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”He Must Reign”

(1 Corinthians 15:25)

Introduction: We have seen thus far that in the work of Christ’s


mediation in the New Covenant, He has been given the office of a
prophet and of a priest. He is a prophet in that by His Word and
Spirit, He has declared the will of God for our salvation throughout
the ages. It is the Spirit of Christ who is the spirit of prophecy.
And through His Spirit, He has revealed to His people in each
dispensation all they needed to know for their salvation in Christ
and for their living to the glory of God. And He is a priest in
that He was called by God to minister on behalf of His people by
removing our sins and satisfying the wrath of God against us by the
offering up of Himself, and by keeping us in His grace by His
everlasting intercession on our behalf before the Father. Tonight,
we will want to see His third office as the King of Kings and the
Lord of Lords.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has been presenting to the Corinthians the
Gospel that he preached, by which they are also saved if they cling to
it. Of course, central to the Gospel is the resurrection of Christ.
Paul argues strenuously for this truth, for if there is no resurrection
of the dead, then even Christ has not been raised, and there is no
Gospel to be preached. But, he says, Christ has been raised as the
first-fruits from the dead. Through Christ also we will be raised, but
each in his own order: first Christ, and then those who are His at His
coming. Then, Paul says, will come the end, ”WHEN HE DELIVERS UP THE
KINGDOM TO THE GOD AND FATHER, WHEN HE HAS ABOLISHED ALL RULE AND ALL
AUTHORITY AND POWER. FOR HE MUST REIGN UNTIL HE HAS PUT ALL HIS ENEMIES
UNDER HIS FEET” tvv. 24-25). Paul has set the timing of the
resurrection of believers, when God will have subjected all things to
Christ, who is now reigning over all things. Christ is the glorious
King of God’s Kingdom; all power and authority has been entrusted to Him
in His work of Mediation in the New Covenant. And so what we want to
see this evening is,

Christ has been given all authority as Lord over God’s


kingdom for the good of His Church, and He will reign until all
things are subject to Him.
Christ, as the Son of God, has all authority and power, for
He is God. ”THE LORD HAS ESTABLISHED HIS THRONE IN THE HEAVENS;
AND HIS SOVEREIGNTY RULES OVER ALL” (Psalm 1 0 3 : 1 9 ) . But here,
we are looking at what has been entrusted to Christ as the
God-man, as the Mediator of the New Covenant. In His office as
Mediator, He is the Head, the King over His church, as well as
the King over all creation.

I. First I Want You to See that Christ Is Our Great King, and How
He Exercises that Authority in His Church.
A. Christ Is the Head of His Church.
1 . The Bible tells us that the Church is a spiritual kingdom.
a. It is a spiritual kingdom because it is not
territorial, as though it existed in a certain land,
but it is in the hearts and lives of His people.
”THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU” (Luke 17:21).
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b. It is also a spiritual kingdom because it has a


spiritual purpose and goal, namely, the salvation of
the people of God.
c. And finally, it is a spiritual kingdom because it is
not administered by force of arms, as though it
advanced by the sword, but by His Word and Spirit.

2. His subjects therefore are not bounded by a geographical


boundary, but are those who are a part of this spiritual realm.
a. There is only one spiritual kingdom of God in this
world and that is the church.
b. But it is not simply those who are in the church who
are His subjects, because the Bible tells us that
there are also tares among the wheat.
c. Rather, this kingdom has as its subjects all the
elect: past, present and future.
d. Every redeemed sinner from the Fall to the final day
are subjects of this great King.
e. They are His subjects because each of them He has
subdued to Himself by His Word and Spirit, as He
turns them from bitter enmity against Himself as
they warred against Him, into loving subjects.

B. He Has Ruled over the Church from Its Very Inception, and He
Will Reign over It Forever.
1 . The church began with the redemption of the very first
sinners, Adam and Eve.
a. Everyone who has ever been redeemed was redeemed by
Christ and is in union with Him.
b. When God put enmity between Adam and Eve and the
serpent, He put them in Christ and there they remained.

2. And Christ will continue to be the head of His church


throughout eternity.
a. It is inconceivable that Christ would be the Head of
His body in this age, only to lose that position in
the age to come.
b. Christ will continue to be the Head and Ruler of His
people even once we have entered into the eternal state.

C. And the Manner in which He Rules Over His Church in this Age
Is by His Word and Spirit Through His Appointed Officers.
1 . Christ ruled over His people in the past through heads
of households, the patriarchs, the judges and the kings.
a. Christ has always ruled through delegated authority.
b. When the church existed in houses, His authority was
represented through the heads of those houses. It still is
today through the father who is the head of the house.
c. But as the way of administrating the kingdom changed,
so did the officers. After God had set apart
Abraham, it was administered through the patriarchs.
d. When God called His people out of Egypt, it was
Moses who was appointed as the co-ruler under Yahweh.
e. After Moses, the Lord raised up Judges to exercise
that authority.
f. And after the people were in the land, and the
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kingdom of God was established in Palestine, the


kings were the vicegerents, or co-rulers of our Lord.

2. And now that the Church has passed into the New Testament era,
Christ does not leave His kingdom without an authority structure,
He now rules over His church through His ordained officers.
a. The church was established upon the authority of
Christ, the Great Apostle, and the apostles of the
Lamb, as well as the prophets and evangelists.
b. In Ephesians 4:ll-12, Paul writes, "AND HE GAVE SOME
AS APOSTLES, AND SOME AS PROPHETS, AND SOME AS
EVANGELISTS, AND SOME AS PASTORS AND TEACHERS, FOR
THE EQUIPPING OF THE SAINTS FOR THE WORK OF SERVICE,
TO THE BUILDING UP OF THE BODY OF CHRIST."
C. And now that the foundation has been laid and the
offices of apostle prophet and evangelist have been
done away with, Christ now rules through the agency
of the elders.
d. The author the Hebrews writes, "OBEY YOUR LEADERS,
AND SUBMIT TO THEM; FOR THEY KEEP WATCH OVER YOUR
SOULS, AS THOSE WHO WILL GIVE AN ACCOUNT. LET THEM
DO THIS WITH JOY AND NOT WITH GRIEF, FOR THIS WOULD
BE UNPROFITABLE FOR YOU" (13:17).
e. The elders rule with the authority of Christ, and it
is to be submitted to for it is Christ's.

3. And so Christ has been and is the Head over all His
spiritual kingdom, and He governs His subjects by His
Word and Spirit through appointed officers.

11. Secondly, I Want You to See that Christ is the King over All
Creation and that He Orders all things for the Good of His Church.
A . Christ Not Only Rules Over a Spiritual Kingdom, but Also
over all the Kingdoms of the World.
1 . Christ is the Head and King of His Church.
2. But He is also the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords.
Absolute authority over all the created realm has been
handed over to Him.

B. This Rule of Christ Began with His Exaltation to the Right


Hand of God and Will Continue until His Victory over His
Enemies and Ours is Accomplished.
1 . The Father had promised this to Him as a reward for His
work of Redemption
a. The Father says to Christ, "ASK OF ME, AND I WILL
SURELY GIVE THE NATIONS AS THINE INHERITANCE, AND
THE VERY ENDS OF THE EARTH AS THY POSSESSION. THOU
SHALT BREAK THEN WITH A ROD OF IRON, THOU SHALT
SHATTER THEM LIKE EARTHENWARE (Ps. 2:8-9).
b. And Christ says in Matt. 28: 18, "ALL AUTHORITY HAS
BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH."
c. He was not given any power or authority that He did
not already possess as the Son of God.
d. But it was now as the God-man that He possessed that
authority. And His human nature was now to share in
the glory of that royal dominion.
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And this kingship of Christ will continue until all of His


2.
enemies have been subdued under His feet (Present text).
a. This authority had been given to Him for a special
purpose, and when that purpose is ended, so will
this authority.
b. The redemption of all the elect will have been
accomplished and the original kingship of man as the
vicegerent of Yahweh will have been restored.
C. And so with this Authority, He Governs and Disposes all
things for the Good of His Church.
1 . He could not guarantee the protection of His church
unless He also controlled the affairs of the nations.
a. The church exists in the world; it has not yet
been glorified.
b. And as long as it is in the world, it will be
affected by the world, it will still be threatened
by the world, and it still has its task to perform
in the world, and so it needs His protection.

2. As the sovereign Lord of the universe, He governs all


things for the benefit of His church.
a. He overrules all things in His providence for the
good of His church. He guides the destinies of
individuals and of whole nations to promote the
growth, purification and final perfection of His
people (Berkhof Systematic 410).
b. He protects His people from danger in the world, and
vindicates His righteousness by the subjection and
destruction of all His enemies.
ti) He delivered the Israelites from the
Philistines by the hand of a shepherd boy.
tii) He protected David when he was pursued by Saul,
and brought him to the throne.
tiii) He kept Luther safe from the church leaders who
wanted to kill him through Frederick the Wise.
tiv) The Lord is ab e to do these things because He
is the One who is in sovereign control of all
things.

111. Uses:
A. The Bible tells us that Chr st is the sovereign Lord over
the nations, that He is ordering and governing all things
for the good of His kingdom.
1 . Do you live in the realization of this truth, that
Christ is in control? Or has the enemy deceived you
into thinking that all things either happen by accident,
or that he is in control and not Christ?
2. If we think that things happen accidentally, or that the
devil is in control, we tend to be discouraged when
adversity comes, and perhaps become angry at our
circumstances.
3. Perhaps we even become angry with God, when things
don’t go precisely the way that we want them to.
4. But are we wiser than God? Do we know better than He?
I s Christ governing all things for the good of His
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kingdom or not?
5. Realize that when you criticize the things that are
happening in your life, which things are controlled by
Christ, that you are actually criticizing Christ.
a. Nothing happens by accident, all is a result of his
providential guidance.
b. We don’t know what He is working out, but we do know
that whatever it is, it will be for His glory, and
the good of His church, and as a result, the good of
His people.
C. And if you are in Christ, you will also reap the
benefits of this providential ordering of God.
d. This is why Paul says in Romans 8:28, ”AND WE W O W
THAT GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR Goon
TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, TO THOSE WHO ARE CALLED
ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.”
e. Christ will surely overrule all things for your
good if you are a part of His body.
f. And so this should give to you great confidence,
knowing that Christ is in control. Everything that
happens, all of your efforts, all of your prayers,
all of your sufferings, will all be used by Him.
g. Your life is in His hands, and no one can take it
from you until it is His time.
h. But beware lest there should be in you a heart of
unbelief. in speaking against your great God and
Sovereign in the way that He has chosen to
accomplish His will. You will find that in the end
you are speaking against Christ.

B. And Secondly, Knowing that Christ is the King over His


kingdom, which is the church, do you recognize the authority
of Christ in His church, and are you submitting to His
authority?
1 . He exercised that authority when He called you to
Himself.
a. Christ is the sovereign Lord. His effectual call
through His Spirit does not go unheeded.
b. Christ called you, with an efficacious command to
come to Him out of the darkness, giving you the will
and the power to obey.
c. And He gathered you into His body, into His ranks as
His soldiers, that you may fight His battles.

2. Now, being in the church, He continues to exercise that


authority over you through His officers whom He has
appointed in His church, to declare and minister His
Word.
a. And so you must be subject to the ordained
authority, not because it is the authority of man,
but because it is the constituted authority of
Christ in His church.
b. Christ did not give to His elders the authority to
make laws, and to bind men’s consciences by them,
but He has given them the authority to declare His
will as revealed in His word, and to minister it.
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c. This is why the authority of the elder is said to be


ministerial and declarative. He declares what the
will of God is, and ministers it on behalf of his
Lord.
d. And that is why it is important for you to listen to
the Word expounded, and the Word applied, especially
as it is applied personally by Christ’s elders to
your particular situation.

3. Christ has also placed certain censures in His church in


order to guard its holiness and purity.
a. If the authority of Christ, as given through His Word
and declared by His ministers, is not heeded, He has
also appointed certain measures to be followed by which
to bring His subjects to repentance.
b. If someone becomes seriously delinquent in his
beliefs so as to be in danger of believing heresy,
especially that which is soul damning, it is the
responsibility of Christ’s officers to seek to
instruct and correct that individual. If they will
not listen, and persist in believing that error, and
especially if they are seek to persuade others in
it, it is the responsibility of the Session to take
whatever measures necessary to reclaim the offender
if possible, or to remove him from the church, so
that the rest are not infected with their error.
c. The same holds true for any who are delinquent in
life. If they commit some sin which Christ has
forbidden of His subjects, then they must be
confronted. If they do not repent and persist in
it, they must be disciplined, even to the point of
removal, as Christ the Lord has commanded.
d. Jesus said, ”AND IF YOUR BROTHER SINS, GO AND
REPROVE HIM IN PRIVATE; IF HE LISTENS TO YOU, YOU
HAVE WON YOUR BROTHER. BUT IF HE DOES NOT LISTEN TO
YOU, TAUE ONE OR TWO MORE WITH YOU, SO THAT BY THE
MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE
CONFIRMED. AND IF HE REFUSES TO LISTEN TO THEM,
TELL IT TO THE CHURCH; AND IF HE REFUSES TO LISTEN
EVEN TO THE CHURCH, LET HIM BE TO YOU AS A GENTILE
AND A TAX-GATHERER” (Matt . 15-17).
e. If the sin is a private sin, then it must be dealt
with privately. But it may reach a point where it
becomes public, and then it must be dealt with by
the Session. If the member will not listen to
Christ’s authority in His Session, and persists in
his or her sin, he is to be cast out of the church,
lest by his heresy or immorality, he infects the
rest and encourages them to sin.

4. In closing, let me give you just a few ways in which you


may better serve your King?
a. Realize first of all that you are His subjects, and
your allegiance to Him supersedes any other.
ti) You are not the captain of your own ship, or
the master of your own fate, but Christ is.
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tiil Therefore, you are to obey Him first, and put


His will first in all that you do say, and
think.

b. Secondly, use every means to find out what your


Sovereign Lord commands you to do.
ti) You are not to remain ignorant of His will, but
you are to know and do it.
tiil Yet you cannot know your King’s commands unless
you are in a place where it is revealed.
tiiil And so you must read diligently His Word,
asking the Spirit to reveal to you how you
might better live for His glory.
tivl And you must attend the worship services where
Christ’s officers are teaching and expounding
His will, as He has appointed in His churches.
tvl And you must receive it with a ready heart
because it is the Word of Christ.
c. Thirdly, calling upon His grace and strength, do
what He commands with all your might, even if i t
means that to do so will have dire consequences on
your other relationships.
ti) You owe your allegiance to Christ first no
matter what the consequences may be on any
other relationships you have.
tiil In the Old Testament, if anyone counselled you
to turn away from God, even it was your nearest
and dearest relative, you were to put them to
death. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 13:6-11, ”IF
YOUR BROTHER, YOUR MOTHER’S SON, OR YOUR SON OR
DAUGHTER, OR THE WIFE YOU CHERISH, OR YOUR
FRIEND WHO IS AS YOUR OWN SOUL, ENTICE YOU
SECRETLY, SAYING, ’LET US GO AND SERVE OTHER
GODS’ . . . YOU SHALL NOT YIELD TO HIM OR
LISTEN TO HIM; AND YOUR EYE SHALL NOT PITY HIM,
NOR SHALL YOU SPARE OR CONCEAL HIM. BUT YOU
SHALL SURELY KILL HIM; YOUR HAND SHALL BE FIRST
AGAINST HIM TO PUT HIM TO DEATH, AND AFTERWARDS
THE HAND OF ALL THE PEOPLE. SO YOU SHALL STONE
HIM TO DEATH BECAUSE HE HAS SOUGHT TO SEDUCE
YOU FROM THE LORD YOUR GOD WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT
FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT, OUT OF THE HOUSE OF
SLAVERY. THEN ALL ISRAEL WILL HEAR AND BE
AFRAID, AND WILL NEVER AGAIN DO SUCH A WICKED
THING AMONG YOU.”
tiiil Jesus says to us today, ”HE WHO LOVES FATHER OR
MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME; AND HE
WHO LOVES SON OR DAUGHTER MORE THAN ME IS NOT
WORTHY OF ME. AND HE WHO DOES NOT TAKE HIS
CROSS AND FOLLOW AFTER ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME”
(Matt. 10:37-39].
t ivl If regard for anyone takes precedence over what
the Lord commands you to do, so that you refuse
to do what He commands, lest you offend them,
Jesus says you are not worthy of Him!
tVl And so you must call upon His grace to do His
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will even if your closest loved ones are


offended, for He is the Lord!

d. lastly, if you should err and leave the path of


righteousness, listen to the words of Christ’s
ministers as they bring the reproof and correction
of your Lord, and do not harden your hearts, or
stiffen your necks as Israel did, and as many in the
church have over the centuries that you might not be
broken beyond remedy. Rather listen to your Lord’s
exhortation to turn from the path of sin and
selfishness and to do what is right.
e. People of God, Christ is your King, He is the Lord,
and to Him you owe absolute and immediate obedience.
Bow your knee to Him, and serve Him, and be faithful
to Him with all your heart, for this is the will of
God for you in Christ Jesus. Amen.