Promise of Authority

Crown Jewels
“To [him who conquers] I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” –Revelation 2:26b-27
The awesome authority that has been promised to the Son of God (Psa 2:6-9), is promised to be shared with the sons of God (Luke 22:29-30; Gal 3:26; Rom 8:19). Does this not echo earlier promises by Jesus:
“I tell you the truth: In the age when all things are renewed, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” –Matthew 19:28
I have so many questions on this… but what I do know is that Christ said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), and those before us who held assumptions to the conquering of earthly empires were called by Christ, “foolish” and “slow of heart” (Luk 24:25). I know that this authority is not taken by the sword (Mat 26:52) or won by bowing to wrong (Mat 4:8-10). In fact, every time the church has grasped at the world’s power, she has been disciplined by it.

Make all allowance that you like for the vesture of symbolism, the reality that lies beneath is that Jesus Christ, the truth, has pledged Himself to this, that His servants shall be associated with Him in the activity of His royalty,… which we only spoil when we try to tear apart the petals which remain closed until the sun shall open them,” (McLaren’s Exposition).

In the mystery of this pronouncement to the future position of faithful followers of Christ, know this: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1Co 2:9).
“No matter how we are suffering, no matter how we are persecuted, no matter how we are marginalized, our identity is not in whatever is happening to us right now. Our identity is seated at the Right Hand of God,” (Russell Moore).
How might knowing our future position change the way we manage mistreatment and persecution?
Billy Neal
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Who Do You Follow?

who do you follow

But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? — Matthew 12:3-4 NKJV

Men, Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees about His disciples plucking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Jesus reminds them of an occasion where King David and his men ate consecrated bread from the temple when they were hungry. 1 Samuel 21 records the incident. David and his men were not condemned by the Law in that time.

Over time, more and more rules had been applied. Jesus points back to precedent in defense and likewise challenges their authority to make such an accusation. In effect, Jesus is asking them why they have over stepped their authority beyond what the Law holds into account. Jesus could make the claim, “if David could get away with it, why can’t I?” Jesus was expressing His own authority from greater than His own lineage back to David.

In a time where men tremble when approached about some matter of the Law, Jesus is bold, and making reasoned arguments, turning the accusation around into more direct matters of the heart inside the Pharisees. Jesus truly is the great Defender.

Imagine the deer in the headlight look upon the disciples faces, and the panic they may have felt. They may have been stuttering among themselves wondering how they might answer. Jesus answered their accusers.

Most all of us can point to a time where we were questioned about what is lawful for a “good Christian”. We are often scolded by church goers for embracing the liberties granted to us, warned about maintaining good perception, challenged when we dare step out of approved ministerial procedures.

Overbearing rules are everywhere, even into our own time, cutting into our effectiveness and distracting from the focal point of our faith. Yes, guardrails are reasonable for the young in faith. But let’s teach our young in faith to seek first the Kingdom. Jesus is our authority, advocate and defender.

Move forward men, with focused attention on Jesus. Listen for His voice. Are we following rules, or following Jesus? Who is your God? The principles or the Person of Jesus?

Vance Durrance

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Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” — Matthew 11:20-24 NKJV

Men, Jesus closes vs19 saying “wisdom is justified by her children”. Another translation says “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”. In other words, the wise have not refused John or Jesus, but have come to repentance. From there, Jesus rebukes the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. He tells the multitude that it will be better for the towns of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom which were known as wicked places that had been judged by God. Each of these towns and the deeds done in them routinely could warrant a deeper look.

In general, Jesus has performed a number of miracles in the rebuked towns, but He was not acknowledged and the people did not repent. Jesus says that if those same deeds had been done in those cities which had long ago been judged they would’ve repented in sackcloth. Not so for the cities Jesus has personally visited and Jesus is disgusted with their hardness. Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom had all disobeyed God’s law and Word and they were punished. These current 3 cities have witnessed the Word made flesh, dwelling among them and have refused all opportunities to be made right.

When Jesus said “Woe to you (the rebuked cities) He was declaring a warning to them. These cities have had greater opportunity to come to salvation but refused. How much opportunity have our cities and nation had? If we are judged incrementally by the opportunities granted, how bad will it be for our cities and people? What judgment awaits our own lands? Move forward men, acknowledge the truth granted to us and believe Him. Don’t miss an opportunity to repent and turn even the smallest, most private things over to His hand. The evidence is sufficient for our acceptance of His Word.

How will we be known, to history and to heaven? Decide well.

Vance Durrance

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And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Mathew 11:12, NKJV

Men, Jesus is still speaking to a multitude about John when He makes a statement we don’t often think about. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” The kingdom of heaven had and still has deep opposition. Jesus’ legal line was almost severed by Joseph who didn’t believe Mary’s story. Herod then ordered all male children under the age of two slaughtered, hoping to wipe out Jesus.

Things go quiet for a while until Jesus begins His formal ministry. There is growing opposition. John is often viewed as a lunatic, and is now imprisoned. The spiritual enemies of God are working out a deep physical resistance to the kingdom coming to men on earth. Hostility is increasing and both John and Jesus know it. The kingdom, Jesus says, is advanced through hostility and opposition, and in spite of it.

If John and Jesus experienced suffering as they advanced the kingdom then we certainly will too. Violent people will take the kingdom away by force. Remember, until “it is finished” the kingdom is Jesus Himself. We know that He and John both will later be killed by violent men. Thankfully, God our Father is not caught off guard by the schemes of the enemy. His perfect plan was carried out and kingdom is available through Christ’s atonement and the Holy Spirits indwelling. Deeper relationship with the Spirit brings broader access to the kingdom.

But the enemy does NOT want that happening. We make it easy for him by submitting to our own fleshly desires. Pride of life, pride of flesh, and lust all work against the kingdom until ultimately, the enemy will attack your life.

So be it men, move forward. Surrender life to the Kingdom. Die to the flesh and walk in His Spirit. Don’t fear the death of men, but fear the One who can kill both body and soul. Confess Christ in hostility and be counted among the faithful. Hostility against the Kingdom is not over, but our Lord goes before us, when we follow His lead.

Vance Durrance

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