Sermon
07

May 2013

The Community of the King

VIDEO COMING SOON

Sermon audio:

Act 4 | The Coming of the King

This sermon on “The Community of the King” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Robert Greene at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, May 5, 2013.

Sermon Text:
Mark 3:7-35

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Sermon Notes:

The Community of the King

Mark 3:7-35

Herodians were composed of secular Jews who supported Herod, were in league with the Roman imperial power, and had only a nominal commitment to their ethnic faith.  The Pharisees were the highly religious Jews who were typically fiercely opposed to Herod and Rome.  They believed that only extreme moral and religious purity by all of Israel would move God to send the Messiah who would help them throw off the yoke of Caesar.  Mark 3:6 “The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.”.  An unusual response from a body of people who claimed to know God and His Word, yet, unlike demons who in Mark 3:11 “the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”, these men seemed unable to recognize God in their midst.  This was the response of the religious community to Jesus.  So if the religious of the day had no interest in Christ beyond seeking His destruction, who would (and will) compose the community of The King?  What does it mean to fit in to Christ’s Kingdom?  It means simply this: Jesus didn’t come to create the Kingdom Community that Israel expected but rather to establish a Kingdom Family that would change the world.  The Community of the King is a community chosen by grace, shaped by grace and sent as ambassadors of grace, all for God’s Glory.

Chosen by Grace

Mark 3:13 “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.”

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt”

Those who are a part of God’s kingdom are only such due to God’s munificent grace and desire that they would display His glory.  The invitation and adoption into the community has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the members.  There is often an inclination to emphasize the work ethic, background, personality or connections of the apostles when teaching about their calling; which entirely misses the point and deemphasizes the majesty of God.  They were not called because of what they brought to God in His ministry on earth, instead, they were called in spite of who they were and they came only because He initiated the relationship.  These were not men of renown in their community or known for their constancy, self-control, courageousness and mild but hardy temperaments.  Instead, there was a tax collector and fishermen (among other trades); some were given to impulsiveness or capriciousness, while others had tempers.  Moreover, there are many instances where Jesus admonished their lack of understanding of His teaching so they weren’t all characterized by brilliant minds.  In spite of the many weaknesses of these men, Jesus chose them anyway and they came and this was outside the norms of the day.  Typically a disciple identified a master and attached themselves to him.  In the case of Christ, He identified the disciples and they came to Him.

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

No one has ever been saved from their sin and called into the Community of Christ because they pursued Jesus; He is always the pursuer.

“The Family of God, the Kingdom Community where Jesus is King is a community of chosen people…not choice people.”  – Sinclair Ferguson

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Application

There is no room for boasting in yourself in a Kingdom where you are an inhabitant only due to the magnanimity of the King.  As recognition of the grace of the King settles in and takes root it will produce the fruit of humility and security in the people of God.  His people know there is nothing to boast in apart from the grace of God in Christ.  This humility is a unique mark of the community of God’s people.  Moreover, having the secure acceptance of God Himself, there is no need to perform for Him (and others) to merit or sustain citizenship in His Kingdom.  As recognition of the axiom that God’s love for you is not based upon your performance, but rather His grace and choice, you should experience and be able to rest in the security of that truth.

Shaped by Grace

Mark 3:14 “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him….”

“So that they might be with Him” is the very heart of what it means to be in the Kingdom community of God.  The apostles had a unique experience with Christ: they were able to eat, rest, talk, listen and journey with Him.  There would have been extraordinary moments when Jesus would begin His Biblical pedagogy from the Old Testament and they’d have the ability to learn and take mental notes, without modern distractions, in a manner that current Christians on this Earth will never experience.  How He handled conflict, disappointment, His loving interaction with women and the undesirables (prostitutes, tax collectors, etc.) of the culture would all be opportunities for the disciples to learn from and be shaped by Christ.  Being in the community of the King meant they were with the King Himself, learning and being changed by all that He did.

Application

To be with Jesus is to “follow Jesus”.  This was His original call and summons to the disciples and is the same call He extends to us now.  To follow Christ means you can’t stay where you are; He must have primacy.  Everything about your life, worldview, relationships and priorities will necessarily change.  There should be a paradigm shift that refocuses the core of your being to align with Him and His priorities; anything less is not discipleship to King Jesus.

Christ didn’t say to come follow the religious rules, regulations and ceremonies of the day, He said to come follow Him and would go on to prescribe what that would like which is primarily pictured by a personal relationship with Him.  We are not first called to believe certain points of doctrine and engage in particular acts, but rather He first calls us to Himself.  It is much too easy to do Christianity without Christ.  It is too simple to pray about Him, to talk about Him, to engage in acts of mercy in His name or for pastors to professionalize their position.  Then, we wonder, when our “relationship” has become so trite and banal, why there is so little peace, joy, and transformation in ourselves and the people around us.  What He would have us do, however, is to pray to Him, talk to Him, engage in acts of mercy and shepherd the flock with Him.  If your Christian life can be lived without being with Jesus it is time to seriously reconsider what you are calling The Christian Life. It is in being with Jesus that His disciples are shaped, formed, and transformed to be who He is calling them to be.  The Community of the King is not just a matter of being in relationship with Jesus but is also how you live as a result of that relationship. It is about being with Jesus, of speaking His message and acting in His name.  Sanctification, or being shaped by His grace, is intrinsic to the inhabitants of His kingdom.

Ambassadors of Grace

Mark 3:14-15 “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”

The term “apostles” means “sent ones”.  It is a person who is sent forth from the King to be a representative spokesman on behalf of the King.  In similitude to the term “disciple”, the word apostle in the New Testament may be used more generally with a more comprehensive meaning.  However, typically when the term is used in the New Testament it is referring to the twelve (12) men identified in the first chapters of Mark (where later on Judas Iscariot is replaced by Matthias) and Paul.  Moreover, the apostles met specific criteria that later men cannot ever meet.  These criteria, identified in the latter half of Acts 1, included being called by Christ as such and having been eyewitness to Christ’s resurrection; hence, there are no modern day apostles.  However, Paul illustrates the purpose and role of “ambassadors” to and for Christ which is a role all members of God’s kingdom community are called to take on.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Thus, inhabitants of the Kingdom are called to be ambassadors wherein there lifestyle will be shaped by speaking and acting on behalf of the one they represent.  Ambassadors, sent ones, will speak the good news of God’s grace and commit acts of grace in the King’s name.

Application

When we are called by grace and begin to be shaped by grace, the fruit of humility and confidence will grow in our hearts so that we will be able to communicate the Good News with freedom and without fear.  There will be no need to win arguments, to be right, to prove ourselves or to fear people and their reactions.   There will only be the freedom to appeal to everyone to repent so that they may also experience the freedom in Christ that you have found.  Living as an ambassador is an acknowledgement that your life belongs to the King.  There is no putting aside this role; in every position and action you function as an ambassador.  Whether it is your marriage, job, neighborhood interactions, or relationships with your kids and other family members, in all that you do you must remember that you act as an emissary from the community of the King. Live, asking how your words, your actions, your motives can best represent and reflect the will of the Lord.