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Christ's Eternal Kingdom

December 22, 2019 Preacher: Lyndon Shook Series: Luke

Scripture: Luke 1:33–33

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

As we meet here together this morning, there is a sense of excitement about the season. My guess is that all of you have been scrambling this last week and over the weekend preparing for a Christmas celebration.

Christmas is a special and unique time in our culture. It has become a time of celebration for both the Christian and the non-Christian alike. For the Christian, the celebration of the coming of our Savior, the Messiah. For the non-Christian, gifts, family, time-off and such. Much has been said about the secularization of Christmas in America. There is certainly a lot of truth to that. But at the same time, I have been amazed, really, at how many shopping outlets, malls, secular radio stations are playing music that speaks very directly about Christ Jesus being born and He being the Savior of the world.

With so much secularization of Christmas there still is at the same time quite a lot of Christian influence. I am glad for that. I think we can take that and use it in conversation with lost people around us to point them to the Savior of the world!

I want to talk with you this morning about some things that make this season a spiritual season. I would like to help you direct your thoughts and hearts to some of the reasons for real celebration. There are truths about the coming of Christ Jesus that have eternal consequences and that should impact our lives right now. There are so many aspects and profound truths that we could look at together this morning about the birth of Christ and His ministry. His birth, His life is central to our faith. The fact that Jesus came affects us everyday as Christians. I’m not sure we think that way, but it does. And since the coming of Christ as a child has had a huge impact on us, and has given us life changing hope I want for us to think and meditate on some specific ways that that is so by looking at some truths mentioned in Luke 1:33.

In this passage we have an announcement from God through an angel to Mary. Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth with a message. Now, when Gabriel speaks we should listen carefully for he is speaking from the mind of God, in fact it was shortly before this that Gabriel had spoken to Zacharias and when Zacharias questioned Gabriel do you remember what Gabriel said? Gabriel said,

“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God.”

That is enough for me! This same Gabriel went to Mary and said,

“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.”

He goes on to tell her that she will conceive a child and that child will be born, His name will be Jesus.

And then in verse 32 Gabriel begins to tell Mary some things about Jesus, Her son born of God. Gabriel says,

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

Verse 33 speaks of three things that I would like for us to look at together this morning. They are:

1. The Kingdom of God

2. The Reign of Christ Jesus

3. The Duration of His Kingdom and His Reign

So the kingdom itself, the King and lastly, the never ending nature of both.

And perhaps one question that we need to keep in mind as we go through this verse is this – what is the real impact of these truths for us today? What I mean is that as we think about the kingdom of God, the reign of Christ and the duration of both we may have a tendency to only think in terms of the future. There is certainly a future aspect of each but there is also much benefit for us today in each of these 3 truths. We may only think of one day avoiding hell and entering into heaven. But the coming of Christ, the gospel message and Luke 1:33 should and does affect our lives day to day, everyday whether in the body, here on earth or absent from this body in heaven with Christ. Our lives should be changed because of these truths.

If Luke 1:33, If the gospel message, if the fact that Christ has come, if those things are not having daily, visible impact in how we think, how we act and how we live today then it is very possible these truths about the gospel will not have any positive impact in our future either. That we embrace Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior means that our lives are changed and continue to be changed in this life, day to day, not just that we accept Christ sometime in the past and then nothing happens until we enter someday into heaven. Christ came to save, and to grow and change us until we meet Him in paradise. Paul tells us,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, (a change takes place) old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The Christmas story of our Savior in a manger, is not just a message about an event many years ago, it is not just a message that gives hope for the future, it is a message for today.

So let’s look at the message that Gabriel delivered and how it impacts us today.

The Kingdom of Christ Jesus

As Gabriel announced the coming of Christ Jesus, he said that Jesus would have a kingdom.

“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

There are two competing kingdoms. There is the kingdom of the world and there is the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of the world is here, it is active and it’s ruler is Satan. The kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven is here in one sense, a spiritual kingdom and it is also future or the fullness of it is future and its ruler is Christ.

We can read a great deal, in the Bible, about the kingdom of the world that belongs to Satan. But really, we know a lot about his kingdom not just from reading God’s word but also because we are surrounded by it. None of us here are totally unfamiliar with world philosophies or corruption or immorality or all of the things that would be obviously against God’s word. Anything that is against God is what I am speaking of.

Satan himself declared to Christ his authority over all the kingdom’s of the world when he took Jesus up on a high mountain, showed him the kingdoms and said,

“all this authority I will give to you, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.”

Paul speaks of the kingdom of this world when he says that there are those whose

“minds the god of this world has blinded.”

John says in John 12

“Now this is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31)

And Jesus speaks of the ruler of this world when He said in John 14:30

“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30)

Perhaps the most explicit description of this is found in 1 John 5:19,

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19)

Paul is talking about the world in which we live, the world in which we are to represent Christ, he says is under the sway of the wicked one. It is so important that we understand the world in which we live. It is important that we understand and are not surprised by how people who are of this world live their lives. There is a kingdom that is of this world. That kingdom has a ruler and its ruler is Satan. It is not a complete rule, but is a rule that has been given to him temporarily.

There is another kingdom. The kingdom of God is not presently a place but is a kingdom based on relationship – it is a spiritual kingdom. When Jesus began preaching that

“the kingdom of God is at hand”

(literally, “has drawn near”) he meant that the long-promised enjoyment of God’s salvation for which Israel had been waiting was now there for them to enter into (Mark 1:15).

And so when Gabriel announced the coming of Christ and of His kingdom, this was what they had longed for. But what would it mean? What would it mean to be a part of this Kingdom of God?

To be a part of this kingdom is to renounce alliance with the kingdom of the world. It is to be holy which means to be separate unto God. It is God calling out a people to be different than those who are a part of the world’s kingdom. And this is where we get so messed up in modern day Christianity. We too often lust after the acceptance of the world instead of longing for holiness unto God. Isn’t that right? We want respect and fame and want to be liked and be well thought of even if it means compromising what we know to be true. Churches do this and we do it as individuals. We try to blur the line between the kingdom that belongs to God and the kingdom that belongs to Satan. Radical obedience is what pleases God and when pleasing others becomes our passion, we cannot please God. To be a part of the kingdom of God is to walk away from our natural allegiances that may stand in contrast to God’s way and to by faith repent and believe in the finished work of Christ with the aim of becoming His disciples confessing a lifelong loyalty to Him. A new life in Christ.

In fact Jesus told Nicodemus that he nor anyone else could ever enter into the kingdom of God unless they were radically changed as being born again. Jesus was saying that to go from one kingdom, the kingdom of the world under the dominion of Satan to the Kingdom of God with Christ on the throne, to go from one to the other, would require something as radical as new birth.

To go from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light is not a casual decision. Nicodemus was the most religious, pious, teacher among the Jews. He would have been very outwardly moral and upright among the people. And yet even Nicodemus needed radical transformation to move from one kingdom to the other.

The birth of Christ ushered in that kingdom of God. It took the incarnation of God, in a manger, on this earth to provide entrance for us into His kingdom. It took Jesus sinless life, His suffering and His death to make a way for us into the kingdom of God.

What does it mean for us today that Christ has come and has provided for us entrance into His kingdom? What does it look like to be a part of the Kingdom of God?

Jesus answers that for us. All throughout the gospels, that is the subject of most of His teaching. Jesus describes His kingdom and what it is to be in His Kingdom. IN fact the sum total of all His teaching is about His kingdom and how we are to live in it. In Jesus very first sermon beginning in Matt. 5,6 and 7 Jesus begins to describe to the crowds, the sermon on the mount, what it is to live in His kingdom.

Jesus was saying, you have lived one way now let me show you another way, the way of my kingdom.

Jesus says there, in that opening sermon of His ministry how we are to think about ourselves, if we are to be a part of His kingdom-we are to be poor in spirit(humble), meek, pure in heart, peacemakers. He tells us that in His kingdom we are never to hate others. He says that in His kingdom lust is adultery of the heart and that marriage is to be binding. He says that we must love our enemies, do good to those who hate us. He says we are to be giving, we are to pray for God’s will and to lay up treasures in heaven. He tells us not to love money, not to worry but to seek God first. He warns us against judging hypocritically while trying to cover our own sin. He tells us that the way to Him is a very narrow path and that broad is the way that leads to destruction. Jesus said that it will be evident who belongs to His kingdom by how they act and that not all who say, Lord, Lord will enter into His kingdom but only those who do His will.

What Jesus does in this very first sermon of His ministry is He draws a distinct line, right from the beginning between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of heaven.

Now we have to be very careful and often, I believe examine our hearts, regarding the kingdom of God. To belong to one kingdom and then to live according to the tenants of another is a terrible thing. And yet when we take our eyes off our savior, as we fail to abide in Him, as we begin to compromise with the Scriptures and justify our sin, we in fact begin to live like treasonous citizens pledging a verbal allegiance to one kingdom while living for another.

As believers we are to be known by our fruit, by what our lives produce. If the evidence of our kingdom citizenship is to be seen by the fruits of our lives, then it seems to me we must carefully examine the fruit in our lives to be sure that we do belong to God’s kingdom.

The warning in the Scriptures seems to be that if one continues with a mere verbal profession of faith and yet there is no outward sign of being born into the kingdom of God evidenced by spiritual fruit then one becomes dangerously close to those described by Peter who have tasted and have known the way of righteousness but have rejected by their lives. Or to be graphic, Peter says that those who profess Christ but live as if they belong to the kingdom of the world are as dogs who returns to his own vomit and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

Christ came to establish a kingdom, a spiritual kingdom. He gave His life for the establishment and for the right to rule this kingdom. We are to give our lives in service and ministry and sacrifice as subjects of His kingdom, we are to take up our cross and follow Him. God tell us that this life that we live is no longer ours for we were bought with a price, our lives belong to God.

To claim Christ and to live like the world is to commit spiritual espionage, spiritual adultery and is an offense to God. How do we live as one should in the spiritual kingdom of God? It is not a mystery; we obey Christ and obey His word. We put off sinful habits of the world and we put on Christ honoring thinking and action. He has told us what kingdom life should be if we are His, we are to obey, for we belong to Him.

Gabriel announced to Mary:

The Kingdom of God- it has come it is a spiritual kingdom \nThe Reign of Christ Jesus-over God’s Kingdom

That Christ Jesus is the king over God’s kingdom is clear.

**“The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.”

The Kingdom of God will have one King. And as King, Christ Jesus will rule and reign with complete sovereignty, with all wisdom, with all power, with justice while putting on display His mercy and His love for all who embrace Him as King.

93 c The Lord reigns; he is drobed in majesty; the Lord is erobed; he has fput on strength as his belt. \ng Yes, the world is established; hit shall never be moved. \n2 i Your throne is established from of old; j you are from everlasting.

The stability of the kingdom comes from the King. And our King will never be moved. He will never be moved. That He came as a born of Mary in weakness, in a helpless state needing constant care by His mother and father, that He was vulnerable as a child is amazing given that He created the world and all that is in it. That He would humble Himself and walk in meekness is incredible knowing that He is now ruling in heaven. To think of His death on the cross is really stunning knowing that He chose that fate for our salvation.

He gave Himself He sacrificed Himself, He walked with man and even made himself subject to man in order to purchase us, citizens of His kingdom. He gave Himself as King.

And since it is His kingdom, it is His right to rule it as He chooses. That is the prerogative of the King. And His rule is just and right and wise.

And as subjects in His kingdom it is incumbent on us to follow His rule. And here is the great thing about that. His rule is not oppressive nor cruel, for Jesus even as King He serves us in that he is our shepherd He guides us, He intercedes for us, He sanctifies us, He teaches us by His Spirit, he is ordering all things for our protection and enrichment.

“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30)

If there is a sovereign, all sovereign King of the universe and there is then that is what I want to hear from Him. That does not mean that life is always easy. But that as we abide in Christ and walk with Him daily, He gives strength and emboldens us to obey with joy, even when life is hard.

God’s Kingdom, Christ’s kingdom is like no other kingdom. We talked about the Kingdom of Satan, the kingdom of the world. Satan is only concerned about himself. He will crush anyone to get what he wants. He will steal, kill and destroy. He is a murderer; he is a tyrant and oppressive. His way leads to pain, punishment, suffering and death and he knows it and knowing it continues to lead people to it.

What a complete difference between the kingdom that Christ rules and that of His enemy.

Do you know what it means to rest in the sovereign rule of Christ Jesus as king? Jesus is sovereignly ruling over all. He is the King. He rules in wisdom and power. We as believers have given ourselves to Him, right? So shouldn’t we rest without worry, fear, and frustration under His rule?

Mary faced the dilemma of her life. She was, as a virgin to become pregnant. She knew what than meant for her. Rumors, gossip, shunning, shame, her life was about to be turned upside down by the news that Gabriel brought. She had a choice. She could be afraid, worry, be angry with God, or she could embrace His will, no matter how difficult it is for her personally, even if she did not yet understand it. She had a choice to strive against God or to rest in His love. Which did she chose. Here are her words,

“Behold” she said, “the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

That is submission to the will of God, that is resting in God as King, even in a very difficult situation.

But our problem may be that we fail to go with Him in His plans and anxiously, at least in our minds begin to usurp His rule by placing ourselves where He rightfully belongs. In other words, we try to rule ourselves, by going outside of His word, instead of resting in His rule and the result is unrest, we begin to fear instead of experiencing His peace, we may worry instead of enjoying a steadfast calm. We take our eyes off of Christ and our minds off of His sovereign rule and we begin to crumble and fall until we finally repent.

But when we repent of such thoughts and we go to him with joy in prayer and thanksgiving, we are in effect acknowledging His supreme power and rule and that is when peace enters in and we experience the reality of His easy yoke and His light burden.

Next time we are tempted to fall into discontentment in any way let’s remember that Christ is reigning over His kingdom, and that means over every circumstance that comes to us and every person that crosses our path. And know that He is shepherding us, leading us, making us more like himself, interceding for us and loving us as a Savior who gave His life so that we might live.

Well, we have looked at:

1. The Kingdom of Christ Jesus

2. The Reign of Christ Jesus

Let's take a look at my final point.

3. The Duration of His Kingdom and His Reign

Kingdoms come and Kingdoms go in most cases. But in one case that is not true. Christ’s kingdom and His rule will endure forever.

“Of His kingdom there will be no end.”

I remember my grandfather switching political parties in his old age. He had been staunchly dedicated to one particular party, but in the end, he said, The party left me, I didn’t leave the party. In other words, he was saying “I didn’t change my beliefs the party is the one that changed.” Governments change. Political parties change. School’s change. Churches change. But God and His kingdom will never change. We have that assurance from God Himself who will never change and who will not tell a life. We have that promise from the God of all truth.

Husbands and wives change, but God doesn’t change.

“Of His kingdom there will be no end.”

His spiritual Kingdom is here now, and we can be a part of it by embracing Christ as Savior. His Kingdom will extend in the future as we go to be with Him very shortly. His kingdom will last into eternity, unlike any other kingdom.

This Christmas season let’s remember that Christ came for a kingdom purpose to redeem a people for His own possession. He came to rule and to reign with a hand of love and peace toward His children and He came with a view of eternity, securing the future for us with heaven as our home.

He came as a baby born of Mary, He humbled Himself, that we may be His people.

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)

More in Luke

December 21, 2020

The Birth of the King

December 14, 2020

Christmas: A Birth with Purpose