Signs of the Kingdom Series III
October 19, 2021
Fr. Phil Eberhart
“Possessing the Kingdom – Our Position in Christ”
This is our third in the Kingdom Series of sermons here at REZ. First the Kingdom of God is POWER for our powerlessness. Second the Kingdom of God is the PRESENCE of the King. This week I want to talk about our POSSESSION of the Kingdom and our POSITION in Christ. Next week I will be talking about our PROFESSION of the Kingdom, our PROCLAMATION of the KING!
Jesus said to his disciples, “Fear not little flock; It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!” Luke 12:32
Jesus told Nicodemus in his fear that God SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE… He gave us His One and only SON! Paul later asks the Romans, “How shall he not, with Him, give us all things?”
In fact, he goes on to tell us that there is nothing:
NO THING that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! Romans 8, It’s worth reading!
We come to possession of the Kingdom because of our position IN CHRIST. We are given the authority to become a child of God, because we have received the Son. John tells us this in the very beginning of his gospel.
This is what Jesus was talking with Nicodemus about that night. The one who comes in faith believing that Jesus is the Son, is born a new, over again, from above, by the Spirit of God. If you want to inherit the Kingdom of the Father you must become a Son or Daughter of the Father.
And this is the GOOD NEWS - the GREAT NEWS – the BEST NEWS EVER!!
God has made the way for this to happen, through Jesus’ life and death on the cross, and through our faith-filled acceptance of His sacrifice for us! We accept and receive Jesus and His work of reconciliation and we are then received by Him, we are received INTO HIM in what I call the GREAT EXCHANGE!!
17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Cor 5]
So when Jesus, on the Cross, said, “It is finished!” and the curtain was torn by God’s hands, from top to bottom, this is the work that was done. We were afforded access to the Father, through the Son, IN HIM in fact.
We are IN CHRIST now. I want to commend this for your study! It is the stuff of a thousand sermons – a lifetime of study, all by itself. He is IN US and we are IN HIM.
Paul said it this way, “ I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” [Gal 2]
You see, He is in you and you are in Him! The great exchange! This is what we mean by our POSITION in Christ.
Have you flown in a commercial airliner? Do you listen when the pilot comes on and says “This is flight 7777, to Chicago.” If you want to go to Chicago, does it matter if you’re on a flight to Phoenix?
Well, YES! Destination matters!
So you pay attention to destination, right? It’s printed on your ticket; its on the overhead sign at the gate; its announced by the pilot and the crew. Check, double check, triple check!
Do ETERNAL DESTINATIONS matter?
YES! YES INDEED! MOST OF ALL!
But this life IN CHRIST is not JUST about the eternal destination, but about our earthly destiny.
Listen again to the Great Exchange in 2 Cor 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
BECOME … THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD!
In John 1, we are given AUTHORITY OR POWER to BECOME … Children of God.
Our earthly destiny is about our “becoming.” The Kingdom is not just the Eternal Destination of the Plane called ‘IN CHRIST’ – The Kingdom is the daily being and doing of RIGHTEOUSNESS. Matthew 6 tells of Jesus injunction at this point:
“Seek (strive) first for the Kingdom [of God] and HIS [it’s] RIGHTEOUSNESS …”
Paul had it right! He said, “the life I live, here an now in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God.
Later, in his Roman letter, he chronicles this passage from death to life – the struggle of it and the triumph of it – through chapters six and seven till we come to Rom 8.
Triumphantly he emerges from this struggle declaring “there is no more guilty verdict!” No more condemnation! Why?
Because we have entered into CHRIST! Because we have gotten on the right plane! The plane whose destination, whose destiny, is the righteousness of God and the life of Heaven.
We are lifted out of the law of sin and death (gravity) because of a higher law, the law of the spirit of life IN CHRIST JESUS!
And the righteousness of God and the life of Heaven begin in the here and now!! We are in possession of the Kingdom of God, because we are in position SEATED WITH CHRIST – IN HIM – ABOVE THE CLOUDS.
I was on the flight a few weeks ago back from Tulsa and it was one of those days where we were flying above the 40,000 ft puffy clouds off to our left. I was IN HIM, SEATED IN HEAVENLY PLACES.
Did I do anything to be there? Well, I received a ticket – in our case today, a ticket that is purchased for us! You just need to receive it. And show up and take your seat, IN CHRIST. HE DOES THE REST.
[would you stand, and imagine Jesus sitting on this Altar as His throne … ] Pray after me. Silently or aloud…
Lord, I come. Just as I am.
I receive all you did for me on the Cross.
I confess I can do nothing apart from You.
I come. Just as I am.
To be seated with you, to be seated IN You.
I enter into YOU. Make me new.
I come. Just as I am.
But not to stay as I am. To be changed.
Into Your image, from glory to glory.
I come now. As You are, I am. Amen.