Posts

We Will Rule All Things

 “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”(Revelation 3:21)

What does Jesus mean when he says this to the church in Laodicea?

Sit with Jesus on his throne? Really?

This is a promise to everyone who conquers, that is, who presses on in faith to the end (1 John 5:4), in spite of every threatening pain and luring, sinful pleasure. So if you are a true believer in Jesus, you will sit on the throne of the Son of God who sits on the throne of God the Father.

I take “throne of God” to signify the right and authority to rule the universe. That’s where Jesus sits. “He must reign,” Paul said, “until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). So when Jesus says, “I will grant him to sit with me on my throne,” he promises us a share in the rule of all things.

Is this what Paul has in mind in Ephesians 1:22–23? “He put all things under [Christ’s] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

We, the church, are “the fullness of him who fills all.” What does that mean? I take it to mean that the universe will be filled with the glory of the Lord (Numbers 14:21). And one dimension of that glory will be the complete and unopposed extension of his rule everywhere.

Therefore, Ephesians 1:23 would mean: Jesus fills the universe with his own glorious rule through us. Sharing in his rule, we are the fullness of his rule. We rule on his behalf, by his power, under his authority. In that sense, we sit with him on his throne.

None of us feels this as we should. It is too much — too good, too amazing. That’s why Paul prays for God’s help that “the eyes of your hearts [would be] enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).

Without omnipotent help now, we cannot feel the wonder of what we are destined to become. But if we are granted to feel it, as it really is, all our emotional reactions to this world will change. The strange and radical commands of the New Testament will not be as strange as they once seemed.

By John Piper

Do Not Harden Your Heart

To whom did [God] swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.  Hebrews 3:18-19

 

Even though the people of Israel saw the waters of the Red Sea divide and walked through the Sea on dry ground, the moment they got thirsty, their hearts were hard against God and they did not trust him to take care of them. They cried out against him and said that life in Egypt was better.

That is what the book of Hebrews was written to prevent. Oh, how many professing Christians make a start with God. They hear that their sins can be forgiven and that they can escape hell and go to heaven. And they say: “What have I got to lose? I’ll believe.”

But then in a week or a month or a year or ten years, the test comes — a season of no water in the wilderness. A weariness with manna. And subtly a growing craving for the fleeting pleasures of Egypt, as Numbers 11:5-6 says, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

This is a terrifying condition to be in — to find yourself no longer interested in Christ and his word and prayer and worship and missions and living for the glory of God. And to find all the fleeting pleasures of this world more attractive than the things of the Spirit.

If that is your situation, I plead with you to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in this text. “They were unable to enter because of unbelief!” Give heed to the word of God. Do not harden your heart. Wake up to the deceitfulness of sin. Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our great confession, and hold fast to your confidence and hope in him.

And if you have never even made a start with God, then put your hope in him. Turn from sin and from self-reliance and put your confidence in a great Savior. These things are written that you might believe and endure, and live.

By John Piper

Why You Can And Should Do Something

What motivates people to take gospel-centered actions in the face of unbiblical situations? And why are we tempted to do nothing?

There is bad theology and good theology that either keeps us sidelined or spurs us on to do something.

I’m Too Busy … or … God Has Called Us To Be The Light Of The World

One reason we remain passive is because we ease our guilty conscience by telling ourselves that we have a lot on our plate already and we want to be faithful to what God has given us to do.

There is both wisdom and truth to this argument. You are a human being with limited time, energy, and resources. It’s true that you must make a priority of the things God has given you to do. But perhaps we take ourselves off the hook too easily. Perhaps we are often too happily uninvolved. Perhaps what has filled our “too busy” calendar has little to do with the Kingdom of God.

Jesus says, “You are the light of the world […] Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16). How do you let the light of Christ shine through you? Through a public life characterized by good deeds.

I’m Too Small … or … God Does Extraordinary Deeds Through Ordinary People

Another reason we remain passive is because we look at our inability and weakness and tell ourselves that we are not qualified for the task at hand. Look at how Moses responds when he is first tasked with going to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery: “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh? […] I have never been eloquent […] I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 3:11 and 4:10).

This is an accurate analysis, but it’s ultimately bad theology. Moses was completely overlooking the fact that the One asking him to do these significant things was the Almighty Creator, who certainly had the power to bring them to pass.

The Problem Is Too Big … or … God Is Infinitely Bigger Than Any Problem We Face

Not to pick on poor Moses, but he comes to mind again: “Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?” (Numbers 11:21-22).

Does Moses have legitimate mathematical reason for concern? He does! But our fear and inaction is rarely the result of supply and demand calculations. There is ultimately a deeper and far more significant theology involved—a doubt of God’s sovereignty and power.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to step out into this broken world, not succumbing to thoughts of our smallness, or the magnitude of the problem, or how to balance and protect a busy schedule. We are called to remember who we are (someone who has been lit by the transforming grace of God) and who he is (a God of awesome power and grace) and step out to look for opportunities to light what has been dark through actions of love, mercy, justice, reconciliation, peace, and compassion.

By Paul David Tripp

Your Kingdom Awaits

A few years ago, a mall had a marketing slogan: “Your Kingdom Awaits.” Whoever came up with the phrase was a brilliant theologian and deeply understood the condition of the human heart.

Since the beginning of time, the lie of the Enemy has been this: ultimate joy and satisfaction is found when you build your own kingdom. In the Garden, Adam and Eve believed that they were able to build a greater and more satisfying kingdom than the Kingdom of God.

When the Serpent said, “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5), he was inviting them to a false existence where they could be most high and rule unchallenged.

Every day, just like with that mall slogan, you and I are invited to build our own kingdom. But we can’t blame the retailers and advertising agencies. It’s only ever first because of the sin inside of us that we are attracted to the evil outside of us.

So where are we at risk of building our kingdoms in the situations, locations, and relationships of everyday life? Let’s open the Bible to find a few examples. Remember, “these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (1 Corinthians 10:6).

  1. Pleasure and Comfort (Numbers 11)
  2. Schedule and Organization (Exodus 32)
  3. Position and Power (Luke 22)
  4. Affirmation and Approval (Galatians 2)

Let me say it again: pleasure, comfort, schedule, organization, position, power, affirmation, and approval are not unimportant in the Kingdom of God.

But beware. All too often, these things can become the driving motivation in our lives, and the foundation on which we build our own personal kingdoms.

Today, let’s pray and ask for protection:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

By Paul Tripp