By: Samuel L Songate
(Message shared at the Unau Joint Fellowship Pune Pre-Christmas Celebration at UBS, Pune on 19.11.2016)
Scripture: For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7/NKJV)
Introduction: The above passage talks about the future kingdom of Christ. It is a prophecy made by the prophet Isaiah who lived during the 8th Century BC (i.e. about 700 years before the birth of Christ). Base on this and with the help of other passages from the Bible, I will attempt to present to you the nature of the Kingdom of Christ, how it is different from the kingdoms of this world, and how we can be a part of that Kingdom.
- THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM:
(i) Unlike the kingdoms of this world, the kingdom of Christ has a divine origin (i.e. it is not of this world). If we look at the Gospel according to John Chapter 18:36, Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” It is apparent from this passage that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. It has its origin outside this of this world.
(ii) Unlike the kingdoms of this world, the Kingdom of Christ extends over past, present and future. When Jesus said that my kingdom is not of this world, it is from another place, he also implies that His Kingdom has already been in existence somewhere. His Kingdom already exists in heaven even before the beginning of time.
(iii) When Jesus Christ came to earth more than 2000 years ago, he came to establish his Kingdom in the hearts of men who are willing to accept Him as Saviour and King. And to whomsoever embrace his kingship, He lives inside of them in Spirit and His laws are written in their hearts so that they remain loyal subjects and faithful even unto death even in the face of severe trials and persecutions. And until this day, He continues to extend His Kingdom in the hearts of men who accept Him as Lord and Saviour.
(iv) The visible nature of his Kingdom is a future event when He will come to earth for the second time and establish His Kingdom on earth. John the Apostle had seen this future event and wrote like this – “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! (Revelation 11:15) – Whether we like it or not, all the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ one day.
2. HOW CHRIST’S KINGDOM IS DIFFERENT FROM THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD:
(i) While all the kingdoms of this world were established by the use of physical force (military might or power), Jesus Christ founded his Kingdom solely with love by winning the hearts of men. Napoleon Bonaparte (the great Emperor of France) had said, “I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.”
(ii) The rulers of the kingdoms of this world oppressed, enslaved and killed countless of people in order to establish and consolidate their kingdoms; Jesus, on the other hand set the captives free, liberates souls which are kept in bondage by sin and gave eternal lives to countless men and women in establishing His Kingdom.
(iii) No matter how great and powerful the kingdoms of this world were, they all crumble and eventually fall apart. The Roman empire was considered to be the greatest empire in the ancient world, but today Rome, once the glorious Roman capital is only a tourist destination. The British empire, regarded as the greatest and most powerful empire in the modern world (Which was even called the empire upon which the sun never sets) is now only a tiny country with a declining economy. Hitler attempted to establish a German Reich (empire) that will last for a thousand years; however, it lasted only 12 years. But unlike the kingdoms and empires of this world, the Kingdom established by Jesus Christ will be eternal – It will have no end and it will last forever and ever because He is the eternal King, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
(iv) Ideal government – Today, democracy (the rule of the people) is considered as the best form of government because we don’t have a better system that can replace democracy as of now. But democracy is not the answer to the problems of mankind. Look at the protest in America following the presidential election, look at India, the largest democracy in the world, and look at the middle-east and the aftermath of the Arab spring. Democracy is not the ideal form of government as the rule of the people can be very dangerous if the majority are on the wrong side.
(v) History has taught us that monarchy is also nothing but a burden for the common people as the kings and the rulers oppressed the common people, imposed heavy duties and taxes, put them into forced labour, accumulated wealth at the expense of their subjects.
(vi) Dictatorship and Communism also failed miserably in providing welfare for the people. Stalin ended up killing 20 millions of his countrymen. Hitler killed 6 million Jews in the process of establishing an ideal government. Thus the world has not seen an ideal government or ruler since the beginning of time. However, when Christ establishes His Kingdom, He himself shall carry the government on his shoulder, and since He is the Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace, His government will be the most ideal, most peaceful and most just government. He will neither oppress nor be a burden for his people, instead He himself has already carried their burdens and willingly laid down His life for them so that they can have eternal lives!
- HOW WE CAN BE PART OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM:
(i) The main reason why Jesus came to earth, taking the form of humans, born in a manger and died on the cross and rose again on the third day is nothing but to make it possible for you and me to be a part of His Kingdom.
(ii) He came riding on a donkey because he came to make peace between God and man who were separated by Sin so that we can become citizens of His Kingdom. In ancient times kings ride on a donkey when they are on a peace mission. Thus, donkey symbolizes peace and horse symbolizes war.
(iii) If we are to be part of any government or kingdom, the first thing we need to have is citizenship. In order to take part in the functioning of the government and exercise the rights and duties and to be able to enjoy all the benefits and privileges, one has to be a citizen of that country or kingdom. If we look at Acts 23, we learn that the Roman Commander, who arrested Paul, upon realizing that Paul was a roman citizen, said to Paul that he had to pay a lot of money to obtain his citizenship! However, the good news for you and for me is that Jesus Christ, by shedding his blood and dying on the cross, has already paid the full price for our citizenship in His Kingdom! All praise and glory to Him! In Ephesians 2:19, Paul confirmed it by saying, ‘you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,’ what a wonderful privilege! All praise and glory to Jesus!
(iv) Since Jesus has already paid the price for our citizenship and completed all formalities when he proclaimed “It is finished” on the cross, he is now inviting each and every one of us to receive the citizenship free of cost by embracing Him as our King and Saviour. Because in order to be a citizen of his Kingdom, we need to embrace His kingship and make Him the ruler and King of our lives. Unless we crown Him and make Him the King of our lives, we cannot be a part of His Kingdom!
(v) We need to remember that in his first coming, Jesus came to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of men (the invisible kingdom) but in His second coming, He will come to establish His Kingdom on earth with Jerusalem as the centre (the visible kingdom). He rode on a donkey in his first coming because He came to make peace with us, but in His second coming He will no longer ride on a donkey, instead, He will ride on a white horse to wage war on those who do not accept Him as Saviour and King.
RE-COMMIT AND RE-SURRENDER:
As we enter the advent season and prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, I would like to request each and every one of us to re-commit and re-surrender our lives and crown Him as the King of our lives. You may have struggles in your life, it may be financial, career and education, relationship, family or personal – surrender your lives under the Lordship of Jesus because He created you and knows you more than anybody else.
The shepherds accepted His Kingship and leaving their sheep behind went all the way to Bethlehem to worship the new born King. The Bible tells us that after seeing the new born King, they returned glorifying and praising God though their livelihood, their status, their poverty, and circumstances remain unchanged. The wise men knew the secret of Jesus’ Kingship and came all the way from the eastern countries to Bethlehem to worship the new born King. Had they not accepted and acknowledges His Kingship, they would not have come all the way to Bethlehem. After seeing and worshipping the Lord Jesus, they returned to their country by another route.
One thing that is common in the lives of the shepherds and the wise men was that, after they saw the new born King and worshipped Him, their lives were not the same anymore. If you truly acknowledge Him as king of your life and surrender your heart, your will and your desires before Him, I promise you, your life will never be the same again! Your position, your struggles, your surroundings, your circumstances may not change, but you will be changed from the inside out, and you will never be the same again. All your longings and emptiness, your spiritual thirst and hunger will be satisfied because He is the living water and the bread of life. It’s interesting to know that Jesus the Bread of Life was born in the town of Bethlehem which in Hebrew also means ‘House of Bread’.
Let me add a little bit of my story here. Though I was born and raised in a Christian family, my life was a complete mess before I acknowledge Jesus, my Creator as the King and Lord of my life. I never doubted Him as my saviour, but have never truly made Him the King of my life. I was leading my own life, make my own decisions, pursued my selfish desires. I was not doing well in my studies, somehow managed to graduate from college with a very poor grade, luckily got through the entrance and got admitted in one of the best Journalism Institute in Delhi. However, I was lazy, irresponsible and not serious at all and I blew away all my chances and opportunities. While some of my classmates ended up in prestigious media and News Channel (one even became the Bureau Chief at Times Now in Mumbai), I ended up a big loser; nothing was working out for me. In the mean time I got married, had a child with no job, no income to support a family. When you end up like that in a city like Delhi, you lose all your confidence, your self esteem and self respect. Knowing nowhere else to turn to, I finally fell on my knees, asked God’s forgiveness and surrender my life to Him. I promise Him that my utmost priority in life would be to worship Him and serve Him only. I also asked Him to give me a job not so that I can serve Him. I began studying the Bible more earnestly and made a commitment to study the whole Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) in a year. Before I was halfway through, God gave me a job and the following year got my posting in Pune, a city where God has a lot in store for me and my family. Since then, there is no looking back. St Augustine was right when he made this profound statement, “For you have formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they found rest in you”.
Finally, I would like to close my message with this beautiful illustration.
A story has been told about a man who owned a Model T Ford car that broke down on the side of a road. Now this man knew a lot about cars and specifically this car, so he went to work. He tried different things and each time he went back to try and start the engine, it still would not start. He was a little stubborn, so rather than call for help, he continued to work. He tried different things and still nothing. The car just wouldn’t start.
A few minutes later a large limousine pulled up beside him. Out stepped an old man who just stood and watched him for a few minutes. Finally the old man looked at him and told the younger guy to adjust a specific part on the engine.
The guy figured he tried most other things so he might as well give this a shot even though there was no way this old guy could know more about this car than him. So he adjusted the part, got in the car and sure enough, the engine came to life. He was surprised and asked the old man, “How did you know what to do?” The old man without saying a word gave the man his card and walked away. After he’s gone the young man looked at the card and to his surprise found that the name printed on the card reads – Henry Ford, the man who invented his car.”
Henry Ford knew how to fix the Model T Ford car because he created it. And God knows how to fix you and me because we are His creation. He has been with us from the beginning and He knows how to fix each one of us. We simply have to embrace His Kingship and make Him the King of our lives! God bless you!