Tuesday, February 19, 2019

011914 Splendor of the King

011914 Splendor of the King

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TITLE: Kingdom Bound: The Splendor of the Kingdom – Psalm 145:1-21 AIM: The Splendor of the Kingdom of God depends upon God as King. INTRO: Have you spent much time thinking about the kingdom of God? Certainly would encourage it. Generally we think of a kingdom in terms of a monarchy, which is, according to the dictionary, “government or territory ruled by a hereditary constitutional ruler,” who is called king or queen, emperor, etc. The hereditary part means that not just anyone can be king; usually it is only the current king’s heir who can reign in his place & usually only after he dies. “The king is dead; long live the king!” There is 1 kingdom & successive kings. The kingdom is really the focus. A theocracy is quite different. Christianity is a theocracy. A theocracy is government w/some deity as ruler. Since we recognize no other god but Jehovah God, we would rightly say that God is the only ruler of the theocracy which is Christianity. Instead of 1 kingdom & successive kings thruout the duration of the kingdom, in a theocracy there is 1 kingdom & 1 king for all time. And instead of the kingdom being the primary focus, the king is the focus. Our theme for this New Year, introduced last week, is “Kingdom Bound.” We who are in Christ are bound for the kingdom of God – eternal life in Christ – having very much to which to look forward. But as we said last week & readily understand, the kingdom of God is both a now & a not yet. We’re looking forward to what awaits us in Christ, but we’re already part of God’s kingdom now. We are bound by the kingdom as well as for it. The kingdom of God should mark our lives – we are subjects of the King, bound to follow our King Jesus, surrendering to Him, committing our lives to Him. So it might behoove us to learn what the Bible has to say about the kingdom of God & how that affects our lives. The Bible teaches us that the kingdom of God is splendorous. Israel’s greatest earthly king, David, recognized God as His king & wrote about it in Psalm 145. A. R. Fausset pointed out that “The Hebrew title of [the book of Psalms] is ‘Tehilim,’ which means ‘praises’ or ‘hymns.’ [It is named such because] a leading facture in the contents is praise, tho the word occurs in the title of only one Psalm” (145, which is titled “A Song of Praise”). Psalm 145 is, Fausset wrote, “a Psalm of praise to God for His mighty, righteous & gracious government of all men, & of His humble & suffering people in particular.” An interesting side note from the ESV Study Bible – “This psalm is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning w/the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.” [READ] Vs11-13 speak specifically of the kingdom of God, relating that “they” (all God’s works & particularly His saints “shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,” and “make known the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.” The kingdom of God not only will be splendorous; it is now! What do we mean by that? What did David mean? What is it that makes the Kingdom of God glorious, splendorous? How do we recognize the splendor of the Kingdom? I) The splendor of the kingdom is a reflection of the splendor of the King. Again, the focus is the King – God. God is splendorous. W/out Him, the kingdom would be nothing at all – it would not exist. God is the One of whom David rightly says, “I will extol You” – that is, exalt, raise up. Obviously we can’t, by anything we do, lift God higher than He already is, but what is meant by extoling God is to recognize God’s highness. Subjects of a kingdom say “Your highness” – Of whom is that more true than our God? The word “God” is “Elohim,” which is, as Strong’s records, a “plural intensive, w/a singular meaning” – a plural word intended to describe a singular God. We recognize the meaning of that, pointing to the one true God as Triune – 3 in 1 – Father, Son & Holy Ghost. We could spend hours on that & not exhaust the topic. The word “Lord,” which David uses thruout the rest of the Psalm, is “Jehovah” – “the existing One,” “I Am” revealed to Moses at the burning bush, & as Strong’s records, the “proper name of the One true God.” Not Baal or Moloch or Allah or any other but Jehovah. It seems that was David was rightfully filled w/awe, as we should be, as he again wrote, “Great is the Lord, & greatly to be praised, His greatness is unsearchable.” He went on to write of God’s “mighty acts,” & “wondrous works,” “awesome deeds,” “the glorious splendor of [His] majesty,” His “greatness,” His “abundant goodness” & “righteousness.” David declared that God is “gracious & merciful, slow to anger & abounding in steadfast love.” He is “good to all & His mercy is over all that He has made.” He is “faithful in all His words & kind in all His works.” The almighty, eternal, holy, majestic God is faithful, merciful, compassionate, good, etc. Do you know Him, the God of the Bible? Not the god of your own making, not who you want Him to be, but who He is & has revealed Himself to be. Not the god of your limited understanding & your misunderstandings, but the God of Scripture. He is splendorous beyond words, & His splendor shines splendor upon His kingdom. “Great is the Lord!” II) The splendor of the kingdom is reflected in its scope & duration. We think of historical empires as great because of their scope – 4 great empires spoken of in Daniel – Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek & Roman – huge scope, vast territory, but nothing compared to the scope of the kingdom of God. Vs9 – “The Lord is good to all, & His mercy is over all that He has made,” which is all that is. Psalm 97:1, 9 – “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice…” “You, o Lord, are most high over all the earth…” Psalm 103:19 – “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, & His kingdom rules over all.” We understand that Jesus is Lord of all, whether or not He is recognized as such. But there is coming a day when, as Paul wrote (Phil.2:10-11), “at the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow…& every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There is nothing, no one that is not under the Lordship of Christ, the reign of God. He rules over kings & presidents & dictators. He reigns over all nations & people groups, young/old, rich/poor, renowned/unnoticed. It may not seem so now, but it will be made evident someday soon. David also spoke of the duration of the kingdom of God – vs13 – “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, & Your dominion endures throughout all generations.” We think of the Chinese dynasties as great because of their duration, but they were finite, unlike the kingdom of God. As said, earthly kingdoms rise/fall, but from the beginning God’s kingdom has endured & it will last forever. Isaiah 9:7 – “Of the increase of His government & of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David & over his kingdom, to establish it & to uphold it w/justice & righteousness from this time forth & forevermore.” The kingdom of God is everlasting because God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting. III) The splendor of the kingdom is reflected in its benefits to all who will recognize/surrender to/serve the King. God’s saints, His holy ones, “shall bless” Him (vs10), for He is good, gracious, merciful to all, especially those who are His. He is faithful & kind (vs13), & we who are His thru faith in Christ are the recipients of His faithful acts/kindnesses. Vs14 – He “upholds all who are falling & raises up all who are bowed down.” He is sustainer & loving shepherd/Father, tending to the needs of those He loves. He is provider for all who look to Him (vs15) giving “food in due season,” satisfying “the desire of every living thing” (vs16). All creation is dependent upon God’s provision. As Jesus declared in His sermon on the mount (Mt.6), God the Father feeds the birds of the air & clothes the flowers of the field. His wonderful promise is that as we “Seek 1st the kingdom of God & His righteousness…all these things [what we need] will be added to…” us (6:33). Our God is also near to us – vs18 – “…near to all who call on Him…in truth” – sincerely, truly seeking Him, truly knowing/loving Him, etc. How we need & how we enjoy God’s very presence as His children! At no time are we alone, w/out God. As David wrote in Psalm 139, there’s no place we could go where God is not. The hymn writer wrote, “Just when I need Him most, just when I need Him most, Jesus is near to comfort & cheer, just when I need Him most.” Surely sometimes it seems that God is far away, but He is not. We may have moved, but God is w/us & w/in us who believe. Let us call upon Him & know His nearness. Another Psalmist – Asaph, wrote in Psalm 73:28, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge…” The sons of Korah also wrote (Ps.46:1), “God is our refuge & strength, a very present help in trouble.” Further, David wrote that God our King “fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry & saves them.” To fear the Lord is to reverence Him, to love Him & desire what He desires. He will indeed give the desires of their hearts to those who surrender to His Lordship, subject themselves to His rule, who desire Him. Do you? God hears our cries & counts our tears, & He will lift up our heads. God hears & answers prayer; call upon Him in faith. David further wrote that “The Lord preserves all who love Him…” He will keep us from falling, keep us in His family, His care, His security. Our part is to love Him (& He pours out His love in our hearts & directs it back to Him & out to others). Our forever King will keep us forever part of His forever kingdom. It’s good to be part of the kingdom of God. It’s good to have a king who reigns over all, whose hand is on us. Those who don’t recognize the rule of Christ in their lives & submit/surrender to Him, the Bible calls the wicked. Now, all of us are wicked, left to ourselves. “All have sinned & fallen short of the glory of God.” We need a Savior & Jesus Christ is that Savior who died for us, to pay for our sin, to make us God’s children. All who believe/receive Christ by faith are brought into God’s family & kingdom. Those who don’t believe/receive Christ will be destroyed. Christ is a coming king who will judge & destroy those who deny His kingship. I pray you are not in that number when Jesus comes, but will embrace Christ by faith. Why not today? Brothers/sisters, we are Kingdom Bound – bound for the kingdom (hallelujah!), but also bound by the kingdom (subject to the king). It’s good to have a king & surrender to His rule. Let us be kingdom minded & especially King focused, Christ being the aim & center of our lives.