"Thy Kingdom Come!" - Part 3 - Kansas City Shepherds Conference 1975.
The Conquest of Jesus. It's amazing how appropriate this is, this Easter weekend when we are celebrating the work of Jesus Christ on earth.
"When Jesus came into the world in the humiliation of the Incarnation, He started on a route of conquest that took Him through the lonely years prior to His introduction at the muddy waters of Jordan, when the bony prophet finger of John the Baptist was pointed at Him and those significant words were uttered, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). For some thirty three and a half years He overcame and lived an impeccable life so that it was said of Him, "He was tempted in all points like as we, yet without sin".
His impeccable life was followed by a decisive death. He went to Calvary to endure inexplicable and incomparable suffering; suffering that we can only have a hint of; suffering that we can only look at curiously and sometimes with a sob in our throats; suffering surrounded by torn rocks and a sun that refuses to shine and an earth that writhes in agony as He hangs there alone. And as He hangs there, God reaches down His giant fist and gathers up the accumulated sins of men and places them upon Him. He became the sin-centre of the universe so that it is later said of Him, "He was made sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him".
In the awful loneliness of Calvary, He made His soul an offering for sin; and the sin of the world was placed upon Him and the bolts of God's wrath were released upon Him. He became an offering for sin and He gave up the ghost and came down from the mystery of His sufferings having finished the work. What men saw was a man hanging limp - every bone out of joint, a swollen tongue protruding from burning lips as He cried out, "It is finished!". They didn't know what was going on. But the veil of revelation is drawn back for us and we are told by Paul that something was going on in the darkness of that awful hour. He was tying a chain around the neck of the demonic world. He was dragging them across the stage of the cosmos. The Bible says, "He was making a show of them openly ... triumphing over them in His cross". He was dealing with sin. He was dealing with the old Adamic society. He was making an end of the old orer of sin and death and when He had done it in the mystery of His cross, He said, "It is finished!" (*applause*).
Then He went down to make His annoucement (*applause and cheers*). The Apostle's Creed says, "He descended into hell" or Hades. I'm not going to take time to document all of these things or enter into argument about them. But I believe He went down and through the authority of what He had just accomplished at Calvary, He confronted Satan himself as He stood at the portals of the world of Hades. And He said to him, "I'll take the keys" (*applause*). Satan retorted, "I've been waiting for You for about 4, 000 years. I was there in the garden of Eden and I heard my sentence. I was told that Someone was going to come along and crush my head. I've been waiting for You and I've been killing people off all along the historical line because I thought they were the ones. But here You are. Now get in there with the rest of them. They're all in there".
Who was in there? Abraham and Issac and Jacob and Isaiah and Malachi - they were all waiting in Paradise. In fact just before our Lord had gone to His Cross, two of them - Moses and Elias - came up on the Mount of Transfiguration to have a conversation with Jesus the Messiah. The Bible tells us what they spoke about. They "spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31). And they said to the Lord, "Everybody's excited down in Paradise. There's great excitement down there Maschiach. We've been appointed as a committee to come up and tell you that everything's all astir down there (*cheers*). When we left Isaiah wanted to come. He said, "This is the greatest day. I wrote about this and now it's coming to pass!". They said, "Abraham was right behind ... he ... he wanted to come too. But we were appointed to come and tell You that we're so grateful for what You're doing. There are thousands of us down there! Everything's all astir!" (*applause*).
Why? Because under the Old Covenant, the bloods of bulls and of goats couldn't take away sin. There were men down in Paradise clutching in their fist their credit notes - for they were down there with promissary notes! (*applause*). Every time an Israelite laid his hands on a lamb and transmitted his sin, that lamb died in his place. But that at best was a credit note to be redeemed by the most precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. They had beeen waiting for the time when their credit notes would be redeemed and the time had finally come.
So Jesus came down from His Cross and confronted the satanic prince and He said, "I'll take those keys". Satan said, "No one has ever talked to me like this before" (*applause*). Jesus replied, "No one had the authority to before. But as God's King, as the One who has now been given authority as God's delegated Sovereign, I am in charge now. I'll take the keys". Satan handed Him the keys. Then Jesus went over to the unrighteous section, opened the door and looked in and pronounced that they had been righteously judged for having rejected God's counsel under the old economy. Then He shut the door and left them there. But then He turned to the gate of Paradise and opened and said, "Come on - let's go" (*applause and cheers*).
They started up the steps of ascension and when they got as far as Jerusalem, some of those Old Testament saints said, "Master, do you mind if we have a stop-over ticket? We'd like to spend a few hours in the old hometime - we haven't seen it for centuries!" (*applause and laughter*). According to the Bible, the bodies of many of the saints were seen at that time in the streets of Jerusalam (Matthew 27:52, 53). After visiting the old home town they continued their journey.
Up and up they went until they came in sight of the ramparts of glory. Then this great crowd of the Old Testament redeemed who were moving Paradise into better quarters cried out, "Lift up your heads, O gates and be lifted up O ancient doors that the King of Glory may come in!". But it wasn't that easy for the angelic protectors hurled back their challenge over the ramparts of glory saying, "Who is this King of Glory?". The saints replied, "He is the Lord strong and mighty! He is the Lord mighty in battle!" (*applause*). "He is the One whohas just come freshly from the battlefield of Golgotha where single-handedly He dealt a death blow to all of Satan's plans and purposes. Where single-handedly He bore the sins of men, where single-handedly He cut off the old Adamic order, where single-handedly He died a decisive death meeting the demands of God and the requirements for man. He is the Lord strong and mighty - the Lord mighty in battle. Now ... will you 'lift up your heads O ye gates? Lift them up O ancient doors that the King of Glory may come in!".
And again unsatisfied, the challenge rang out, "Who is this King of Glory?". The triumphant response came back again, "He is the Lord of hosts! He is the King of Glory! He is the One who is in charge of all the angelic hosts! But not only that - He is the King now of a multitude which no man can number! He is God's delegated authority! He is the One who is to bring to God the fruit of His purposes! He is the King of Glory - NOW - swing back those gates and let the King of Glory come in!".
And finally the gates swing back and He enters in - steps up to the Father's throne and presents the tokens of His redemption. The Father says, "Sit down Son at My right hand and reign until Thy enemies are made Thy footstool!" (*Thunderous applause and cheers*).