Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
What is one thing that God was showing you in this message?
Why is it important that we understand both what we are to do and who we are to be? Why are both necessary to understanding the kingdom mission?
Before you knew Jesus personally, what story (or stories) did you believe and embrace? How did the kingdom story denounce and disprove that for you?
What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today?
As we've journeyed through this series, what we've found is this, is that the story of the Bible is the story of a King and a kingdom from beginning to end. We've looked at that over the number of weeks that we have been studying this idea. With all the things that we have just talked about and that Pastor Jonathan has just kind of summarized for us, the idea that there is a kingdom that has broken into the now, but there's a kingdom that is coming. When Jesus returns, the kingdom will be fully consummated, and that there is a life in the kingdom presently through the church in terms of what that looks like.
I guess we ask the question, what about now? What do we do as subjects of the King, who are also called children of the King? What do we do now in this moment in time in the in between times, the times where Jesus has broken in and the kingdom has come, but yet we're waiting for the kingdom to finally come? What about now? What do we do? Do we wait? Do we watch during this time?
Well, the answer to those two questions is certainly yes. We're told that we are to wait and we are to watch, but we also have to think about what it is that we are commissioned to do, and we would do well to pay attention to the last words of our King specifically.
Now, when kings offer last words, oftentimes people remember those and they write them down and it's a big deal. If you remember Caesar Augustus when you read Luke 2 and the Christmas narrative, and Caesar Augustus being the Caesar or the emperor over all of the Roman empire when King Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus, when it came his time to die actually said this. This was his last public statement. There was a private statement that he made as well, but a public statement that he made was this. "Behold." He was speaking to Rome. "Behold, I came to you as of clay, and I leave you, Rome, as of marble." Okay, so he was basically saying, "I had an empire that was undeveloped, and then I really developed it, and so we went from clay to marble."
Well, here's the good news when we talk about what King Jesus has to say. King Jesus does not leave us marble. He leaves us a mission. When we look at the last words of King Jesus, it's not super easy based on the text of scripture to know exactly what the last words only were, but what we do have ... and there's a reason for that. Believe me. I've looked at it. But there is a basic understanding of some of the last words that Jesus actually said that we have recorded. I'm going to borrow from two places that are two statements that he made that are among the very last words that he said before he left this world and ascended to the Father. The reason that I'm bringing those two up, these two specific places that may be reasonably familiar to you, is because both of them have a commonality. They are talking about the idea of king and kingdom.
It's not shocking and it shouldn't be shocking to us that because the story of the Bible is the story of a King and a kingdom from beginning to end that when the King comes, he actually talks about King and kingdom, and when the King is actually departing, he's talking about the idea of King and kingdom. That should not be a surprise to us.
These two places, I've gathered two statements that Jesus made that are among the very last that he spoke while here on Earth. The first one is in Matthew chapter 28, and it says this. "Jesus came to them and said," listen to these words, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." That's a kingly statement, all right, when he talks about his authority. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." That's one of the statements. "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me." That's a kingly statement.
But then we have another one that Luke records for us in the book of Acts, just as Jesus is about to depart his disciples, and it says this. "The disciples gathered around Jesus and they asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" The thing that's on their mind is a question related to kingdom. Jesus says to them, "It's not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
These are very similar in terms of talking about the same thing. They're talking about the power and authority of the King, King Jesus. Now, this is important to us, because when we look at Matthew's gospel, remember Matthew's gospel is a gospel about the kingship of Jesus. From the very beginning when it talks about a genealogy, those were ancient genealogies that were set to establish the genealogy of a king. Then as you move forward, you get into chapter two and you begin to realize that there are magi from the East coming to worship a King, right? They were king makers coming to worship a King.
Then as you move forward in time, you see the baptism of Jesus, which was like the coronation of his kingship where the Father says, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." Then he goes into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, and it's a demonstration of his kingship at that point. Then all through, you've got the kingdom parables within the context of Matthew's gospel.
We've got Jesus here at the very end of Matthew's gospel saying, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Now, this shouldn't be a surprise to us that he says this, that he's making statements about his kingly authority. That shouldn't be a shock to us. In fact, if we just backed up two chapters into Matthew 26, we'd see Jesus, who was actually speaking with the high priest. This is before his crucifixion, right? Jesus is speaking to the high priest, and the high priest is questioning him. Notice how Jesus responds to this line of questioning.
The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God, tell you if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." "You have said so," Jesus replied, "But I say to all of you." He's speaking now to the Sanhedrin, right? "I saw to all of you, from now on, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Jesus makes a very demonstrative statement here to say, "I am the King. I am the Messiah, just like you said, and I will demonstrate my authority.
To his disciples that were there right before he ascended to the Father, he said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," and to the high priest and the leaders of the Sanhedrin, he says, "The Son of Man is going to be sitting ... You're going to see him on the clouds of heaven."
What was Jesus actually doing in those two statements? He was referring back to Daniel's prophesy. That's what he was doing. Daniel's prophecy was one about a Messiah who would have authority, and have dominion, and be the king. Listen to how Daniel records it. It says, "In my vision at night, I looked and there before me was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the ancient of days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. All nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
Jesus was actually referencing in what he said in Matthew 28 to his disciples and what he said to the high priest and the Sanhedrin, he was referencing Daniel chapter 7, and it was basically this. Here's what Jesus was saying. When he said to his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," where's what Jesus was saying. "The dominion that was promised through Daniel to the Messiah, to the anointed one, to the King, the dominion that was promised has now been given to me, and I am now participating in the ingathering of the nations, so let's go get them." That's what he was saying. That is what he was saying.
Now, you and I, when we think about that, we have to think about, okay, if Jesus has given this commission, he's given us this mandate, this command, if the King has said, "I have all authority, and in my dominion, I will now participate in the ingathering of the nations to me, and I am commissioning you to join me in that," how in the world are we going to be able to do that? Well, that's what Acts 1:8 tells us. Listen to what it says. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
You see, we have been given the power, listen to this, of God's own presence in us to be able to accomplish this. Jesus says, "I have all authority, and I have all power. What I'm commissioning you to do now is that I am giving you my power living in you so that you will, by my authority, be able to communicate and demonstrate to the world the story of the King and the kingdom of God, that I may gather them into myself." That's what's going on here.
Now, you can see I'm a little bit excited. I was excited at the first gathering. I'm excited at this gathering. I'm excited all the way around because of what this actually helps us to understand. Now, what Jesus says in Matthew 28 is he says this. "I'm going to be with you to the end of the age." Well, how is he going to do that? Well, Acts 1:8 says by his Spirit. Jesus' promise to be with us to the end of the age is going to be by the residence of his Spirit in our lives.
These things are contradictory. They're complimentary. Jesus is actually saying, "I'm going to be with you." Because it seems weird, right? "I'm going to be with you," and then he ascends to the Father. They're like, "Wait a minute. I thought you were going to be with me." "I am, by my Spirit that is going to dwell in you, the very Spirit of Christ that is going to dwell in you."
Now, this mission that we see in Matthew 28 and Acts chapter 1 is really a two fold mission. It has to do with what we're supposed to do and who we're supposed to be. Let me begin with the first, right? The first part of this two fold mission is this, what we are to do. What we are to do is to go and make disciples of all nations, right? That's what we are clearly seeing in the text itself. Look again in the text. I want us to see the words of Jesus. He's the King. Jesus came and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations." Then he tells them to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, "Teach them to obey everything I've commanded you." Then he says, "I'll be with you to the end of the age."
Now, will you allow me a moment for some technical reflection on this text? Okay, I'll take that as a yes since I'm the one with a microphone. All right? All of you at home, I'm doing it anyway. All right? Here's what I'm going to ask. I'm going to take a very small moment here and I'm going to reflect technically on this text, and I want you to stay with me. I need you to promise you're not going to punch out, but that you're going to listen. Because sometimes when we read in English, we don't pick up the full force of what's being said in the Greek language.
When Jesus says, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations," permit me for just a moment ... I'm not going to be here long. Permit me to give some technical insight here, because I know you're dying to know this. All right?
There's a main verb. When you read this in the Greek language, there's a main verb there, which is where we get the phrase make disciples, and that makes sense all by itself, right? But here's the thing. The phrase make disciples is actually one word in the Greek language, this verb. It's a transitive verb, and here's how you would translate that. If I were trying to make that phrase, that statement, that one word English, it would say this. Instead of make disciples, which is the better way to say it as a phrase, but if I were saying it in one word, it would be this, disciplize. That's how you would say that. Disciplize.
Now, the thing with this transitive verb is that it has an object that it is actually pushing action upon. Disciplize what? Disciplize who? The answer to that in the text is very simple, all nations, right? The command ... By the way, this is an imperative. This is in a command language, and that's what we have to remember. This command language is disciplize all nations.
Now, that word nation comes from the Greek term ethnos. Does that sound familiar? It's where we get the word ethnic or ethnicity. It talks about a people group, or a tribe, or a nation. This is the idea of ethnos. It's basically saying everybody everywhere, whether black, or brown, or white, everybody everywhere needs to hear the message and bee disciplized, so disciplize all. It doesn't say a few. It says all nations. That means everywhere on planet Earth needs to hear about the King who rules everywhere and everything, okay?
Now, as far as that goes, you're like, "Okay. I got that. That's the command. Disciplize all nations." But what about the word go? Well, in the past, I've treated the word go as a participle. Do you know why? Because it's a participle. That's how it's supposed to be treated. As a participle in the Greek language, I would usually come away with simply saying this. As you are going, or wherever you go, or as you go, here's the command, disciplize or make disciples of all nations.
But even though I've had Greek, even though I've studied Greek, I still am learning some things about Greek, and this participle is no ordinary participle. It is a participle of attendant circumstance. You're going, "Thank you." You're getting crazy at this point. Stay with me. I'm almost done. I promised you I would stay here for just a moment.
It's a participle of attendant circumstance. Here's what that means. It means when you have a participle that's followed by and imperative, that the participle actually takes on the full force of the imperative because it attends to what comes after it. That's the idea of an attendant participle.
Now, Doctor Roberts Mounts, who actually wrote my Greek textbook when I had it in seminary, actually tracked all 27 times that there was a verb that was a participle like this that was followed by the imperative, and in every one of those times used in the Bible, that participle takes on the full force of the command language. Everybody take a deep breath. What that means is this, is that while we read this very simply going the command is make disciples or disciplize all nations, understand this, that go is also a part of the command.
Now, you're going, "Okay. What does that mean to me?" Here's what it means to you. What it means is this, some people obeying the command of the King will be called to other nations and other countries to live and brings the message of the kingdom into those places. Some people will be called to do that. Other people might be called to bring the message of the kingdom to ethnicities in their own country, but they will be going to different people groups to help lead them to faith in Jesus.
Now, we have a group in our church that gathers together and is committed to reaching people of Muslim backgrounds in the city of Buffalo. That's what they're doing. That's what they're doing. We have presidents of mission organizations in our church, and they are committed to seeing the gospel go out to the nations of the world.
Some will be committed and called by God, if you listen to his voice, to go out into the nations to be able to preach the gospel, either in short term trips or in giving their whole lives to go to those places. Some will be called to people groups within the United States. Listen to this. But everyone is called to their neighbor, every single person. Do you know why? Because the command, what we are told to do, is to go and make disciples of all nations.
Now, some of you are going, "You know, I like the making disciples part. I don't really get into the evangelism part, but I like the making disciples part." Dada dada dada dada dada. You don't disciple someone until they know the message of the gospel. This is part and parcel. We don't have to divide these things out. They are part of what it means to make disciples. We have to announce the kingship.
In ancient Rome, whenever there was born someone in the line of the Caesar who would be the natural heir to the throne, it was, listen to this, it was announced all through the kingdom and they called it gospeling, because do you know what they were doing? Announcing the good news that a king has been born and that he will take the throne. You simply can't be engaging in gospeling without communicating that the King is King.
You see, when Paul wrote these words, when he said, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," now, we look at that as some formula, because we think that's easy, right? All I've got to say is, "Jesus is Lord." Watch this. Jesus is Lord. See, I did it. But we've got to understand the force of that statement. To say that in the Roman Empire was to say this, "Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not," and Caesar was deified as a god. This was so subversive and counter-cultural to say Jesus is Lord, because you were saying Caesar is not Lord. Caesar is not the great King. There is one, and it is Jesus, and it could cost you your life.
You see, when we start understanding the force of these things, it makes better sense to us because this is a part of the command. Go is a part of the command.
See, what does this mean for us? It means that the King desires for all people, right, all nations. Not a few. Now a couple. All nations. Black, brown, white, everybody, everywhere on the face of the earth, he desires them to hear and see the reality of the gospel. Here's what that also means. You and I, we can't just share the good news with people just like us. "I've been called to only talk to white people. I've been only called to talk to black people. I've been only called to talk to brown people." You'd better knock that off, because the King says otherwise. The King says everybody, everywhere.
Just as a reminder, by the way, Jesus wasn't white. I'm just checking in real quick. Jesus was a Middle Easterner. You see, sometimes we've gotten it all sideways, haven't we? Because we watched movies, and he had blonde hair and blue eyes and said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest for your souls. Does anyone have a spot of tea that I might be able to ..." That's how we've pictured it, right? Jesus isn't white. Jesus isn't Western. Sorry to mess that up for everybody.
Sometimes, we forget that. We forget it around Christmastime. When I tell my favorite Christmas story in the whole world, my favorite missionary Christmas story in the whole world, listen to this, it's about an Asian-born baby who became an African refugee. I've had people go to me, "That's cool. Tell me more of that story. I don't know it." It's Jesus! That's Jesus. Asian-born baby that became an African refugee. You remember he went to Egypt. That's Africa, just in case you needed some lessons. He's not Western. He's not white. In fact, if we were talking about Jesus in this day and age, we would call him brown.
But the issue, listen, the issue isn't about that. We're calling everybody everywhere to him, because he is the true King of the universe. Every single nation, every single ethnos, everybody everywhere, black, brown, white needs to come to the feet of King Jesus and realize we've all rebelled against the throne, and King Jesus wants to bring us into the kingdom of light and take us out of the kingdom of darkness. This is what the King desires, and this is what we've been called to.
You know what that means? Because this is a mandate for all of us, it means that you don't get to leave doing this, going and making disciples of all nations, you don't get to leave that to professionals. Because you know why? There's no such thing as professional kingdom citizens.
Some of us, I get this all the time, right? I'm a pastor. "Well, you're a professional. I want to get them to you. They've got to come to you because you're a professional." I'm not a professional. I have a vocation. I'm engaging in what God's called me to do as a vocation. There's no professional Christians. There's no professional kingdom citizens.
Every single one of us has been called to this mandate that he has given. This wasn't just to people who have a title of pastor or spiritual leader. This is coming to every single one of us. You know what that means? That means that with this mandate from the King, you can't delegate it. It's yours. You're called to do this because you have a sphere of influence that the King want to leverage for the sake of his glory.
This is the King talking by the way. It's not a suggestion. He's giving us a command. The King is telling us that the nations are already his inheritance. What he wants us to do is he wants to join him with the authority and the power that he gives to us. We don't have it on our own. He gives it to us so that we can help fulfill the mission that he has designed for the world.
That's what we're to do, but we also have to understand who we're to be, and who we're to be is his witnesses. You see, this is the mashup of Matthew 28 and Acts chapter 1. What we're to do, go and make disciples of all nations. That's a command. Who are we to be? His witnesses. Notice again what it says in Acts 1, verse 8. Jesus says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses." He says that that will happen in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
By the way, when you read the book of Acts, that's the very first chapter in Acts, and Jesus say, "You're going to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and ends of the earth." That's exactly how Acts unfolds. If you read the book of Acts, what you'll find is chapter 1 through chapter 8, it's all about Jerusalem. Then chapter 8 through about midway through chapter 11, you'll find that that's about Judea and Samaria. Then after that going out to the rest of the book of Acts, you'll see people going to the ends of the known earth at that time. That's exactly how Acts unfolds.
But Jesus says, "You're going to be my witnesses," and he was saying that to his disciples of course, but he was also saying that to us. What does it mean to be his witness? Well, the word witness is from the Greek word martus. Sorry to give you all the Greek today, but it's important that we understand what we're talking about. Martus is where we get our word martyr. Now, martyr, we immediately think of martyr and we think of, "Oh great, so I've got to go die." That's not exactly right. We talk about martyrs in that way, that they died for their faith, but the emphasis is not on their death. The emphasis is on their faithfulness unto death. That's the emphasis.
Martus. We are to be his witnesses. Now, there's two aspects to this idea of being his witnesses. On this side, you've got being witnesses means like there's a legal and historical sense, right? I have seen these things. I testify to these things. I am a witness to these things. Right? The early disciples actually viewed Jesus prior to ... They viewed his ministry. They viewed his death. They viewed his resurrection. They viewed his ascension. They are witnesses of historical facts, and they can communicate that.
There's one sense that it's historical and kind of legal, but there's another sense that it's ethical. To be a witness, to be his witness doesn't only ... This is where this applies to us. We weren't there, so we're not a first person testifier to those events, but we stand with those who did and who were eye witnesses to that, and we vouch for the truthfulness of their claim, that these eye witnesses saw these things, we believe their testimony, so we are witnessing to that fact. But we are also, here's how we're witnessing in an ethical sense, we are also like the King we are witnessing about, that we're like him. Listen. Because his Spirit resides in us, that we are not only testifying about him, but we are like him and people are going, "Huh. These are the ones that say that their King isn't dead, and that he's alive in them, and what's surprising is they kind of sound like him. They kind of act like him," or do they?
That's the question that we have to answer in our hearts, isn't it? Because sometimes what we'll do is we'll take the I'm going to talk about Jesus side of things, but we'll forget all about the I should look like Jesus side of things. On social media, we'll blast the world and we'll tell them all, "You'd better bow to Jesus. He's the King," and then on the same feed it'll be about how stupid everyone is for not sharing your political opinion. They'll go, "Huh, that's interesting, because they're telling me this. I'm not sure that sounded like Jesus though, the rest of that." We're ignoring one part of our witness for the sake of the other part.
But see, this is the beauty of these things. They actually work together. What we're to do, go and make disciples of all nations, and who we're to be, his witnesses, that people can actually see the life of Jesus in us.
What does that mean for us? What is the kingdom mission if we were going to say it in a statement? What is this mission of the kingdom? Well, I'm going to give you a partial statement on this and I'm going to fill in this sentence a little bit more in a just a minute, but I'll give you the front end of it. It's simply this. What's the kingdom mission? To declare and demonstrate the kingdom story. That's it. To declare and demonstrate the kingdom story.
Notice the words that I chose here. Declare, why? Because that's what Jesus told us to do. Go and make disciples of all nations. We have to declare his kingship, and then teach them to obey everything that he's commanded. We are declaring his kingship, but we are also demonstrating the kingdom story. Why? Because we're witnesses. Because we look like him. Because we act like him, we think like him, we talk like him. Declare and demonstrate the kingdom story.
Why this command from King Jesus? Why this command to go and make disciples of all nations? Why this reminder that we are to be his witnesses? Why has he given us a kingdom mission to begin with? Listen carefully to me. Here's why. Because there is a competing kingdom among us. There is a competing kingdom among us. Jesus knows that the enemy of our soul is the ruler and prince of the power of the air, and that he has been given a level of dominion in the world that we operate in right now. As a result, he is telling a much different story about a much different kingdom than the true King and the true kingdom.
The early church knew this, by the way. After Jesus' death and resurrection and then ultimately after the time of Pentecost, people like Peter and John were proclaiming the message of the King and his kingdom. They were proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. One day when they were doing that, there was a man who was both a beggar and who was lame, and he was sitting outside in the area of the temple, and here's what happened. Peter and John came by, and the guy said, "Can I have some money?" and Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, get up and walk," and he did.
Who wouldn't want to hang out with Peter and John, by the way? That would be killer, right? Here's the only thing though. You'd have to know you'd not only see some awesome things, but you're also going to get in trouble. That'd be the deal. You're going to get in trouble. "In the name of Jesus, get up and walk," and he did. Everybody knew that this guy was a beggar who couldn't walk, and now everybody's seeing him. They're like, "Wait a minute. This guy, he couldn't walk and now he's walking. By what name is he doing this?" "By the name of Jesus of Nazareth. That's the one."
Then the Sanhedrin, the religious leader, they find out about this. They don't like it at all. They call Peter and John in. They actually put them in jail. "By what name are you doing these things?" "By the name of Jesus of Nazareth. There is only one name under heaven by which people can be saved, and it is the name of Jesus." That's what they say to them. That's what they tell them. Do you know what the Sanhedrin says? "You cannot talk about Jesus, none of this anymore. We've got to quarantine this virus, because we do not want to hear any more about it, so you've got to knock it off." They said, "Yeah, we're not going to be able to do that."
They release them, and they go back to all the rest of the disciples who are hanging, and do you know what they do? After they've been kind of persecuted, and they've been put in jail, and they finally make it back, do you know what they do? They pray. Do you know where they pray out of? Psalm 2. That's what they ... If you read Acts chapter 4, they're actually lifting out from Psalm 2 what they're praying.
Now, I want you to listen to what Psalm 2 says. It's very short. Listen to what it says. "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed saying, 'Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.' The one enthroned in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath saying, 'I have installed my King on Zion, my holy mountain.'"
"I will proclaim the Lord's decree. He said to me, 'You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Ask me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the end of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron. You will dash them to pieces like pottery.' Therefore, you kings, be wise. Be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his Son or he will be angry and your way will lead you to destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
They were actually ... Listen. They were pulling out of Psalm 2 the reminder that there is a kingdom that's in competition with the King and his kingdom. The one and only true King and the one and only true kingdom, and there's a kingdom that's in competition. Do you know what Psalm 2 says? You'd better have a heads up, kings. You'd better be wary, kings. You'd better bow down and kiss the Son, lest he be angry and the wrath of God flare up on you if you think that somehow you've gotten to a place where your kingdom is the right kingdom, and all of that was inflamed by the evil one who wants his kingdom to be evident among us all.
Why do we declare and demonstrate the kingdom story? Here's why, and you can fill in the rest of this sentence. Declare and demonstrate the kingdom story in order to denounce and disprove the world's story. That's what we're doing. We are declaring and demonstrate the kingdom's story in order to denounce and disprove the world's story.
You see, you and I both know that the world that we live in is telling us all kinds of stories about all kinds of different kinds of kingdoms. You know them, don't you? They tell us this story. There's a kingdom, but you're the king. You're the queen. You're in charge, so do what you want, because this is about you. Life revolves around you, so feel free to mock other human beings created in the image of God. Feel free to dehumanize them and demonize them, even though you don't know them. Feel free to do all of those things. Why? Because you're the one in charge.
By the way, since you're the king, you don't need saving. You don't need to be saved from the wrath of sin and the bondage of sin. You don't need that. The only thing you need to save yourself from is your own unhappiness. If something doesn't make you happy, you need to get rid of that, because this is really about you and your happiness. Why? Because you're the one that's in charge. You're the sovereign over all this. You're the king. You're the queen. In fact, because you are, you need to remake the whole world in your image. This is one story we get fed.
There's another story, though, that we get fed, and it's this one. The true kingdom is the one you can see and the one you vote for. Am I getting closer? The true kingdom is the one that you see and the one that you vote for, so spend all of your energy, spend all of your hopes, spend all of your faith on a person or a party to fulfill all of your dreams. Only to come away disappointed, which we inevitable do, except not so disappointed that we don't give into the same temptation four years later every single time. That somehow we've put such stock into human leaders that our lust for political power makes us think that this time it will meet our deepest needs, and it never does, ever.
This isn't me saying disengage from the political process. It's not me saying, hey, don't vote or don't care. I'm not saying any of those things. What I am saying is if you and I are not careful, that the kingdom that we see and that we vote for will be the greatest distraction to the kingdom of God that we have if we're not careful, because there is only one King and there is only one kingdom.
That's why we need to remember, and that's why we need to respond to the commands of King Jesus, because we live in a world that's hostile to God. But listen. Listen please. But so once were we. We ought never to forget that. So once were we. Instead of looking through our nostrils at the rest of the world that's so gross, and awful, and sick, and disturbed, let's remember that we were lost, and alienated, and far from God, and we didn't get where we are because we're good.
We got where we are because he is, because he initiated salvation, because he came for sinners. That while we were yet sinners, he died for us. That he initiated our reconciliation. That he's the one who has regenerated us. That he's the one that lives inside of us, so that anything good that you can testify to Jerry Gillis's life is chalked up to the ledger of Jesus. Let's never forget that, because the King loves them like he loves us. We once were also hostile. But this is why we've been given this command. Because there's a world that's hostile to the King, and he desires to reach them.
Maybe what we need to do is maybe we need to alter our perspective. You see, oftentimes when we read these last words of Jesus, our perspective is kind of like this is a farewell address. It's not. You see, we look at it like it's kind of Jesus has done his thing and now he's retiring, and he's going to say some nice words to inspire his folks, and then he's going to ride off into the sunset, and that's that. That's kind of how sometimes we viewed this.
This isn't a farewell address. It's an inaugural address. Jesus is ascending to the throne where he has been given dominion over everything, and this address is to his followers to say, "Now, now we kingdom people start showing the world what the kingdom looks like."
You think about inaugural addresses of presidents. They're very different than farewell addresses. Farewell addresses say, "We accomplished some things." Farewell addresses are, "I found you like clay, and I left you with marble." That's a farewell address. Okay, cool, as far as that goes, right? But an inaugural address, "We're going to do these things,' and it's full of promises.
Now, you and I both know with every president that's even lived, they've never met all of those promises. How could they? They're humans. It's political. It's all of that, right? They're not going to. They haven't, so you just have to kind of bear that in mind, right? You do that when you vote even, right, with all of the promises. It's kind of like, yeah, 40% maybe, right? You just have to think about that. They're human, right?
But King Jesus, he says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Not I'm awaiting on it. It's been given to me. "Therefore, go. Disciplize every people group everywhere, black, brown, white, all of them." Don't worry. If you're white, you don't just have to talk to white people. If you're black, you don't have to just talk to black people. If you're brown, you don't have to just talk to brown people. King Jesus says, "Everybody, everywhere needs to know the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Everybody, everywhere."
Why? Because he loves them, and this isn't a farewell address. It's an inaugural one, so never give up. The people in your life that haven't come to faith, the people at your workplace, the people at your school, the people in your world that you've been praying for, that you've maybe tried to share with before, don't give up. The King's not done. He's still pursuing them through you. You may not even realize it. He's still pursuing him through you.
I read a great story, a testimony from Becky Pippert. Becky Pippert has written about 12 books on evangelism and discipleship. Some of you may have read some of her stuff. She wrote a book about 70s or 80s called Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World. It was a very really great book on evangelism and discipleship. Now, Becky Pippert was the first person in her entire family to come to faith in Jesus, but over a period of time, everybody in her family, brothers, sisters, parents, everybody came to faith in Jesus through her witness except one, her brother Bobby.
She called Bobby her Irish twin, excuse me, which is he was born 12 months after her, one year later. She said Bobby had made some bad decisions in his life. He had done some things that ... He just made some bad decisions in his life.
He called her one time and he just said ... She was talking to him about the Lord, and how Jesus can change your life, and that kind of stuff. He said, "Look, Becky. I've made some bad decisions. I've got a lot of regrets," and she said, "Perfect. Perfect. This is exactly who things gospel's aimed at, messed up people with regrets. Because you know. You know you've messed up. You know you've got regrets. This is why this is such good news." She shared the gospel with him, and before they got off the phone, they didn't pray, they didn't do any of that. Before they got off the phone, he said, "Becky, I just want to thank you for this conversation from the bottom of my heart." They got off the phone.
Some time later, Thanksgiving was coming around and Becky felt led to just ask if her whole family would come and celebrate Thanksgiving there at her house. She invited everybody and they came. While she was there, she just recognized while she was eating and talking and all that stuff, she just kept looking at Bobby and saying to her husband, "Something's up there. Does Bobby, does he just look different? Is he just acting different?" Her husband was saying, "Yeah."
When everybody was done eating and all of the stuff was over, she came and started talking to Bobby. She said, "Bobby, just something seems different." He said, "Oh. Oh, yeah. I've surrounded my life to King Jesus. I've turned from my sin, and I put my faith in him, and he has radically transformed my heart." He said, "I didn't realize that this would be the case. I didn't know when you told me, but I realized how much forgiveness he has, how much grace he has, and now he's hearing my prayers, and he's answering them, and I'm seeing them unfold before my eyes." She's just like she's crying and saying to her husband, "Jesus has Bobby now."
Five days later, he was killed in a car wreck. Five days later. They went to the funeral, of course they were sad and heartbroken, but they were so overjoyed that Jesus had him. All of Bobby's friends were there that he used to run around with, and they were all coming up to Becky, his sister, and saying, "Something happened to Bobby recently. He was different and talking about different stuff." They had the opportunity to begin proclaiming the gospel to all of Bobby's friends. She was standing on Bobby's witness to share with all of them the beauty of who Jesus is.
My friends, I'm telling you that to say a word of encouragement. Don't give up. The King's not done pursuing. He has all authority to gather in all he desires, and he wants to use you, and he has changed you and me to be involved in that very thing. Why? Because this kingdom has a competitor, and we are to be people who declare and demonstrate the kingdom in order to denounce and disprove the world's story, because the world's story always comes up empty.
Do you know what happens in our rebellious hearts when we put ourselves on the throne and we make ourselves kings and queens? Eventually in our heart of hearts, we wish we could rebel against our own kingship, because we find it so empty and unfulfilling.
I can't think of a better way to fuse these things together than for us to be able to participate in the Lord's Supper together, because what it is, it's a reminder of what Jesus has done in his death for our sin, and his resurrection from the grave, and the promise that he's made that he's coming again.
If you're here or you are watching us online and you've never come to a place of responding in faith to King Jesus' offer to come into the kingdom of light and to leave the kingdom of darkness, we'd love to help you with that. If you're here, you can check in with one of our folks outside as you're leaving, or if you'd like even after the service to do what those online can do, and that is to check in at thechapel.com/knowingjesus, or certainly you could call the number that's there on your screen, 716-631-2636 if you want to talk to somebody face-to-face. We'd love to help you know what it means to have your life transformed just like Bobby's was by the forgiveness and the love of Jesus Christ.
Father, for those of us that claim to know you, we've been given a mandate by our King. You've told us what to do, and that is to go and make disciples of all nations. You've told us to be your witnesses. Would you help us in every way by your power in us to fulfill that mandate? Would you put on our minds and in our hearts people around us, family members, work associates, school friends, people that we know in the community that you want us to bear witness to? We want to do that in the context of relationship, but we also want to do that to be people who faithfully share with others the love of Jesus Christ, both in word and in deed. Would you help us to be obedient to the command that you've given us and remind us that you are King over everything, and that we love you, and that our allegiance is to you? We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.