************ Sermon on Psalm 110:1 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on May 20, 2007
"He is Lord"
The Bible teaches us (in Revelation 20) that there is a millennium, a thousand year reign of Christ. We cannot deny that.
The Bible also teaches us that someday Christ is going to return. We cannot deny that either.
What is the relationship between the millennium and the return of Christ? Some say that Christ will return before the millennium. Others say Christ will return after the millennium. We say the millennium has begun with the ascension of Jesus Christ; that's day one. And the day that He comes again in victory, that is year thousand. The millennium is the whole age of the Gospel era, the whole time between Christ's ascension and Christ's return.
Why do we say this? Because the message of the Old Testament and New Testament is that Jesus is Lord now. In his Pentecost Day sermon Peter talks about Jesus' crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension. He quotes our text from Psalm 110:1:
(Acts 2:34-35) "The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand (35) until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."He concludes with this:
(Acts 2:36) "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."Jesus is Lord and Christ.
Jesus, Who died and arose, ascended into heaven and is now seated at God's right hand. Not everyone understands exactly what this means:
Title: Pulled It Off Singlehandedly
A few years ago Mrs. Harvey Kidd wrote:
My young grandson, Richard, and I recently vacationed in the Rocky Mountains. One day we had stopped to admire their grandeur, and after a few minutes of thoughtful silence Richard broke out, "Just think -- God did all this with only one hand!" I puzzled over this for a moment, then asked him what he meant. "Oh, you know, Grandmother." he replied, "the Bible says Jesus was sitting on the right hand of God!"
-- Mrs. Harvey Kidd, Hernando, MS, Today's Christian Woman, July /August 1994, p. 33.
What does it mean to sit at the right hand of God? This means that Jesus reigns now, that Jesus is King now, that Jesus has been given a throne and a crown. Jesus is Lord now. God has given Jesus the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Phil 2:5-11). He is Lord!
Remember what Jesus said just before He went into heaven? Jesus said, ""All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me ..." (Mt 28:18). He is Lord!
This claim is nothing new. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. This was a claim on His part to be the Messiah. The crowds realized this so they greeted Him with garments and palm branches and cries of "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" (Mt 21:9). He is Lord!
Jesus' triumphal entry caused the crowds to ask, "Who is this?" (Mt 21:10). Remember what happened next? Jesus chased the moneychangers and merchants out of the Temple. He then healed the blind and the lame (Mt 21:14). He is Lord!
All of this aroused the jealousy and anger of the chief priests and teachers of the law (Mt 21:15). "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?" (Mt 21:23). He is Lord!
This started a great debate between Jesus and the Jewish religious authorities. Jesus was asked about paying taxes to Caesar (Mt 22:16ff), the resurrection (Mt 22:23ff), and what is the most important commandment (Mt 22:29ff). The great debate ended when Jesus asked the Pharisees a question about out text from Psalm 110:1 (Mt 22:41ff). Jesus wanted to know how the Messiah could be both the son of David and David's Lord. He is Lord!
In His debate with the Pharisees Jesus tells us three things about Psalm 110: first, Jesus affirms that David is the author of the psalm; second, that David wrote the psalm inspired by the Spirit; third, that David was not writing about just any king but about the Messiah who is both his son and his Lord. Jesus was not teaching anything new. The psalm itself makes the same three points that Jesus makes. What Jesus said about this psalm also came as no surprise to His audience. They, too, believed David was the psalm's author, that he wrote by inspiration, and that he spoke of the Messiah or Christ. What the religious leaders were unwilling to admit was that Jesus was David's son and Lord.
I He is Lord
A As I have said before, Psalm 110:1 is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other Old Testament text. That's because it speaks directly about Jesus. It tells us that Jesus is the son of David and the Lord of David:
(Ps 110:1) Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."To sit at God's right hand means to share His power and position. This reminds me of the story of James and John:
(Mark 10:35-37) Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." (36) "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. (37) They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."James and John wanted to share in Jesus' power and position as Lord.
B Our text from Psalm 110 indicates a time gap between Christ's exaltation and Christ's triumph. In other words, there is both a present and a future dimension to what God says. God says, "Sit at my right hand ..." Right now, today, the Messiah sits at God's right hand and has kingdom, power, and authority. He is Lord.
God also says, "until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." "Until" indicates future action. To be a footstool for someone's feet means to be completely subject to him or her. We see this in the Ancient World when victorious commanders would place their feet on the necks of their defeated foes (cf Josh 10:24-25). This picture of future victory is also seen in verse 2:
(Ps 110:2) The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.Notice again the future action – "will extend." The "scepter" is the symbol of the king's right to rule. It is a symbol of His absolute power and authority. We see this power in the story of Esther. Esther's uncle, Mordecai, told her about Haman's plot to kill all the Jews in the Babylonian Empire and urged her to go into the king's presence to plead for her people. But Esther reminded her uncle that anyone who approached the king without being summoned was put to death unless the king extended the gold scepter to him or her and spared their life (Esther 3:11). The scepter was the symbol of the king's power over life and death. So verse 2 of our Bible reading informs us that the enemies of Christ will someday be defeated, but not immediately. He is Lord.
The Apostle Paul refers to this psalm in his letter to Corinth. In talking about Christ he says:
(1 Cor 15:25-26) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
So, Jesus rules already. He is Lord. His thousand year reign started with His ascension into heaven. But His enemies will not be totally defeated until He returns as the conquering King.
II He is Priest
A Our Ascension Day psalm not only speaks of the Messiah as King and Lord but also as priest. Listen to verse 4:
(Ps 110:4) The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
He Who is crowned as King on Ascension Day is also a priest. In the Ancient World there was generally a strict division between the office of priest and king; that is why it was so wrong for King Saul to offer the burnt offerings that only Samuel should have offered before going into battle against the Philistines (1 Sam 13). We find the same division between king and priest in our country too in the separation of church and state. But in Jesus we have a King who is also a priest and a priest Who is also a King.
B In Jesus the priestly office and the kingly office are joined together because Jesus is a priest forever "in the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:4).
Melchizedek appears three times in the Bible: Genesis 14, Psalm 110, the book of Hebrews. Melchizedek is shrouded in a cloak of mystery. He suddenly appears on the scene and just as quickly disappears. We don't know much about him but this is what we do know:
-he combines the kingly with the priestly office – he is king of Salem and priest of God Most High (Gen 14:18; cf Heb 7:1)
-he is greater than Abraham because he blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of all he had (Gen 14:19-20; cf Heb 7:1-7)
-the name "Melchizedek" means "king of righteousness" (Heb 7:2)
-"king of Salem" means "king of peace" (Heb 7:2)
-he was without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life (Heb 7:3)
-like the Son of God he remains a priest forever (Heb 7:3)
-he was appointed by God (Heb 5:10)
Jesus is "a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:4):
-like Melchizedek, Jesus joins together the kingly and priestly offices – He is Lord and He is our only high priest
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is greater than Abraham; He has the name above every name and before Him every knee is to bow
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is the "king of righteousness" – He lived a sinless life in absolute obedience to the Father
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is the "king of peace" – He is the One Who makes peace and brings peace
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is without beginning of days or end of life
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is a priest forever
-like Melchizedek, Jesus is appointed by God and we hear God's oath swearing this in Psalm 110
C You might wonder what is the connection between Jesus as King and Jesus as priest? The Apostle Paul spells it out for us in Philippians 2. He reminds us that Jesus humbled Himself:
(Phil 2:6-8) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, (7) but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!Jesus is the priest Who offered Himself. He offered Himself upon the cross for our sins.
Notice what happens next. Jesus offered Himself. The priest made a self-sacrifice.
(Phil 2:9-11) Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do you see the connection between Jesus' priestly office and kingly office? Because Jesus was priest He also became King. He died on the cross and God exalted Him and made Him Lord. He exchanged a cross for a crown.
III The King's Army
A On Ascension Day our only high priest also became our King. He is Lord!
Anyone can claim to be king or ruler but it doesn't mean much if you don't have the authority and power to back it up. Remember the hard-line communist coup in August 1991 against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev? Gorbachev's own vice-president, the Soviet defense minister, the interior minister and the head of the KGB, put Gorbachev under house arrest and announced the take-over of the government. It looked like they succeeded until Boris Yeltsin stood on a tank in Moscow and forcefully condemned the coup. The military then refused an order to assault the Russian Parliament; instead, they surrounded the Parliament and pointed their guns outward against any attackers.
King Jesus also has an army – an army of volunteers. You and I and everyone who believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord are part of His army.
Jesus' army is like the Levites at the time of Moses. When the Israelites engaged in idolatrous and immoral worship of the golden calf, Moses called the faithful to himself. The sons of Levi put on their swords and killed three thousand people for their sin (Ex 32:25-28). Likewise, it was Phinehas, one of the priests, who killed the Israelite and his Midianite mistress with the spear for their sin (Num 25). The priests were called to conduct a holy war against sin. Likewise, the followers of Jesus are to fight a holy war against sin. And, we do so gladly and freely and willingly. Listen to verse 3: "Your troops will be willing on your day of battle" (Ps 110:3). Unlike the Russian military in 1991, we gladly fight as directed. Jesus' army is "willing" and ready.
B As we think of Ascension Day and our text we realize Jesus is on the throne already. We don't crown Him as King. We don't elect Him as King. All that we can do is acknowledge Him as King. We can bow before Him and submit to the rule of Him Who died for us. Or, we can fight and resist His rule as do the Devil and his helpers. It is either one or the other – submit or resist.
Let me give a warning. If we reject the claim of Christ to be the Messiah, the priest-king, then someday we will be a footstool for His feet and will experience His wrath and judgment. But if we trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord and willingly follow Him, then we will find Him to be our advocate and friend (Heb 4:14-16).
Subtopic: Lordship of
The following words are from an old engraving on a cathedral in Labeck, Germany:
Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
You call Me master and obey Me not.
You call Me light and see Me not.
You call Me the Way and walk Me not.
You call Me life and live Me not.
You call Me wise and follow Me not.
You call Me fair and love Me not.
You call Me rich and ask Me not.
You call Me eternal and seek Me not.
If I condemn thee, blame Me not.
C Finally, let us also realize what our Ascension Day text means for the church. Jesus is Lord. This means He is head of the church – not some hierarchy of bishops and popes that controls what the church is going to do, what it is going to believe, and what it is going to practice.
Jesus is Lord. This means He is head of the church – the church is NOT a democratic society where everything is decided by majority vote. When it comes to our faith and its practice there is no such thing as a majority vote. Jesus is Lord. His is an absolute monarchy. Christ is in control, He is head and King of the church. And this must be accepted by all those who become members of the church of Christ. If they do not recognize Jesus as head and King of the church, then they have nothing and the church is just one organization among many.
The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" (Ps 110:1).
As we remember Ascension Day I want you to ask yourself a question: Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the King? Or, am I one of His footstools?
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