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Monday, May 5, 2014

Revival and Reformation Pt 5


{The Audio Sermon File is here. It may help to listen while your follow the manuscript}
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Revival and Reformation Pt. 5
Loyal to King and Kingdom

O Christ our King and God, we want to be able to say with Paul (in Philippians 120b-21): “that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” So help us, Lord Jesus, that your word summarized and read this evening and now about to be preached, will unrelentingly flood us with just such courage. Amen.

There is a rousing, stirring, blood-pumping scene in Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” where King Henry is spurring his rag-tag army to a victory far grander than was mechanically or numerically possible:
“This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.”
And though Henry’s motives and ambitions were for things far more profane and pitiful than what we see here in 1 Chronicles, nevertheless the pattern is similar. Rallying around the King and Kingdom, great feats of courage become the man. This passage itself is about loyalty to King and Kingdom. And it – along with the rest of 1 Chronicles - is aimed at rekindling the returning, beggarly band of Jews’ hopes and anticipations that “a shoot from the stump of Jesse” will “come forth” (Isaiah 11.1), so that they might yearningly look for one who is like David.

The segment we’re looking into, unfolds into two halves: [1] Those who came to David while he was on the run – 11.11b – 12.22; [2] Those who attached themselves to David after Saul’s demise to make David king (12.23-40). But both sections are tied together by one theme: Loyalty to King and Kingdom.

Purpose-Up (11.10-11a)! This statement covers all that has been penned in this whole, giant section (thus 11.11a). Everything you read here is read through this lens of loyalty to King and Kingdom. (1) To give him strong support in his kingdom [which is God’s kingdom: “And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel” (1 Chronicles 28.5). And “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father” (1 Chronicles 29.23). “And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness (John 12.44-46). Loyal to King and Kingdom (11.10-2 times, 12.1, Amasai’s statement-12.18 [helpers and help], 12.21, 22, 33, 38-2 times). (2) Unified Loyalty (12.33, 38-2 times).

Piled-On (11.11b-12.22)! The whole point of these examples – piled high and piled deep – Is to show us the kind of loyalty the King and Kingdom received. These men are paraded before our minds-eye as sweaty, gritty, gutsy specimens of the kind of bravery, the daring and the valor required to follow and serve God’s Anointed One. Though we could benefit immensely by examining each case thoroughly, allow me to do something of my own editorial economizing and call your attention to one salient feature. // Never Far Beneath the Surface: 11.14d and 12.18. The promising thought is that God will rise up and fight for those who support his king and serve his kingdom. Matthew 6.33

Points, Principles and Purpose:
1st – These men are being marched in formation before our imaginations and minds as ideal believers and model loyalists. Why, you may ask? For the ambitious goal of arousing and encouraging renewed faithfulness in God’s people; whether slinking their way back from exile in mid-300 BC, or God’s people brow-beaten, bleak,  and at the breaking-point because of disappointing circumstances – in 2014 AD! I guess you could call it the “How much more” principle. If these men were this kind of loyal to David (who sinned, faltered, and even betrayed them a time or two) then “how much more” loyalty should we have for the greater Son of David who is sinless, faultless, and will never betray us!??!

2nd – Ralph Davis, commenting on the parallel passage in 2 Samuel 23, observes: “…their fighting really constituted fighting for the kingdom of God in this world. Through their arms Yahweh ‘gave rest’ to David and to Israel (2 Sam. 7:1, 10-11). They were, in that sense, kingdom servants (“2 Samuel: Out of Adversity,” 255). These loyalists of King and Kingdom are rehearsed for us to remind us that when we ourselves are surrounded by God-resisters and kingdom-rejectors, we may expect that there will be plenty of opportunity to show valiant courage; a lionhearted loyalty for our King and the progress of his Kingdom. When our Lord Jesus preached, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1.15) he was in essence saying two things: (1) The time of the restoration of the Kingdom of David has come, therefore (2) the time for mighty men, men of valorous loyalty has arrived!  And Paul clearly has this kind of thing in mind: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (Philippians 1.27-30).


3rd – My friends, this whole section is not meant to beat you down, to suffocate hope or strangle courage. It is meant to encourage, heartening you. At the minimum – it should drive you, not to despair or defeat, but to your knees to pray for backbones of steel and livers of iron (so to speak). And then to rise up, and perform feats of pluck, daring and gallantries for the King and his Kingdom. And rejoice as the LORD saves us by a great victory! 1 Corinthians 15.57-58!

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