Christ Reigning Now And Coming Soon

May 24, 1998 / No. 2890

Did you live this past week in the faith that Jesus Christ reigns over all things at the right hand of God and is coming soon to judge the living and the dead?

Christians confess from the Word of God that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. And from that posture He shall come at the end of the word to judge both the living and the dead.

That faith is not only to be a confession of our lips, but also to be seen written in our very lives. Is it?

When you read the paper and hear of the thousand events in nations and cities, the apparently swirling and twisted confusion of life, do you think, “Christ directs all things for His own purposes, the final salvation of the church for which He died”?

In your personal life this past week were you angry, upset, frustrated over your own plans? Were you gripped with fear? Did you have despair? Or did you comfort yourself in this faith that, in ways which pass your understanding and knowledge, Jesus Christ directs all things in your life toward the highest and greatest good, your final salvation?

And did you think this past week of the truth that Jesus Christ is coming and is coming soon? Do you live in such a way that you will not be ashamed to stand before Him in that day when He stands again upon the earth, when the events of every day shall be revealed? For the Word of God says that the Book shall be opened, the book of the words and thoughts and deeds of mankind.

Or did you live as if you think that you are answerable only to yourself, that you make decisions based upon your own opinions and you live the way you want to? Did you seek the earthly things for your comfort? Were you motivated by the urge to have more and more of this life?

Or did you live as one whose hope is in the day when Jesus Christ shall stand upon the earth and you will enter into His kingdom, there to be clothed with riches which will never tarnish, riches which are aimed for the satisfaction of the soul?

The question boils down to this: Is the confession that a Christian makes, that Jesus Christ reigns right now over all things and that He is coming soon, is that the most basic, powerful, comforting, and controlling force in your day-by-day living?

Let us talk together and consider together the truth that Jesus Christ is reigning right now in heaven over all things, and that Jesus Christ is coming soon.

The Scriptures assure us that Jesus Christ, who ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection, is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. We read in I Peter 3:22: “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.” The apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 15:24-28, expands upon this truth. There he teaches us that Christ reigns under God, all has been subjected to Him, and He must reign until this end or purpose has been attained: when He shall deliver up the kingdom unto God and God shall be all and in all.

Christ ascended into heaven for this purpose: that He might reign at the Father’s right hand over all things. Perhaps you listened to our broadcast last week, when we considered the ascension and saw that there was a necessity for that ascension because He had a glorified body, and that glorified body, for its fit place, belonged in heaven. Now, in addition, the Scriptures teach that He had to ascend into heaven to take up His rightful place. For He must reign, I Corinthians 15:24-28. Having conquered sin upon the cross, being risen now as the Lord of life for His children, He must reign. He must ascend to take up His rightful place.

We may call this the coronation of Jesus Christ. That Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father means that He is crowned with all authority, might, glory, and honor from God. And now, as King of kings and Lord of lords, He rules over all things. That is what the Word of God says.

This was the truth celebrated in the Old Testament, pictured already when David was crowned as king and when Solomon was crowned. In Psalm 2 we read that God declares the decree, that God has set His Son on His holy hill in Zion over all things. We read again, in Psalm 110:1-3, that it is Christ who, at the right hand of God, now reigns over all things. And the book of Revelation records the event that when the risen Son of God ascended up into heaven there were shouts of victory among the angels and saints. And He took the Book from His Father’s right hand and began to open it ( Rev. 5). Jesus Christ sits enthroned over all things.

That certainly means that in the matter of salvation, in the saving of a soul, Jesus Christ is no weakling. He is no beggar. He is not frustrated, unable to perform what He desires to perform in the heart of a sinner. We decry the notion that Christ knocks at the door of the sinner’s heart, unable to enter in unless the sinner is disposed to open and to allow Jesus to come in. We decry that and say that is wrong not only because such a view falsifies the true state of man (man is dead in himself in his sin), but it also robs Christ of the glory that is due to Him. Jesus Christ is the One who suffered hell’s agony. Jesus Christ is the One who broke the bars of death. Jesus Christ is the One who parted the heavens and entered therein. Jesus Christ is the One who is clothed with all power and majesty of God. And everything is placed in subjection unto Him. Now, does this Jesus Christ stand stymied at the door of any heart which is His good pleasure to save? Jesus Christ holds the scepter in His hand. And He holds it not in vain. He holds a two-edged sword in His hand and holds it not in vain. Jesus Christ is a mighty Savior. And His salvation in your heart is a miracle of His mighty power.

God has revealed His purpose in bringing Jesus Christ to His right hand in heaven. The Scripture is plain. Christ exercises His power under God with one purpose in view, namely, the completion of the will of God for His church. Ephesians 1:19-21 teaches us this. There the apostle would have us know the exceeding greatness of the power of God toward us when He raised Christ and placed Him at His own right hand to rule over all things for the church. The purpose of Christ at the right hand of God is to direct all things unto the final and full and perfect salvation of the church. Jesus Christ is not a king without a platform, a goal. His goals and purposes are ever to do the will of Him who sent Him. And the Scriptures make very plain that the will of God has to do with the church, with the final glory of the church which God had chosen from eternity, the church in which God is pleased to be all and in all, the church which is described in Revelation 21 as the tabernacle of God in which we shall dwell.

Towards that goal of the final glory of the church Jesus Christ now rules over all things. With absolute control and in highest wisdom, Christ directs all things towards that goal. That is history. History is not the story of man’s development, man’s social awareness, man’s evolutionary principles unfolding. No. History is God, through Jesus Christ, building the eternal kingdom of grace and glory. The theme of the history is the church of the living God. And all the events in the history of the world serve that purpose. The world exists for the church. That is what we read in I Corinthians 3:21, 23, where the apostle says, “All things are for your sakes, for the sake of the church.” Christ has been given unlimited power. Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” The word “authority” means, “the right to rule.” Nothing moves, nothing happens, nothing transpires but by the will and the good pleasure of Christ who was at God’s right hand. Peter says in I Peter 2:20, 21, that angels and principalities, devils and nations, men and woman are made subject unto Him.

This world is not currently involved in a tussle between Christ and the devil to see who is going to come out on the top at the end of a given day or at the end of history. It is not only that Christ is smarter, better at anticipating the moves of the enemy. But the truth of the Scriptures is this: We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. More than conquerors. We go forth in the battle of faith assured before the battle begins, and while it is raging, of the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said to Peter and the church: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church.” He is Lord of all. And all must, either consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, serve in the building of His great work.

In the Old Testament God raised up Pharaoh and Egypt (Romans 9:18) to show His power and glory. He raised up Egypt in the Old Testament to be the nest to keep Israel during the famine and to reveal His power. God raised up the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus (one of the world’s great political leaders) to perform God’s good pleasure-God’s little instrument-in order that God’s Son might be born in Bethlehem of Judea (Luke 2:1-7). Christ now reigns over all things, directing, moving, and controlling them unto the purposes of the glory of God and His church.

And this is a gracious purpose. In the world He rules by His power. But in the church He rules by His grace. The smallest child in the church, the little boy, the old and decrepit woman, the frightened mother, the tempted father-with tenderest grace and goodness Christ directs all things for their good, working out God’s good and holy plan, preserving them in faith, making them willing in the day of His power ( Psalm 110). Let us praise His name.

We read in the Scriptures: Zion heard and was glad! This is the message which we proclaim to you as the messenger sent of God. This is the message we proclaim from the Word of God, not our word: Isaiah 52:7, “Thy God reigneth.” Let the sea roar and let the earth be glad. Christ is reigning now over all things.

That tells me with absolute certainty that I may know that everything is serving the good of the church. That tells me that whatever the difficulties and the trials and the sadness to which I must be subjected, yet I know that nothing shall take me from communion with my heavenly Father.

By faith we confess that He sits at the right hand of God, there to rule over all things. And from that posture at the right hand of God He often says to us, “O ye of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” The throne of God which rules over all is not vacant, though we sometimes think so. Heaven is not made of brass, though we, in our little faith, might imagine so. Jesus Christ reigns over all things.

And it is exactly from that posture of absolute power and authority that Jesus Christ is going to come again to judge the living and the dead at the end of the world. That is the message of the Scripture. We read in Revelation 19:16 that Jesus Christ has on His thigh a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords. In I Thessalonians 3 we read in verse 13 that He shall appear with His angels and with His saints. In Revelation 1 we read that every eye shall see Him, and the earth shall mourn because of Him and the wicked shall flee from His face. In Matthew 24 He says that He shall gather His people from the four corners, that He shall judge all nations, and He shall burn this present world and universe with fire and out of it create the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness shall dwell. And the Bible ends with these words: Even so, come, Lord Jesus; yea come quickly.

Are you ready for the coming of Jesus Christ?

This world is not part of cosmic dust. It is not hurtling out into the unknown. The sun is not simply a star which is burning out. And our hope is not that spaceship earth is going to find another habitable planet somewhere out there. We are not on spaceship earth making our own destiny and being all that we can be. But Jesus Christ is coming to judge the earth. Jesus Christ created the world by His own power and hand. You are not independent. You are not autonomous. You did not pop out on the earth. You were made by the hand of God. And His Son, Jesus Christ, is coming, coming as the Judge and the Savior of all those who, by grace, put their trust and hope in Him. This is our hope, this is what the word of God teaches: ( Ps. 96) For He cometh, He cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the earth with righteousness and the people with truth. His parting word to the church was: Behold, I come quickly. The message of the angel in Acts 1 was: This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. All must stand before Him. And this is the hope of a believer.

Is it yours?

You ask me, When is Jesus Christ going to come? We do not know when. Jesus said that the day and the hour were not revealed to any man, not to the angels, not even to Himself during His days on earth (Mark 13:32). Ye know not when the time is. The month, the year, the time is not revealed, purposefully, in order that we might be ready, in order that we might watch and pray. Jesus did say there will be signs, signs indicating the nearness of His approach, signs which will be repeated in greater intensity. The gospel, He said, must be spread throughout the world. There will be increase in lawlessness. There will be apostasy, that is, the forsaking of the truth. The love of many, said Jesus, will wax cold. There will be the rise of the antichristian kingdom on the earth, the kingdom of man. And the church will be compared to a woman in travail, a woman who is persecuted and flees into the wilderness. But He comes, He comes to judge the world, He comes to judge all (rich and poor, mighty and weak, all races of man), and all men shall appear before Him.

Are you ready?

The child of God responds in faith (Luke 21:28), And when ye see “these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” In a world where men are looking everywhere, where can my help come from? Who will show us any good? Dashed dreams, shattered hopes, nothing to steady them. The child of God walks through this world with uplifted head and a sure hope, a hope which will never make ashamed. We know that our redemption is drawing nigh. With confidence and unshakable holy faith, we know that Jesus Christ is coming for us. All tears and all sighing shall be gone then. And we shall be taken to be with Him in heavenly joy and in eternal glory.

So we may live without fear of judgment.

To the believing child of God, to one who, by faith, puts his all in Jesus Christ, the return of Christ is not dread. He is coming for me. The One who gave Himself upon the cross of Calvary, who arose from the tomb the third day, who ascended into heaven-He is coming for me. The same person who confessed me upon the cross, who stood in my place to bear the punishment for my sins, the same person who arose with me upon His mind, and who sent forth His gospel to me to declare that He is risen and that I am risen in Him-that same One is coming back for every believer.

Is that your hope?

Now we are right back to where we started our message today. Do you live out of this faith? Does it regulate how you live? Do you look to the Lord for your strength?

We believe the holy Scriptures. Do you? We believe from those holy Scriptures that Jesus Christ sits at God’s right hand ruling right now. And that Jesus Christ is coming to judge the living and the dead. That is the hope, the faith, and the confession of a believer.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what Christ says.

Let us pray.

Father, take Thy word and bind it to the heart. Amen.