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First Family Church

Bad Kings, Good Kings, the Best King

Things just keep worsening for the northern tribes. And though there are some bright spots for the southern tribes, it's a mixed bag. Join Todd as he walks us through the lessons we can learn in some of Israel’s darkest days in this message from 1 Kings 15–16.

Sermon Transcript

I have a question for you as you begin week 8 of our current series: how are you doing through these books of the Old Testament? Now don't answer out loud. Just think to yourself and you'll be honest with the person in the mirror, I hope. Are you doing okay with all the different narratives and the ups and downs and the rights and lefts and the detours and the things that seem, "Wow, that's a lot of gore." Sometimes you're like, "Wow, that's an amazing miracle." Yet through it all we've seen God's faithfulness. I admit to you, it's a lot of material. We're in season 3 currently, if you're a guest, so we're in 1 Kings. Season 2 was 2 Samuel and season 1 was 1 Samuel. We still have season 4 to go, that will be, guess what? 2 Kings. You guys are great mathematicians. Great job. And we're using the Chronicles to kind of just supplement because Chronicles is basically a repetition of much of the Kings. 

So just kind of keep that in mind, but I was just made aware this week just in my own study, man, we have really plodded through a lot of material in actually a pretty quick span of time, so I just want to check in. How are you doing with all of this? You've been wondering why do we spend so much time in the Old Testament, or what's the point of the stories, or is there a point to the stories? I have some good news for you: the New Testament actually answers all of those questions. So let me just kind of this morning as we get ready to dive into an historical section of 1 Kings, just kind of back 30,000 feet up or back and say here's why we study the Bible the way we do, and here's what God is doing in us through it. 

Romans 15 gives us one of the answers, it's because these things were written for our instruction. In fact, as we read them, we gain endurance and encouragement, through the, what's the next word? Scriptures. As we study the Scriptures, he's referring here, of course, to the things written in the former days, the Old Testament, then we get hope, we have endurance. So reading through these narratives in both Samuel, the Kings, the Chronicles, we should gain some sense of like, "Well, God was faithful to his people. They didn't give up. He didn't give up. I mean, he saw them all the way through to the end." That's one of the ways we gain endurance and hope from the Old Testament. 1  Corinthians gives us another reason why the Old Testament is so important because we see the examples in there and we use them to realize we should not do what they did at times, in this case, desire evil as they did. But while instruction for endurance is important and while examples about what not to do is important, here's the primary reason we study the Old Testament: because all of it points to its main character and hero and that's Jesus Christ. And he even said this very blatantly in Luke 24 to two disciples who were walking on the road with him who weren't aware who he actually was. He said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." So Jesus in no uncertain terms simply said, "Everything in the Old Testament is about me and I'm going to fulfill everything God wrote about me." And in fact, he did.

So as we run through the Old Testament in some way of a quick fashion, at least from my perspective, you may think, "Todd, we've been here forever," but as we kind of jog our way through it, yes, the narratives are for our instruction, the examples of what to do and what not to do, they help us but don't miss the real aim of all of our teaching is to showcase Christ as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. I think we'll see that today beautifully in week 8. We're going to root ourselves in 1 Kings 15 and 16 so open your Bibles to those two chapters, would you? I want to take you on a journey today that will start in the maybe early 900 BC time period, perhaps the late 800s. Solomon has just finished reigning. He's turned the kingdom over to his son and his servant in a division, and they've just finished with their terms, we'll call it, and Israel is in some of its darkest days. There has been division. They are now split geographically. They are split politically. The truth is, they've wandered spiritually. This is the late 800s, possibly right now, when a list of seven kings takes center stage in these two chapters, okay? So we're just after the people who followed Solomon and we're just before the first major prophet to come on the scene. His name is Elijah and he mainly prophesied to one of the worst kings in the north, his name was Ahab. So between Solomon's initial successors of both kingdoms and then Elijah and Ahab, we have this span of period in which there are seven kings reigning in the north and the south and they are often battling. We're going to look at those today and see how they point us to Christ. You might be surprised that we can even find a connection, perhaps, but let's not forget what Jesus said. All of the law, the prophets and the psalms point to him, right? So let's see how that works today.

To help you with this, along with your Bible would you look in the back of the chair in front of you. There should be a card that looks something like this and it will walk you through these seven kings with me. There is some space to take some notes. So go ahead and get that ready. You should be in the back of the chair, you'll have a pen handy. And if you want to use our app, you can use that as well. There is place on there to write or just to find some scratch paper that you may prefer to keep with you, a journal. But I'm going to walk you through this historical period. I'll make some secondary observations about these kings, things we can learn as examples and instruction like Paul said in Romans and 1 Corinthians, but I want us to end by noticing how this points us to Christ which hopefully we do that each week but I think today being Palm Sunday is an especially poignant day to do exactly that.

1 Kings 15. Abijam is the first of the kings in the south to get our attention. He's reigning now after Rehoboam and the Bible says in verse 3 of chapter 15 that, "he walked in all the sins that his father did before him," which would be false worship, idolatrous practices, "and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God." So the larger summary of his life is he did some good things but he wasn't wholly true and faithful.

Verse 4 shows a beautiful picture of God's grace, though, and I think a symbolic principle of how God saves us through his King Jesus, by the way. Notice what God does here, "Nevertheless, for David's sake," David was Israel's greatest king to whom God promised a dynasty, and it was for David's sake that God actually gave Abijam "a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem." So the truth is in Abijam's case God did what he did for David's sake. You could say it like this: in spite of Abijam God did what he did, and I think the symbolic, maybe analogous picture is this is how God treats us in Christ. He does what he does for us in spite of us and it's because of his King Jesus that he is gracious to us. So somewhat of a symbolic maybe sense there.

We might could say this about Abijam: he was a good king and he defended the Lord's land but he wasn't wholly true in that he compromised the Lord's law. You say, "Todd, where do you get that?" You'll find that these two kings, Abijam and Asa, are also discussed in the Chronicles, I think it's chapters 13 through 16, and there Abijam is mentioned as taking the challenge to preach to the northern kingdom that their worship of other gods was wrong and he actually says and proclaims that the Lord is one God and we should only worship Yahweh. So in that moment, Abijam had a victory. He was single-heartedly focused, single-mindedly focused on the Lord but later on we read that he actually accumulated multiple wives, as did Solomon, and he had times in which he disobeyed the law to the kings that Deuteronomy spelled out. So I think that's why the Scriptures here say he walked in the sins of his father and he was not wholly true. If I had to kind of paint it in our vernacular I would say this: Abijam's life was probably on a trajectory downward and he had a moment in which he perhaps looked up for a moment, but if you looked at his life as a whole, you would say his direction was downward and so the Lord says about him his heart was not wholly true.

The next king, however, is Asa. Asa reigns beginning in verse 9 and verse 11 says of chapter 15 that he "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD," the opposite of Abijam. Verse 14, however, clarifies for us that even in doing what was right, he had his moments where he faltered. Look at verse 14, "the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days." Am I the only guy in the room that says that's kind of hard to process? I'd like to picture it like this: it appears that perhaps Asa's trajectory was upwards. It was leaning in towards the Lord and he had moments where he looked downward, whereas Abijam's trajectory was downward and he had a moment where he looked upward. Does that make sense? 

So as God sees these two kings, he says to one, "You're wholly true," because of his general direction, and one because of his general direction downward he says, "You're not wholly true." But in both kings, let's be honest, there isn't any sense of perfection. It's God's grace in both of their reigns that actually brings about any good that comes from them.

So this is what's going on in the southern kingdom, probably the late 800s. Abijam, or he's called in the Chronicles Abijah, and then Asa. One good and one not so good. That's why we can say about Asa, he transformed worship but he had trouble trusting. What we mean by that is this: that he did seem to do what was right and as the Lord. He did call the people to worship but if you'll notice in the Chronicles there's a story about how he made a treaty with the king of Syria to protect him from the kings of the north, and the Lord rebuked him and said, "You should have trusted me and not man." So we can kind of give this summary of Asa that he transformed the worship, that's a good thing, but he had trouble trusting. Again, I just say to you both kings had their good aspects and their negative aspects, neither proved to really be perfect and so Israel is still left wanting that perfect king, aren't they?

Reigning contemporarily with them are five kings in the north and there is not a single bright spot here, okay? Let's just go ahead and get that on the table up front. Now, I'm going to kind of walk you through these and I suspect you could get confused because I may get confused even explaining this, but I want you to really think with me about these five kings. There is a startling principle that takes place at the end of this and I want you to stay with me, but walk through this with me.

There are five kings that begin with Nadab who was the son of Jeroboam. Verse 26 of chapter 15 says that, "He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin." So truthfully the son of Rehoboam in the south was just like his dad, here the son of Jeroboam in the north, Nadab, is just like his father, and we could say about Nadab that it was a sad legacy of continued sin, just spiraling downward in false worship and idolatry.

Verse 27 says that God then raised up a man named Baasha who struck down Nadab. So Baasha murders Nadab in order to take the throne. Baasha reigns and in verse 34 we see that, "He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin." So nothing is getting any better. Nothing is changing. It's king after king in the north still practicing idolatry.

Well, Baasha reigns, he dies, his son, Elah takes over in verse 8 of chapter 16. It says, "Elah the son of Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah," but watch this, Zimri doesn't like the fact that Elah is still reigning in Baasha's kind of dynasty and so Zimri conspires against Elah and murders him. Now let's pause here and think. What did Baasha's family do to Nadab? Say it with me: he murdered him. Now suddenly what is Baasha's family experiencing? Murder. Now now of Baasha himself, he died and his son took over, but Elah was murdered by Zimri who then took over after he conspired against him. But watch this in verse 15 it says that, "Zimri reigned seven days." That's a pretty short tenure, isn't it? What happened? Well, just as Zimri had conspired against his commander, the troops that Zimri had conspired to get rid of him. So instead of letting that happen, he goes into one of his palaces, he sets fire to the building and he stays inside and he commits suicide via the house fire. You find this about verse 18, "when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king's house and burned the king's house over him with fire and died, because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the LORD, walking in the way of Jeroboam." So even in verse 18, you go back up to verse 12 and verse 13, you see that these kings in the north continued to pay the penalty for the sins of Jeroboam because they continually practiced them.

Well, Zimri is now dead. There is no king and so two men are vying for the throne. This is verse 21, so much so that, "the people of Israel were divided into two parts." Do you see this? Isn't this ironic that a nation divided, and this is not even a word but I'm going to use it, is now a nation quad-divided or quad-vided. I mean, I think this is so ironic that the northern kingdom who refused to submit to the southern kingdom and stay near Jerusalem, God's chosen city, they said, "No, we don't like that. We're moving out." Now they've got their own people rebelling against them. Isn't that interesting?

Well, Tibni, is that his name? Tibni does not kind of win this. It's not an election but in other words, the people choose Omri instead of Tibni. He becomes king. Tibni dies. Here's the fifth and final king before Ahab, this is Ahab's father, and the Bible says of Omri that he did in verse 25, he did "what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil than all who were before him." So line up all the northern kings from Jeroboam, they all kind of tracked in the same path and Omri's the capstone. He's the worst of the bunch until his son. Ahab will prove to be worse than all of them.

So what you see really in these final five, is a sinister cycle of sin's consequences, whereas with Nadab, you saw a sad legacy, didn't you? He was like his dad. "We'll keep sinning. We'll keep leading the people astray. We'll keep experiencing God's judgment." No chain breaker mentality at all with Nadab and neither with these new dynasties. In fact, what you see is a sinister cycle of sin's consequences. In fact, let me show you again just how sinister and really how ironic this is. Baasha and Elah, their family murdered Nadab. What happened to them? They were murdered. Zimri conspired against the family of Elah and Baasha and what happened to him? Someone conspired against him. And then Omri, who was the one who kind of won the divisive battle with Tibni, that's a result of the division that was going on before he got there. 

So I just kind of threw these three little arrows up there along with these final five kings' names. They both committed the sin and the had the sin committed against them. Isn't that interesting? In Deuteronomy there is a verse that says this, "Be sure your sin will find you out." We love to quote that to our kids, you know, when they're trying to sneak around behind us, right? But I think there's even a more fitting verse for this reign of kings in the north. It's Proverbs 26:27, "Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling." Isn't that interesting? And by the way, who wrote Proverbs 26? Solomon, who was the king before all this division started; who was the king who compromised year after year in little ways. You could almost say he wrote this about his life and about the many kings that would follow him.

This is not the point of our message today, I just wanted to highlight for you as you take notes on that handout about the southern kings and the northern kings. There's a lot to learn here, isn't there, on a secondary, horizontal level about how sin operates, things we should and shouldn't do, but we can learn these are there for our instruction. These are examples we can look to that we don't do evil as they did. That's what the Bible says we should look at these narratives in that way. Yet you say, "Well, Todd, how does this point us to Christ because I don't see a lot of Christ-like things going on in these guys?" Good question. So let's just think a little deeper for a moment. What's going on in Israel as a whole suddenly? We're in the late 800s, probably mid-800s, and Israel cannot seem to find a decent king. There are a few bright spots in the south, there is not a single one in the north. If you're in Israel, aren't you wondering this and something's just not right? Aren't you thinking that? I am. I mean, I'm telling my kids, I'm telling my grandkids, "Hey, I know So-and-so is king but it's not what it's going to be because Yahweh has promised us a King is coming who is going to sit on the throne of David. Man, he was a great king." But it doesn't seem that's happened yet and then perhaps in some moments you say to your kids and grandkids, "I don't know if it's going to happen." I mean, things look really bleak in the north. Things are awful in the south. It's not a good day for Israel but you just kind of keep plodding along, don't you? You just get up the next day and you live under the kingship, good or bad. I mean, that's Israel dilemma. That's their sense like,  "Man, it's just not what it ought to be. This doesn't seem to be adding up to what God promised us." 

I think that sentiment is expressed in a unique verse hidden in a Psalm that was written about 300 years after these two chapters. Would you look at Psalm 89 for a moment? A lot of the Psalms admittedly are written during David's time but there are certain Psalms that are written much later by other musicians. This is one of those Psalms. It's a Psalm written by a Levite who was also a musician and from what we can tell, this Psalm was written during the time in which they were captured, the southern kingdom was captured and living now in Babylon. This is probably the mid to late 500s. They were captured in 586, let's give them 20 or 30 years to get acclimated. The captivity lasted 70 years, let's just call it mid-500s, okay? And if you recall, the kingdoms of the north and south in 1 Kings 15 and 16 probably occurred in the 800s-ish, okay? So we've got a 300 year span of frustration, of wondering why it's not exactly as it should be, of knowing something's wrong, we can't put our finger on it. That's Israel's sentiment. Here's how this musician from the tribe of Levi words it in verse 49, Psalm 89, "Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?" I don't think he's impugning God's character. He says God is faithful, he has steadfast love and he made a promise to David and yet he's asking an honest question, "God, it's been hundreds of years. Where is your love going to be evidenced? Where is this King you promised?"

I personally think knowing what we've seen in the Kings and then the amount of centuries that passed, it's probably a perfectly legitimate question. "God, what is going on? Something's just not right. This isn't the way it's supposed to be." I think that's where we're beginning to see how these kings of 1 Kings 15 and 16 point us to Jesus. We begin to get into the dissatisfaction and frustration of God's people during these hundreds of years.

Now, I need you to tap into that emotion for a moment, okay, and I want to help you do that because sometimes these texts you can read them, whether it's in the 1 Kings 15 and 16 area or even in Psalm 89, 300 years later, and you can kind of almost read them historically, which they are, they're real space and time accounts, but you may read them like, "Well, that's them and they don't know what I'm going through." Actually what they're in is far worse than probably what most of us are in. So let me help you tap into what they're sensing, okay? You have felt at times what it's like to know innately something's not right, like this is not the way it's supposed to be. You love your life, you enjoy it, you're free, you have all these great things, but deep inside you just know that something's not perfect yet. 

Humorously, you know this after every election cycle. Now, I know probably very few people here actually expect the President, whoever he or she may be, to solve every problem, but sometimes in the 20,000 years leading up to the election and all the ads that go with that, okay, it's just a couple or three, but in what seems like, you know, incessant advertising and campaigning, we almost begin to think this is the answer though actually this is what we've always waited on and we can almost succumb to the idea that a President, that a ruler, will actually solve our problems. Then he or she gets elected and regardless of what party you support or identify with, can we just be honest and say you're probably disappointed to some degree and you realize, "You know, something's still not right."

I think you feel this when you watch tragedies occur in our nation, when little children are shot at school, when people attending a concert are just snipered, and you could name your tragedy. Whatever the debate, when you lay your head down on your pillow, you innately know something's not right. Something's wrong with this picture that you can just be picked off, like, "God, that's just not supposed to happen." 

I think you and I feel this when we go to funerals and we see a body that's been ravaged by cancer, maybe a terrible car accident, maybe it's from a national disaster, earthquake or a typhoon or a hurricane and dozens, perhaps hundreds are killed. Perhaps it's from a little baby or even a child's funeral and though in God's economy theologically there is no one whose life is cut short, okay? God ordains our days. His sovereignty is in control of every single person's hour and breath, but from our perspective we often say, "Man, they were taken too early," right? And I kind of get that emotion. That's how I'm tapping into it, the times when you have sensed, "You know, something's just not right here. There shouldn't be this much disease. There shouldn't be this much death. What's going on, God?"

Are you tapping into the times when you have felt like something's just not right in our world? That's their world. "Something, God, just isn't right. You promised a king to sit on the throne of David and it's been hundreds of years and things are worse than they've ever been. So God, where is your steadfast love of old which by your faithfulness you swore to David?" Have you ever felt that way? I think it's okay to say in your heart, "I have."

As they cried to their Lord, as they prayed to Yahweh, as they let their hearts just be exposed to God, here's how he answered them. They came back from their captivity. They are rebuilding the temple. They are reinstituting worship. It's not many of them, it's just a remnant, the Bible says. But they're back in Jerusalem. This is probably now late 400s, early 500s. It's been hundreds of years since the time of the kings and prophets are on the scene to encourage them to stay true to the Lord and to point to the coming king. So now they're hearing talk again of a king is coming. Well, who is it going to be this time? 

One of those prophesies that I think I enjoy today especially is found in Zechariah. It's one of the last books of the Old Testament. Can you find a finger for that, would you? Zechariah 9:9. Here's how God answered their question of Psalm 89. They are frustrated legitimately. They're short-sighted. But God sends a somewhat unknown prophet to these folks who are back in the land and when, really, they had very little to rejoice about, things were in disarray, they were in shambles, their temple was destroyed in lots of ways, just a lot of things weren't right. This little prophet, so to speak, he says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you." So to a people who had been waiting for hundreds of years and who have in frustration cried out to God, "Where is your steadfast love? Where is the one you said would come on the throne of David?" Here Zechariah now says, "Your king is coming." 

If I'm in Israel that day, if I'm part of that remnant group, I'm asking, "Well, how will I know it's him? We've been let down before." And I'm starting to think about Ahab, Nadab, are you with me? Man, I'm listing off all the kings from these history books that I've read like, "Hey, okay, you've told us before the dynasty of David will continue but, God, how will we know this king is the real one? When is the perfect king going to show up? How do we know it's him?" Zechariah says this, "Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." Oh, okay. So at some point when we see this happen, we'll know that our king is here. 

Well, let's keep moving forward in the timeline of history. This is probably late 400s, by that I mean the 480s, 490s range. Let's scoot ahead 400-500 more years. Imagine the frustration building, imagine the spiritual anticipation that's climaxing in God's people. Jesus Christ is on the scene. He is claimed to be the King of the Jews. He is claimed to be the long awaited Messiah. He's actually used the phrase, "I am," to say to people listening, "I'm God." Then a week before he gives his life, he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and all the Jews, the descendants from those generation after generation after generation of frustrated, anticipating, wondering Jews who are saying, "God, where is your steadfast love?" Suddenly look what happens in Mark 11, Jesus comes riding in on this donkey. Humble. Righteous. Saving his people. And they recognize him. "Here's the King we've been waiting on! It's been centuries, but he's doing exactly what Zechariah said he would do, he would come on the foal of a donkey. He would come and he would ride in humility and righteousness." And Jesus surely did.

So as they watched him and saw him, they said this to him, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" And then notice the last phrase of Mark's account because the entry is mentioned in all four Gospels. I like Mark the best because of this phrase. "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" I know we think that at the crucifixion the Jews didn't get it, and I think that's correct, by the way, but can I say to you that at least a week earlier most of them did. Their words are true though their heart was fickle. They recognized Jesus for exactly who he said he was and who he was. He was God's coming King in the line of David, establishing that throne. Here's the perfect one. Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Asa, you could name all the kings. Some were good, most were bad, none were perfect. Here's the perfect one finally arriving and can you imagine the joy and the deep wellspring of satisfaction when they realized, "Wow, the one we're seeing is exactly who Zechariah said we should look for as the one finally coming from God." All of their centuries of dissatisfaction I think were finally realized and Jesus is here, our King has come.

Do you feel the weight of Palm Sunday now of this triumphal entry? And do you see how it connects really to this string of kings that we've been studying? None of them really could do what had to be done. In type and contrast, all they could ever do was point to the need that we have for a perfect king. But when Jesus came, that need was met and Jesus, the King, showed up, and when he showed up, he brought the kingdom of his father David and the crowd shouted, "Hosanna!" which is translated, "Save us." And can I say to you, that's exactly what he did. In fact, this week, I've been stunned at how true these words actually are. I know the crowd is not our favorite. We don't like the crowd at the triumphal entry, do we? We feel like they turned on the Lord and they're just fickle but the truth is they said some amazingly accurate words. Jesus did save them and he saved them right then and there. Within the next seven days, he would go to Calvary, lay down his life and save his people from their sins, fulfilling even the book of Matthew where the angel says to Joseph, "Call him Jesus. He'll save his people from their sins." He did that in that moment in  real time and space, in that week. Jesus saved people. He saved God's people.

Why didn't they, then, stick to their words? Because they wanted saved militarily. They wanted saved politically. They wanted saved economically. But none of those were their deepest need. They were just like many of us. We want God to be our ATM. We want God to be our political answer, red or blue. We want God to kind of be our quick line to give us a blessing. But you see, God has something far greater in mind than just meeting the needs of your body, and he can and will do that. God wants to meet your deepest need and that's the need of your soul and he's done that through Jesus for when Jesus died, he met your deepest need. It's the one caused by sin and that separates you from God, separates me from God. When Jesus came, he bridged the gap between us and God. The Bible says he's the Mediator between God and man. Who is he? The man, Christ Jesus.

So I'm so thankful that when Jesus the King came, he did what kings, I should say, what perfect kings do, didn't he? He forgave us of our debt. He freed us from our captures. He released us from our chains. That's what kings did but no one could do it perfectly. No matter how good or bad they may have been, their kingdom, their reign always ended up short until Jesus, and when Jesus came, he did what only the perfect King could do and he did it satisfactorily to both God and man.

"How do you know that, Todd?" Because of this verse right here. God inspired this and caused it and the people recognized it, and when Jesus rode in a donkey into the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, it was clear to both God and man, "The King is here." That's why our simple take-home truth this week is not hard to grasp but it's just kind of right before us now. We've kind of walked through this history. We're ending here at the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, Palm Sunday centuries ago, and we begin to see something, watch this: that all of our best and worst kings fall short, don't they, but King Jesus satisfies both God and man perfectly. I think you find that in the triumphal entry when at least for a moment the nation realized, "Here's the King we've been waiting on. He fulfilled Zechariah's prophecy as well as the 300+ other ones. Here's our King. Hosanna! Save us now! Blessed is your name!" And God was satisfied.

Can I remind you that that really is what's happening in Passion Week. It's man being eternally at his most deepest levels satisfied and God being satisfied. Did you know that? By the very same sacrifice because the sacrifice, i.e. Jesus' substitutionary death that was made for you to forgive your sins, the sacrifice that saved you is the very same sacrifice that satisfies God and they are both tied up into what one King did for us. When Jesus gave his life for us, he met our deepest need and satisfied God's wrath. That's what kings do. They take care of the deepest real problem.

So are you tracking this morning okay? Do you see the frustration that has built for centuries? How all the kings, as good as we might think their instruction and example could be on either side, positive or negative, they always leave us wanting. We're always going to be just a dollar short and a day late with a human king. We're always going to sense something's just not right. But when Jesus came, everything was right this way and this way, horizontally and vertically. Jesus made it right. Man, thank the Lord for Jesus Christ. Amen, church?

That's why this series and especially today, I don't want you focused on Abijam, Asa, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri or Omri. Let's learn a few lessons but let's let it be secondary. Let's not let them capture our attention. Let's let the cross, our attention be on the one that either by type or contrast they point to, and who is that one? It's the one who would come centuries later and fulfill every one of God's prophecies. His name was Jesus and he is the true and perfect King.

Now if you think that your emotion around this, you kind of tapped into that a little bit to sense how they felt, that same emotion is also in heaven at times. I'm not sure how exactly but can I explain to you a beautiful passage that's really meant a lot to me this week? Revelation 5. There seems to be in this chapter whether it's allegorical, symbolic, or in the future, we'll leave the scholars to debate all that, okay? But there is this picture painted of this, once again, kind of legitimate frustration, like, "Hey, here's this scroll that no one can open," and the Bible says in Revelation 5 the people are weeping because no one can be found to open the scrolls. No one is worthy. But then a voice says, "Weep no more for the Lamb is worthy to open the scrolls." And suddenly in heaven jubilation breaks out, that King Jesus is able and worthy to open the scrolls. When no one else could, King Jesus could. Are you with me? It's there that we begin to realize, "Oh, so this is when that innate feeling, that sense, that emotion that something's just not right, that's how it's solved. It's in King Jesus when he brings his kingdom to bear upon this world's kingdom." When that occurs and only then will things finally be made right and only he can do that. This is why the Lord's Prayer does not say, "Your presidency come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It doesn't say that. It doesn't say, "Your party come." It doesn't say anything except this, "Lord, your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And there's only one person who can bring the kingdom of God to the kingdoms of this world and that is King Jesus, and when he brings it, that sense that you have that something's just not right, that families shouldn't be in this much dysfunction, that people shouldn't murder babies in the womb, that we shouldn't be able to shoot people from a hotel window randomly, that starving children and divorcing spouses and dying children and list all of the ills and sickness and disease and sins, put them all in one basket. Something's not right. It's not changing until Jesus the King shows up with God's kingdom and makes it right.

That's why in some sense we can relate to what the people of Israel were going through those years. They were awaiting for their King and guess who we're waiting on? Yes, the King has come and he's inaugurated the kingdom, he's gone back to heaven and the Bible says he'll come again in like manner. So until that day, we're waiting now as well for King Jesus to come in all of his visibility and make everything right. No more injustice. No more tears. The earth will be reconciled, in fact. Our bodies will be reconciled. But there is only one person who's worthy to do all of that, Jesus Christ. Why? Because he's King.

One pause for a simple point of application. Kings typically don't negotiate, they just command. Can we go with that for a minute? I know Solomon did, apparently. That's how he got so many wives, right? But in the best and perfect kingdom, there's no need to negotiate, you're king, you're sovereign, you just simply decree. So I always think it's amazingly funny to me, and it's not the kind of funny I laugh at, but I find it strikingly humorous how the American church loves to negotiate with King Jesus in our attempts to try to decide what we will and won't do of what the King say. We've even changed the Great Commission in which Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives and he says, "All authority has been given to me." That means, your King, by the way. And he says, "All authority on heaven and earth have been given to me. Go and make disciples of all nations." That's pretty clear and so as we embrace that, he then said this, "You're to baptize them and you're to teach them," now watch this phrase, "to obey everything I've said." But we've changed that. We'd rather just say, "We're going to teach you everything Jesus said." So we are just inundated with lectures and classes and books and videos and songs, and we soak them all in because we want to learn everything Jesus said, but that's not actually what Jesus said to do. He didn't say teach folks what he said, he said teach folks to obey everything he said. 

That's what kings do, kings call for obedience and I find it sadly sadly comical that in the American church we actually think we can negotiate with the King. Here's the point of application: just obey King Jesus. In fact, where is your point of obedience today? There may be some in this room who have been just considering the plans of Christ. Is he actually God and did he actually give his life as the sacrifice for my sins and is God actually satisfied? Is that what the resurrection then says? To all that I would say: yes. But you're still wondering. You're trying to connect the dots further. You're trying to see that it all makes sense, trying to catch a contradiction, you know, make sure there is nothing hidden, and can I say to you that at a certain point you have to take God at his word and by faith simply believe that God exists, that Jesus is God, and that he died for you and rose again for the complete satisfaction and forgiveness of your sins. The moment that occurs, the Bible says that we are, I'll use the word saved. I like that word. And there may be some in this auditorium this morning who have never been saved from what? From their sins and paying for them in hell. 

But this morning you're like, "You know, Todd, if that's actually true that God has sent Jesus as our King and he did what only a perfect King could do and has forgiven us and freed us, then this morning I'll obey him and repent of my sin and trust Jesus as the only way to be saved." Do you know that that actually is a point of obedience? Do you know that trusting Christ to save you is obeying Christ? In fact, it's the very first act of obedience that anyone ever does to God. They say, "Lord, I'm wrong. You're right. Would you save me through Jesus?" And God does that. That's the first act of obedience and maybe this morning you've never trusted Christ. I implore you, I urge you, you're messing with the King, so to speak. Don't debate, argue or negotiate. Just believe. Ask him to save you this morning. He'll do what only he can do and he'll meet your deepest need. He'll save you from your sins.

Maybe you're already a Christian, though. You're kind of like, you know, you and God are straight theologically, spiritually, you're free but you have this sense that you're going to bargain with him at times on things like getting into community, like loving your brothers and sisters, and church, being connected to a body, like that's an option. Do you know that the church isn't an option in God's kingdom. Now we think it is. "Maybe I'll go today. Maybe I won't." Whoever thought of that? Who made the rule that we could just do something different than what God's commands were? The church is Christ's body and we are connected so if you're just kind of disconnected, kind of making an option, I want to challenge you that's not a kingdom mindset and that's not one of submission to the King. So just say, "Lord, I'll obey. I'll get connected to your body." Quit making church optional.

Maybe it's involving serving and giving of your lives to God's purposes. Maybe it's in giving financially. It's in loving other people. You could pick a number of things. Here's what I'm saying: when the Holy Spirit pricks your heart, when the Holy Spirit on behalf of the King convicts you and says, "Hey, here's what the King would like from you," don't think it's a request. The King is calling and our answer should be, "Oh, the King has called? I'm in." The answer is just, "Yes. Okay, Lord, you're the King, what's the question?"

But like I said, I'm just intrigued with how often we are just like the people at the triumphal entry. We can sing and shout and declare on Sundays, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" And then we're so fickle that a few days later we're like, "Well, let me think about that, God. Who do you think you are, the king?" Actually, he is exactly that. So let's just say, "Lord, whatever you say, I'm in."

I hope today that you are seeing King Jesus and that as you remember the historical entry of the King into Jerusalem, humble, righteous, having salvation, that you'll think about King Jesus now as well and your posture in front of him, and you'll think about, "Well, I know what that feels like to wait because we're waiting now," and that you will position yourself to wait obediently and patient for the Second Coming of King Jesus. And here's what that will look like and I'm praying this Scripture will weigh on you as you consider your response to our King. It's in Revelation 19. In fact, would you stand with me and let's read this as we close our message? Here's a beautiful description of this King when he brings God's kingdom once for all to bear upon the kingdoms of this world. It will be a magnificent arrival. It will be one, though, where he does not come on a donkey, he comes on a white horse and he will not come in a visibly humble way, though he will remain humble, he'll come in a powerfully humble way to judge those. This is the next arrival of King Jesus so I call upon you, church, to see your King. Yes, historically in the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem. Yes, spiritually in your own life. But yes, futuristically as he will come again one day and this is what that will look like. Read with me, would you? 

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 

See him today.

Let's pray.

We hope you enjoyed today's sermon. For more messages, visit firstfamily.church/sermons. Thanks for listening.

 

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