Thursday, April 13, 2006

"Thy Kingdom Come!" - Part 2 - Kansas City Shepherds Conference.

Part 2 of possibly the most powerful message Ern Baxter ever preached. In Part 1 he began in typical "Ern" style by taking time to sketch out in broad strokes the vast sovereignity of God's reign. How God is not threatened by anything or anyone - He is the God of the Eternal Now.

2. "I Will Build My Church!".

"There are three significant men in the Old Testament to whom we relate: Adam, Abraham and David. We relate to Adam racially, we relate to Abraham redemptively and we relate to David royally. It is interesting that in the genealogy of our Lord in Luke, He is spoken of as "the Son of Adam". And in Matthew's geneology in chapter 1, He is referred to as "the Son of David" and "the Son of Abraham". Therefore our Lord is traced back to these three men.

We all know what it means that He is the Son of Adam and we know what it means that He is the Son of Abraham. But we are only beginning to realise what it means that He is the Son of David. It is also interesting that in all the Gospel birth references to our Lord's coming into the world in miraculous incarnation, He is related to David. I searched in vain in the Scriptures for any announcement of Him in relationship to Adam or to Abraham. He is related to David because only David represents in the Old Testament Scriptures the ultimate purpose of Mashiach (Messiah) in the finalization of God's redemptive purpose.

This causes me to wonder if now, as God is calling us to corporiety and community, we are not beginning to realize Kingdom life and authority. For years, we have attracted men to the Jesus Christ Who is the Seed of Abraham. When Paul in writing his Epistle to the Romans, gives us a treatise on the nature of salvation, he refers us to Abraham. But when he's addressing the Corinthians about the corporate community life, he relates us instead to Moses and to the corporate body of the Old Testament community of which David was Israel's greatest king. In Abraham we have individual salvation. But in the nation we have corporate salvation and the corporate salvation of the nation is represetend by God's king "after His own heart" - King David.

In Matthew 16 our Lord made the announcement of His purpose. He said, "Who do men say that I am?". They replied, "Some say You're this one and some say You're that one". But He said, "Who do you say that I am?". Peter said, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God". "Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona" said our Lord, "for flesh and blood have not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven". Then came His declaration: "I will build My Church" and "I give unto you the keys of the Kingdom" (Matthew 15:13-19).

Now when He said, "I will build My Church", I think the emphasis is on "My". The word "church" is an interesting word. It's the Greek word ecclesia. Both to a Greek and a Hebrew it would have had significance. To the Hebrew, it is that word used in Greek to translate the Hebrew word for 'congregation' which is used over 70 times in the Septuagent version. Therefore what He was saying to the Hebrews was "I will build My congregation". There was only one other person who led a 'congregation' or 'church' (Acts 7:38). So in the book of Hebrews we're told that Moses was faithful as servant in the Lord's house but Christ is Son over the house.

It's also interesting that in the Book of Revelation that they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Now what was Jesus saying? When He said, "I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", it was also a commentary to Moses' church. Moses had his church. He brought his church through the wilderness but he couldn't take his church in. And when eventually his church did go in under Joshua, they still didn't succeed in God's purpose. Moses church was to be the theocratic, national evangelistic centre of the world. It was to establish a theocracy at the heart of the earth that would become the voice of God throughout all the nations. Psalm 48 said it was to be the joy of the whole earth.

But division and dissension brouke it up and so it dwindled away so that when Jesus came, He to look at what was left of the congregation of Moses and say to them, "Your house is left unto you desolate - and the kingdom is taken from you and given to a nation bearing forth the fruits thereof" (Matthew 23:38; 21:43). But Jesus declared, "Now I will build My church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against My church. The gates of hell prevailed against Moses church, but not against My church. My church is going to be a successful chruch. I declare it - I affirm it. I determine it. My church will be a successful church".

For years we have interpreted this negatively. We've said, "I'm in the Church and thank God, the devil can't get at me. The gates of hell cannot prevail". So we have huddled together, feeling protected by that Word of the Lord. I don't think that's primarily what He meant. Personally I have never been attacked by a gate (*laughter*). I've never had a gate jump off it's hinges and chase me down the street (*laughter and applause*). So what is our Lord saying by this?

He's saying, "I am God's ultimate purpose. There is nothing beyond Me. There's nothing after Me. I have come to do God's ultimate thing. I will build a congregation that will succeed. They will kick the gates of hell in. They'll frustrate Satan's plans. They'll break up his most finest, most sophisticated schemes. I am going to have a congregation that will not fail as Moses did. I am going to have a people who will come under the reign of My Father and who will become indeed, a theocratic community in the earth that will attract the attention of all men". Therefore all nations will be forced to declare that the sending of Jesus Christ was the ultimate answer to earth's need of an alternate society; for they will recognise that His followers are indeed a counter-culture, a community of men and women who have got it together and truly represent the life of the Trinity and the community of heaven in a time/space world".

Next: The Conquest of Jesus.

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