Monday, 29 November 2010

Jesus is the Kingdom of God - Sermon Notes

On Sunday, I had the privilege of concluding our church's "Beginning with Moses" sermon series looking at how Jesus, in a couple of key ways, is the fulfillment of all Old Testament promise.  (PowerPoint slides available here)

1.  The Offspring of Promise is Here
4000 years since the first promise of salvation was spoken by the LORD God in the Garden of Eden; the Serpent Crusher, the Son of blessing, the Deliverer, the righteous King, the Suffering Servant, everything that Israel should have been hoping for, everything that the rest of the world had left behind is finally here.  In Jesus the "Divine DNA" of God and the Natural DNA of Humanity dance together - distinct, but united as one. In the Son, God has finally joined himself to humanity eternally.

2.  Jesus is God's People  
He stands in our place, to do what we would/could never have done - perfectly live in and follow the will of the Father.

a. He's the true man - the better Adam Adam had everything going for him, a beautiful place to live, an easy job, a hot wife and uninterrupted friendship with God, but he threw it all away when he followed Satan's lead and exalted his desire above God's command bringing a curse on the whole creation.  Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane had nothing going for him except the prospect of the Cross - something he had every right to avoid, yet he submits his desire to that of his Father, remaining obedient to his Father's will. (Phil. 2:5-11) Out of Adam the whole human race would flow.  Out of Jesus, a new humanity would be born by the Spirit. (John 1:12-13)
b. He's the true humanity - the better Israel.  Israel were meant to be God's faithful people, but they prove to be history's biggest anticlimax (Isa 26:17-18) as time and again, they fell into unbelief and therefore disobedience in spite of the fact that God had done mighty miracles in their midst. They give in to their bodily appetites, to putting God to the test, and to outright idolatry, even when God is only a couple of hundred metres away up the mountain!!  Jesus on the other hand, in his wilderness experience responds perfectly. (Matt 4:1-11) He creates a new humanity, (Heb 2:10-18) one not caged by the principle of law, but conducted by the person of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1-17).  The old distinction of Jew/Gentile is done away with, for what it demonstrated was now here. Now it is Old Humanity/New Humanity (2 Cor 5:17) or to put it another way, you are either in Adam or in Christ. (Rom. 5:12-21)

3.  Jesus is God's Place  
He is the "space" where God meets with Mankind, the place where salvation is found.

a. He's the true Tabernacle - the better Presence The Lord God accompanied his people through the Wilderness, and stood over the Tabernacle, but his face was hidden from them, by the cloud. Only Moses was allowed to see the Lord.  There was presence, but not closeness. In Jesus, God goes public (Heb. 1:1) he can be seen, heard, smelt and touched.  We not only see what God is like, we are brought near to him in love. 
b. He's the true Temple - the final atonement In the OT, if you wanted to find peace with God, you had to go and sacrifice animals at the Temple, no other place was allowed for sacrifice. This made the temple a glorified abattoir. The stench associated with all this slaughter, produced by rivers of blood, excrement, and burning/rotting flesh would have been overwhelming. Making the experience traumatic rather than peaceful. Anticipated by these millions of slaughtered animals down the centuries, Jesus offered himself up on the cross as the one perfect sacrifice taking away the sin of the world. (Heb 10:11-14John 2:18-21
c.He's the true Firstfruits - the New Creation Salvation is not just for people, it's for the whole of creation. In the Old Testament, the people were commanded to bring as an offering to God the first sheaf/bundle/offspring of all that their land/livestock produced, (Lev 23) this would make the whole harvest acceptable to God and his blessing would be on it (Rom 11:16). Jesus, is the firstfruits of the new creation. He is offered up as holy to God and he sanctifies all in himself who come after him: first the church, then the rest of creation. (Rom 8:20-21)

4.  Jesus is God's Rule and Blessing 
He is the source from whom all the blessing of God (the Holy Spirit) flows into creation
a. He brings true peace Just as David, the true king of Israel defeated Goliath - the troubler of Israel and brought peace to the God's people on every side from her enemies; so too, Jesus, the shepherd king has defeated Satan and all his minions and given the gift of true peace to his people. (Col 2:15)
b. He brings true rest Rest in the Bible does not mean sleep, it means pleasure, leisure and fellowship. What do friends and family do when work is done, they sit down and eat together. On a number of key occasions, in the Old Testament, God had a fellowship meal with people. In the new Testament, Jesus does so much eating and drinking he is accused of being a glutton and a drunkard!! Jesus reveals and brings the friendship and love of the Father into the lives of his adopted children that they can know his favour, enjoy his companionship and join him in his mission. (Matt 11:25-30)
c. He brings true life The curse of Eden led to disease, disorder and death, but when Jesus came, he healed the sick, stilled the tempestuous creation, cast out demons and raised the dead (Matt 11:1-19)
d. He welcomes exiles home After their rebellion, Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden, Israel too were driven from the land. But in Christ, this is reversed and he calls all people both Jew and Gentile back into the blessing of God. (Eph. 2:14-18)

5.  Behold your God 
Allah, Buddha, Richard Dawkins could never and would never do anything like this for you.

a. Crucified Here is the true Passover lamb, slain so that we might escape the slaughtering angel. At the cross, as promised, the whole Trinity suffers as they take upon themselves the consequences of human rebellion.  The Father loses his Son, the Son loses his Life and the Spirit with tearful determination orders all the events of Jesus' gruesome death (Heb. 9:14) so that every prophecy he spoke in the OT might be fulfilled. (Acts 2:23-24)
b. Ascended and Anointed Jesus, now risen and anointed as king over the universe, is waiting to lavish his love and blessing on all who come to him in humble faith. So give up your shrivelled plans and ambitions and throw yourself heart and soul into running to Jesus. (Heb 12:1-3)  

He became like us, so that we could one day become like him. (1 Cor 15:45-49)


John Marcham said...

Great sermon Richard, very clear and concise. The contrast between the old and new were particularly helpful.It really rounded off the whole series.

Richard Walker said...

Thanks John