Christology: The Offices of Christ - Part 2

Selected Scriptures

Tom Pennington  •  April 29, 2018
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We are looking at The Offices of Christ. As I mentioned to you last week, as the Old Testament unfolds, the Redeemer that God promised, the Redeemer that God promised as early as Genesis 3, comes to be known by the name, the label, the title, the Messiah. It literally means, the anointed One. That's because in the Old Testament, when God appointed a man to a particular office, that man was normally anointed with oil. It happened with kings, it happened with priests, and occasion with prophets as well. He was anointed by God, and it denoted that he was being set apart, consecrated to that task. It also implied that the Spirit of God would empower him for that task.

Well, the Father anointed our Lord. He is the anointed One, and He's anointed to serve in three distinct offices: prophet, priest, and king. In the Old Testament, of course, those offices were there. The prophet was the one who revealed God's word to the people on God's behalf. The priest is the one who offered sacrifices and prayers to God on behalf of the people. And the king was the one who ruled over the people, not for himself, but on behalf of God, the true king of the nation.

Now those three offices that dominate the Old Testament, all pictured and foreshadowed the coming work of the Messiah, the truly anointed One, the One who would become the epitome of all three of these offices and positions. It is crucial for us as New Testament believers to understand how these three offices, in a very real sense, summarize all that Jesus did and accomplished in the incarnation. And larger that that, all that Jesus, our Lord, is to us. That He is to you. He is your, if you are in Christ, He is your prophet, He is your priest, and He is your king.

Now last time we examined the work of Christ, our prophet, and I am tempted always to sort of to remind you of that and summarize it, but in the interest of time, so Seth isn't right, and I don't get finished, I am going to move on. So tonight, let's begin by considering a second office, Christ, our priest. And as I did last week, I just want you to see that whether you look at the Westminster Confession or whether you look at the London Baptist Confession of 1689, this is the summary understanding of these truths.

Here's the Larger Catechism, "How does Christ execute the office of the priest?"

The answer is,

Christ executes the office of the priest in His once offering Himself a sacrifice, without spot, to God to be a reconciliation for the sins of His people and in making continual intercession for them.

The Shorter Catechism answers it this way,

Christ executes the office of the priest, in His... [those are the same, aren't they? Almost the same, I don't need to repeat it].

So you understand that this is the work of Christ as our Priest. That's the summary statement. I want to step back from obviously from a Creed or Catechism, and I want to look at the Scripture itself. So, we want to look at the Old Testament background.

Hebrews includes the job description of the Old Testament high priest. Here it is in Hebrews 5:1-2,

every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness.

That was the Old Testament human high priest. He had to be human, and all of those who served as priest except our Lord, were beset with sins. Our Lord was only beset with, not with sin, but with the weakness that goes with living in a body in this world. So, the priest had to be human. Notice, he dealt with things that pertained to God. He offered sacrifices for sins. We learn elsewhere that he also offered prayers, and praise to God on behalf of the people. And, in Hebrews 5:4, we learn that he had to be appointed by God. He had to be anointed by God. Well the priests role then was to represent man to God. And the Old Testament tells us that the Messiah would be a priest. He would be a priest.

In Psalm 110:1-4, it talks about Him as our King in the first three verses. Here's verse 4, "The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."' And, of course, that's a quoted in the book of Hebrews, and explained and expounded. Messiah would be a priest.

Zechariah 6:13, speaking of the Messiah who would come, "it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He," this is talking about the Millennial Temple; and He, "who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne." There's His kingship. "Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."

A priest on His throne. So Jesus is our priest. The question is, as our priest, what functions does Jesus serve? Well, first of all, He offered Himself, and this is the obvious one, isn't it? As the perfect sacrifice for sin. He offered Himself to God, as the Catechism said, "to satisfy the divine justice and wrath, and to reconcile His people to God." Jesus is your priest, and the only reason that you can have a relationship with God, is because He offered Himself as the sacrifice. John 1:29, you remember, John the Baptist, "saw Jesus coming, and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God," God's lamb, "who takes up and carries off," like the scapegoat, "the sin of the world!"

He's the One who came to deal with sin. Here's how Jesus Himself put it, in Mark 10:45, He says, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve," and here it is, here's the reason for His death. He said He would die, He predicted His death from the very beginning, the very beginning of His ministry, you remember in John 2. He said, they're going to destroy this temple and in three days I'll raise it up. But why? Why did He have to die? Here it is, "to give His life a ransom," that word for is the Greek word ante, it only means one thing, in the place of, in the stead of, "many." This is why He came, the Messiah describes Himself here as the ultimate fulfillment of the sacrificial system. And shockingly, think about this, for the very first time in human history, in redemptive history, He is both the priest, and the sacrifice itself.

In fact, turn with me to Romans 3, I want you to see how, be reminded, we've looked at this, but I want you to be reminded of how Paul puts it here. Verse 24, Romans 3:24, he says, "we are justified," we are declared right with God, "as a gift by His grace," but how can God do this? How can God be just, and declare righteous those who are wicked? Remember that's the very thing in the Old Testament, He says judges must never do. And yet, God does that, how? Here's the answer, it has to be, "through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus." And how did He accomplish that? Verse 25, "God publicly displayed Him," Christ Jesus, Messiah Jesus. God publicly displayed Him, that's talking about the crucifixion as the next expression makes it clear. God made a public spectacle of Him, with this purpose. "That He would be, a propitiation," that he would satisfy the just wrath of God against sins. That's what that word means. And He would do so, "in His blood," that is by His violent sacrificial death. And we receive it, "through faith."

And this is the only way, notice the end of verse 26, that God could, "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." So many professing Christians have such a weak view of God. They think that God can just say to wicked, ungodly, rebellious, treasonous sinners, forgiven. God can't do that, God cannot forgive sinners like that, why? Because He compromises His character. He compromises His justice. What would you think of a human judge, who had standing in front of Him a monster like the one whom we have read about in the newspaper over the last week. A murderer, a rapist, what would you think of that judge saying, I forgive you. You'd say this is a travesty of justice. How much more would it be for God, the Holy One, to say, I forgive you. No, He had to purchase that forgiveness. He had to satisfy His justice in the death of the innocent One in our place, the propitiation for our sins.

First Corinthians 5:7, speaks of Christ, our Passover. Our Passover lamb, He has been sacrificed. Of course, it's amazing, as we studied at Easter time, that Jesus yielded up His Spirit, He gave up His life when? At the very moment they were sacrificing the Passover lambs. At that very moment.

So our Lord offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for sin. You see this in other texts, 1 Peter 1:19, we were redeemed, "with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."

First Peter 2:24, "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross." Hebrews 9:26, "but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

Look at Hebrews 7. Hebrews 7, and notice verse 23. The writer of Hebrews says,

the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. [It doesn't need to be a bunch of priests, just one]. Therefore, [because He holds His priesthood permanently], He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Now watch verse 26], For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, [see He's not like those other high priests. He's holy, he's innocent, he's], undefiled, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

He doesn't need daily, like those priests, to offer up sacrifices. And there's two contrasts going on here. One is the frequency of the offering, the other is, He doesn't need to offer sacrifices for Himself. The writer of Hebrews is making both points. He doesn't need daily, and He doesn't need to offer up sacrifices for His own sins. But instead He one-time, once for all, offered up Himself for the sins of the people. He was holy. He was not needing sacrifice.

Look at Hebrews 10. Turn over just a few pages. Hebrews 10, I love this chapter, I wish I had time to go through it all in detail, but just start with me in verse 4. Hebrews 10:4,

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. [In other words, all of those animal sacrifices, tens of thousands of animal sacrifices, never took away a single sin. They simply pointed to the One who would. Verse 5], Therefore, when He, [the Messiah], comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, [now watch this], But a body You have prepared for Me. [In other words, the only hope was not the death of an animal, it was the death of a human substitute, a body You have prepared for Me].

[Verse 8], After saying above, "Sacrifices and offerings and hole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor taken pleasure in them," [verse 9], then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will." He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified, [we have been set apart to God. We have been consecrated, that includes all of our salvation. We have been sanctified], through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

[There was the solution, and that's what all of those animal sacrifices pointed toward, a human sacrifice. You know, God absolutely abhors human sacrifice, and He will not permit it, with one exception, the One He chose. He gave His life in our place].

[Verse 11], Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, [Himself], sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

That's an incredible reality, an incredible reality. The Lord offered Himself for us. Again, I understand, we've heard this truth, we sing about it every time we get together. You've heard me talk about it countless times. You've read about it in the Scripture. Don't let it become pedestrian. Don't let it become ordinary. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, taking on Himself flesh. Jesus Christ, our Lord, offered Himself to God, in your place. The only sacrifice that could really deal with sin.

If you're here tonight and you do not know Jesus Christ, you've never come to appropriate that sacrifice, that is your only hope. It is your only hope. What He did is the only hope you have.

Let's move on, and talk about the rest of our Lord's work as priest. Not only did He offer Himself as sacrifice, but our Lord continues to represent us before the Father. You see, Jesus' priesthood is eternal. Hebrews 7:25 says, "He always lives to make intercession for them." He'll never stop being your priest. Do you understand that? Jesus is eternally, your priest. Specifically, He serves as a priest for His own. Hebrews 7:25 says, it's for, "those who draw near to God through Him," that He makes intercession. That's why in John 17:9, He prays for just His own, "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours."

Jesus doesn't pray for the world. He prays for His own. He is an intercessory priest for His own. What does He do in an on-going way as our priest? What function does He serve as our priest? First of all, this is in the past, but it has continuing results. He entered the true holy of holies in the true presence of God, and presented His perfect sacrifice to the Father. Hebrews 8:2 says He, "is a minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."

In chapter 9, verse 24, the writer of Hebrews goes on to say, "Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but," He entered, "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." You see, the constant presence of Christ. The final sacrifice for sins in the presence of God is, in itself, part of His intercession for us. Because by His very presence, He continually reminds the Father, that the perfect provision for our sins has been made. All the Father has to do is see Him and know the provision has been made.

Secondly, He prays for the eventual salvation of all the elect. Jesus prays that those whom the Father has given to Him, will in fact come to faith. In John 17:20, I read it a moment ago, "I do not ask in behalf of these alone," He says in the earlier verse, and then He adds this in verse 20, but I am praying, "for those also who will believe in Me through their word." So, you tell me, who has believed in Jesus, through the words of the 11? Us. Jesus is praying for us. He is specifically praying for us. And He prayed, by the way, this is the point I want you to see, this is at the end of His earthly ministry. This is 2,000 years ago. And who is He praying for? He is praying for us. The point is Jesus prays for all of the elect, whether they have yet believed or not. And you see this in an interesting interchange between the Lord and Paul in Acts 18.

In Acts 18:9-10,

the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you," [and then I love this. Here's Paul why I want you to evangelize, by the way, this is why we ought to evangelize], "because," [He says], "I have many people in this city."

Jesus knows those who are His. He knows whom the Father has given to Him, and He prays for them, He prays for their eventual salvation, and here He is saying to Paul, stay there and keep preaching because, "I have many people yet in this city."

Thirdly, Christ is our priest defends us, in His intercession, defends us against all charges that are brought against us, including, of course, our daily sins. You say, why do we need to be defending against charges? It's not that the Father is predisposed against us. He's our Father, He adopted us; it's Satan. Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as "the accuser of our brethren." The one who accuses them before God day and night. Do you want to picture that? Read Job 1. Of course Job serves you God, of course he does, look at how you've surrounded him and protected him and blessed him. Accusing, do you think that stopped with Job? No, Revelation, at the end, this is still going on.

And so what do we need? Turn to Romans 8. I know you think this is Sunday morning, you just had deja-vu or something. But I want you to see, Romans 8. We are going to get here in just a little while. Verses, I am just careful, you know, I want to be a man of integrity here, Romans 8:33, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" What's he talking about? He's not talking about here on earth. He's talking about in the presence of God. He's really saying, do you really think any being like Satan can bring a charge against God's elect? "God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?" And then he adds this, "Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Listen, no one can make a charge against you stick. Satan won't have any progress if you're truly in Christ because we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous. And He will not have it, He will defend us against all charges that are brought against us. Even ones we deserve.

Fourthly, he prays for the sanctification of all true believers. Have you ever thought about that? Right now, during your life, every day as you struggle with sin. As you go to work tomorrow or school or whatever it is that occupies your time tomorrow, Jesus Christ is interceding for you, and part of that intercession is to pray for your sanctification. That's what He did in John 17, right? And he said, I am not praying this just for the 11, I am praying this for those who will believe in Me through their word, for us. And what does He pray in John 17:17, Father "Sanctify them through the truth; Your word is truth." Jesus is praying that you will be more and more like Him. He's praying that you will come to fully reflect His moral character.

He also helps us in our trials and temptations. Hebrews 2, in fact, just glance there, Hebrews 2:18, "since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted." How does He do that? Well go over to chapter 4, verse 14, 4:14. Therefore,

since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus intercedes for us. So we bring our prayers to the throne of grace and Jesus, our great high priest, brings them to the Father. He helps us in our trials and temptations. I don't know what you are in the middle of right now, I don't know what battles you are locked in. Which sin or trials you find yourself in, but our great high priest is praying for you in those trials and in those temptations.

He prays for the protection and perseverance of the saints. My favorite example of this is Luke 22: 31-32, you remember He is talking to Peter, and He says,

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

Do you hear what Jesus says? Satan wants your faith to fail. And he is trying to destroy you, but there is no way I am going to let that happen. I am praying for you. And remember what we saw this morning, it's the Father's will for Christ that not one of those who are His, be lost.

I love that song we sing, He Will Hold Me Fast, that's what we are seeing here. He prays for the protection and perseverance of the saints. He prays that you will one day, in the words of Jude, be presented faultless before His presence with exceeding joy.

I love this one, number seven, He sanctifies our prayers, our worship, and all our spiritual activities, to make them acceptable to God. I think if you are honest with yourself, as I am honest with myself, I realize there's more sin in my prayers, there's more sin in my righteous acts, there's more sin in the good things I do, than would allow God to ever really accept me. Jesus, as our great high priest makes our prayers, worship and spiritual activities acceptable to God. First Peter 2:5, speaks of the church as this temple, this living temple, "you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices," that's what we do as believers, but watch this, "acceptable to God," how? "Through Jesus Christ." It's the only way, that's the only way your prayers are acceptable to God. That's the only way your spiritual activities are acceptable to God. It's because Christ, your high priest, prays that the Father will accept them. He sanctifies them so that they're received.

Berkhof writes,

He sanctifies our prayers, [and then he says], they need this because they are often so imperfect, trivial, superficial, and even insincere, while they are addressed to One who is perfect in holiness and majesty. And besides rendering our prayers acceptable, He also sanctifies our services in the kingdom of God. This is also necessary because we are often conscious of the fact that they do not spring from the purest motives.

And as our priest and as our intercessor, He also prays for the eventual glorification of His people. In John 17, He finishes that great high priestly prayer with these words, verse 24. "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me," that's everyone God chose in eternity past, and gave to the Son as an expression of His love. That all those You have given Me, "be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me; for You love Me before the foundation of the world." Listen believer, if you have repented and believe in Christ, you will get there. Because Jesus prays that it will happen.

What are the practical ramifications of Jesus as our priest? First is no man is our priest. Why are ministers in the Christian church not called priests as opposed to like the Roman Catholic system for example? Well, the word priest is never once supplied to New Testament pastors, elders, ministers in the New Testament.

Secondly, no priestly function is ever attributed to pastors or elders in the New Testament. All believers are called priests with direct access to God through Christ. Another reason no man is our priest is frankly, the very idea is insulting and derogatory to Christ. Listen to Charles Hodge, "Christ came to be the mediator between God and man to make satisfaction for our sin, to secure for us pardon and reconciliation with God, to suppose that we still need the priestly intervention of men, is to assume that His work was a failure." That's why he came, why do we need another priest other than Him?

And a final reason that no man can be our priest is that the people of God in all ages have availed themselves of direct access to God through Christ, even when they've been taught otherwise. Why? Because if they are truly in Christ, what is the automatic reaction? We saw it in Romans 8. Abba! Father! No man is our priest.

A second ramification of this truth that Jesus is our great priest is we do not go through Mary or the saints to gain a hearing with the Father. You know, you've heard the story of Martin Luther, and when he got up to do his first Mass, I have actually had the chance last year to visit that site. When he got up to do his first Mass as a Roman Catholic priest, and you know, he lacked no confidence as a man. You know that, you've heard some stories, and you've read about some of the statements. But when he came to that point, when he was to talk to God in the Mass, and consecrate those elements as the blood and body of Christ, but the issue was talking to God. Do you realize Luther had never talked directly to God? He was paralyzed with the thought. Instead, he had been taught that you had to always come through someone else. God didn't want to hear from you, he was angry and ready to come and squash you at any moment. You needed to come through someone who was more receptive. Even Christ wasn't that person, but His mother, now, surely He'd listen to His mother or some of the righteous saints. This was the mindset.

We don't do that. Why? Because there are no saints whose works merit a hearing before God. We are saints because of the work of the Holy Spirit. We are saints because of grace, we don't have extra merit to lend others. It leads to idolatry, and if you doubt that just visit a few places around the world where this happens. It is demeaning to Christ, it is contrary to the Scripture and it turns men from their Creator to the creature.

But here's my favorite practical ramification of Jesus as priest; what Jesus prays for always happens. I showed you what He prays for. Listen to John 11:42. This is Jesus talking to the Father. He says, "You always hear Me." "You always hear Me." That means Jesus' prayers never fail to come to fruition. God may choose not to answer our prayers, but He always hears the prayers of the Son. And so, those things for which He intercedes, those things for which He prays that we just saw, they'll happen. They will happen.

So that brings us to the third office of Christ, and that is Christ, our king. Christ as our king. We've seen Him as our prophet, we have seen Him as our priest. Let's consider Christ as our king.

The Larger Catechism again says, "How does Christ execute the office as a king?"

Christ executes the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to Himself, and giving them officers, that is leaders, and laws and censures, by which He visibly governs them; [The Scripture, in other words, the church]. In bestowing saving grace upon His elect, rewarding their obedience, correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them in all of their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all of their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for His own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.

This is Christ our king. This is what He does.

The Shorter Catechism puts it this way,

Christ executes the office of a king in subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies.

Is this what the Bible teaches? It absolutely is, let's consider it together. First of all, again, the Old Testament background. Jacob prophesied that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah and that He would reign as king, Genesis 49:10, as Jacob blesses his sons, he says this, "The scepter," you understand that picture, "shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes," the Hebrew word has the idea of One to whom it really belongs. Until the One to whom it really belongs comes, "And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

In Numbers 24:17, in the prophesy of Balaam there, we learn that, "A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel," of course this is partially fulfilled in David and Solomon, but completely fulfilled in Christ, and as you move along in the Old Testament, it becomes even clearer who this king will be because God tells David, in 2 Samuel 7:16, "your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." You understand what God was promising David? He was saying that one of David's offspring would be the Messiah. And that he would therefore, in the Messiah, have an everlasting dynasty, and an eternal throne.

In Psalm 2:6, the Father announced, God announces the eventual installation of His Son as king. "I have installed My King on Zion." When did that happen? When did that happen? Well, it happened after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. As the eternal Son of God, think about this. As the eternal Son of God, He had always reigned over all things. But as the God man, He earned the office of king through His work in the incarnation. And so you have these prophesies. Psalm 110, we learn that Messiah will eventually subjugate all of His enemies and rule over them. Look at Isaiah 9, you remember this wonderful prophesy. Christmas kind of prophesy. Isaiah 9, and notice verse 6.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; [He is going to be a political leader]. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [That's the kind of government He'll have. And verse 7 tells us], There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of YHWH of hosts, [YHWH of armies], will accomplish this.

God says, listen, let Me just tell you something, this is going to happen. I am going to establish the Messiah on the throne of David. And He will reign forever. In Micah 5:2, "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be a ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Obviously a prophesy of the place of the birth of the Messiah. So specific is the Old Testament.

Zachariah 9:9, of course this fulfilled the triumphal entry, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Jesus is a king, so the question is, what is His work as our king? Again, when He came it's clear that He intended to put Himself forward as a king.

Matthew 25:31, "when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne." Jesus says, I am a king, I am a great king. In fact, this was the prophesy, turn to Luke 1. Luke 1:31, Jesus' birth announced here by Gabriel to Mary. And Gabriel says in verse 31,

behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; [now watch this], the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.

Even in the announcement of the birth of Christ, it was the reminder, He's the fulfillment of that Messianic prophesy, that one of David's descendants would reign forever.

What about Jesus' work, even in the future? It's interesting when you get to the book of Revelation, you see Jesus still as king. In Revelation 1:5, He's called, Jesus Messiah, "the ruler," I love this, in light of the political situation in the world today; Jesus Messiah, the ruler, "of the kings of the earth." Listen, when you pick up your newspaper tomorrow and you worry about what's going on in the world, or you look at your news feed, or whatever it is, where ever you get your news, understand this. Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Revelation 19:16, "on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OVER KINGS, AND THE ULTIMATE LORD OVER ALL OTHER LORDS." There's nobody outside of His control. It doesn't matter whether it's Merkel or Trump or ISIS or some petty dictator somewhere, He is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Now, how does Jesus serve as our king? Well, let's look at it in a couple of stages; first of all, before the incarnation. Jesus reigned as king over His people through the various leaders, judges, and kings that He raised up. And, of course, in the Old Testament, He was predicted to come as king. The fulfillment of those promises, David's descendant sitting on the throne. And we just saw that prophesy in Luke 1.

What about during the incarnation? Well, again the emphasis is very clear. Jesus was born, what? King of the Jews. Matthew 2:2, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him." John the Baptist proclaimed His kingdom, that He came as a king. Jesus came introducing and proclaiming His kingdom.

In the first sermon that Mark records of Jesus, in Mark 1:14-15,

Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, [here it is], the kingdom of God is at hand.

He was announcing the kingdom of God, and He was, in fact, its king. Jesus came to rule as a king during the incarnation, listen carefully, over a spiritual kingdom. A kingdom in the hearts and lives of His followers. And that spiritual kingdom is administered by spiritual means. His Spirit and His word. That's why Jesus said in John 18:36 to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, so that I would not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." Why did He say that? Because His kingdom at that time was solely a spiritual kingdom over the hearts and lives of His people. This is the nature of Christ as king.

Listen to Charles Hodge, Here is the spiritual rule of Christ that we are talking about.

He is the king of every believing soul. He translates it from the kingdom of darkness. He brings it into subjection to Himself. He rules and reigns over it. Every believer recognizes Christ as His absolute sovereign. Lord of His inward as well as His outward life. He yields to Him the entire subjection of the reason, of the conscience, and of the heart. The true believer makes Christ the object of reverence, love, and obedience. In Him he trusts for protection from all enemies seen and unseen. On Him he relies for help in every emergency, and for final triumph. On Him the loyalty of the believer terminates to acquit himself as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, to spend and be spent in His service and the promotion of His kingdom becomes the governing purpose of his life.

If you are in Jesus Christ, that's you. Jesus Christ, your king. He still reigns over the spiritual kingdom that is the hearts and lives of His people.

So let's look, since the incarnation, obviously that's still true, but at the time of His ascension and His session at the right hand of God, Jesus publicly and formally assumed His throne. Jesus is on His throne, we sing that song sometimes. He's on His throne and He inaugurated His kingdom. In fact, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter quotes Psalm 110 about Jesus becoming king, the Messiah becoming king and he says, "That happened." In Acts 13:33, we read, "God has fulfilled His promise to His children and He raised up Jesus as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'You are My Son; today I have begotten You.'" He has been inaugurated into His kingdom.

Berkhof again writes this,

Christ was formally invested with this kingship over the universe when He was exalted at the right hand of God. It was a promised reward of His labors. This investiture was part of the exaltation of the God-man. It did not give Him any power or authority which he did not already possess as the Son of God, neither did it increase His territory, but the God-man the mediator was now made the possessor of this authority and His human nature was made to share in the glory of this royal dominion.

So how exactly does this work out in life? How does Christ reign as king over you and over me today. Since the incarnation we could say this; first of all, He effectually calls the elect to Himself. Take for example John 10. In fact, look at John 10. Here's how He serves as king, a shepherd king, which was a familiar Old Testament illustration. Psalm 23 is about a shepherd king and Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of that. Notice what He does. Look at John 10:16, Jesus says, "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold;" in other words, not Jewish, now He's talking about gentiles as well. "I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd." Jesus says, I'm going to call them. In verse 27, He says, "My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me, and I give eternal life to them." Just like an earthly shepherd of animals would call his sheep and they would come. Jesus says, I'll call my sheep, and they will come. They'll come to Me.

Secondly, He reigns as sovereign head over His church. In Colossians 1:18 along with many other places, He's called the head of the church. In many places, head is essentially equivalent to king, sovereign head. He directs the churches worship by His word, and He governs its leadership. There are so many places in the New Testament where this is true. But just remember Revelation 1. Remember that picture of Jesus walking among the lamp stands representing the churches? And holding in His hands the leaders of the churches? That's Jesus Christ. That's today. That's our church, that's the rest of the churches that are true churches around this city and around this world. Jesus Christ is ruling His church. How? Through His Word and through the leadership that he puts in place. And if they don't lead properly, they will give an account to the chief shepherd.

Number four, He preserves and protects those who belong to Him through temptations and trials. He does this as priest by interceding for us, but He does it as our king by intervening on our behalf. I love 1 Corinthians 10:13, don't you? "There's no temptation taking you, but such as is common to man." But God is faithful. "Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you are able, but will with the temptation also provide a way of escape so that you may be able to endure it," or to bear it. This is the work of the Spirit of God and it is the work of our king. We'll look at Romans 8 later in the summer so I am not going to go there right now.

Let's go to number five, He restrains and eventually defeats both His enemies and the enemies of His people. I love this, I have to show you this. Turn with me to Acts. There are several references that you could look at. I just want to show you a couple of examples here in Acts. Here are different ways that Jesus deals with His enemies. Look at Acts 8:4. You remember verse 1 talks about great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem. Saul was giving hearty agreement to Stephen's death. The disciples are scattered, verse 3, "Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." How does Jesus deal with this enemy? Well go to chapter 9, verse 4. The end of chapter 3 says,

Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" He said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up, enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.

There's one way the king puts an end to His enemy. You're not on that side anymore, you're on my side. Get up and go into the city and I'll tell you from now on what you are going to do. And that's exactly what happened. That's one way Jesus deals with His enemies. He redeems them, makes them His own. Let me show you another way He deals with His enemies. Go over to chapter 12. Verse 1, "Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. He had James the brother of John put to death." He arrested, verse 3, arrested Peter. Look down in verse 17, you know the story. Peter is let out by angels and he finally gets to the house, and it's a really humorous story, you know, it's like, he knocks, and he's greeted, and he says, you know, let me in, and its like, no it can't be Peter, she runs and leaves him at the door. And finally he gets inside, verse 17, "But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. Here's another way Jesus deals with His enemies. He says, okay, I am going to rescue you from that.

But there's yet a third way in this passage. Herod, the one who is doing all of this, verse 23 says, "immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died." There's yet another way God deals with His enemies. Listen, Jesus Christ is not limited in His power to deal with His enemies. Those are just a few examples of means He can use to accomplish His purpose. And as our king, as your king, you don't need to fear anybody. You don't need to fear the opposition that comes against us in our culture. He is our king. And He is more than capable of dealing with His enemies. And He will. He restrains them now, and He will eventually defeat them. Nothing can happen to you outside of His control. Remember that verse we read, when He talked to Paul in the vision and He said no one in this city will harm you. He can protect us as He decides to protect us. He can restrain evil and He can deal with those who bring it in a variety of ways.

Number six, He providentially orders the universe and all of human history for His own glory and for the good of His people. You know Romans 8:28, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose." This is a work of our king. Our Lord Jesus Christ. He says in Matthew 28, you remember, "All authority has been given to Me. Go, make disciples."

Berkhof writes, "Christ now rules the destinies of individuals and nations," I love this, "in the interest of his blood bought church." "He rules the destinies of individuals and nations, in the interest of his blood bought church."

Do you understand, I just have to say this. Do you understand that Christ isn't like spending all of His time worrying about what's happening in Washington D.C. or Berlin or Moscow? Or Syria? Do you know what the concern of Jesus Christ is more than anything else? It's you. It's churches like this all across this globe. That's the big story in heaven. It's not what's happening in the capitols of the nations of the world. The focus of Jesus Christ and of the angels, is His church. And He'll make sure it's all accomplished. That's how Christ functions as our king today. But the full and complete revelation of Jesus' work as king is still in the future. So briefly consider after this age, Jesus' kingdom will not remain a spiritual kingdom only, instead there is coming a future kingdom that will be physical, geographical, geopolitical. At the end of this age, Jesus will eventually take vengeance on those who reject Him and His gospel. Second Thessalonians 1 says He will come in flaming fire, dealing out retribution on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel. Revelation 19 describes it in great detail. He's coming back as a king, as a warrior king, to take back this world. That's why, when we sing the song that Sheila and I wrote, I shouldn't say this since I wrote it, but I love that line, you know, I love that line, He's coming back to end the darkness on this planet and to take back what's rightfully His.

Secondly, He will establish His millennial kingdom on a renewed earth. For a thousand years He will reign, and He will reign over His enemies. Those who are not willing in their submission with a rod of iron. Matthew 26:64, describes Him coming in great glory and power and then Psalm 2 describes His reign.

I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:

He said to Me, "You are My Son,

Today I have begotten You.

Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,

And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

[Listen, Jesus shall reign where'er the sun Does his successive journeys run].

[And He says], you will break them with a rod of iron,

You will shatter them like earthenware.

Those who oppose the rule of Jesus Christ during the thousand years on which He reigns on this renewed planet, He will crush their resistance. He is a powerful king, who will not tolerate treason. After the thousand years, He will destroy the universe, and He will make a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness is at home, and over which He will reign forever.

Revelation 20:11, "I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose presence," and here's the disillusion of the present universe, from whose presence, "earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them." He's going to destroy the present universe. And in its place, Revelation 21:1, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea."

And as we saw in Isaiah, there's no end of His reign. Once it begins, it doesn't stop, the zeal of God will accomplish it. In Daniel chapter 2, you remember the picture of that stone. There a description of all of the kingdoms of the world, like a great statue. And then, in the vision that Daniel had, there's a stone cut out of the mountain without hands and that stone comes and crushes to powder the rest of those kingdoms. And it grows up like a great mountain and fills the whole earth. It's a picture of the reign of Jesus Christ. He's going to crush all human empires and rulers. And He will reign forever.

Daniel 7 makes that same point. You remember, He comes up to the Ancient of Days and to Him is given dominion, and glory, and an everlasting reign.

In Revelation 11:15, "the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Messiah; and He will reign forever and ever.'" The great hallelujah chorus that we sing at Christmas time, takes up this chant. That is the reality of what will happen.

Charles Hodge in putting together these three offices writes this, "We as fallen men ignorant, guilty, polluted and helpless, need a savior. A savior who is a prophet to instruct us. A priest to atone and to make intercession for us, and a king to rule over and protect us."

Similarly, James Benjamin Green writes, "As prophet, He meets the problem of man's ignorance supplying him with knowledge. As priest, He meets the problem of man's guilt, supplying him with righteousness. As king, He meets the problem of man's weakness and dependence, supplying him with power and protection."

Christian, you have an all sufficient savior. He is your prophet, who leads you and teaches you through His Spirit, in all truth. He is your priest, who paid for your sins, and who constantly intercedes on your behalf before the Father, who is praying that you will make it. And the Father always hears His prayers. And you have a perfect king, who rules your heart today, but who someday will rule over this planet and forever over a new planet on which righteousness will dwell forever and we with Him. That's our savior.

Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for these magnificent truths. Lord, don't let them be pedantic, don't let them be taken for granted. Father, instead, help these things, the truth about who Jesus is to us. Help us to personalize it. He's my prophet, He's my priest, He's my king.

We give You thanks and praise, In Jesus' name.

Amen.