Series: What We Believe: The Doctrines Of the Church
Next Wednesday night we are going to talk about the end of the world, eschatology, the consummation of the age. And then the last session, why, we will sum up all the rest of these Articles of Faith that are remaining. There are about at least half a dozen or more of them. I tell you, they are sure going to get a hop, skip, and a jump; a gesture and that is about all, but the study has been so vitally interesting to me that, however it has come out, we just let it be that way.
Now I do not know whether any one of us has any longer our little white book to read with me about the kingdom, but if you do, why, share your book with just everybody who is in possible reach of you, and let us read it out loud together. It is very short. The lecture is on the kingdom, so all of us in reading distance of the Articles of Faith, let us read it out loud together. Now let us say it together:
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Now that is the Article of Faith. My discussion of it may be in an altogether different kind of a realm, feeling, atmosphere, context, but I am very much persuaded or else I would not be doing this, I am very much persuaded that what I say tonight is the veritable truth of God.
Now to begin with just a little sentence of explanation which will be the background of what I shall say: there is no congruity between the church and the kingdom. They are two different things. When you talk about the church, you’re talking about a body and a head. Jesus Christ is the head of the church [Ephesians 5:23], and we are members of His body. So when we speak of this age, this age of the church, this age of grace, this age of the Holy Spirit, we’re talking about one thing.
But when we talk about the kingdom and the King, we’re talking about something altogether different. There is no such a thing as Jesus, the King of the church. You never read anything that even approached that in the Holy Scriptures. The nomenclature is not in anywise comparable when you talk about the King and the kingdom, and when you talk about the church and the Savior. They’re two different things. So tonight we’re going to talk about the King and the kingdom. And as we do it, you will see how the church will figure into it, but they are two different things; so tonight, The King and The Kingdom.
When we speak about the kingdom, we are speaking about Christ the King and His reign, His realm. There is no kingdom without a king, and there is no king without a kingdom. If Jesus is a king, He has a kingdom. And if there is a kingdom, it necessarily implies and necessitates a king. So if there is such a thing as a king, he has a kingdom. If the King is Jesus, then Jesus has a kingdom.
Now we’re going to discuss this from an approach with a question. Is Christ a king, and does He have a kingdom? Now, I’ve already said we know He has a church. The church is the bride of Christ [Ephesians 5:22-32, Revelation 21:9]. It was born out of His side [Ephesians 5:30], as Eve, the bride of Adam, was taken out of the side of Adam [Genesis 2:21-23], and we are members of His bones and of His body [Ephesians 5:30], and He is the head of the body, the church. But is He also a king? Is Christ a king? And if so, does He have a kingdom? Now that is the avowal that the lecture assumes in its discussion tonight.
Number one: Christ Jesus is the promised covenant King of Israel. By an unconditional covenant the Lord God gave to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their seed the land of Palestine for an everlasting possession [Genesis 35:1,11-12]. It is theirs forever and ever. Unconditionally it was given to them. Their residence in the land was conditional. “If you do not obey Me,” says God, “I will drive you among the nations of the earth, and you will be buried among the Gentiles”[Deuteronomy 28:63-64]. Their conditional residence in the land was found in their obedience to God, but, there is no condition to their proprietorship, their ownership of the land! It belongs to them without condition!
Now rather than go through passage after passage, there is a summary of all of the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the seed of Israel in Psalm 105, verses 8-11:
He hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
By an unconditional oath which God sweared to Abraham, Isaac, and confirmed the same to Jacob for an everlasting covenant, “the land of Palestine belongs to you forever.”
Now, the same Lord God who made that unconditional covenant to Abraham and to the seed of Israel, the same Lord God made a covenant with David that he would have a son to sit on his throne forever. When you turn to 2 Samuel, chapter 7, I read these verses, 12, 13, and 16; and Nathan says to David:
And when thy days be fulfilled, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom…
and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.
You know, God does not mind repeating anything. And those few words there, He repeats that over and over again. “Out of your bowels, out of thy seed, there will be a son. I will establish his throne and his kingdom forever. Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever. Thy throne shall be established forever.” That kind of sounds as though God was saying that he was going to have a son who would sit on his throne and that kingdom and that throne would be established forever.
Now remember, I told you there’s a whole lot of difference between the church and a whole lot of difference between that and the kingdom. Do you notice we’re talking about a king, and we’re talking about a kingdom? And we just got through talking about the land, now the king to sit upon the throne.
The prophet Isaiah in glorious words spoke of that King and that kingdom. These words are so familiar to us because we sing them. I don’t know whether they would be so familiar to us were they not the text of some of the great oratorios and choruses of the world. But when Isaiah speaks of that glorious promise of God, that David should have a Son and He should sit upon the throne of David forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end – when Isaiah speaks of that, he does it in incomparable language.
Now this is typical of it. Isaiah 9:6-7:
For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom.
What did I say? Are we talking about the church? No. Are we talking about the head of the church? No. Are we talking about a king? Yes. Are we talking about a kingdom? Yes. Is it not so? Am I not reading about a king? And am I not reading about a kingdom?
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.
And that’s a long time, isn’t it; forever? “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” [Isaiah 9:7].
When I turn the page, just one page, here Isaiah is speaking of it again: “And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” [Isaiah 11:1]. Cut down, tree cut down, I mean really cut down, the people carried off into captivity, the Holy City destroyed, the temple plowed up – you couldn’t imagine anything anymore cut down than the house of Jesse. “But there shall come forth a Rod, a little shoot, out of the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Cut down, but God is raising it up.
Then it describes the King, and now the kingdom:
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid…
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse – this Branch coming up out of the roots – which shall stand for an ensign of the people, for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest – His sabbatical blessed, rest – shall be glorious.
“Of the government and of the peace under it, there shall be no end. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it” [Isaiah 9:7]. What are we talking about? A church? No. Are we talking about the head of the church? No. Are we talking about a king? Yes. And are we talking about a kingdom? Yes.
Now seven hundred fifty years later, now all of this is very much built upon one another as we go along, so you stay awake. You just listen now cause every little old piece of this is just a foundation upon which another piece is built. We have a land, a covenant land. We have a king, a covenant king, and we have a reign, a glorious one.
Seven hundred fifty years later after Isaiah said these marvelous things, the angel Gabriel was sent to the city of Nazareth to a virgin Jewess named Mary. And he told her that she was to be the mother of this foretold, foreordained Child. And you look at how the angel speaks to her.
The angel said to her… Mary, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: and that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
All right, the angel expressly stated that this Child is to be King over the kingdom of Israel, which kingdom is to endure forever. Now look at verses 32 and 33. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” [Luke 1:32-33].
Are we talking about a church? No! Are we talking about the heavenly church? No. Are we talking about a king? Yes! Are we talking about a kingdom? Yes. Didn’t I read it? I didn’t make this up. The angel said, “He shall be great: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David. He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
This holy promise is echoed by the praise of Zacharias in that same beautiful chapter in verses 67 and 68 [Luke 1: 67-70]. Zacharias, who was the father of John the Baptist, when John was born, he was able to speak, his tongue was loosed [Luke 1:64].
Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying,
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people,
And hath raised up an horn – that’s a king – a horn of salvation for us in the house of David;
As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began.
And on a night of nights, the King was born. And that is Luke chapter 2 that I haven’t time to discuss. I just refer to the beautiful and incomparable story. On a night of nights, King Jesus was born!
All right, number two, Roman numeral two: the King announces the kingdom as being at hand [Matthew 4:17]. In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar [Luke 3:1], Jesus, being about thirty years of age, was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River [Luke 3:21-23]. He was also baptized by the Holy Spirit [Luke 3:22]. He then went forth to announce the covenant kingdom and to present Himself as the promised King.
Mark begins his Gospel like that. “After John was put in prison, Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand – get ready, turn ye – repent ye, and believe the gospel,” the good news [Mark 1:14-15]. So the King comes announcing the kingdom and presenting Himself as the King.
Christ Jesus carried with Him the credentials of His claim to be King of the kingdom. He carried with Him the credentials of His claim to be the Son and heir of David. Through His mother, He was descended from David through the line of Nathan. That’s the genealogy of Luke [Luke 3:23]. Through His legal father, the husband of Mary, He was descended from David through the line of Solomon, the genealogy of Matthew [Matthew 1:1].
By birth and by legal right, He was a king! And when the wise men came in the second chapter of Matthew from the East through Jerusalem, they said, “Where is He that is born head of the church, the Savior of the body?” “Preacher, you have lost your marbles.” No, sir. Are we talking about a king? Yes! Are we talking about a kingdom? Yes! And they came and said, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to bow down and to worship Him” [Matthew 2:2]. Isn’t that right? Am I making this up? I’m just going through the Good Book. A king and a kingdom; “Where is He that is born King?”
He not only carried with Him the credentials of being heir to the throne of David, but He carried with Him the credentials of a sinless life. John 8:46: “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” He carried with Him the credentials of the wondrous words He spake. John 7:46: “Never man spake like that Man!” And He carried with Him the credentials of the miracles that He wrought. Matthew 8:27, Matthew 9:33: “Look, they said, What manner of man is this, for even the wind and the water obey Him!” And again, “It was never so seen in Israel.”
If you want to look at that verse just a second, you think of what Israel has seen. What they’ve seen under Moses, what they’ve seen under Elijah, and under Elisha, and under Isaiah, and then looking at Jesus saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” [Matthew 9:33]. He carried with Him the credentials of the marvelous things that He wrought.
And finally, the promised kingdom is announced – at the exact moment foretold by Gabriel to Daniel the prophet in Daniel 9:25-26, at the exact moment, at the exact time, at the exact day! If you want to read those sermons I preached on Daniel, you will have all of that outlined in there – at the exact moment foretold by Gabriel to Daniel the prophet, in the exact manner foretold by the prophet Zechariah, “Behold, thy King cometh.” What? “Behold, the head of the church cometh?” What? We’re talking about a king, and we’re talking about a kingdom. “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee… riding upon an ass, and the foal of an ass,” Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Matthew 21:2, 4, 5-16.
The covenant moment of all history had come. Jesus Christ offered Himself and presented Himself as the covenant King of Israel! And according to prophecy, rode into the Holy City while the people shouted, saying, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; blessed be the Son of David; Hosanna in the highest!”[Matthew 21:9] The great covenant prophetic moment of all history had come!
And when the Pharisees and the elders said to the Lord, “Tell these disciples to hush their mouths,” Jesus said, “If they hush the stones would cry out!” [Luke 19:40]. The very pavement would shout! The very rocks would cry! The great promise of God through the ages, and the ages, and the ages had come. King Jesus is here. Don’t you wish you could pick it up there and carry it on to glory? No.
Roman numeral three: the King and the kingdom are rejected. Christ – and I want you to look at this if you will – Christ was accused, arrested, and tried because He said He was a king. Because He was a good man, healed the sick, preached the gospel to the poor, opened the eyes of the blind, and cleansed the lepers, was good? No! Why did they crucify Him? The Book says because He said He was a king!
John chapter 19, John chapter 19:12-15, “And Pilate sought to release Him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself head of the church speaketh against Caesar.”
“Preacher, I think we’re having trouble with you tonight. You’re losing your sense of direction.”
Well, I sure would be losing my sense of direction if I said things like that. No! the Jews cried out to Pilate when he wanted to release Him saying,
If Thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: for whosoever maketh himself a king, k-i-n-g, for whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. Pilate therefore hearing that brought Jesus forth, sat Him down and said, Look, your King! They cried, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him! Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar!
Over here in John chapter 18:33-37, Pilate entered into the judgment hall, and called Jesus, and said, “Art Thou the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “Where did you think to ask Me that question? Did that come out of you, or somebody else?” Pilate said, “I do not know, am I a Jew? Your nation and the chief priests have delivered You”:
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence.
Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then? And Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.
That is the most emphatic way that the Greek can express an affirmation. “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world” [John 18:37]. Now He was reviled as a king. Look at Mark 15, beginning in verse 9:
Pilate answered them, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
For he knew that they delivered Him for envy.
The chief priests moved the people, that they would release Barabbas.
Then he said, What shall ye that I shall do unto Him called King of the Jews?
And they cried out, Crucify Him.
Then Pilate said, Why, what evil hath He done? And they cried out the more, Crucify Him.
So he scourged Him, and delivered Him to be crucified.
And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called the Praetorium; and they call together the whole band of the soldiers.
And they clothed Him with purple, and plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on His head,
And began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him.
And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
But He was mocked, and reviled, and abused as a king: His crown, mockery, made of thorns; His robe, His kingly garment, an old castoff purple robe in the palace; and His scepter, a reed. But they mocked Him and reviled Him as a king.
Now, He was crucified a king. John chapter 19:19-22: “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND THE SAVIOR OF THE BODY.”
“Pastor, I do believe if you don’t get on the beam, we’re going to think you’ve lost your mind.” You see, when I stay with the Book, I stay on the beam, isn’t that right? But when I get away from the Book, I get off the beam. What did he write? Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross “And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
This title read many of the them: for the place where He was crucified was nigh to the city: and everybody could read it because it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
Then the chief priests of the Jews came to Pilate and said, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am the King of the Jews;
And Pilate answered, gegrapha, gegrapha.
I can just hear Pilate saying that, gegrapha, gegrapha, one of the famous sayings of all literature; “What I have written I have written” [John 19:22]. And it stood by the decree of the imperial government, Jesus died and was crucified a king. “Gegrapha, gegrapha.” “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” [John 1:11].
All right, Roman numeral four: He is an exiled king awaiting His kingdom. He went away, up there in glory, even as He told the parable, which we haven’t time to follow, even as He told the parable in Luke chapter 19, and especially verses 12 and 13. “There was a nobleman who went away into a far country to receive a kingdom.” He went away. He left us. The king went away. He is gone. He is exiled, awaiting the day of the kingdom. Now what? Then what?
Roman numeral five: now, is the great intermission, the vast interlude. How Satan must have laughed in the day of the cross. He exalted in triumph. Israel has slain her own Son. The chosen people are in unbelief. God’s purposes have been brought to naught. All the prophecies have fallen to the ground. The King is slain. The kingdom has failed. Death is here forever. Sin is here forever. Satan is king forever. There’s no kingdom, ever! That’s what Satan thought when he saw Jesus die.
Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait! It’s just the kingdom in its consummation was postponed to another age. This day in which we live is the day of the great intermission. It is the day of the vast interlude between the cross and the crown. This is the great musterion, this age in which we live. This is the great musterion of Ephesians 3:3, 5, 9. The musterion, a secret God kept in His heart, that He was going to create a church, and Jesus, crucified Jesus, risen, resurrected Jesus would be the Lord and Savior of the body.
This is the age of grace. It is the age of the Holy Spirit. It’s the age of the church. This is the age of the engrafted olive branch; we Gentiles have been put in that original olive tree out of which God has taken Israel. In Romans 11:17-19; and the message of the church, the ekklesia, is one of calling out the call, ek kaleo, calling out. It is the day of the preaching of the cross. It is the day of the announcement of the good news, the free pardon of our sins, and of our adoption into the household of faith [Ephesians 1:5].
Ephesians 2:11-22, which is one of the great verses, passages of all the Bible, Ephesians 2:11-22. But this church age is not all. It will not continue forever. It is an intermission. It is an interlude between two great, mighty events, the first and the second comings of Christ [Hebrews 9:28]. Somewhere, someday, sometime there will be another divine intervention from heaven. The King and the kingdom are coming!
Christ is the head of the church [Ephesians 5:22], not King of the church. There is a kingdom awaiting our Lord, the King, and us, His willing, and obedient, and waiting, and loving, and yielded, and worshipping subjects.
In Luke 23:42, when the thief said, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom,” Jesus never said, “There is no kingdom.” He said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise,” awaiting the coming kingdom.
In Acts 1:6, as the Lord was taken up into glory the disciples said, “Lord, what about the kingdom? Wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And the Lord did not say, “There is no kingdom.” He said, “It is just not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Lord hath reserved for Himself, kept in His own hands” [Acts 1:7].
There is a coming king, and there is a coming kingdom. He is coming as a king under a twofold simile. He is coming “as a thief in the night,” as referred to, those words in Matthew 24:43, in Luke 12:39, in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, in 2 Peter 3:10, in Revelation 3:3, and in Revelation 16:15. That’s one, two, three, four, five, six, that’s six times those exact words are used. Jesus King is coming as a thief in the night.
And according to Matthew 24:27, “He is coming as the lightning shineth forth from the east to the west” – as the lightning livid, vivid, cleaves the bosom of the sky. Well, how could such a thing be? He is coming as a thief in the night with unsandaled feet, softly, furtively, clandestinely, secretly to steal away His jewels, His pearl of price [1 Thessalonians 5:2]. He is coming for His people and that will include us all, dead and alive – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, that musterion that the apostle Paul revealed to us: “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we, we shall all be changed.” He will not leave in the dust of the ground the least of His saints. There’ll not be a bone left in the region of death. There’ll not be a relic left for the devil to gloat over. Every one of God’s saints that have gone to sleep in Jesus will God speak alive, the resurrection of glory [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. “And all of us who remain will be caught up to meet the Lord with them in the air” [1 Thessalonians 4:17].
The musterion, when He comes as a thief in the night for His people any moment, any day, any time. There is nothing between us and the rapture. As I said in one of these lectures, we’re not looking for Armageddon and we’re not looking for the tribulation, and we’re not looking for the Antichrist, or the beast, or the false prophet, we’re looking for Jesus. He is coming. He is coming. And He is coming as a thief in the night, suddenly, without announcement. As it was with Enoch, he was just translated [Genesis 5:24]. As it was in the days of Noah, God put him in the ark and shut the door [Genesis 7:16]. As it was in the days of Lot, when the angel snatched him out and the judgment fell [Genesis 19:16,22]. “There shall be two in a bed, one taken, the other left. Two in a field, one taken, the other left. Two in a bed, one taken, the other left. Two grinding in a mill, one taken and the other left” [Luke 17:34-36], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, raptured away.
Then He is coming seven years later, after the tribulation, after the judgment, He is coming as lightning cleaves the bosom of the sky. He is coming openly, publicly, personally, visibly. This is the text of Revelation 1:7, “Behold, behold, He cometh; and every eye shall see Him.” He is coming in the shekinah glory of God that to us looks like a cloud of brightness and iridescent beauty. “He is coming with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.” That is the text of the Apocalypse. And as Jude 14 says, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.”
As in John’s Revelation chapter 4, he’s taken up into heaven, a door opened in heaven and John is raptured [Revelation 4:1]. That’s a type and a picture of His people. And in the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation, after the marriage supper of the Lamb, He comes openly with His people! [Revelation] 19:11 says, “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was Faithful and True. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns”[Revelation 19:11-12]. He is our King! He is coming as a king. “He was dressed in a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God” [Revelation 19:13].
He is coming in the glory of the Father. He is coming in the glory of the angels. He is coming in the glory of the church. He is coming in His own glory of the Son of God, as the Son of Abraham, as the Son of Man, and the God Man, Christ Jesus. He is coming in the glory of Israel, the King of the Jews. He is coming as the King of the nations. He is coming as the King of kings, the Lord God, pantokrator. He is coming as the restorer of the earth and its rightful re-Creator and Prince and manifest eternal God.
Then will be fulfilled every one of those blessed promises of the ancient prophets such as Micah 4:3, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Then shall be fulfilled that glorious kingdom prophecy of Isaiah we just read, when the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid [Isaiah 11:6]. And they will not bite and fight and destroy anymore[Isaiah 11:9]. And even the lion, carnivorous and voracious shall eat straw like an ox [Isaiah 11:7]. Then will be fulfilled the twentieth chapter of the Revelation. Revelation 20:1-6 when Satan is bound for a thousand years. Then will the prayer be answered in Matthew 6:10, “Lord, Thy kingdom come.” That is what you are praying for; the head of the church? No, the King, “Thy kingdom come.” Then will be the answer to that prayer.
This is the blessed hope of Titus 2:13. “Looking for that blessed hope, the coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” And this is the answering response of John in Revelation 22:20 when He said, “I come quickly, Surely, surely,” and John replied, “Amen. Even so, come, blessed Jesus.” That is the King and the kingdom.
Well, if we had forty more hours we’d just talk about that kingdom. I’ve got two minutes; let me talk about it for two minutes. I remember so well, oh so well, in my preaching through the Bible, I was preaching in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke, and that is our Lord appearing to the disciples:
And they were affrighted.
Then He said, It is I. Behold, My hands and My feet. Look at Me. It is I.
And because they still could not believe for joy, He said, Have you here anything to eat? – King James, “have you here any meat? – and they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He did eat before them.
Well, I was just preaching away about that. The resurrection of our Lord, it is He, not somebody else, it is He. Then I was preaching on the great Christian doctrine of our resurrection [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. It shall be we and not somebody else. It shall be I, you, I shall be I, you shall be you.
Well, that’s what I was preaching about, the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Well, there happened to be somebody here that morning of great taste, and education, and all the accouterments of esthetic sensibility. And this dear one went out the door right back there and said to a friend, “I believe that was the most crass and carnal sermon I ever heard in my life, physical.”
Well, in the two minutes that I have, one minute left, I believe it just that crass and just that carnal that it is we, raised from the dead. I believe in an actual resurrection. I mean these atoms and these molecules; I think God’s going to put them back together again, only glorified. It shall be I, raised from the dead. And I think we shall share in an actual and visible kingdom. I think the day shall come when we shall see King Jesus on an actual throne, and we can talk to Him, and bow before Him, and say words of praise and love and adoration that He can hear. We are going to live in a new world, a glorious one, a heavenly world, presided over, reigned over, ruled over by a living king, King Jesus.
That’s exactly what I think the Bible says, and that’s exactly what I am looking forward to. These little kids that I talk to, such as some of them today, I say to them, “You know that Lord’s Supper we have? It closes with this sentence: ‘Where as oft as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come’” [1 Corinthians 11:26]. I say, “Little one, what does that mean, till He come?”
Without exception they’ll all say, “Jesus is coming back again.”
Then I always ask them, “Do you believe that?”
And the child will always answer, “Yes.”
Then I always ask, “Do you believe you will see Jesus someday?”
And always the answer is, “Yes. I believe I’ll see Jesus someday.”
Paul calls that the blessed looking for the appearing of our great God and Savior [Titus 2:13], King Jesus, upon His head many crowns, a king [Revelation 19:12]. Oh, hold my hand while I shout! Well, next Wednesday night we’re going to talk about the consummation of the age, those things that are a part of the time and the end of the world.
For more sermons by W.A Criswell, please visit www.wacriswell.com