FOCUS: Jesus is the King
FOCUS: Godliness With Contentment
FOCUS: Honoring Authority
FOCUS: Values for the Family of God
FOCUS: Protecting the Church
FOCUS: The Mission and Message of the Church
FOCUS: Church Leadership
Focus: Men and Women in the Local Church
Focus: Sinners and Saints Like Us
Focus: Sound Doctrine
What is the “good confession” of Timothy, Paul, and Jesus? In the final week of our series, FOCUS: A Study in 1 Timothy, Nathan Wagnon teaches through 1 Timothy 6:11-21, showing us that the theme of the entire New Testament, the good confession of Paul and Timothy, and the good news of the Gospel is that Jesus is King. And when Jesus is King, everything changes.
So far in 1 Timothy, we’ve learned that false teachers have always been in the church and that doctrine and discernment keep us from being deluded by them. We learned that God’s mercy and grace should change our vision and response to what’s happening in the world around us and that God calls his church to be a people who prioritize prayer. Next, we heard about God’s heart to unleash women in the church and learned about the character church leadership should possess. We learned about being a family that rallies around the gospel and the importance of protecting the church and honoring authority. Lastly, we learned how godliness with contentment is great gain.
Good morning, Watermark! My name is Nathan, and it's my privilege to be with you this morning. I serve on the Equipping team here at Watermark. So that little pamphlet, that insert that's inside your Watermark News, is for you from the Equipping team. Merry Christmas.
So if you've never been on Join the Journey, I would highly encourage you to sign up for that. It sends you an email. It's a super-easy way to just remind you, through a devotional, that we can spend time together in the Scriptures every day. That's not meant to shame you or throw some kind of guilt trip at you if you don't do it. It's just our way of going, "Hey, join in with us. Join the Journey."
So some of you might be like, "Hey, I don't know who you are because you haven't been up here very often." Like I said, I serve on the Equipping team. I oversee our Great Questions ministry. Crickets. It's awesome. No, you don't have to clap for it. Whatever. No, we meet every Monday night in the South Community Room from 7:30 to 8:30.
Actually, this is a great way for me to push this to you. If you have friends or coworkers or neighbors who are asking you difficult questions about the faith, and you're just like, "I have no idea," then bring them. Bring them on Monday night. We would love to interact with them. I also oversee Equipped Disciple. There you go!
So the Equipped Disciple ministry is our basic training in the spiritual disciplines. That's going to launch in the first week of February, so if you want to go sign up for that, I would encourage you to. I also do all of our Equipping courses. If you've taken an online Equipping course or if you've taken a live one, then that's kind of part of the Equipping ministry that I oversee.
We're actually teaching a brand new one on the history of the church starting in February. So if you want to go sign up for that, you can learn our story and how we got here. Then the last thing I do is the Equipping Podcast. So that's our area where we don't really try to water it down. We're just throwing stuff at you and like, "Hey, hopefully you can get it." If you don't, then always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All right. That was my Equipping commercial.
Well, today, we are going to tie up the Focus series that we've been in in 1 Timothy. I really want to help us at the beginning. I just want to help put you into the world of the first century in Ephesus, which is in modern-day Turkey, where the church at Ephesus was dealing with the things that it was dealing with.
Because that's the recipient, that's the audience that Paul wrote 1 Timothy to. Timothy was an elder, and he was overseeing that local body in Ephesus. So I want to get our minds around that. I want to help us think through Ephesus in the first century. Then I want to take us through three different things. One is Paul's message. What was his message to this church?
What was Timothy's confession about what Paul is reminding him, "Hey, you made this confession"? We're going to look at that. Then we're going to look at what our opportunity is coming out of Paul's message and Timothy's confession. So that's where we're going to be going this morning.
Before we do that because it's Christmas, and Christmas is coming up, I'm going to take a little poll, okay? Christmas is whose birthday? Oh, come on, guys. Christmas is whose birthday? There you go, right! Good, you passed the quiz. When I think about birthdays, I'm like, "Well, some of us…" I mean there are a bunch of people here.
There are probably a lot of different opinions about birthdays that are represented in this room, so I'm going to take a little poll. By a show of hands, how many of you guys just hate birthdays? You literally hate them. Raise your hand. Okay, not very many of you. Some people are like, "Hey, I just don't like the reminder that I'm getting older," or, "I don't like to be the center of attention or anything like that."
How many of you are like, "I don't hate it, but I don't love it, either. I'm just cool." How many of you are that? Okay, sweet. Pretty good representation there. I probably fall into that category. I didn't even know this was a thing until a few years ago, but how many of you love your birthday? That's what I'm talking about. They have a cheer section over there.
So how many of you love your birthday? You don't just celebrate your birthday; you celebrate your birth week. Some of you guys celebrate your birth month. People are… Hey, I say that wanting to be like, "Are you serious?" But then on another… Callie Nixon, who is around here on staff, she is the queen of that. So if that's you, then you're in good company with Callie.
I have one more question. How many of you guys love your birthday so much that you have tried to reset the entire global calendar around your birthday? Anybody? Okay, that's good. That's a good thing that nobody raised their hand, but that's actually not uncommon in history. Back in the day in the ancient world… By ancient world, I mean the first century when Rome was the world power.
They went off of the Roman calendar, which was called the AUC calendar. It's from a Latin term that means from the founding of the city of Rome. That's the calendar they went off of. That seminal event of the founding of the city of Rome was the event that they set their calendar off of. But in 27 BC you had these civil wars that were going on in Rome.
So you remember, you have, "Et tu, Brute?" Julius Caesar was stabbed a bunch of times. He dies right there on the Senate floor. Then you have all of these different factions that are trying to fill that power void in Rome. They break off, and you have Mark Antony and Cleopatra down in Egypt. You have Germanicus to the north. You have all these people to the west that are now going, "Hey, there's a power vacuum. We want to fill that."
There was another guy who was actually the rightful heir to the throne. His name was Octavian. Octavian was the guy who was like, "Hey, I have to go around and put all this stuff down." So Octavian literally went around the known Roman world and he put down all of these civil wars. He unified the entire Roman Empire under his banner and brought peace and order to the Roman Empire.
Because of that, he became the Roman emperor, and he took the name Caesar Augustus. Caesar Augustus was his title. It's like, "Caesar, that really awesome guy over there." Right? He took all of these different territories. One of them in what they call Asia or Asia Minor, which is modern‑day Turkey, there was a guy who was a proconsul which is like the governor of that area. It'd be like the state governor. The governor of Asia Minor at the time was a guy named Paulus, which is interesting. No pun intended there.
Because Augustus had brought peace and order to the land, Paulus sent these inscriptions…there are like 10 or 12 of them…all over Asia. These inscriptions were basically an announcement of the good news that Augustus was bringing peace and order to the world. He proposed, in these inscriptions, to reset the calendar to not be on the founding of the city of Rome but on the birthday of the son of god, Augustus.
Here's what it says. It's part of it. You can see it up there. That's called the Priene Calendar Inscription. This is part of what it says. It says, "Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things…"
Which was the peace of Rome. "…and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors…" That literally means the gospel. "…surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done…"
In other words, Augustus was this guy… Nobody could've set up a high enough expectation for him to reach because he surpassed all of it. Not just the expectation of him but of anybody coming after him. So in other words, the guy is schmoozing. He is like, "Caesar is so amazing." He is putting him up. "…and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him…"
Isn't that interesting? He sent these things out in 9 BC. This is before Jesus is even born. You see a lot of shared language here, right? So that inscription would've been sent out to all these cities in Asia Minor, and they would've been prominently displayed in the public square where everybody can see it.
So when you're going about your daily business, and you're doing all this stuff, it's like, "Oh, this is a constant reminder that Caesar is the king. He is the god." It would have been the center of the imperial worship system to Caesar in Ephesus right in the heart of the city. So a little bit of background, because I know a lot of times you guys are like, "Hey, I hear the word Ephesus and I might think in my mind some ruins in Turkey, but I don't really know anything about it."
So I want to give you a little bit of just background on what Ephesus was. It was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. Rome was the largest, then Athens, and then Ephesus. So don't think like (sorry I'm going to pick on you a little bit) East Texas small town. If anybody is from East Texas, don't send me an email please. So don't think like East Texas small town.
Think like DFW. Think like big complex. It was a city that had literally hundreds of thousands of people. It was also really, just like you would expect in an urban area, very syncretistic. Syncretism is basically where it's kind of like an a la carte religion. "I want a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and a little bit of this." It had a very high pagan influence.
Well, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world was there. It's called the Temple of Artemis, which I think they have a picture of somewhere. There it is. So you have this Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, and so they are worshipping the deity Artemis, but then all of it is under the umbrella of the Roman cult, which is the goddess Roma and her son Caesar, the son of god.
So that had huge economic implications for anybody who was in Ephesus. I mean, if you decided you did not want to be a part of the pagan worship culture or bow the knee to the Caesar, then you couldn't do business. You couldn't be a part of trade unions. It had social implications. You were ostracized because you were on the outside.
This is the environment that the church was in. It was the environment that Paul walked into in about AD 51 or 52. Then in his second missionary journey, this little guy stepped in to Ephesus and had a message for the city. What was his message? What was Paul doing? Well, Paul's message…
In order to even set this up, I have to take us back a little bit to get into the minds of a first-century Christian. Because one of the major differences between them and us is they did not have a category for religion. Like if you would've said, "Hey, what do you do in your religious life?" where it was segmented or fragmented away from every thing else. They didn't have a category for that.
Everything was religion, like all of life. We don't have a category for kings. So just like they wouldn't have a category for a separate thing that is religion, we don't have a category for, "Hey, who is the king?" Right? We think, "Hey, we're a democracy. We get a vote. I have a voice. I get a say." That's not the way it was in the ancient world.
Their entire lives were ordered around this king. So Paul didn't go around like you probably think he did. Paul was not going around asking people if they had a faith. Right? That would've been a totally absurd question in the ancient world. "Hey, do you have a faith?" I mean, literally everybody would've looked at you and been like, "What are you talking about, dude? Everybody has a faith."
Do you see what I'm saying? In the same way, he wasn't going around asking them what we call the Kennedy questions. "Hey, how certain are you that if you died today that you would go to heaven? Or on a scale of 1 to 10 how…?" Look, I'm not knocking those things. Those things aren't bad. I'm just trying to put us into the actual context of first-century Ephesus.
That's not what they were talking about. So what was Paul doing? At the outset, Paul very much viewed himself as somebody who was announcing something new. He wasn't preaching or trying to get people saved so they could go to heaven when they died. He was announcing the reality of a new kingdom.
So just like in 1 Timothy 2, verse 7, he says, "…I was appointed a herald…" of the good news. He was an announcer of the kingdom of God. N.T. Wright said this in his book, Paul: A Biography. It's a biography, so if you like biographies and you're looking for something to read over the break, pick this one up. It's really good. I highly recommend it. He said this.
"The early Christians didn't focus much attention on the question of what happened to people immediately after they died. …they seldom spoke about it at all. They were much more concerned with the 'Kingdom of God,' which was something that was happening and would ultimately happen completely, 'on earth as in heaven.' […]
God's kingdom had already been launched through the events of Jesus' life. Unless we get that firmly in our heads, we will never understand the inner dynamic of Paul's mission. The announcement of the kingdom and its king had to do with the foundation of a new polis, a new city, a new community right at the heart of the existing system. Paul's missionary journeys were aimed at establishment of a new kind of kingdom 'on earth as in heaven,' a kingdom with Jesus as its King."
So Paul, this little short balding guy, walks into Ephesus, and at the very heart of what he is doing is to announce a new kingdom. He literally goes into the heart of the city where that calendar inscription would've been posted, and he was like, "Hey, there's a new kingdom, and Caesar is not the king." He is a herald of this good news of Jesus.
He has a long and successful ministry there. I mean, read about it in Acts 18 and 19. So at the time that he writes this letter to Timothy, which is about 10 years after he first lands in Ephesus, the church at Ephesus had been infiltrated by false teachers. They've been infiltrated by all kinds of wild ideas. There was probably a sense of a Jewish aspect in the church that was trying to pull people back into the law. Right?
So Paul is, in this closing section in 1 Timothy 6, really recounting everything that he said in the letter prior. So this really serves as a summary section for the entire letter, which is why it's appropriate that we're covering it in this last week on 1 Timothy in the Focus series. So you see he tells Timothy pursue personal holiness, which you find in chapter 4.
He talks about fighting the good fight, which you see in chapter 1. He also talks about fulfilling your calling in chapter 4. Be above reproach. You see that in chapter 3. Guard the message. That's in chapter 1. Let's take a look at it because there's this section in here that's really critical if we're going to understand what Paul is actually doing in this section. So read with me 1 Timothy, chapter 6, verses 11 to 21.
"But you, man of God, flee from all this…" If you heard last week, Mickey was talking about the love of money and the materialism of the day, which clearly would've been in Ephesus, which was an urban center. So he was like, "…flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all."
The letter ends right there. There is a nice little salutation at the end. The first thing I would say as somebody who is speaking this to you this morning is to look at all those commands, right? I have a military background, so just forgive me. But this is like somebody going, "You have an area weapon, which is a machine gun. There are various types of machine guns. You have all of the ammo you want. Just start spraying." It's like… That is so much ammo. All of these commands like, "Flee, pursue, fight, take hold, command, guard."
It would be so easy, and it's tempting for a zealous guy who is giving a message… It would be really easy to dial in on those, and go, "I'm just going to start knocking targets down. This is going to be so awesome. I'm going to give you all this stuff to do, all these commands." But, frankly, that would be a disservice to you, and I think it would be a disserve to the heart of the text, the heart of what Paul is trying to do here.
So instead, I want to focus in on this central section, verses 12 through 16. So as we finish this Focus series, we're going to look at the heart of what Paul is doing in 12 to 16. So let's look at this closer. I'm going to read it again, 12 through 16, and I want to focus on some words that are used here that are not a mistake.
He says, "Timothy," "Take hold of the eternal life…" Don't think about eternal life as something that's merely future. It does have a future component to it, but the eternal life that Paul is talking about is something that you can take hold of here and now. It's a type of life that you live into as you live in the kingdom of God under the kingship of Jesus, literally.
That's probably a great definition for it. That personal relationship that you have with Jesus brings a new kind of rulership, a new kind of kingdom into your life, and you live differently under the umbrella of the kingship of Jesus. That is eternal life. Now people are like, "Well what about eternity? What about forever?" Yeah, it doesn't ever stop! It's awesome!
Dude, even if you die, he is just going to raise you back from the dead, and then you keep going! It's amazing! Well, more on that. I'm out-punting my coverage, dad-gummit, or I'm getting ahead of myself. Hang on. Stand by. Here we go. All right. "Take hold of the eternal life…" I only got one sentence there. "…to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
That's interesting, a good confession. What is that? "In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession…" So if you're doing good hermeneutics or good Bible study methodology, and you're going, "Ah, one of the things that I'm supposed to be doing is paying attention to repetition and especially unusual phrases or words like good confession."
Where else do you see that, right? So one tell is, "Whoa, that's interesting. I'm going to circle that or star it or whatever." Then if I see it repeated again, I know that this is emphatic. There's an emphasis here. Not only that, but it wasn't just Timothy's confession. Who else's confession was it? It was Jesus' confession!
Dude, any time you bring Jesus into the equation, that's like the ultimate Jesus juke, right? It's like, "Hey, there's this, but oh, by the way, Jesus also did this." It's like the ultimate trump card. You're like, "Yeah, I win." That's what Paul is doing here. This is a literary way of Paul grabbing Timothy and going, "Hey dude, pay attention!" It's fascinating. He does this also in chapter 1.
He is reminding him. He is reminding him of the heart behind the message. He is reminding him of the reality behind the message. He is going, "Hey dude, this is not a small thing. This is the very center of our good news proclamation." So he goes on and says, "I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler…" Pay attention to that.
"…the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen." So what is this good confession? I want to make sure we're clear because confession here is not… There's nothing sinful to confess.
A lot of times we just think confession involves, "I have to tell you all the bad things I've done." No, here this is like an announcement. It's a declaration of something that's true. "I am confessing to the truth." Whatever it is, it's something that Jesus did while he was standing in front of Pilate.
So Paul charges Timothy to obey this command to guard, to keep all these commands that he has listed. He has told them this because Jesus has gone before and has been his example. "Follow Jesus. Do what he did." He also is imploring Timothy to obey because Jesus is going to appear. Now the Greek word is epiphaneia. It's where we get epiphany from.
To appear, an epiphaneia, or the appearing in the ancient world was the same word that's used in the calendar inscription that said when Augustus appeared. It's used in the Greco-Roman world actually quite a bit for military heroes. Whenever a war would be won or some sort of order reestablished, people would've said, "Hey, this is the appearing of this new thing, this new kingdom, this new order, this new peace."
It typically was associated with deities in the ancient world. So Paul is definitely not using this word by mistake. He is very much contrasting the appearance of Augustus with the appearance of Jesus. He goes on. Not only does Jesus confess this, but he references Jesus' appearing. He also references God, the only ruler.
Now what do you think if you went around on the streets of Ephesus, and you took a poll every day. You're like, "Excuse me. Yeah, I'm taking a poll today. Hey, how are you doing? My name is Nathan. Yeah, I'm taking a poll. Who is the ruler? Who is the king of kings? Who is the lord of lords?" What do you think everybody would've said? It's not rhetorical.
What do you think everybody would've said? Caesar! There was only one of him. To say anything else would've been not only blasphemous to the Roman imperial worship system, it would've cost you a lot. Paul is coming back to this, and he is going, "Hey remember, in the midst of all of that, God is the only ruler." Which means Caesar is not!
God is the only King of Kings. Jesus is the only Lord of Lords. That was supposed to be Caesar. Paul is going, "No." The announcement of the good news of the kingdom of God was a direct affront to Roman power. It stood directly against it and said, "No, Caesar, you're not the king. The throne you sit on is not your throne. You will not reign forever. Jesus will!"
He is not even done yet. He goes on and says he is the only immortal one. Athanasia. There are two words in Greek for death or dead. One of them is nekros which just means you're just dead, like it's a dead thing. The other one is more the idea of death, and that's thanatos. If you want to negate a Greek word, all you do is put an a in front of it.
We have moral, and then we have amoral, which is not moral. You have thanatos. You have death. If you want to negate death, you just put an a in front of it. The word you get is athanasia,not death. That's cool, right? You have all these people who are like, "Oh yeah, Caesar is…" We translate it immortal, but literally it is that Jesus is the only one does not have death.
In fact, when he actually died, because he did not have death, he was able to reverse it. That's epic! Not death! Sorry, I'm going to kind of tone it down a little bit. Look, immortality was commonly attributed to kings, to emperors, to heroes. Homer uses it in the Iliad. Aristotle uses it in On the Heavens and the Sibylline Oracles in some of his literature.
Dude, Paul is not even done yet. There's more. He says Jesus is also the on "…who lives in unapproachable light…" Look, if you're a Jew in Ephesus in the first century, you hear unapproachable light and your mind (I'm not saying yours, but an ancient Jewish person's mind) would directly go to Exodus, chapter 33, where Moses asks God to reveal his glory.
God says, "Hey, I'll put you in this cleft of the rock, but I have to guard you because if you were to see all of my glory, it would kill you." So he graciously puts him, he hides him in the cleft of the rock. In other words, in the middle of this passage, Paul is going, "Hey guys, this is not a secondary thing. I am telling you the pulsating heartbeat of the announcement of the kingdom of God."
So what was Jesus' confession in front of Pilate? Do you guys remember? It's in John, chapter 18 where Pilate is interviewing Jesus. He said Jesus is on trial. Pilate looks at him, and he goes, "Hey dude, are you a…" What? "Are you a king?" In Jesus' good confession about himself, literally he says, "It is as you have said."
Look, if I'm translating this, like the Nathan version of John 18, it's like Pilate going, "Hey Jesus, are you a king?" Jesus goes, "You're dadgum right I am! Not only am I a King, I'm your King! So be careful about the words that are about to come out of your mouth, because I'm not just a common criminal or an itinerant preacher or somebody who is just another messianic figure. I am the King of the universe!"
So what was Paul's confession? Paul's confession is, "Jesus is the King!" What was Timothy's confession? Timothy confession was, "Jesus is the King!" This is the good news that the gospel writers are writing about. Now I'm going to show you something really cool, okay? Because in the Priene Calendar Inscription that I talked about already, it says this.
It says "…the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world…" Do you want to know how Mark, chapter 1, verse 1…? Mark was writing with Peter as his source. Mark is writing his gospel in Rome, in the seat of the entire imperial cult worship system. Mark is writing this. This is how the gospel of Mark starts.
We already read in the calendar inscription, "…the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world…" Mark says, "The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…" That's so cool! The announcement of Caesar Augustus, the son of god, was directly assaulted by the good news of the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.
Look, this is not a secondary thing. The entire theme of the New Testament starts with the announcement of Jesus as the Davidic King in Matthew, chapter 1, verse 1. It ends with the appearing of Jesus as the King of Kings in Revelation, chapter 19. I mean, dadgum, this is the entire theme of the entire Bible.
Adam is raised up from the dust, which is royalty language, and he is made in the image of God. Where he failed, Jesus succeeds. The image of God fails. We fall with him. Another image of God comes and succeeds. When we place our faith in him, we are reanimated, and now we are with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. This is the picture of who Jesus is in Revelation 19.
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself." "That's an awesome name." You don't even know what it is.
"He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God." So cool, man. "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
Look, it'd be easy for me to just focus in on those commands to you guys, and be like, "Hey guys, do these things." It's very different for you to just walk out of here with just something else to do. Frankly, it would've been a tragedy if I had just said, "Hey, do all these things," when right in the middle of the passage is a picture of our King.
So instead of telling you to do a bunch of stuff, I just want to tell you, "Look at Jesus." Then guess what will happen? All of those things that Paul reminds Timothy to do, all of that junk will just fall into place. Look, when Jesus is your King, when your life announces the kingship of Jesus, then not only are you going to stay away from stuff that would steal your heart away from the love of God, you are not going to want to do those things, because you see Jesus, the beauty of Christ.
Announcing Jesus as King means that you pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Not because you're trying to conjure something up in you, but because when you look at Jesus, he produces this stuff in you. The more you begin to live into the kingdom of God, the more you realize, "I'm not doing this. I am being acted upon by a force and a power outside of myself." It's the Holy Spirit.
It means you don't put your hope in wealth but in Jesus as King. It means you do good. It means you're generous and willing to share, not because, "Okay, I have to do this because it's Christmas time." No, but because there is eternal life that is welling up inside of you. You're generous because you want to be generous. You're good because you want to do good.
You look out for others because you very naturally think about them and not yourself. This is what it looks like to live under the kingship of Jesus. Look guys, when these things are not operative in your life, you primarily don't have an obedience problem. You don't need to sit there and go, "Okay, I'm going to try harder to obey." That's not your problem.
Your problem is you have a King problem. You can't see the King anymore. So you need to be reminded of who Jesus is. Look, we all have competing kingdoms. This is no surprise, right? But the real question is, is the goddess Roma and Caesar the son of god? Is he king or is Jesus the Son of God your King? We have to examine that in every single facet of our lives.
This is not something we can put over here and just keep it separate or something like that. So look guys, if you've strayed, if you're thinking about just this past week or the past month or even a season of life that you've been in where you're like, "Man, Jesus has just not been my King. I've been my king or wealth has been my king." Or whatever it is. Just turn around.
I think about my daughter, Jules, who just turned 3 yesterday, Babba Jules. I love Babba Jules, right? She is the cutest thing on the face of the planet. Also, shoutout to Nate and Miles, but Jules. When Jules… You guys know this if you're a parent. You know that when your child gets far enough away from you, you as a parent are like, "Hang on, what are you doing over there?" But then they also recognize it.
Once they recognize it, what do they do? They're like, "Wait a minute. Where's Daddy?" She'll turn around and come running back, and she'll hug my leg. As a father who loves her, I'm pleased. I want to bring her into my arms. If you've strayed away from King Jesus, it's okay. Just return. He is a good King.
What's crazy to me is that he can hold everything together. He can literally crush the most formidable enemy with just a simple word. That's the imagery, that's the metaphor of the sword coming out of his mouth. He can crush his enemies with just a word, but when there is actually epiphaneia with this one, when he appears, how does he appear? Waa, waa, waa. He is the helpless baby of a teenage Jewish girl.
Do you ever wonder about that? Why in the world would the Sovereign of the universe become a little child, a helpless child who wouldn't go on to reign in Rome on Caesar's throne but die on a Roman cross? Why is that? There is only one answer. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…"
Why would the King of the universe become a child? The only answer is because of the love of God. Because he loves you. He is a good King. He didn't come to subject people. He didn't come to rule us or own us through might. He came to win our hearts through love because he is a good King. Look guys, 2020 has been crazy. It's been a nuts year. I don't think anybody argues with that, but Jesus is still the King.
That means your security isn't king. That means health is not the king. That means Trump is not the king. That means Biden is not the king. I don't care who is in the dadgum White House, they are not the king. That means government is not the king. That means the dadgum vaccine is not the king. That means your dwindling savings account is not the king. That means everything about your retirement or comfort or health or security is not the king. Jesus is the King!
Look guys, Caesar Augustus died a long time ago, but guess what? He stayed dead. When thanatos hit him, he was not athanasia. He was just nekros. He was just dead. Not surprisingly, the calendar does not turn on his birthday. Instead, in AD 525, a Scythian monk named Dionysius began the before Christ and in the year of our Lord designations. Now our entire calendar rotates on the incarnation of our King!
Nobody even remembers Augustus except to date Jesus' birth by him. Luke, chapter 2, verse 1, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world." Most people just read over his name. They're like, "Who?" But Jesus. That's awesome. Hey look guys, sometimes I'm like, man, we have no idea what we're singing when we sing Christmas songs.
The other day, I was like, "Dude, 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.'" Do you guys know this song? "Hark the herald angels sing…" Do I need to be on the worship team? No? Okay. All right, so "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" where they're like, "Hark!" which means pay attention. The herald, the announcer, the proclaimer. Who is the herald? The herald is the angels. They're announcing something. They're announcing glory, weight, authority, power, and legitimacy to the newborn King.
Look guys, we have an opportunity today and every single day to do what Paul did, ultimately to do what Jesus did in front of Pilate, to do what Timothy did, and now it's our turn to go to a world who is lost and chasing after their own kingdoms. They are serving the goddess Roma. They are serving Caesar. You get to proclaim that Jesus is the King. Yes! So you all stand with me, and let's proclaim.
Heavenly Father, as we sing this song, I pray from the depths of our hearts that you have transformed. I pray that the announcement of the kingship of Jesus would burn away all of the competing kingdoms, and we would be united in every aspect of our lives with the God who is truly life, and that we would sing with everything we have. All hail King Jesus!