Eschatology Part VIII: Citizens of the Kingdom

February 28, 2010 in

For the last seven weeks we have been studying the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord of all the earth. He established His Kingdom during his ministry, continues to reign in the present during which He is bringing all the nations to honor and worship Him, and will bring the Kingdom to a close when He returns in glory and hands the Kingdom back to His Father, when He relinquishes His Messianic office. In light of the last two weeks and our study of Jesus’ kingdom work in the here and now – that Jesus is in the business of spreading His reign throughout the earth such that all the nations shall serve Him, all shall bow before Him and acknowledge His Lordship – the question naturally arises – How does He go about discipling the nations of the earth?

He has conquered the world, all power in heaven and on earth has been given to our Messiah, how shall he solidify His rule? How does He spread the culture of the Kingdom of God throughout the world, making the world increasingly like heaven? How does He subject the kingdoms of the earth to Himself?

Eschatology Part VII: The NT & Historical Optimism

February 21, 2010 in

The book of Daniel is, like the Old Testament as a whole, full of anticipation. It looks forward to the coming time when God would establish His kingdom and bring to naught the idolatrous kingdoms of the world. Whether these idolatrous kingdoms are pictured as a massive statue of different metals or a series of wild beasts, the end of the imagery rests with the establishment of God’s kingdom. And in both instances the way in which God’s kingdom is described emphasizes the expansive growth which His kingdom would experience. Whether it is pictured as a rock growing to fill the earth or as the Son of Man inheriting a kingdom such that all nations shall serve Him, the vision of the Messianic Age is very optimistic. These passages from Daniel reinforce what we observed last week – the vision of the Messianic Age in the OT anticipates all the nations of the earth acknowledging the authority of the Messiah prior to the end of history. With these passages in mind, therefore, we approach our question today – Does the NT embrace the notion that all the nations of the earth will acknowledge the Lordship of Christ prior to the end of history, during the course of the Messianic Age?

Eschatology Part VI: The OT & Historical Optimism

February 14, 2010 in

Thus far in our study of eschatology or last things we have learned that Jesus now reigns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the ruler over the kings of the earth. We are not waiting for His Kingdom to arrive – His Kingdom has come. Nevertheless, we do await the consummation of all things, the resurrection of the dead, the life everlasting, the world to come – and so we continue to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” But what should we expect between the inauguration and consummation of the Kingdom? How should we think about the present time, the Messianic Age? What will Jesus’ reign look like?

Eschatology Part V: Millennial Muddle

January 31, 2010 in

For the last several weeks we have been looking at the topic of eschatology – the study of last things. This has required us to delve into the meaning of the Kingdom of God – the inbreaking of God’s sovereign rule into human history in the person of Jesus. We have seen that Jesus came to inaugurate, to begin the Kingdom or rule of God. He came to break the power of the Evil One, to bind him so as to plunder his property, to plunder the nations of the earth. In Christ the Kingdom of God has come.

Further, we saw that the work begun by Christ in His 1st coming will be completed in the consummation of all things following His 2nd Coming. The principalities & powers, sin & death, and the curse on the earth – all will be completely overcome.

Today we branch out and begin to look at the continuation of the Kingdom, that branch of eschatological discussion where there is more disagreement among professing Christians than perhaps any other portion of Christian theology. Between the inauguration of the Kingdom under Christ and its consummation at the Second Coming, what happens, what are we to expect?

Eschatology Part IV: The Consummation of the Kingdom

January 24, 2010 in

We find ourselves in a strange time. Many Christians are extremely confused about the nature of the biblical hope for the future – both individually and globally. What is it, on the individual level, that will happen to believers at death? And, on a more global level, what is the ultimate future of the world in which we live? Many are lacking clear answers to these questions.

Because Christians are confused, the world is as well. Many think that Christianity teaches that our ultimate destiny as individuals is to die and go to heaven there to dwell on puffy clouds for eternity. At the end of history the world will be destroyed and we’ll all live on in some type of ethereal, angelic state for eternity. Far Side cartoons and other caricatures regularly capture this notion with men in togas carrying harps amid the clouds. But this vision is – at important points – seriously out of step with the biblical hope. And so we have a need to explore what the Word of God has to say in these areas.

Eschatology Part III: The Inauguration of the Kingdom

January 17, 2010 in

When the NT talks about the rule or reign of Christ it does not say that we are waiting for Him to rule but that He rules now. He is seated at the right hand of God Almighty; He has taken His seat on the throne of His father David and rules as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; He is the Son of God. As Peter says in explaining the significance of Pentecost, “God has made this Jesus to be both Lord and Christ.” Jesus is the King.

But Jesus’ Kingdom, we learned, doesn’t immediately transform the nations of the earth. It works like leaven; it operates like a farmer’s crop; it grows like a mustard seed. And so we spoke of the Kingdom coming in phases: the Kingdom is inaugurated or begun through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus; it continues to come throughout history as Jesus reigns from God’s right hand; and it shall be consummated when Jesus returns in glory and brings about the regeneration or resurrection of all things.
But today I want us to ask in more detail, “What does it mean that the Kingdom has been inaugurated, that Jesus has taken his seat at the right hand of God as King of Kings and Lord of Lords? What is the significance of this?” So this week we meditate a bit more on the inauguration of the Kingdom.

Eschatology Part II: Already and Not Yet

January 10, 2010 in

Last week I said that I was going to start a new series on eschatology – eschatology is our doctrine of last things. Last week we learned that the first thing we must understand as we consider our understanding of the future is that Jesus is already King – He is the Son of Man who has received power, dominion, and authority; He is the Son of God, the heir of David’s throne, seated at God’s right hand in power and authority. Today we discover the meaning of this in terms of the general contour of Kingdom history. Jesus came and was installed as King – His Kingdom was inaugurated. He continues to this day to reign as King – His Kingdom continues. And one day His Kingdom shall be consummated at the end of history – He shall come in judgment and the resurrection of all things shall take place. So where are we in the history of the Kingdom? We are under the reign of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is spreading His Kingdom throughout the earth.

The Person of Christ Part VI / Eschatology Part I: The Son of God

January 3, 2010 in

This morning, on the 1st Sunday of January in the year of our Lord 2010, I felt it would be fitting to preach a sermon that simultaneously looks back and looks forward. We will look back to the Gospel of Mark; back to Person of Christ; back to what Christ accomplished during His incarnation. But we will also look forward – forward to a new series of sermons on the future of the Gospel; forward to the future work of Christ; forward to the expectations we as the people of God should have for the world’s future.

This sermon, therefore, serves both as the conclusion of our series on the Person of Christ and as the inauguration of our series on the future of the Kingdom of God. What are we to think about the vexing “millennial issues”? What are we to think of premillennialism, amillennialism, postmillennialism? What are these things in the first place? Hopefully the sermon today will wrap up our short discussion of the Person of Christ and prepare us to think about the future.