The Kingdom of God - RR178A2
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
These have been very wonderful sessions for me, I have one question in my mind though, Joseph referred to Otto Scott and myself as whales. (Laughter) I am wondering whether he had referenced to our midriff blubber. (Laughter) Just you wait Joseph, just you wait. Give it a few years in Kay’s cooking and you too will be a whale. (Laughter)
Shelby referred to the trial in Dallas, I have been in the past 11 years in a great many courtrooms as a witness for parents, Christian Schools, daycare facilities, churches, and a number of other things, in fact I was on the stand for over two hours just this past Monday in a federal court. These are grim trials, I marvel at the patience of the Christian attorneys, as men who are doing only good are put on trial and face criminal penalties. Sometimes I come home angry, at other times upset about what I see in these courtrooms, but one trial was a fun experience, it was the one with the homeschools of Texas with Shelby Sharp defending them, and there were two of us Chalcedon men there as witnesses, Sam Blumenfeld and myself. It was a fun experience because Shelby made Perry Mason look like an amateur, and the deputy attorney general lost his temper more than once in frustration, and it was a thoroughly delightful experience to see, (Laughter) to see the other side get it in the neck. It was the clearest and the best victory for Christian homeschools in the United States, so the homeschools of Texas now have a very happy status. [00:03:34]
Well our subject in this last session is The Kingdom...
Well our subject in this last session is The Kingdom of God. Our Lords command is very very clear, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, or justice. Westminster shorter catechism begins: man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. We glorify God when we seek first His kingdom, when we say thy will be done. The Greek word which is translated in Matthew 6:33 as “seek”, appears also in the preceding verse: after all these things do the gentiles seek, means to seek after. It does not mean something lost to be searched for, but something that is prized that we press forward to gain. The gentiles seek after wealth and security, and we are to seek after the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a present fact, God rules in all events from all eternity, seeking here means striving to bring ourselves, our times and all our activities under the total rule of God by serving His righteousness or justice. In a confrontation with the Pharisees, our Lord was asked about the kingdom. According to Luke 17:20-21 we read: “and when He was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God shall come he answered them and said the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, that is observably, with outward show, neither shall they say: lo here or lo there for behold the kingdom of God is within you,” or among you. [00:06:32]
The word used for ...
The word used for “within you” is “entos” which means “in the midst of” for the kingdom of God was not in the heart of the Pharisees, but it was in their midst, present in its power and government. God the Lord is always king, and His kingdom rules from eternity to eternity, all things and all events serve Him. Even the wrath of man shall praise and serve God, we are told in Psalm 76:10, our sins and wrath will hurt us, but they will serve Gods sovereign purposes. In Zechariah 10:4 we are told how total Gods government and reign is: Out of Him came the forth the corner, out of Him the nail, out of Him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. God having made all things governs in all things, and ruleth over all things so that all creation serves His sovereign purpose and will. The kingdom of God is no merely future kingdom, nor simply spiritual, but always and only total and omnipresent. [00:08:30]
Francis Thompson’s very telling and beautiful poem...
Francis Thompson’s very telling and beautiful poem does set forth this aspect, his poem was titled “The Kingdom of God in No Strange Land”
“O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!
Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air--
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumor of thee there?
Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!--
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.
The angels keep their ancient places--
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estrangèd faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.
But (when so sad thou canst not sadder) Cry--and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.
Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry--clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!”
The Kingdom of God is here, it is all creation, all the universe, it is heaven and earth and all things therein. We are bluntly told: The Lord hath made all things for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil. Our life we are told is the gift of grace. 1st Peter 3:7 speaks of the grace of life, our redemption is an act of sovereign grace, to separate ourselves from God’s grace is to separate ourselves from life unto death, “for he that sinneth again me wrongeth his own soul, all they that hate me love death.” The kingdom of God is also God’s gift of grace to us. If we are blind to dead to the kingdom, we are dead to meaning and purpose in life. Ezekiel 48:35 tells us concerning the city or kingdom of God: “and the name of the city from that day shall be the Lord is there, Jehovah Shamus.” This is man’s highest good, the kingdom of God. [00:12:25]
Van Til has said and I quote...
Van Til has said and I quote: “the whole kingdom of God is a gift of free grace to man, and therefore the summom bonum, the supreme good, is a free gift to man.” Van Til also wrote and I quote: “Such then is the biblical Summom Bonum, it is absolute, it puts before man a more comprehensive program than he can find anywhere, his work is put in the configuration of an all-embracing plan of God, he can be a co-worker with God, his work is not for a passing day, his work is done as it were in the dawn of eternity, the fruits of his labor shall follow him. If he has given a cup of cold water to a disciple for the sake of the master, he will in no wise lose his reward, what a great encouragement then for him to increase in the spontaneity, the stability, and the momentum of his will, to will the will of God. There is a challenge in the biblical Summom Bonum such as is found nowhere else.” Gods kingdom is a gift of grace, the more fully we live in God’s grace the more faithful we are to His law as our way of life and justice. Our salvation comes to us through Jesus Christ, by his atonement he redeems us from the death penalty of the law, and converts us from outlaws to the people of the law. We are told of Jesus Christ that he is our peace the word for peace in the great texts is our English name Irene, it is the word normally used to refer to peace between men, between nations and to freedom from molestation and evil. It refers to order in the state, in the church, and in every area of our world, and Paul does not abandon this sense, he says that all peace in every sphere is conditional upon peace with God through Jesus Christ. [00:15:38]
James Bilezikian one of our very faithful Chalcedon...
James Bilezikian one of our very faithful Chalcedon friends, has very tellingly put it this way and I quote: “if we are under the blood of Christ, we remove bloodshed from our society, and we have peace. If we reject the blood of Christ we opt for a divided and bloody world.” Between these alternatives there can be and is no neutrality, no neutral ground. Hal Lecky, in the limit and divisions of European history has said and I quote: “the attempt to create a culture which would be European without being Christian, is now recognized as the main cause of the present crisis of European civilization.” The same can be said of the United States. The de-Christianization of America can only destroy it; the Christian calling begins with our peace with God through the satisfaction of His law in Christ’s atonement, and then the application of that peace and law in every Sphere of life and thought. As men of covenant grace we extend the covenant and its grace to all men and every sphere of life. Vogel had indicated something of the nature of our calling. First he had said that our task as persons is not to let nature have the last word, in other words it is not our fallen nature which must rule, but God’s grace in and through us. Then second Vogel has said that an incarnational religion cannot be a ghostly religion. This again is very well said, as God and man are made one in Christ, so too must heaven and earth have a common purpose: the Kingdom of God. We are required to pray: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven, “of purely spiritual concern” is a denial of scripture and of Christ. Then third Vogel has said and I quote:” in the Christian life the future defines the past, not vice versa.” The new heavens and the new earth define the past and the present, by telling us what the future is to be, the Lord sets our agenda for today, He assigns us our task and our calling, our salvation has reference to time and to eternity and it cannot be limited to a question of heaven and hell. In 1606 in the propositions of the Arch-Dukes in Vienna, the Arch-Dukes had this to say about the holy Roman Emperor Rudolph the 2nd against whom they were writing, and their sentence echoes to this day with telling power. They said and I quote: “He (the Emperor) strives all the time to eliminate God completely, so that he may in future serve a different master.” There are many who since Rudolph have attempted the same thing. All the same it is even more tragic when churchmen by their antinomianism or their unbelief eliminate the relevance of God to the world around us. [00:20:58]
This is very very different from what once constituted...
This is very very different from what once constituted Christian faith, a relevance of vitality, an action, a refusal to accept defeat. In 1867 Dwight L. Moody, then a young businessman in Chicago was an officer also of the YMCA which was then an evangelical organization. The YMCA building caught fire, and when Moody saw that the building was doomed, he called the other directors, went to local merchants, and before the fire was put out, had the money in hand for a larger building. That says something about Moody and about the Christians in Chicago in 1867. In 1830 when Alexis DeTokeville visited the United States, He commented and I quote: “these Americans are the most peculiar people in the world. You’ll not believe it when I tell you how they behave. (And this is in a letter) In a local community in their country, a citizen may conceive of some need which is not being met. What does he do? He goes across the street and discusses it with his neighbor. Then what happens? A committee comes into existence, and then the committee begins functioning on behalf of that need, and you won’t believe this, but it is true! All of this is done without reference to any bureaucrat! All of this is done by the private citizens on their own initiative. Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions consistently form associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the Antipodes. The help of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.” [00:24:03]
The strength of Christianity over the centuries has...
The strength of Christianity over the centuries has been seen, not when men have relied upon church and state to affect changes in men and society, but when men and women moved by the Holy Spirit have recognized their duty to be ministers of Christ wherever they are. Of Martin Luther we are told and I quote: “to hearers who cooed sentimentally over the infinite Jesus, and clucked over his poverty, and said: if only I had been there, how quickly I would have been to help the baby, Luther would retort: why don’t you do it now? You have Christ in your neighbor!” of the puritans we are told and I quote: “Serving the needs of society was the means whereby they also served God.” They took this so seriously that church members who refused to help in a charitable cause would be required to give an accounting before the church. Try that in the church today (laughter) and the pastor will be out before you can say Jack Robinson. They believed that because they were in a battle for the world, every believer had a duty to assist in all aspects of the Christian mission; a selfish failure to contribute was seen as a rejection of Gods requirements. We may or we may not agree with the steps they took, in haling everyone before the church to give an accounting of themselves, but we cannot disagree with their intense concern for commitment with action, for faith with works. They knew as we must recognize that there is no neutral ground. We are either working members and citizens of the kingdom of God, or we are its enemies. In the battles of the kingdom of God we face problems on two fronts, first we have the enemies of Christ, who like the emperor Rudolph the second strive all the time to eliminate God completely so that in the future they may serve a different master. Such people are all around us. Second, we have a struggle with churchmen who refuse to apply their faith, and who believe in surrendering the world to the devil, or who believe that most of the world is a neutral realm and of no concern to them. There is still however a third front, ourselves. We underrate the power of God, and we overrate the power of the enemy. The enemies of Christ do control the media, the schools, and many churches, much of the civil government, a great deal of wealth, and much much more, all the same those outside of Christ are also pitiful in their weakness, they need our prayers and they also need Jesus Christ, and the kind of society only the kingdom of God can provide. Someone has written of modern man and I quote: “the deeper problem we have was probably summed up just as well as anybody could say it by a very prominent actor, who said he is “for anything that gets him through the night, be it prayer, pills, a woman, or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” The prevalence of a dependency on liquor and drugs, the decay of civility and order, and the growing illiteracy tells us of the failure and coming collapse of the kingdom of man. Gods kingdom shall prevail, the question is shall we be a part of it, or be judged by it. There is no neutral ground. Thank you. (Applause) [00:30:50]