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August 11, 2020 12:01 am
What is the primary task of the church as we pray for God's kingdom to come? Today, R.C. Sproul describes the unexpected nature of this kingdom and our responsibility as its ambassadors in this world.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. They bring him up before politics and they make mockery out of his kingship and pretend that they are bowing down before him and deliver him before the duly constituted authority of the Roman state and pilot looked at Jesus and said are you a king. This was just the kind of team people expected Jesus was born in a very real sense, the kingdom of God had, or why why didn't his presence usher in peace and harmony toward a tangible kingdom today.
Dr. RC Sproul returns to his series on the Lord's prayer to help us understand what Jesus meant when he asked for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Old Testament, the have a record of an event that took place with the people of Israel in which a very important person was missing from an assembly in the Scriptures tell us that he was hidden among certain equipment when they read this narrative to you briefly as we find it in the first book of Samuel in the 10th chapter beginning in verse 23 so they ran and they brought him from there and when he stood among the people.
He was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upwards and Samuel said to all of the people. Do you see him, whom the Lord has chosen that there is no one like him among all the people so all the people shouted and said long live the king and then Samuel explained to the people. The behavior of royalty and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away every man to his house and Saul also went home to get via, and valiant men went with them, whose hearts God had touch but some rebels said how can this man save us.
So they despised him they brought him no presence, but he held his peace. This is the record of a moment of transition that was crucial for the entire history of the Jewish nation. It was the moment when their first king was selected to rule over the and if you remember the story of this incidence you know that there is great ambivalence in the heart of Samuel over this event because God was basically displeased because the people had clamored for a king. Let us look back just a little bit earlier in this history where we read in chapter 8 of first Samuel, beginning in verse four. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Rama and said to him look fewer old and your sons do not walk in your ways.
Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations see what the people want. They want to be like everybody else.
God had separated this group of people to himself. He had consecrated that he had sanctified them. He had called them to be different. He said you shall be holy, even as I am holy and I will be your God and you will be my people. He had given them his lawn which he had declared shall have no other gods before me know. We've seen already in our look at the Lord's prayer that Jesus tells us in the second petition of the Lord's prayer to pray for the coming of the kingdom of God and I mentioned that if there is any motif that weaves together the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is the central theme of the kingship of God and we have to understand that even though the New Testament opens with the announcement that the kingdom of God is coming that there is a sense in which something new was going to take place in the history of redemption, but not so new that it had no continuity with what had taken place in the past. In one sense, at least the kingdom of God had always been present, the kingdom of God was established in the Garden of Eden. God didn't have to wait for the New Testament to be coordinated as the sovereign ruler over the universe, God was already king over Adam and ovary and when he created this nation of Jewish people at Mount Sinai, the law that he delivered was the law that came from the king from the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth but now the people want to have an earthly king.
They want to have a king like every other country had a king, and how did God respond to this. What we see here in this text that the thing displeased Samuel when they said give us a king to judge us. Verse six of chapter 8 forcing and the Lord said to Samuel, heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you is not interesting. God said Samuel your bent out of shape because they're coming due and they're saying your old and your sons don't walk in the ways that you walked in. We don't want to dynasty here. We don't have to follow your sons there corrupt and all the rest. We want to K and Samuels displays apparently because he feels in this demand from the people that they are rejecting him and his ministry that somehow God looks at guts of the not rejected you, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over that's the meaning of this episode, Samuel.
They don't want me to rule over them. They are rejecting my rain there rejecting my realm. They are rejecting my kingship. It's interesting to me that it was as late as the middle of the 20th century that a revision was made in the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States.
When I went to school in the first grade we had to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and every morning at the start of the day the children had to stand up next to their deaths and look at the flag it was hanging up by the front blackboard and put our right hand over heart and we used to have to say I Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America into that Republic for which it stands one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
That's how I had to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. I remember greater was fifth or sixth or seventh grade they changed it again. As of now, from now on, we have to put to more words in the Pledge of Allegiance. There were not there before some of you remember this vividly could go through this change.
The two words were these under God's one nation under God, indivisible one nation under God the middle of the 20th century. Can you imagine the human cry that would be expressed in this country.
If that change were suggested today because in the last 30 or 40 years there has been groundswell of reaction against any concept of our governments being in any way under God. I read in the paper today of the Supreme Court's decision not to hear a case that had been tried through the whole appellate court system and had sought to reach the Supreme Court over a little girl who wrote an essay in her history class on Jesus of Nazareth and received an F because it was not permitted to write about Jesus. It was all right to write on other religious leaders in another world religions. But the law, at least in this community forbade any expression of the name of Jesus in the public domain. We have heard until were tired of hearing that America is committed to the principle of the separation of church and state. All hope you understand that those words never appear in the declaration, or in the Constitution. They were obiter dicta of Thomas Jefferson and another occasion when he mentioned the concept but even then the concept meant something that was consistent with historic Reformation theology, namely, that God has ordained two spheres to institutions with clearly distinct tasks and different spheres of authority the church and the state, and it is not the responsibility of the church to be the state. The church is not given the sword. It is not the responsibility of the state to administer the sacraments are to proclaim the gospel. It has a different set of responsibilities, but the New Testament makes it clear that God has instituted both the church and the state and each one has its own set of responsibilities a few years ago I was asked to give a message at the inaugural breakfast for the inauguration of the governor of the state of Florida, and on that occasion I mentioned something that a lot of people find somewhat strange. In fact, some were quite hostile about as I spoke directly to the governor unless a governor I remember vividly the day of my ordination or I was set apart in the church for the vocation of the gospel ministry and ordained as a minister of the church and today is your ordination today you will be ordained as a minister and your ultimate ordination is not coming from the officials from the courts of the state of Florida, but your sanction as governor of the state that which authorizes you to rule is the ordination to you of this office by Almighty God and you are accountable to him for this ministry.
When I was simply doing was expressing not only what the New Testament teaches what our nation historically understood to be the case but the day the concept of separation of church and state has come to mean in the public thinking. The separation of the state and God. This is the supreme Declaration of Independence where the state now is seen to be autonomous that the state is sovereign and that the state will no longer acknowledge God's reign over it. The moment that happens, beloved the deathknell for the culture and for the nation is been sound America is a nation's debt. It has no future once it declares its independence from its sovereign God will not tolerate any earthly institution.
Any earthly monarch any earthly tyrant to usurp his position of authority, he may abide it the first season, but history is clear in its testimony that the life expectancy of any tyranny is short and there is nothing more arrogant than a group of people or an individual to say before the world.
He will not reign over everything that followed this moment in Jewish history in the Old Testament was a history of conflict of disaster upon disaster after the King had been selected and Saul came to the throne in the beginning days of his monarchy. He rained well pledged to be submissive to the law of God, but his power corrected him and drove him to madness so that God had to remove him from the throne and replace him with David and you know the rest of the history how after David died.
His son came to the throne and then in a very short period of time the kingdom was divided in the history of the kings of the north and the kings of the South. From that day forward reads like a rogues gallery of corruption, all of which was predicted by God through the prophet Samuel. Here's what he says in chapter 8 of first Samuel verse nine now therefore heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.
And so Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king, and he said this will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you. He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots to be his horsemen and some will run before his chair first thing the king is going to do is conscript your sons for the Army. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his 50s will set some of the plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some the make his weapons of war and equipment for his cherries that sound familiar.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards are all approved and give them to his servants, he will take 1/10 of your grain that that this would be bad that they would be taxed by 10%. They will take 1/10 of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officers and servants.
He will take your male servants and female servants refines young men and your donkeys and put them to his work. He will take 1/10 of your sheep and you will be his servants, and you will cry out and that they because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves and the Lord will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless, the people said no, but we will have a king over us, know the word that appears most frequently in that warning that God gives to Israel is the work think the king will take and take and take and take and take some more. If the Scripture speaks of God as a king who is in kids and kids and gives every good and perfect gift, but we don't want king will give the madness of human folly is that we want a king who will take so we can be like everybody else because anything is better. It seems to us in our fallenness than to live in the kingdom of God to live where God is the King so deep are the feelings of antipathy against the reign of God that the grounds that were used to bring charges against Jesus but became the center of phone meant by which people scream for his blood were the charges that he would make in self king. He didn't make himself king. The father made a McKay and he was the king but just as the king had been rejected by Israel in the form of the father. Now when the princes born in the new covenant situation. The people destroy him and they bring him up before Pilate, and they make mockery out of his kingship by giving him a crown of thorns and dressing him in mock garments of royalty and pretend that they are bowing down before him and deliver him before the duly constituted authority of the Roman state and Pilate looked at Jesus and said are you a king, Jesus said you have said that I am a king.
You have rightly said that I am a king.
Then Jesus said, but my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I would not be delivered to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here will Polisario king that in Jesus and you say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world that I shall bear witness to the truth and what is that truth to which this king who says his kingdom is not of this world is bearing witness to the kingdom of God.
It is testimony it is witness his loyalty to the true King when Jesus said when you pray, pray like this thy kingdom come. He was giving to us participation in his own mission in his own agenda that the reign of God would be restored to this planet in a way that would mirror and reflect the way God's kingly reign exists by so when we pray for God's kingdom to come in for his will to be done. It begins with each of us. Are we hollowing God's name are we doing God's will such a helpful message from Dr. RC Sproul and there were highlighting his 10 part series. The Lord's prayer this week on Renewing Your Mind. We have a bundle a couple of resources that I think will make great study companions first were making the full series available to you as a digital download. And when you requested today with a donation of any amount you'll have access to all 10 lessons plus will send you RC's book, the prayer of the Lord.
In it he helps us understand how to pray according to the pattern that Jesus set for us request both resources with your firstname.lastname@example.org you can also call us at 800-435-4343. Let me also recommend table talk magazine is a steady companion for the series. I just went to the website and typed in the words, on earth as it is in heaven, and a wealth of articles and devotionals came up. All written by trustworthy pastors and theologians you can receive the monthly print edition and have access to an ever-growing library online when you subscribe is go to table talk magazine.com and before we go today. Here's RC with a final thought if you were asked Jesus one question you only had the opportunity to ask him one question, what would you ask that moment came for the disciples that had many opportunities to ask him a multitude of questions, but the moment of Jesus departure was at hand as he stood on the mountain of ascension and the disciples looked at him. They had this last chance. One last question, I said Lord, are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel is not interesting that the last burning question that the disciples brought before Jesus was a question about the kingdom of God. What did Jesus say how many times I have to tell you I don't care about kingdoms. No, that's not what he said he told them the day in the hour was in the hands of the father. It really wasn't their concern, he said, but you shall be my witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth. John Calvin read the text and he said this, it is the task of the church. The chief task of the church to bear witness to the kingdom of God to make the invisible kingdom of God visible in this realm, not with political structures, not with political power, not with the sword, but by being the church that lives in obedience to the sovereignty of the king and may we live in such a way that I hope you be with us tomorrow as RC helps us understand Jesus request that God's will be done that's twisting here on Renewing Your Mind