Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: January 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Second Phase of the Coming King Jesus

Second Phase of the Coming King Jesus

In is critically important to right theology to understand that the “first resurrection” involves three phases.  The first Person to have been resurrected was the man Jesus, who is also the Christ; God in human flesh.  Because Jesus has been successfully resurrected and glorified, he became the “firstfruit” of the New Creation.  The very fact of the “firstfruit” guarantees the future harvest.  Therefore, the celebration of the resurrection/glorification of Jesus (commonly referred to as Easter) is also the celebration and anticipation of the future second phase of the “first resurrection” that we know as the Rapture of the Church.   It is critically important to see that the resurrection of Church Age believers takes place in three phases, Christ Jesus having already completed the first phase assuring the second and third phases.  Paul refers to these three phases of the “first resurrection” in I Corinthians 15:23 as “every man in his own order.”

“17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (I Corinthians 15:17-23).

There is much confusion about what form the resurrected and glorified body will take.  It is also important to understand that this resurrection of the body is not merely the resurrection of a dead, corrupt body of flesh to be as it was before death.  The resurrected body of the believer will be glorified.  This means the new body will not be the same as the old body.  The new body will be eternal, it will not grow old, and it will not suffer from any of the limitations or contaminations of the corrupt fallen body.  The fact is that our present body is but the seed of our new body.

Understanding that the new body will not be the same as our present physical body is a difficult thing for most people because we merely think in terms of renewal.  For instance, when we trade in an old car for a new car, we understand that although the new car will be new, it will still be much like the old car.  It will probably still have four wheels, and engine, transmission, steering wheel, brakes, and etc.  However, it is still just physical new kind of the old kind.  It will immediately begin to wear out, rust, decay, and become old.  This dynamic will not be part of our new bodies.  Our new bodies will not be new of the old kind.  Our new bodies will be new of a different kind.  When the coming King Jesus calls believers from the grave and from this world at the Rapture, we will immediately be transfigured to a new kind of body.

“35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (I Corinthians 15:35-50).

In order to escape temporal and earth-bound thinking regarding the complete transfiguration of our human bodies upon glorification, God has given us additional insight in I John 3:1-3.  The concept communicated in the believer’s transfiguration upon glorification is directly connected to our having become “the sons of God.”  We are already positionally “sons of God” by salvation, spiritual rebirth, and the indwelling seal of the Holy Spirit of God.  Yet, there is another aspect that has not been completed actually.  This aspect is glorification, is to be transfigured to be like Jesus was when He ascended into Heaven.

“1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:1-3).

Upon glorification, the “born again” believer will experience the kind of freedom that Jesus spoke about in John 8:32 – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  The freedom of which Jesus spoke was the complete freedom from the bondage of the Sin Nature.  The “born again” and glorified believer will be completely free from the fallen corruption of his spirit due to the infection of pride and worldly lusts.  At the rapture of the Church, “born again” believers will experience for the first time in their lives perfectly pure selflessness exemplified by the vicarious life and vicarious death of Jesus Christ.  They will experience for the first time the purest forms of appreciation, adoration, reverence, and worship of God.

In most part, before our glorification, the understanding of eternal life has more to do with the benefits of eternal life to us.  Our focus is upon ourselves rather than upon the fact that once we are glorified, our thinking will be focused primarily upon the glory and Person of God.  Everything else that is worldly, or even earthly, will seem petty and superficial.  This will be true even about the then visible glories of Heaven.  We will not merely be in awe of God because we will then see Him in all His glory.  We will be in awe of God because we will see Him from the perspective of our own perfect selflessness.  We will see Him comparing what we really are as a created being to what He really is as our Creator.

When will all this take place?  Christian-dumb is rampant with various rapture theories.  However, the Scriptures are very clear if we are careful in our reading of the texts and what they teach about the resurrection.  There are three basic positions on the rapture of the Church; Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation (included here is the Pre-wrath rapture position), and Post-tribulation.  In order to arrive at a biblical understanding, we must be careful to maintain two distinct perspectives from the Word of God.  First, we must understand dispensations and their transitions.  Secondly, we must be equally careful to maintain a clear distinction between the Church and Israel in our Eschatology.  Failure in either of these areas will corrupt our understanding.
As said already, it is critically important to see that the resurrection of Church Age believers takes place in three phases.  Paul refers to these three phases of the “first resurrection” in I Corinthians 15:23 as “every man in his own order.” 
First, we should understand is that the seven-year tribulation period is the seventieth week of Daniel.  It refers to a dispensational transitory period between the Church Age and the Millennial Kingdom Age.  It deals specifically with the judgment of this world and the restoration of the nation of Israel.  The Church is not mentioned after Revelation 4:1 where the Apostle John represents all believers at the rapture.  Therefore, the Church will not be on earth during the Tribulation.  Notice the similarities between Revelation 4:1 and I Thessalonians 4:14-17.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither {a call up, not Jesus coming to the earth}, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).

“14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:14-17).

The seven-year tribulation period is the “day of God’s wrath.”  It will be preceded by the rapture of the Church.  The first thing that will happen after the rapture of the Church is the revealing of the Antichrist (Revelation 6:2; the counterfeit rider on “a white horse”) in the opening of the first “seal” judgment.  In releasing the “antichrist” on the Earth, God will be releasing part of His wrath upon the earth and His restraint upon evil.  It is obvious from Scripture that God’s intent is to completely deliver all believers from this “wrath” before it begins.

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself {the unbelieving Christ-rejecter} wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we {the redeemed} shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).

“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us {the redeemed} from the wrath to come” (I Thessalonians 1:10).

“For God hath not appointed us {the redeemed} to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:9).

The central proofs against the Post-tribulation (or after the Tribulation) rapture are twofold.  First, Christ cannot return with His “saints” at the end of the tribulation period to establish His Kingdom if they have not already been resurrected and glorified.  Yet the Scriptures repeatedly state He will return with His “saints.”

“13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:5).

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (I Thessalonians 3:13).

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 1:14).

Jude is probably quoting from Daniel 7:10, where Daniel gives us the broader meaning to what Jude refers to as “ten thousands” in verse fourteen.

“9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands {millions} ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand {one-hundred million} stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:9-14).

Daniel 7:9-14 can be a confusing text if it is taken out the context of other teachings in Daniel.  The judgment by God here is during the Tribulation on Earth.  It is important to see that this is not the Great White Throne judgment, because that will take place after the Kingdom Age.  It is not the Judgment Seat of Christ, because that will take place in Heaven during the seven-year Tribulation on Earth.  This judgment is known as “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:4-7; Daniel 12:1), which is the judgment of unbelieving Jews.  It is also the “judgment of the nations” (Matthew 25:31-46), which is the Seal Judgments released from Heaven upon the Christ rejecting Gentile nations of the world.  This is not for the Church!
Those returning with Christ at the battle of Armageddon are all Old Covenant and all Church Age “saints.”  A basic study of the Old Testament will reveal that “fine linen” was the clothing of the priests.  The saints of the New Covenant Church Age (from Pentecost to the Rapture) will be the “royal” and “holy” priesthood of Christ during the Kingdom Age (I Peter 2:5-9; Revelation 1:6; 2:26-28; 5:10; and 20:6).

“11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:11-14).

Secondly, we must also understand that the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-10) will take place prior to the second advent of Christ.  This will obviously require the presence of the Bride (the Church).  The common Jewish wedding celebration (“marriage supper”) lasted seven days.
Since the Tribulation period is the “seventieth week” of Daniel, we can conclude that the “marriage supper of the Lamb” will last for the whole seven-years of the Tribulation period.  The Church will be glorified in Heaven with Christ for that whole period of time, not just the last few days (or years).
Much confusion is caused by those misunderstanding of the completion of the “first resurrection” in Revelation 20:4-6.  This is actually the third and last phase of the “first resurrection.”  During the Tribulation, millions of people will accept Christ as their Savior.  The majority of these people will be martyred for Jesus Christ.  They will either be “beheaded” or they will starve to death because they will not be allowed to work, buy, or sell goods without the “mark of the beast.”

“15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:15-17).

These martyred Tribulation saints will not be resurrected and glorified until after (or at) the second coming of Christ to the Earth.  This means they will be resurrected from the dead (redemption of the body, Romans 8:23) and glorified by the beginning of the Kingdom Age.  They will share in the Kingdom Age reign of Christ.  The meaning of phrase “this is the first resurrection” is that their resurrection completes the “first resurrection” that began with Christ and continued with the rapture prior to the beginning of the Tribulation period.

“4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead {the lost} lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

The Tribulation saints must be distinguished from Israel as well.  The probability is they will share in Christ’s rule as part of the Church since they die prior to the second advent of Christ.

“9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. . .14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9 and 14).

We can gather from all of this an overall understanding of the end-times up to this point.  It would be a serious mistake to presume that because the Tribulation saints are not resurrected until after the Tribulation that the rapture of the Church will not take place until that time.  It should be clearly understood from Revelation 20:5 that this is intended to complete the first resurrection that had happened earlier.  Christ was the “firstfruits” (I Corinthians 15:20-23), then all Church Age believers from the Day of Pentecost to the beginning of the Tribulation, and then the martyred Tribulation saints at the second coming of Christ.

Another text that causes much confusion about when the rapture occurs is Matthew chapter twenty-four.  This is mistaken for a rapture text because it is taken out of its dispensational context.  We must remember that the context of the Gospel of Matthew is Jesus coming as the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.  The confusion that this is a rapture text is forced upon Matthew chapter twenty-four because of a misunderstanding of Christ’s epistle to the local church at Sardis in Revelation chapter three.  Because people confuse Christ’s statement about coming as a thief, they presume a monothetic use of this phrase and that the text is teaching that Jesus is coming for believers.  Revelation 3:1 tells us that there were lost people in the church of Sardis.  Therefore, Jesus speaks to the lost in first part of Revelation 3:3 calling them to remember the Gospel, repent, and be saved.  These people manifest their lost condition by not watching for the coming of Jesus.

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee” (Revelation 3:3).

Therefore, this text is not referring to the rapture of Church Age believers.  Instead, the text refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ after the Tribulation period and at Armageddon.  The ramifications of this warning are very broad.  Since the redeemed will not go through the Tribulation period, and will be raptured (I Thessalonians 4:16-17) prior to this, this means that the people to which this text warns are lost.  This confirms the meaning behind the statement “thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (3:1).  Christ’s coming “as a thief” is a reference to Matthew 24:43. In this context it refers to Christ coming in judgment, not to rescue the Church from wrath, which is the intent of the rapture.

“37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken {killed in judgment}, and the other left {alive to go into the Kingdom Age}. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken {killed in judgment}, and the other left {alive to go into the Kingdom Age}. 42 Watch {this is for those saved during the Tribulation} therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:37-44).

In the “days of Noah,” those taken by the flood were taken in judgment and condemned.  Therefore, the “one” taken in Matthew 24:40 is taken in judgment and condemned.  Those “left” will enter Christ’s Kingdom alive.  Therefore, the warning in Revelation 3:3 appears to be that those professing Christ, but living hypocritically, should carefully consider if there is any reality to their faith.  The warning of Revelation 3:3 to “watch” is to be prepared for the coming of the Judge.  The only way to be prepared for His coming is to be prepared by salvation.

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 Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Coming King Jesus

The Coming King Jesus

The words King, Lord, Sovereign are all words that communicate our understanding of the preeminence of Jesus.  The words are meaningless words apart from our understanding of the words obedience, submission, and subjection in our relationship to Him. The amount of Scripture testimony to the coming of King Jesus to establish a Kingdom on Earth is extensive and detailed.  The “Kingdom of heaven” is referred to thirty-two different times is the Gospel of Matthew.  In fact, that phrase is unique to the Gospel of Matthew.  The reason for this is found in the first verse of Matthew, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Therefore, this connects to two Old Testament Covenants:

1. The Abrahamic Covenant of the promised Seed (Galatians 3:16)
2. The Davidic Covenant as the covenanted King and “Righteous Branch” of king David (Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15)

“But the prominent character of Christ in Matthew is that of the covenanted King, David’s ‘righteous Branch’ Jer 23:5; 33:15. Matthew records His genealogy; His birth in Bethlehem the city of David, according to Mic 5:2, the ministry of His forerunner according to Malachi Mal 3:1.  His rejection by Israel; and His predictions of His second coming in power and great glory.  Only then (Mt 26.-28.) does Matthew turn to the earlier covenant, and record the sacrificial death of the son of Abraham.  This determines the purpose and structure of Matthew. It is peculiarly the Gospel for Israel; and, as flowing from the death of Christ, a Gospel for the whole world.”[1]

This general context of the Gospel of Matthew is critical to understanding most, if not all, of the teachings of Jesus recorded by Matthew.  The “Seed” of the Abrahamic Covenant and the “King” of the Davidic Covenant are prophetic essentials for fully understanding both salvation and the believer’s position in the Kingdom Age.  This is the context in which Christ Jesus is presented in the Gospel of Matthew.

At the first advent of Jesus Christ, He came as the suffering servant.  His birth and His life emulated humility, servanthood, and quiet submission to His Father’s will.  This humbling of Jesus is pertinent to the fact that He did not come in the first advent as King Jesus.  In His first advent, Jesus came as the Son of man to be the “last Adam” so that He could humble Himself unto death, “even the death of the Cross.”  In order for Jesus to have subjects, it was necessary for Him to die to redeem those subjects.  Those that receive the free gift of salvation from God available because of the death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus the God/man should confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord” and should bow in obeisance before Him.

“1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11).

Surely Christians should understand that the Saviour of our souls is also the Sovereign Lord of Heaven and Earth.  If we understand that every soul will one-day bow before the Lord Jesus, surely we should understand that He is Lord now.  Understanding the Lordship of Jesus should connect us to the moral obligations and personal responsibilities of accountability to His will each moment of each day of our lives.  Maintaining such a perspective is the central purpose of our devotional life and Bible reading – being devoted in our service to the King Jesus! This is the substance of the first four verses of Philippians chapter two.  Paul would conclude his epistle to the Philippians by giving detail instruction as to HOW to maintain our devotional service to King Jesus in chapter four.

“1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:1-9).

“The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5b).  This phrase certainly carries with it a warning regarding moral culpability to the Lord.  It might be compared to a mother telling her children, “just wait until your father gets home!”  The emphasis is upon a day of reckoning at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The solution to the petty quarrels that often divide local churches, exemplified by these two women Euodias and Syntyche, is to occupy our minds with such things as truth, being honest, being just, being pure, being friendly, having a good reputation, and insuring our thought life is virtuous and filled with praise (Philippians 4:8-9).

This is no small task when we consider that by nature we are very petty creatures.  We often think that it is the great sins that offend God the most.  In many instances, it is the constant pettiness about minutia that is the most annoying and destructive to the inner peace that should belong to every believer.  Imagine how annoying this must be to God Who knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  These are the people who find some insignificant fault and pick at it until it bleeds.  These people have enough of their own minutia of failures to pick at, but somehow think it is their mission in life to point out and pick at the faults of others.  Christians just cannot seem to grasp that such nonsense is like casting pearls before swine destroying and contradicting the testimony of the church before the lost regarding what it means to be a servant of King Jesus.  This is why Jesus refers to such nonsense as hypocrisy in Matthew 7:5.

“3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:3-6).

This is why it is critical to understand the general context of the Gospel of Matthew in that the purpose of this Gospel is to teach believers how to live NOW as subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven and of King Jesus.  The phrase “kingdom of heaven” is unique to the Gospel of Matthew used thirty-three times in thirty-two verses.  Almost all of the parables of Matthew deal with what it means to be genuine servants of King Jesus.  There are some that say that the teachings of the Gospel of Matthew are for the Kingdom Age.  To say that the teachings of Jesus in Matthew chapters five through seven are not for the Church Age is hyper-dispensational nonsense.  If that were the case, there would be no need for the Gospel of Matthew until the Kingdom Age.  The point of the heightened teaching of moral obligations during the Church Age is because the Church Age believer has the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Holy Spirit (grace) to help him live these higher expectations.  Becoming servants, rather than Lords, would become both the greatest struggle of the Christian life and the greatest accomplishment.

“20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:20-28).

There is probably nothing more contradictory to the sin nature of humanity than to willfully become the servant of another with the intent of giving one’s life to the betterment and promotion of another person’s welfare and well-being.  Fallen humanity has a natural, sinful propensity for playing King on the mountain.  The very nature of sinners is that they want to be kings, not servant.  Sinners are driven by their fallen natures to want worship, adoration, and praise from our fellow human beings.  This is the infection of satanic corruption that rose up against God’s sovereignty in the fall of angel Satan.  We have ALL been infected with this narcissistic corruption and resists being in to subjection to anyone.  This is why most people struggle with the numerous authority figures in their lives beginning with parents.  We see God’s hatred for such a view of life in His condemnation of Satan.

“12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners” (Isaiah 14:12-17)?

The Church Age Christian lives his life within the context of the careful watch for the imminent second coming of King Jesus.  The second advent of Christ must be kept at the forefront of the thinking of the everyday life of every Christian.  Perhaps today!  Psalms chapter two is the Psalm of King Jesus as he takes possession of Zion in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant at the end of the Tribulation and at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.  The first three verses of Psalm two portray the attitude of the Christ rejecting world towards King Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  It is into this tension of hatred and adversarialism towards Christ that the true Christian is interjected as a cure to combat the viral infection of satanic worldliness.  We enter this corruption at the risk of life and limb with hope of perhaps rescuing one person from the grasp of Hell upon his soul.

“1 Why do the heathen {all unbelieving Gentile nations viewed as one entity} rage {violence, confusion, disorder}, and the people imagine {murmur} a vain thing {emptiness; most probably refers to the godless philosophies of Evolution and Secular Humanism during the last days}? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together {form a one world allegiance}, against the LORD {Jehovah}, and against his anointed (Jesus the Messiah}, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision {not making any sense to the point of being ridiculous}. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen {Gentile nations} for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them {Gentile nations} with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them {Gentile nations} in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth {the kings and judges here are faithful Church Age believers who will be the kings of which Jesus is King and lords of which Jesus is LORD}. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalms 2:1-12). 

By understanding the dispensational context of the first ten verses of Psalm two, we can then see that the Psalms 2:11 is an admonition to faithful obedience and loyalty to King Jesus throughout the all Ages.  The point of the text is the reverential awe of Jehovah that should exist within the context of the believer’s ministry before His eyes.  Every moment of our lives is lived within the sight and sound of God.  In other words, God sees all that we do and hears all that we say.  When we “serve” Him, we should do so with exceeding reverence.  When we “rejoice” in the blessings of the fruit He produces through answered prayer or personal witness, that rejoicing should be accompanied with a fearful shudder knowing your life has been touched by the hand of God.

Because of the nature of the incarnation, Jesus is God humanized.  When we think of God these days, we think of the God/man Jesus.  The Jews of Moses’ time thought of God in the tornado like pillar of cloud by day that seemed to connect Heaven and Earth with the awesome dread of the presence of God in their midst.

I cannot even imagine what the pillar of fire by night must have been like as the Shekinah glory of the presence of God would have lit the darkness of the night like the burning of the Sun.  Israel would have understood the destructive power of the tornado like cloud and the pillar of fire should that power have been released upon them even for the slightest moment.  Israel would have understood the words “serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” in a much different way than do we of modern times.  We have such a minimalist view of God.  The children of Israel would live their existence in the wilderness in “fear” and “trembling” in the midst of the visible presence of the awesome power of God.

This is the vision of God that Christians need because this is the Jesus that will be coming “in power and great glory.”  This will exceed the horrors of the Great Flood of Noah’s days where only eight souls survived the universal cataclysmic touch of the hand of God’s judgment upon the lost of this world.  For the lost of this world, the second coming of King Jesus will be accompanied with horrors and the destruction of this world that will be beyond human imagination!

“29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).

Someone once said to me, “I don’t like the book of Revelations.  It scares me.”  It should scare everyone.  By the end of the seven-year Tribulation and God’s judgment of the nations, the world’s population will have been reduced by two-thirds.  In other words, if it were today, nearly five-billion people will be killed by the judgments of God.  The world’s ecological system will be almost completely destroyed.  In other words, without the coming presence of the Creator, this world would no longer be able to sustain life as we know it today.  Perhaps this can give us a better understanding of the phrase, “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11).  If we are going to understand what it means to call Jesus Lord, we better begin to see Him in perfect holiness and begin to worship Him in awe and trembling.  Then, we might have a small semblance of understanding what the Word of God means when God says King Jesus will rule with a “rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 12:5, and 19:5).

Christianity has spent so much time presenting Jesus as the suffering Servant, there has been little teaching about the Sovereign King Jesus that will be returning in awesome judgment upon the Christ rejecting world.  The coming King Jesus is the Jesus our world needs to know and understand.  This is necessary because salvation means being saved from the pending wrath of the coming King Jesus that extends into eternity’s Hell.  Again, perhaps this can give us a better understanding of the phrase, “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11).

“11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelations 19:11-16).

We cannot, and do not, understand the wrath of God upon sin because we do not see sin as God sees sin.  Every single act of sin, regardless of how inconsequential it appears to our feeble little minds, is a hostile attack against the holy character of God and His Righteous Sovereignty.  Until we see every act of sin as God sees sin, we will not fear the wrath of God upon that sin.  Every act of sin is an attack against the throne of God.  It is to this superficial understanding of sin that God addresses in Psalm 2:1-6.  Understand this Christian!  When you willfully sin against God, that sin is a hostile attack against the character and nature of God.

“1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:1-6).

Acts of sin, either our own or the sins of others in our immediate association, can bring us into horrendous and seemingly hopeless situations due to the natural consequences of sin or the supernatural chastisement of God.  The great truth of God’s omni-influence is that He never leaves His chosen alone in the human predicament of sin merely to fend for themselves.  God is always with them intimately and immediately working “all things . . . together for good . . . according to his purpose.”
Yet, there are eternal consequences for sin.  To fear God is to understand that those consequences are both horrible, terrifying, and eternal.  The grace of God is working “all things . . . together for good . . . according to his purpose.”  However, that does not mitigate the pending wrath of God upon sin.  That “day of wrath” (Romans 2:5) will be horrible beyond imagination! Only in this understanding can we possibly understand what it means to fear the Lord.

“6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. 11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works. 16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee” (Psalm 33:6-22).

Psalm thirty-three begins with the proclamation, “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”  The word “righteous” refers to the justified by grace through faith – the redeemed.  The word “upright” simply means straight.  In our modern language, we would use this phrase to refer to someone who has gotten his life straightened out.  The justified should not need to be prompted to “rejoice.”  Those who have gotten their lives straightened out should not need to be prompted to praise God in worship.  Yet throughout the Word of God we find believers being prompted to do the very things that should naturally flow from the reality of their new positions as children of God.

Psalm 33:6 declares that God merely spoke His will to create the universe.  The intent of the declaration is for believers to consider the Being that calls Himself God.  In doing so, we should naturally make a comparison of Who He is to who we are.  Can we even fathom a Being so omnipotent that He can create something infinite?  We cannot!  So we assume a finite universe and a finite God Who must be explainable and comprehendible.  He is neither finite or comprehendible!  How dare the creature question the motives of the Creator.  Yet we see such impudence often coming forth from the mouths of men.  We often hear such questions and ignorant accusations coming from people professing to be Christians.

Every Bible believing Christian should spend much time answering the numerous questions posed to Job by God in Job chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine. In doing so, that Christian will come face to face with the reality of the Theological distinctions regarding the differences between who he is and Who God is that will help him to preserve God in the unique perspective that God deserves.  If we somehow think it is our right to question God’s motives, we certainly must understand that it is God’s right to try to give us a Theological perspective of Who He is compared to humanity.

It is said that there is more science exposed to humanity by God in these two chapters of Scripture than anywhere else in the Bible.  Science may be able to answer many of these questions in a superficial way, but they will never understand the interrelation of the symphony we know as Creation this side of Heaven, and maybe not even then. This is the King Jesus of the Bible.

It is difficult to see ourselves as servants of other men because we think of ourselves as equals.  However, narcissism takes this unwillingness to be servants to others to another level of corruption.  Most people see themselves as superior to others.  Therefore, how can they become subservient to their inferiors – utter nonsense.  This is not how we should see Jesus.  The Word of God tells us He is our Creator.  He spoke the universe (and us) into existence merely by the expression of His will.  His “word” holds planets and stars in their place in space.  Jesus is the Laws of Physics Personified.  Surely we can submit to His will.  The real problem in failing to submit to Jesus is the age old problem of lip service unbelief!

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

This is the point of Colossians 2:17 in that apart from the constant sovereign intervention of King Jesus in His creation, everything would be reduced to chaos and destruction, including our lives.  There is no hope for any order in this creation apart from the eminent controls of King Jesus.  

“12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things {preeminence}, and by him all things consist (eminence}” (Colossians 2:12-17).

[1] Scofield, C. I. 1917 Scofield Reference Bible Notes, SwordSearcher Software 7.2. SwordSearcher\Modules\Scofield.ss5cmty. Module file time: 7/31/2011 7:15:28 PM UTC.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Subjects of King Jesus

Subjects of King Jesus

Is King Jesus your Lord?  Are you His subject?  If you say you are His subject, are you in subjection to His will and obedient to His commands?  If you say you are in subjection to His will and are obedient to His commands, then explain to me in detail what those commands are and what my responsibilities would be if I decide to become a subject of King Jesus – what you call a Christian!

There are two levels of God’s sovereignty in the Bible.  There is the Kingdom of God over which God is sovereign.  The Kingdom of God includes the spiritual and eternal dimension of existence.  Within God’s spiritual and eternal dimension of existence, there are two areas over which He is eternally sovereign. 

1. The first eternal place is Heaven, where all the Redeemed will live eternally with Him.  Eternal life is continual existence without succession or intermission.
2. The Second eternal place is Hell, where all those who reject God’s gift of salvation will remain eternally separated from Him in eternal torment prepared for Satan and his fallen angels.  All lost from all ages will stand before King Jesus at the Great White Throne Judgment after which He will act sovereignly to cast them into the eternal place of torment known as Hell, the Lake of Fire, and the Second Death.

There is also what is referred to as the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the temporal, physical creation. Although God holds supreme sovereignty over the Kingdom of Heaven, He originally gave dominion of the creation to humanity in Adam.  Humanity lost this sovereignty to Satan when Adam chose to sin against God and the first creation was cursed of God.  God’s statement to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 promises both redemption by grace through faith from the curse and the restoration of dominion to humanity through His being incarnated into humanity through the seed of the woman.

1. The primary purpose of a sinner’s redemption is for that sinner to become a voluntary subject (servant) of the Redeemer – King Jesus.
2. The secondary purpose of redemption is to restore dominion of the first creation to humanity through the incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection of the God/man, Christ Jesus the Lord.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

From Genesis chapter three in history until the second coming of Jesus, Satan is the “prince and power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and the “god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4).  The word worldly describes someone who voluntarily chooses to be under the domain of the “god of this world.”  There are numerous levels of worldliness in Satan’s domain.  For all of these hundreds of centuries, Satan has been doing all in his power to keep humanity from worshiping God and submitting to His Lordship.  Billions of human souls have died in their sins rejecting God’s free offer of the gift of salvation through simple faith in the promised Saviour – King Jesus!

We certainly see this at Christ’s birth in Matthew chapter two, when Herod the Great tried to find Him and have Him killed as a baby.  From almost the beginning of Jesus’ ministry after His baptism, the hierarchy of Israel sought to have King Jesus killed.  They were able to persuade Pilate to consent to the crucifixion based upon the prophecy that Jesus was to be the “King of the Jews.” 

“33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 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. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:33-37).

The events of Acts chapter seventeen take place about twenty years after the crucifixion.  The Jews are still using the same accusation against Christians to get the Roman leaders to persecute Christians and silence their testimonies.  To preach the second coming of Jesus is to preach the coming of King Jesus in glory and judgment!  Be assured of this reality- King Jesus is coming again!

“1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. 5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. 8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go” (Acts 17:1-9).

King Jesus does not rule over any nations as of yet.  Until Jesus returns to Earth, He rules over the hearts of those who call Him Saviour.  At least He should be the ruler of the hearts of the redeemed!  The fact of Jesus being the Lord of the believer’s heart is a defining factor making that believer a Christian.  This is not the same as salvation.  People can be saved from Hell by grace through faith without becoming a Christian.  In fact, there are many baptized church members who faithfully attend local churches and give faithfully who are not technically Christians.  Christ made this differentiation in a parable in Luke chapter six.  A true Christian is a saved person “born again” by the Spirit of God who lives the teachings of King Jesus through the filling of the Spirit of God.  Therefore, a true Christian is a subject/servant of King Jesus who does what Jesus says to do.

“39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect {kat-ar-tid’-zo – perfect, passive, participle = is perfected; to completely repair, restore, or prepare} shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. 43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:39-46)?

Local churches are in the midst of spiritual famine.  Professing Christians are spiritually emaciated.  This dilemma is not because spiritual food is unavailable to them, but because they are not committed to allowing the spiritual food available to them, in the teachings of Jesus, to enter their minds, pass through their hearts, and move out through their lives to transform themselves and touch the world with God’s grace.  This will never happen until King Jesus reigns in their hearts and they are filled with His Spirit.

The concept of yielding the will to King Jesus, without wanting the Christ-life to be expressed through us, is foreign to the purpose of sacrificially surrendering our bodies, minds, and spirits to Christ (Romans 12:1-2).  King Jesus died vicariously for our sins so that He might live vicariously through our lives.  Therefore, allowing Christ to live vicariously through us must be a consuming desire motivated by wanting to exalt Him in the world before all other people and all other desires.  The “love of Christ” MUST constrain us.  Declaring King Jesus to be your Lord MUST be more than a mere declaration of the mouth.  Declaring King Jesus to be Lord MUST be the consuming desire of the heart.

“14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:14-21).

We can readily see that God has an extended consequence in our being “born again” through faith in the finished work of redemption provided through the incarnate sinless life, His vicarious death, burial, and the resurrection of King Jesus – “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  This is more than the imputation of God-kind righteousness.  This is even more than the impartation of God-kind righteousness through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The word “made” is from the Greek word ginomai (ghin’-om-ahee), which means to generate or become.  Regeneration is intended to generate God-kind righteousness in a very practical way through our living.  In other words, regeneration makes it possible for saved sinners who are fully surrender to King Jesus to produce the righteousness of Christ through their lives.  This is what it means to allow King Jesus to live vicariously through us.  This is the substance of Paul’s explanation to Jews in Galatians chapter two who were being corrupted regarding salvation and spirituality through will-power Law keeping.  Neither salvation or spirituality are available through will-power Law keeping.

“19 For I through the law am dead to the law {Romans 3:19}, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ {Romans 6:6; the sin nature vicariously}: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me {in the indwelling Spirit}: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate {ath-et-eh'-o; neutralized, set aside} the grace {the supernatural enabling} of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:19-21).

The sovereignty of God is often reflected in the Bible by the way creation yields the fruits for which certain things were created.  The ground yields the fruits that grow from it.  Plants yield the produce that grow from them.  Therefore, they are by nature subject to the sovereignty of God.  When God provides to them the nutrients they need, they yield the fruit that is nurtured.  If God does not provide rain and weather conducive to fruit growth, these aspects of creation cannot yield the fruit for which they were created to produce.  Ground and plants are by their nature subjects of the sovereignty of God.  Because of the fall, humanity must yield to God first before human beings can produce the fruit God intends them to produce – other godly beings.

Part of God’s sovereignty at the present is how He uses nature to bless or chastise believers.  To be subjects of King Jesus is to yield our wills to His will (Romans 6:11-13).  In doing so, God promises blessing as a control over the curse.  In failing to do so, God promises various levels of chastisement as the expression of the curse.

“1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. 2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. 3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:1-4).

“14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (Leviticus 26:14-20).

It is clearly evident from these two portions of Scripture in Leviticus chapter twenty-six that the Lordship of King Jesus extends beyond a mere profession of His position.  Clearly, the Lordship of King Jesus and our practical subjection to that Lordship yields some very practical outcomes.  Understanding the spiritual dynamic involved with yielding to the Lordship of King Jesus is something many Christians seldom even consider.  Often Christians are quick to proclaim the Lordship of King Jesus without the accompanying loyal to that Lordship of faithful, loyal obedience to His commands and teachings.  This is hypocritical!

The fact of the matter is that subjection and obedience to the Lordship of King Jesus will be a matter for which we all will be held accountable in the minutest detail.  We tend to allow spiritual failures to slip by us in history without considering the ongoing consequences of the influences of those failures upon those around us.  Although the failure is forgiven by God once a person repents and confesses the failures, the consequences of the failure can extend into numerous generations of our influences.  We will be held accountable for those influences at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  We should not be able to think of the concept of the Lordship of King Jesus without filling our minds with the day of accountability of our lifetimes of influence upon those around us.

“1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad {rewards or loss of rewards}. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences” (II Corinthians 5:1-11).

Often the phrase “we persuade men” in II Corinthians 5:11 is interpreted to mean persuading people to be saved.  This would be completely contrary to the context.  The context is about persuading save, but carnal, believers to be loyal and obedient subjects of King Jesus.  Therefore, the “terror” involved with failure is the shame and disgrace attached to the loss of rewards due to disobedience and disloyalty to the Lordship of King Jesus.

There is a twofold objective in the Christian life as loyal subjects of King Jesus in allowing Him to live vicariously through us.  In other words, this twofold objective are the tangible realities for which we will be held accountable as loyal subjects of King Jesus.  Attending Church services merely prepare us for being effective in these tangible realities.

1. We must proclaim the eternal condemnation of all the children of Adam.  We must declare the necessity of repentance of sin and dead works before a person can come to Christ for salvation.  We must explain the accomplishments of Christ in the Gospel.  We must lead sinners to trust/believe in those accomplishment alone.  We must inform them of the necessity of proclaiming Jesus to be the sovereign, incarnate Jehovah (Lord).  Finally, we must persuade those who have been brought to this understanding to call upon the Name of Jesus for the event of salvation and being “born again” spiritually.
2. We must live according to the commands and teachings of Jesus being filled with His Spirit throughout each moment of each day (Ephesians 5:18 and Romans 12:1-2) thereby producing the “fruit of the Spirit” and yield the fruit of souls to God’s glory for which purpose we are redeemed (John 15:1-8).

When we consider being faithful, obedient subjects of King Jesus, we must remember that this will extend into the Kingdom Age where Church Age believers will rule as kings and priests under our High Priest and King Jesus.  Church Age believers will be in glorified bodies in the Kingdom Age and therefore will not possess a sin nature at this time.  However, the positions we hold in the Kingdom Age will be determined by our faithfulness and loyalty to King Jesus during the Church Age.  This faithfulness and loyalty to King Jesus is what the Bible refers to as the believer’s works.

“11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ {salvation through faith in what Jesus accomplished}. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation {of salvation by grace through faith} gold, silver, precious stones {work done in the power of the filling of the Spirit}, wood, hay, stubble {work done in the power of the flesh}; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest {as to its quality}: for the day {Judgment Seat of Christ} shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try {test or prove} every man’s work of what sort it is {spiritual or carnal}. 14 If any man’s work abide {is not burned up} which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned {consumed by fire}, he shall suffer loss {his carnal works done in the power of the flesh shall be burnt away from him}: but he himself shall be saved {salvation is a gift of grace not of works; Ephesians 2:8-9}; yet so as by fire {saved as he passes through the fire that consumes His worthless works to stand before God yielding no fruit}” (I Corinthians 3:11-15).

Imagine the shame and sorrow of a fruitless life and a sheaveless Christian. 

“5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:5-6).
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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.