Equality of the Kingdom #5: The Throne

 

Equality of the Kingdom #5:  The Throne

 In this time of social unrest, we have been considering the equality of the Kingdom.  The things that the world is clamoring for, peace, justice, unity, and equality, are only found in the Kingdom of God.  The kingdom is not a place, it is a state of being in your heart.  The Kingdom is within you (Luke 17:21).  We have a special promise that God will fully manifest the Kingdom on earth, we call it the consummation of the Kingdom.  When Jesus returns everything will accelerate in being set right.

 In session 1:  We have been reminded that entrance into the Kingdom is open to everyone who chooses to believe the good news of the Gospel. 

 John 3:16 (MSG)

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

 In Session 2:  We have been reminded that women are on equal footing with men in the Kingdom.  She is not a second-class citizen who is prohibited from exercising the gifts given to her by the Spirit of God.

 Acts 2:17 (NIV)

'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

 In Session 3:  We have been reminded that there are no elites in the Kingdom.  Every believer stands on the level ground located at the foot of the cross.  All are slaves of Christ.

 Romans 2:11 (NIV)

God does not show favoritism.

 In Session 4:  We have been reminded that there is no racism in the Kingdom.  A person’s skin color, the place they come from, the language they speak, even the sins they have committed, are not grounds for discrimination in the family of God.  The Holy Spirit has united every believer. 

 Revelation 7:9-10 (NIV)

I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

"Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

 There is equality in the Kingdom.  If you are not a citizen of the Kingdom of God, if you are not a member of the family of God, today that can be changed.  Look at the world.  What do you see? Unity, peace, order, and love?  If so, I want to know where you are looking.  Equality is only found in the Kingdom.  If you want to live in the Kingdom, ask God to grant you entrance.  Seek God with all your heart and you will be found by God and the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.  The scripture reveals that those who call upon Jesus believing in His gospel will be made into their true selves, their child of God selves.  Today if you decide this is what you want, let me know, I want to pray with you, I want to encourage you in your newfound faith.

 This session’s teaching on Kingdom Equality is the most amazing; all the other qualities are self-evident. Why they have not been practiced is because of religious sin, human folly, seduced by the times in which they lived.  Today you live this equality, it starts inside when you see every human being as precious in God’s sight, and flows out of you as love for others.  

The equality we will highlight deals with sharing the very Throne of Jesus.  What incredible equality, Jesus shares His throne.

 Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne

We’re going to figure out the meaning of the throne, discover who the overcomers are, and the meaning of sitting on the throne with Jesus. 

 A Throne is a special seat for a monarch.  You might be familiar with the British Monarchy, Queen Elizabeth is the only person who sits upon the Throne of the United Kingdom.  This seat is a special place of power and authority, of majesty and honor.  The Queen does not sit upon the Throne in street clothes, she is regally dressed.  From the Throne, one expects to hear the word of justice, or comfort, of command, and encouragement. From the Throne, one can receive pardon, condemnation, or commission. No less from the Throne of God. To the heavenly Throne, we can add that it is a place of holiness, purity, grace, and eternal life, the very traits of God because the Throne and God are inseparable. God declares that the Heavens are His throne and the earth His footstool (Isaiah 66:1).  The prophet Ezekiel often uses the word “like” to describe the things he sees in his vision.  In the 26th verse of the first chapter in the writing that bears his name, Ezekiel says high above what looked like a throne was God.

 The Apostle John has a vision also

Revelation 4:2-6 (MSG)

I was caught up at once in deep worship and, oh!—a Throne set in Heaven with One Seated on the Throne, suffused in gem hues of amber and flame with a nimbus of emerald. Twenty-four thrones circled the Throne, with Twenty-four Elders seated, white-robed, gold-crowned. Lightning flash and thunder crash pulsed from the Throne. Seven fire-blazing torches fronted the Throne (these are the Sevenfold Spirit of God). Before the Throne, it was like a clear crystal sea.

 Now whether you believe there exists a literal throne upon which the Father sits is immaterial.  The important reality is that you realize that the throne is the seat for absolute authority, Divine Truth, wisdom, and justice.   The one who sits upon the throne has these qualities inherent within.  So from the throne truth, wisdom, and justice are dispensed, for the one who sits upon the throne is the authority. 

There is another symbolic phrase the represents authority, truth, wisdom, and justice.  We read it in Hebrews chapter 10 where the writer reveals that Jesus has taken a seat at the right hand of God.  (Hebrew  10:12).  Literally, this conjures up a wrong understanding of the actual relationship that is being described, to be seated at the right-hand means. In Hebrews 10 the phrase means that it is through Jesus that the Father’s will is done.

Hebrews 10:12-14 (MSG)

As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.

 Jesus accomplishes His mission and sits down.  Sitting down on the Throne signifies His work was done and done well.  Mission accomplished.  The right hand is symbolically a place of honor.

As we read from Revelation, Jesus shares his throne with those who like Him overcome the Devil and his schemes, overcoming the challenges inherent in completing their assigned mission. You have an assignment, you have a mission, and a reward for the successful completion of that task.  When you have you are one of the overcomers.

 Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

They overcame [the Evil one] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

In the Kingdom, we are to continue the work of Jesus in this world.  Each one who calls him or herself a follower of Jesus has a job to do.  That job is to be like Him in the place we are at. Being like Jesus requires self-sacrifice.  Hopefully not self-sacrifice in martyrdom, but definitely of your agenda, your plans, your time, your talent, your treasures, all freely given to profit another.

 It is because of Jesus' sacrifice that you have the opportunity to be God’s blessing to the people in your world.  Adam’s sin separated all of humanity from a right relationship with God.  Jesus atones for that sin and when we acknowledge, believe, and commit we find reconciliation with God.  By the blood of the Lamb—“The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world!” (John 1:29-30 (MSG). 

 “On his Cross and through His Resurrection, Jesus overcame forever the worst that evil could do to Him; and those who have entrusted their lives to Him share in that victory.” (Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)  This is the amazing gift of equality in the Kingdom, sharing the victory equally with Jesus. 

 Charles Wesley [And Can It Be?] sung:

No condemnation now I dread;

     Jesus, and all in him is mine!

Alive in him, my living Head,

     And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

 Because of Jesus' self-sacrifice, the overcomer has a right relationship with God and is empowered to become the person God always intended them to be, to do the things Jesus did for their generation.   That crown that Wesley sang about is the Crown of Life that is given to all who hear the words: “Well done good and faithful servant.”

 We share in the victory of Christ through faith in His gospel and by the word of our testimony.  This word is more than just speaking.  Sometimes we think the words we speak, saying the right formula, reciting the sinner's prayer, performing the prescribed rituals, makes us a Christ-follower.  They do not.  When you follow Jesus you are a Christ-follower.  Actions speak louder than words.  So actions are very much a part of the word of your testimony.  The actions of a Christ-follower are deeds of self-sacrificing love.

 When Revelation 12:11 was written Christ-followers were dealing with great oppression.  This is the time when the State and the State Religion were so anti-Christ that it sought to eliminate all believers from the face of the earth.  All that was necessary was for an accusation to be leveled against you and the police would be knocking at your door, drag you before the court, and there you would be put to question.  Are you a Christian?  You could answer no, sacrifice a pinch of incense to the State God, and be let go.  Or you could say yes, and have your property and livelihood taken from you or find yourself and your family unarmed in the arena, in the gladiatorial games.  Saying “yes” is a testimony that cost many believers their very lives.  In death, they overcame the evil one and its schemes. Because of their sacrifice, Jesus shares His victory with them, they sit on the Throne with Him.

 In those times one-way self-sacrificing love was demonstrated through martyrdom, killed because of your faith and your refusal to recant your testimony.  Self-sacrificing love means that you care more about obeying God and loving others than you do about your agenda.  Jesus taught those who would follow--

 Matt 16:25-26 (MSG)

Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. 26 What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?

It is truly amazing that by loving God and loving others we discover that we have loved ourselves more than if we just looked out only for our interests.  When your work of loving others on this earth is done, Jesus makes room for you to sit down next to Him. 

Ephesians 2:3-7 (NIV)

Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

 In God’s spiritual economy he has already raised us and seated us.  That is your destiny as an overcomer.  Jesus shares His Throne, His place of honor with you.

 The equality of the Kingdom will be manifested in Jesus sharing His victory and all its rewards with everyone who follows his way of self-sacrificial love, completing their earthly mission. Upon the Throne, the place of honor, a place of holiness, of purity, of grace, and eternal life, is your seat. 

 Your task now is to live valiantly, laying down your life for the profit of another, so that by the word of your testimony people are attracted to the Kingdom.  If you haven’t yet taken up the responsibility of living for the glory of God, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into your holy vocation of loving God and loving others. Live a life worthy of a seat next to Jesus. 

 The world wants equality.  Let kingdom equality flourish within you and give them what they want.

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