy inspired word is a gift of God that facilitates and empowers us to live Christ-centered lives. And yet, so few professing Christians truly do manifest Jesus. This grieves me. This grieves our Lord.
    Too many Christians fail to appropriate the power and promises that the Almighty has conveyed to us. I mean this word “convey” in two different senses. God’s word communicates the concepts, the truths; and, God the Holy Spirit transfers or imparts it to us.
    While watching some repair work on my chimney this week, I thought it was a good illustration of the way scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit builds us up. The chimney was wrapped with a metal screening from top to bottom. Then a layer of special concrete mix was layered into and then over this metal screen until a strong new surface was created. It builds upon itself, layer upon layer. Likewise, as we fill ourselves with God’s word, the Holy Spirit uses it to strengthen and build us up heavenwards.
    Unfortunately, most people just add Jesus to their lives here and there. They never become the new creation, born from above, born of God. They presume they have just enough Jesus and then are mystified when they don’t have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness AND self-control.
    During this Advent season, we remember Jesus’ birth and look forward to His return. But, how many of us truly understand why Jesus came in the first place? The synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about Jesus’ life here on earth in a similar fashion. If we examine these three Gospel accounts to determine what subject Jesus addressed most often, this should tell us why Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with us.
    You will probably be surprised at the results of such an examination. Did Jesus come because he liked to tell stories? After all, he told many parables. No, that isn’t it. Love was a popular subject. But more than love, Jesus spoke about God the Father. Very close to God the Father was belief and faith. Substantially more than anything else, in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God. If this is Jesus’ predominant message, we are compelled to find out why.
    And, in the fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us flat out why he came. During Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus in John 18:36–37 (NIV84)
    36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
    37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
    Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
    The prophecy of Isaiah that is often heard during the season of Advent confirms this concept:
    Isaiah 9:6–7 (NIV84)
    6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    7 Of the increase of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
    He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
    establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
    The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
    At the very close of our Bible, we have a declaration of Jesus’ dominion. Revelation 19:16 (NIV84) On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.
    There is insufficient time to explore the whole scope of Jesus’ kingdom and reign. In fact, that would take a month of Sundays. Today, we are only addressing the kingdom verses that apply to this portion of scripture in Revelation chapter 1. The Apostle John declares that Jesus made US to be a kingdom. And, John repeats that he is our companion in this kingdom of Jesus.
    Who is this US?
    >Blessed (happy)
    *reads this prophecy (the word of God)
    *hear this prophecy (testimony of Jesus Christ)
    *AND take it to heart (the KEY)
    >Those that are loved by Jesus
    >Those that have been freed from our sins
    >We are not of this world because Jesus has said his kingdom is not of this world. If you feel out of place in this world, that is appropriate, because our citizenship is in heaven.
    Who is this Jesus?
    >The Christ
    >faithful witness (doing the work of the Father)
    >The one who shed His blood.
    >firstborn of the dead (resurrected, never to die again)
    >Ruler of the kings of the earth (his footstool)
    >He made us US (a Holy Communion)
    >the one coming in the clouds (his return)
    What are the implications for kingdom living?
    >Make Jesus king of over your whole life. Over and over again I see this in my counseling. It is in the areas of our lives where Jesus does not rule, where Jesus is not present, that bring sorrow and pain. Why? Because wherever Jesus rules there is peace, healing, and wholeness. Where Jesus is absent, there is darkness.
    >You are to be priests. Therefore, you have access to the holy of holies, the presence of God, through the body of Jesus. Our sacrifices are those of praise and thanksgiving. We are to minister to the people on behalf of God.
    King Arthur had Knights of the Round Table. We are priests of the long table. Jesus said in Luke 13:29 (NIV84), “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” As priests in our godly kingdom, who are we inviting to the table? Our church mission statement is Preach, Teach, and Model a Life-Giving Gospel. Are you doing that?
    >You are to serve God and Father. Our lives are supposed to be in full alignment with God’s purposes and will. It is for God’s glory and the demonstration of His power. Our words and deeds should be a testimony to the goodness and greatness of our heavenly Father. As Paul commends his friend Justus in the letter to the Colossians, we are to be fellow workers for the kingdom of God. We find comfort in our joint efforts.
    Is there a promise here that it will be easy? No!
    >companions in suffering (Beattitudes)
    >patient endurance
    >persecution for being Christ followers
    The whole book of Acts testifies to the crucial importance of the kingdom of God. At the start we read in Acts 1:3 After his [Jesus’] suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. And here is the closing verse of Acts: Acts 28:31- Boldly and without hindrance he [the Apostle Paul] preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
    It is in this book of Acts that we see the birth of the Church on Pentecost. We see the good news of Jesus spread, first in Jerusalem, then in Samaria, then into the whole world. Persecution of Christians was meant for harm. Instead, God turned it to good as the blessings of the kingdom of God took root and Jesus was proclaimed.
    There is a sense of urgency in John’s words. In verse 1 he says that the apocalyptic revelation MUST SOON take place. Likewise, verse 3 emphasizes this with repetition: the time is near. Yes, the kingdom of God is near; it is at hand. Yet, it is not fully realized. We are to be instruments of Christ’s kingdom building. We are to make frequent forays into this world that is ruled by Satan. Colossians 1:13–14 (NIV84) 13 [As God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins: We are to participate in the rescue of others so they too will be brought into the kingdom of the Son of God.
    Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise By Charles Wesley
    1 Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
    to his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia!
    Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
    enters now the highest heaven. Alleluia!
    2 There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
    lift your heads, eternal gates. Alleluia!
    He has conquered death and sin; Alleluia!
    take the King of glory in. Alleluia!
    3 Highest heaven its Lord receives; Alleluia!
    yet he loves the earth he leaves. Alleluia!
    Though returning to his throne, Alleluia!
    still he calls us all his own. Alleluia!
    4 Still for us he intercedes; Alleluia!
    his atoning death he pleads, Alleluia!
    near himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
    he the firstfruits of our race. Alleluia!
    5 There we shall with you remain, Alleluia!
    partners of your endless reign, Alleluia!
    see you with unclouded view, Alleluia!
    find our heaven of heavens in you. Alleluia!
    1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV84) Therefore, my dear brothers [and sisters], stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
    As I worked on this message, I was continually surprised to see the many connections between Revelation 1 with the Lord’s Prayer and our liturgy of Holy Communion. I pray that you too will see these things as we prepare our hearts for Communion, the US as a kingdom people.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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