Sermon Notes: His Reign, His People, His Place

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, … And it was so. … Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion … And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it …

Genesis 1:1, 2, 26, 28 ESV

Last Sunday, David, our executive pastor, continued teaching in the summer series, The King and His Kingdom. He took us to the beginning, the very beginning…Genesis 1 … to explore the pattern of the kingdom.

True the phrase, “kingdom of God,” isn’t in the Old Testament. But we do see all the elements of the kingdom illustrated there once we have a simple definition of the kingdom of God by which to identify those elements.

The kingdom is God’s reign through God’s people over God’s place.

Jeremy Treat, Seek First: How the Kingdom of God Changes Everything

In the first chapter of Genesis we see God as sovereign, as He creates the heavens and the earth, the plants, animals, the sea, and more. He fashions His place, the garden, fit for His royal subjects, the people He creates. He gives a royal decree to the people, granting them dominion over the fish, birds, livestock, every creeping thing. God gave them plants for food. He designs a perfect world, His intention to reign over His people in His place.

We know that those first people, Adam and Eve, choose not to obey the King, and so they are banished from the garden, forever separating mankind from God. BUT God, doesn’t abandon His people. His plan for reigning over His people in His place is not thwarted because from eternity past, we read that we were chosen, united with Christ before the foundation of the world, before God spoke the world into being! His redemptive plan was not borne out of an “oops – didn’t see that coming!’ NO, His plan of redemption, the establishment of His eternal kingdom, was always there!

God’s reign, His place, His people are the foundation for understanding the kingdom! We see kingdom thoughts not just in the historical books, but also in the wisdom literature, the prophets, and of course, in the gospels and epistles.

God’s Reign

Rich Mullins wrote the lyrics to the popular chorus, “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, With wisdom, power, and love, Our God is an awesome God.”

We often think of God reigning in Heaven, but He also reigns over His creation redemptively, reclaiming what He first intended in the garden. King Hezekiah’s prayer, as recorded by Isaiah, illustrates God as creator and ruler over His kingdom.  The Psalmist also echoes God as the eternal reigning king.

O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim,
you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth;
you have made heaven and earth.

Isaiah 37:16 ESV

God is King, robed and ruling,
God is robed and surging with strength.
And yes, the world is firm, immovable,
Your throne ever firm—you are Eternal! 

Psalm 93:1-2 MSG

God’s Place

We’ve already noted that God is reigning over His creation. The kingdom of God encompasses both heaven and earth.

God claims Earth and everything in it,
    God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations,
    laid it out on River girders.

Psalm 24:1-2 MSG

… for through [Christ] God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers,
and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.

Colossians 1:16-17 NLT

Indeed, He who created the universe—heavens and earth—gave it form and shape. The Eternal alone set it all in motion; He didn’t make it a disorganized wasteland but made it a beautiful and comfortable home.

Isaiah 45:18 Voice

God’s People

I love the picture of God getting His hands dirty in the mud, shaping a man, breathing in his nostrils the breath of life. The scripture says in Genesis 2:8 that God planted Adam in the garden. A very specific act on God’s part, placing the man in the home, the sanctuary He had created. And then, not wanting the man to be alone, putting him to sleep, taking from him a rib, fashioning a woman, bringing her to the man. Joining the two – so much fun to imagine those two greeting one another, learning one another, discovering the joys for which God had created them. I also imagine God’s great pleasure as He walks and talks with His creation – He is near, intimate, with His people. This is the idyllic picture of God’s kingdom. God, the perfect King, walking in the place He created, with His people – yes, subject to the King, and yet, also beloved by Him.

God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26 NET

Of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them?
Of what importance is mankind, that you should pay attention to them?
You made them a little less than the heavenly beings.
You crowned mankind with honor and majesty.
you appoint them to rule over your creation;
you have placed everything under their authority,

Psalm 8:4-6 NET

And so, the pattern of the kingdom of God is established in the creation story.

Jesus preached that the time promised by God has come, that the kingdom of God is near, and invited His listeners to repent! His invitation is still available to us today. He invites us to believe the good news! That good news is that although we were banished from the Kingdom, Jesus came as our kinsman-redeemer, to pay the penalty for our sin that separates us from God. He was crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven, living now to intercede on our behalf. We repent, agreeing with God that what He says about us is true. And we believe. In believing, we are established in His kingdom, His representatives, ambassadors of reconciliation, pointing others to the way!

My prayer today – Father, I surrender again today to your reign in my life. Continue to teach me how to seek your kingdom daily, to represent you well, to participate with you in the building of your kingdom! I pray that your kingdom will come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! Amen.

Come, kingdom of our God,
Sweet reign of light and love!
Shed peace and hope and joy abroad,
And wisdom from above.

Over all our spirits first
Extend thy healing reign;
There raise and quench the sacred thirst,
That never pains again.

Come, kingdom of our God,
And make the broad earth thine!
Stretch over her lands and isles the rod
That flowers with grace divine.

Soon may all tribes be blest
With fruit from life’s glad tree;
And in its shade like brothers rest,
Sons of one family.

John Johns, 1800s
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