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John 1:1-5

…morning and you don’t have a Bible with you, I mean one in your hand, I want you to slip up your hand, and I want to put a Bible in your hand. We have some on the carts around the sides. But I want you to open your Bible to John, chapter 1, although we’re going to be looking at a number of different passages.

There is an announcement also I want to make, is that we’re aware that if you’re in your 50s, 60s kind of thing… Now you’re not old…say “Amen.” I’m in that age. I am not old, but I can definitely see it from here. But, we’re aware we have not done an adequate job of connecting you. Now the world tells you that once your kids are grown, you’re empty- nesters, you know. “Oh, you’re in that empty-nester thing.” Now listen, don’t accept that label. You are not an empty-nester. An empty-nester is like a bird that just walks around the nest and looks at the empty nest. It’s a pitiful sight, you know. It’s like, “Oh, what a poor bird, just an empty nest.” No, you are a free bird. Yes, and you don’t have to tell your kids or your grandkids, you know, and when they go, “Oh, it’s quiet here. We can go to the movies. We can do…”

You have decades of experience. You have lots of things you can share. We want to put you together, and by the way, we don’t want to just put you together so you can talk about…together. We really want you together so you can share your experience, encourage one another, spur one another on, and we have this…we’ve decided to call it Free Birds. Not everybody likes that name. That’s OK. It’s one of the greatest rock songs that ever was written, but that’s beside the point. Say “Amen” to that. Yeah, you know it is. But anyway, they meet, they have stuff going on, it’s absolutely cool.

Now I know some of you…I also…I need to acknowledge this. I know many of you do not use your Bibles in church, and that’s okay. I know some of you…How many of you have your Bibles on your phones. I must see it. Hold your phone up. Look at this. Look at this. Yes, you have your Bible on your phone. God bless you. You know, I have one on mine, too. I have one that pronounces the words which would be helpful for me. But, you know…And that’s cool. If you use YouVersion…which is a weird thing to call a Bible “YouVersion”…but there is a YouVersion download app you can download, and if you go to YouVersion and hit the location, you can actually download the notes to the sermon, too, and all the verses, so that will be helpful to you.

And I just…I feel I have these mixed emotions about even encouraging that because I have this… You know, we live in this digital age, and I have this fear or this settling reality that we’re not leaving a trail for out kids to see. One of the things in preaching funerals…one of the things I always do is, I always say, “Can I see their Bible?” And when you hold somebody’s Bible, boy, it just tells you stuff about that person. Just a lot of stuff.

Jody’s mom died last week, on Sunday morning, and I went up to the hospital to be with Jody, and we were there the afternoon. And after she died, we got in the car and drove back over to the nursing home where she had been, and I reached down and I grabbed her Bible. And it was just a wonderful honestly comforting thing for me, even just as a son-in-law, to reach down and hold that Bible in my hand, and just flip through that Bible and see the notes, things she had underlined, things she had stressed.

She had a Life Application New Living Translation Jody had given her back in 2005, and it said in the front her name and her address, and then it had underneath it, “Marty has moved. See back.” And when you looked in the back, she goes, “Marty (and she gave her new address). This is my life. Please, if you find it, return it.” And it said in the front, “This is my favorite verse.” And it was Ephesians, and when you turn to that verse, it says, “This is my favorite verse.” It was like, “Okay, we’re clear on what your favorite verse is here.”

But I would really just encourage you, if you do use the electronic version of stuff, it really wouldn’t hurt you to own a Bible. It may be something you want to do, even just for your own kids and people who come behind you. It’s a powerful thing. I have my mother’s Bible, and I have my granddad’s bible, and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing to hold that Book in your hand.

And I’d like to say on behalf of Jody and the family, thanks for the outpouring of love and prayers and just the numbers of chocolate cakes that came across our table. Chocolate always speaks love to me. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Thank you.

John, chapter 1, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And I actually have a New Living in my hand. It reads, “In the beginning the Word already existed (that’s the Logos). He was with God, and He was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone.”

Now there is just tons of stuff there I’m not going to dig into, but let me just say sometimes we use phrases that aren’t quite accurate. We will ask people, “Why don’t you ask Jesus into your life?” And I think we know what we mean by that, but it’s really not accurate because really, without Jesus, you don’t have a life. The Bible says we were dead in our trespasses and sin. Really, Jesus is Life itself. It is in Him that we find what life really is, and when we have that life, we have light and that “light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” And again, there’s just powerful stuff there.

You know, darkness never pierces light. That’s not how that thing works. Light always pierces darkness. We do not have to fear darkness. We are light. Darkness ought to fear us. We are their problem. And I think sometimes, we let wrong thinking come into our head. We fear…Oh, we’re surrounded by darkness. Well, turn up the light. That’s what you’re there for. Turn the light on. You have light within you. You have life within you.

“God sent John the Baptist to tell everyone about the Light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was only a witness to the Light. The One who is the true light, who gives light to everyone” who is coming into the world.
Every time I read that, I can’t help but think about this. I grew up Baptist. Did anybody grow up Baptist? Yes, a bunch of you. God bless you. Our family, we’ve been Baptists. We have Baptist preachers every generation since the Civil War. I mean, my granddad was a Baptist and he had five brothers who were Baptist pastors, and man, when we decided it was going to be just Grace Fellowship, and it wasn’t a Grace Fellowship Baptist, they decided to have an intervention. They did. They got me in a room and they started talking to me about why we were Baptists. And I said, “You know, it’s about the Bible. You know, it’s not…”

And one of my uncles looks at me and goes, “Buddy, we’re Baptist because Jesus was Baptist.” I said, “I didn’t know that.” And I said, “I don’t ever want to dishonor you, but I’m not sure that’s true.” He goes, “You think about it. You think about it. You’ll come up with the right answer.” And I said, “I have actually thought about that, and I’m not finding that.” And he goes, “OK, think about this. If you were sprinkled, if you were confirmed, if you were sprinkled by a Catholic priest, what would you be?” And I said, “Catholic?” He said, “Well, if you were sprinkled by a Presbyterian minister, what would you be?” “Presbyterian?” He said, “If you were poured on by a Methodist, what would you be?” “Methodist?” He said, “Jesus was baptized by John the what? Baptist.” Amen! So who knows? Should have told me.

“But although the world was made through Him, the world didn’t recognize Him when He came. Even in His own land and among His own people, He was not accepted. But to all who believed in Him and accepted Him, [to them] He gave the right…” Now some of your translations, it will read the word power. Some might read authority. To them “He gave the right to become children of God” That’s a really important word…right. “They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan…this rebirth comes from God.”

Now if you take notes in your Bibles, you might just circle that word right and maybe write out in the margin the word authority or jurisdiction because that’s what that word means. And that’s actually what this chapter is about… On what authority are you doing this? Back over here in verse 22, it says, “Then tell us who you are.” They’re looking to establish the credentials of John the Baptist. “Tell us, so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

And then John reaches back into Isaiah and pulls out these kingdom words, “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming!'” That was that whole phraseology of announcing the arrival of a coming king. “Then those who were sent by the Pharisees asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?” And this whole issue here is about authority. “What is the foundation? Who do you think you are? What’s the authority you are moving in? Who gave you this right?”

Now if you were here with us a couple of weeks ago, actually three weeks ago, right after the whole thing hit with Haiti, I asked the question…Does God hate Haiti? Why is this catastrophe happening there? Does God hate those people who were caught up in the tsunami? Does God hate people who have cancer or who are crippled or go through a crisis in their life? Is that a message…you know, God is punishing them?

And I really didn’t get into it deeply, but Jesus actually addresses this question to some of His disciples. They come to Him and talk about some people who go down from Galilee to Jerusalem to worship and then, Pilate sends some people in to slaughter them. And then, He talks…They said, “What about those people who…this religious tower fell on them? Does that mean God hates those people?” And Jesus said, “Do you think those people were more wicked than everybody else?” And then He answers His own question. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

And the question we want to ask is…Where are we now? And the answer to that is the kingdom. But I ran it across that way, but I want to run it this way and just kind of give you a different look at it. Revelation 21 talks about as it will be. And if you’re familiar with your Scriptures…and you might even want to read over there where it talks about this heaven coming down, this cube coming down out of heaven and there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more death.

Genesis, chapter 1…you’ll remember this…is as God created it. And that’s the key word there, if you’ll remember. “It was good. It was good. It was good. It was good. It was very good.” In the middle here, there is this Romans 8. And we call this here. And we call this hereafter. And then we call this home. And you could call this homecoming. Maybe it’ll even be a dance, or maybe a football game. But this is home as we hunger for it. There is something inside of us that we know things are not as they are supposed to be. We know it intrinsically. If nobody even told us…The fact that we hunger for beauty; that we hunger for justice and righteousness; the fact that we react to injustice… all of those things are echoes of Eden, this hungering back for what was and a hungering for things to be set right.
Now this piece here…we talked about the fact of the suffering that the earth, the creation groans with anticipation, that we groan with this earth and the Spirit groans with us. That there is this identification, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” But into this, Jesus steps in Matthew, Mark, Luke and the Gospels and here’s what He says: “The kingdom of God is here.”

Now wait a minute. The kingdom of God is at hand? We know this kingdom of God is coming here. We know that. But what Jesus said is this anticipated kingdom has just stepped in and this has come rushing back in to this. If you don’t understand that, you won’t understand Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because this is what Jesus is doing. He’s going around. He’s showing signs. He’s healing people. He’s doing stuff, showing people what the kingdom looks like. Even His Resurrection is called, and this is a really important phrase, the firstfruits of the new creation.

This is the new heaven and the new earth. And the Resurrection is called the firstfruits of the new heaven and the new earth.
Remember the story in Numbers where they go back and they go into the Promised Land, and they go in there after they’ve been wandering around in the desert? And they go up to the Valley of Eschol, and they chop off this big cluster of grapes and these figs and the pomegranates and they take them back to the guys in the desert? Those were firstfruits. They were saying, “Listen. This is what the Promised Land looks like. This is what the Promised Land tastes like. This is what it’s going to be like in its complete fullness.” But Jesus comes in and gives us a taste, an experience, a reality of this new kingdom.

If you have your notes there, you’ll notice I jotted just a bunch…I have a bunch of references down there about the kingdom. Psalm 145:13, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.” Daniel 2:44, “[For] in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14, “He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. ” And then that whole Revelation language is all in there.

Now I told you a few weeks ago and I’m going to actually… I’m going to keep coming back to this over and over again until you actually are walking out the back door saying, “Igotit.Igotit.Igotit.”Iwant togiveyoualensandalanguagebywhichyoucan make sense of here so that you can look at the events of the Scriptures and make sense of them.

Now if you’re looking at your notes, there is something I’ve written down there called C1 and C2. And if you’re familiar with literature, you know that there is surface structure to literature. There are stories that…Who? What? When? Where? And there are these stories that are going on, but in all really great literature, there is this overriding, summa, mega theme, thesis, that all these surface stories…not that the surface story isn’t important…but there is this underlying thesis, this summa thesis, this mega thesis that really ties every one of those together. And once you understand that mega thesis, oftentimes, when you go back in and you reread the literature, you see these nuances, and you see stories, and it illuminates stuff that you really never imagined before.

I think a lot of people read the Bible, and they don’t know how to make sense of it. They read these stories of David and they go, Okay? They read these stories of Moses and they go, Yes? And they read the stories of Abraham and they go, You know what? That was such a different culture, such a different language, such a different geography. How in the world does that make sense? What is that about? And I actually think some people read the Scriptures as if it were a genre of literature that is basically an escapist literature. We just read our Bible and we go, “Oh God, someday You’re going to come back, and You’re going to take us all away and burn all this stuff up, and we’re going to have this condo on a cloud somewhere.”

Let me just tell you something. This Book is not fantasy, feel-good, inspiration, a collection of inspirational fairy tales. What we have here is God’s revelation for the revolutionary restoration of Planet Earth. If you don’t understand what you have in your hand, then you really can’t respect it well. This is a revolutionary…a manifesto that God says, “Listen, here’s what happened. Here’s what is going to happen. Here’s where it’s going.”

When Jesus comes on the scene and announces…and I love that word gospel. It’s that euaggelion. It’s become one of my absolute favorite words in the Bible. It means the empire has arrived. When Jesus comes and says, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” He wasn’t asking for permission. He wasn’t saying, “You know, guys, if it’s alright with you, this thing is a mess and I’d kind of like to see…give it a hand. I could make everybody like each other better. I have a nice little Sermon on the Mount. I have a few philosophies that might make us all live better. I have some good ideas. And you guys kind of messed things up. How about letting Me have a shot?”

You know what He was saying? “The time has arrived. The King is here. I’m the King, and you’re not. And your choice is choose your kingdom. Choose your kingdom. There is an anti-kingdom, and there is a kingdom. And you have to decide if you want to be with Pharaoh or you want to be with Me. And if you want to be with Pharaoh, you better like frogs because the frogs are coming. And I want to be patient. I want to be kind. But the kingdom of heaven is here.”

And we use those words “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” like “Come forward and get saved.” No, what He’s saying is, “Choose your allegiance. Choose your king. I’m the King.” And there are two strands that make up this kingdom narrative. All the way through, there is this story of the kingdom. From the beginning to the end, this is a kingdom narrative all the way through. All the way through, you see this kingdom narrative.

I have a slide…Put this slide up here. See if you recognize what this is. Anybody recognize that? DNA. Somebody told me that means “Don’t Know Nothing.” “Don’t Know Anything.” But anyway, that DNA, back in…I’m going to tell you more than I know right now. So I mean, all you chemistry majors and all that, just hold it, you know. I’m not professing to be…this actually is not even about DNA. It’s just a nice-looking structure I kind of like that I heard somebody else use. So theoretically…not even theoretically…in reality, I stole it. I asked permission.

In the DNA, there is something called the double helix. And it’s wrapped around the spine of information and inside this double helix and inside this DNA is literally everything chemistry-wise, genetic-wise, you’re supposed to be. Isn’t that interesting? There is a book called The Language of God and it was written by the guy who oversaw the decoding of the Genome Project in the United States. And it’s everything…your eye color, the length of your arms, the color of your hair…you’re written into that DNA, which is an amazing thing to think about.

This may or may not have any relevance to it at all, but recently, they also…Let me show you another slide here. You know what that is? That’s the Milky Way. And the Milky Way, as far as they can find right now, is the only solar system that is shaped in the form of a double helix. I have no idea if it’s relevant or not or actually, whether that was even true of what I just said. I just read it. I believe in full disclosure. But it just seemed somewhat remarkable to me to think that God designed and made us this way, and it seems to be that the only place in the cosmos is shaped in the form of a double helix, almost as if God said, “Here’s man.” It’s kind of interesting.
Now then here’s what you find in Scripture. In this double helix that’s built around the core of the kingdom are two words you run into over and over and over and over again. And even when it doesn’t use the words, the concepts are there over and over and over again. And the words are covenant and commission…covenant and commission. Over and over, you find this invitation in, this at-one-ment. Over and over, God makes these covenants.

He makes a covenant with Noah. There is an Adamic covenant. There is the covenant with Abraham, and when you read that story of the covenant with Abraham…Abraham gets this covenant from God. God says, “I’m going to bless you. I want you to come to Me, and I’m going to bless you, and I’m going to protect you. I’m going to oversee you. Everything about you is going to be blessed. And through you, all the nations are going to be blessed.” So you see this two-handed thing going on. “This is your identity. You’re going to be Mine. I am going to be one with you. I am inviting you in to who I am, and I’m going to send you out to represent Me, to reflect Me. Through you, all the nations of the world are going to be blessed.”

Now come back to that idea that the Bible is God’s revelation for the revolutionary restoration of Planet Earth. Now that is wonderful and amazing. That’s good news that God has a plan. The bad news is we’re the plan. It’s not bad news, but it’s a little scary news. You are the plan. I mean, I remember reading when it really actually hit me, I was reading through the Gospels. I always read the Gospels thinking about, You know, John. He’s a saint, and Paul and Peter.

And I remember starting to read the Scriptures not with children’s eyes anymore and realizing these were a bunch of fishermen and thinking, God, what were you thinking? Is that possible, that a bunch of Galilean, backwater fishermen could be entrusted with the restoration message of the kingdom? Thomas? I would have fired Thomas. I mean, you’ve gone along with Jesus for three years. You’ve seen miracle after miracle after miracle. And the resurrection has taken place and he’s still struggling doctrinally. I would have just said, “No, we’re done. Go be a Pharisee or something. You’re not cut out for this work.”

But you know what? That is not Jesus. And that is not what you find in these Scriptures. This is God’s absolute amazing plan. And this is what wraps all the way through. If you don’t understand this and this, then you really can’t understand what God is up to. If you
get this and this, then what you understand is that all the way through, when you look at the story of Moses and you get that event of what happened, there is this covenant relationship there. And then He says to the nation of Israel, “And you’re going to be a light to the Gentiles.” To Abraham, He makes this covenant and He actually confirms the covenant with Himself. This corridor of blood He walks through is a precursor to, actually, the Cross itself. And all of these things, they tie in together.

Joseph…just all of a sudden, it falls in. You see these things. The covenant and the commission. The word we read earlier in John where He says “to them who believe”…That word believe literally is those who would receive Him. “…those who would receive Him, to them gave He authority.” That means jurisdiction, the legal right. “He gave [them] the right to become children of God.”

Now the word used in Acts, chapter 1, and verse 8 is this, “Wait on me and you’re going to receive power.” Same word in the English, often translated, but it’s a different word. The one in John is exousia. The one in Acts 1,”You’re going to receive power,” is dunamis. That means ability. You’re going to receive the ability, not just the responsibility, not just the authority, not just the jurisdiction. You’re going to receive the covenant, and you’re going to receive the tools by which you can perform and do those duties…who you are.

The words we’ve kind of been working with and numbers of others…I’ve had these conversations with lots of people in working through this because this is not…I want you to hear this…this is not just another sermon. These are marching orders. This is core philosophy we need to understand. The words we’ve been working through is the word…the idea of a badge and a gun, because those are different things. For instance, when God says to Abraham, “I will be your shield,” we tend to think of that as a protector, something we hide behind. But a shield is not just something you hide behind. It identifies what army you’re with. It identifies…your uniform isn’t just something you wear. It’s a statement you declare. It identifies you.

You know, as a pastor, I can get in places, like places other people can’t. I can get into prisons and hospitals and all kinds of places like that. And sometimes…and I don’t carry any ID on me, but I just, you know, you have these privileges as a clergy, which you shouldn’t have, but I do. And as long as they’re going to give them to me, I’m taking them.

Last Sunday morning, I drove by and grabbed Spring, my daughter, and we were going to drive and meet Jody at the hospital. And Spring goes, “Will they let you back there?” I said, “Absolutely, they’ll let me back there.” I was actually going to preach a sermon. And she said, “How do you know they’re going to let you back there?” I said, “Because I have a badge.”

And I pulled this out. It was in my coat pocket. I said, “Look, I have a badge.” And she goes, “Are you, like, joking with me?” This is…it says sheriff on it. And she said, “This is a serious time. Don’t be joking with me like that.” And I said, “No, no, I can get in. I
have a badge. I’ll just hand them my badge and they’ll go, ‘Oh, you’re sheriff; well, you can get in.'” And she goes, “Dad, they’re going to laugh at you.”

But, you know, I have this badge in my back pocket. I pulled it out on the way over here this morning. This badge right here says Camp Eggers on it. And when I was in Afghanistan, I was supposed to turn this back in, but I didn’t. They gave me this thing to hang around my neck. And if you walk around in the camp, and you don’t have that around your neck, what do you think is going to happen to you? Yeah, you’re going to be in serious trouble. You’re not going to get ten feet. But this is a very limited badge. I could tell you some stories about this particular badge, but it probably would be better left alone. But this is a badge that requires an escort because if you’re walking around that camp, you are required to be escorted by somebody not only carrying credentials. You’re required to be escorted by somebody with a gun.

Now then, this is why it’s important actually. Because, see, God doesn’t just give us authority. He gives us ability. If you have a badge and you don’t have a gun or the ability to back it up, you know what you are? You are a mall cop or Barney Fife. Let me show you a little video here.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop: Whoa, waterproof shoes and baggies on the socks. Not my first rodeo. Okay ladies, need to see some ID.
Female Shopper: No, you don’t. Paul Blart: Ma’am, I should warn you, I do have the authority to make a citizen’s arrest. Female Shopper: So does anyone. I could arrest you right now. Second Female Shopper : That’s true. She could.
Paul Blart: Hey, not talking to you. Okay? Can I, uh, see you for a second please, ma’am? Hmm? Hmm? Look, I understand your sensitivity. I’ve had some issues with weight myself.
Female Shopper: Are you calling me fat?
Paul Blart: No, no. I’m just saying I’ve been down that road. I mean, I’m still not…we both are, you know, stranded. Let’s face it. We eat to fill a void, right? But, as soon as I start eating healthier, I noticed I wasn’t so moody. And p.s.: Your skin’s gonna clear up.
Female Shopper: Can you hold onto this? Paul Blart: Sure. OW!

[end of video]

I think most good church people are mall cops. They know stuff. They have information. They can quote verses. They’ve done Bible studies. They can flip out the information, and they don’t have any idea how to back it up. They’re weaponless. They have no idea what to do with it. They don’t know how to use spiritual weapons. They’re not comfortable with spiritual weapons. They’re not the kind of people you really want to get into a spiritual fight with because you’re going to be abandoned.

We have been given not just authority; we’ve been given ability. Have you ever thought to yourself, You know what? I’m about to whip prayer out on this guy. I am going to chase… You can run, you can’t hide. I am going to put prayer all over you. We’re about to smother you with love. You have no idea what you just got yourself into. You just took on a bunch of Christians. We know how to use our weapons. We are not weaponless. We are not helpless. We have authority. We have ability.

Do you realize that the whole division between clergy and laity is not a biblical division? You are God’s people. You are to be a kingdom of priests. You are God’s…you ever watch those movies where they deputize people? And they get together the posse and they say, “Everybody raise your right hand.” Okay, raise your right hand. If you know Jesus, you are hereby Jesus’ posse. You are. Now you may be bad posse. You may be AWOL posse. You may be terrified posse. You may be gun-less posse. You may be wandering posse, but you are posse. You have been deputized.

This is not something that…There are some of you who actually think Mike or Jody or one of the staff members or I have more spiritual authority than you do. You know that’s not true. That is not true. When you pray and I pray, God doesn’t go, “Wait a minute. Can you hold a minute? Buddy is calling.” That is not true. Now what is a little difficult is that most people who preach don’t really want to say that too much because we kind of enjoy thinking you think we’re superior. We are not. We are not. And anybody who tells you they are, you know what? They’re just wrong. They have a spiritual arrogance issue.

Listen…every one of us, we’re a kingdom of priests. You are deputized. Not only are you deputized; you have been empowered by the Holy Spirit. You may not know who you are, but you have that power. You have identity. You have become, and you are to be. You are to abide in Him and you will bring forth fruit.

All those stories, even when you get into the New Testament, the whole substructure, the deep structure of the Scriptures are these two big C words, the covenant and the commission. You read Ephesians. That’s what you find there. This is who you are, the covenant. This is your identity in Christ. This is who you’re to be because of who you are. This is the whole idea, this whole process here. Now here is what the problem is. We have allowed people to lose those codes.

You walk up to the average person in the church and say, “What’s the big story of the Bible?” They’ll go, “Which one of the big stories? There are a lot of big stories.” No, those are surface stories. Those are the stories about the big story. The big story is the kingdom of God. Jesus is the King. It’s about the kingdom, and He has given you an unshakeable kingdom. He has invited you, just as He invited Abraham, just as He invited Isaac, just as He invited Jacob, just as He invited Moses, just as He invited Joseph, just as He invited Joshua, just as He invited David, just as He invited Solomon, just as He invited Peter and Paul and James and John. He has invited you into covenant with Him, and He’s commissioned you to announce the Kingdom. You are hereby deputized.

But let me just tell you something. You have to accept the covenant. You have to accept the covenant. You have to make up your mind. Am I going to be part of this covenant kingdom? It’s just something you have…”He came unto His own. His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them gave He authorization to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name.” “Wait on Me and you will receive power from on high.” Dunamis.

There was a movie a number of years ago called the Kingdom of Heaven. And it was the story of when, during the Crusades, Jerusalem was about to fall, and they really had no hope left. And there were only two knights left in the whole city walls. And they were surrounded by thousands of people. And in that scene, one of the knights looks at the other knights and he says to somebody standing by, “I want everybody in the city to come together.” And he makes this announcement. I want you to watch it.

Bishop: My lord. My lord, my lord. How are we to defend Jerusalem without knights? We have no knights!
Balian: Truly? What is your condition? Servant Boy: I’m servant to the Patriarch. Bishop: He’s, uh, one of my servants.
Balian: Is he? You were born a servant? Kneel. Every man at arms… or capable of bearing them… kneel! On your knees!!! Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless. That is your oath. And that is so you remember it. Rise a knight. Rise a knight!!!
Bishop: Who do you think you are? Will you alter the world? Does making a man a knight make him a better fighter?
Balian: Yes.

[end of video]

Anybody here want to say “Yes”? Yeah, I do. I’m in on this kingdom thing. And I want a whole church that’s in. We don’t want tens, twenties, thirties. We don’t even want hundreds. We want thousands who will say “Yes.”

We’re going to sing for a few minutes. We’re going to worship for a few minutes. I want you to take a few minutes before you walk out of here and contemplate the invitation…the covenant, the right, the authority, the commission, the ability, the power. You might want to come forward and pray. We have a prayer room over here on the right. You might want to turn around and get on your knees right where you’re at. I don’t want you to walk out of here saying, “I got some really cool information today.” I want you to walk out of here recognizing the King of the cosmos has called us to be announcers of His kingdom. Make a choice. Make a choice.

Let’s pray: Father, thank You for You. Lord, we thank You that You are King, not just because You’re the biggest and the best and the most astounding and most powerful, but You’re the King of life. You’re the King of beauty. You’re the King of grace. You could be any kind of King You wanted. You could be any kind of God You wanted because You’re God. And there’s nothing we could do about it. But You…You have this beauty of holiness. You are who we were created for. You are the One about whom our hearts hunger. And you have invited us to be family and empowered us with your Spirit. We thank You. In Your name we pray.

Buddy Hoffman
Buddy Hoffman is the lead Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, a multi-campus church in Metro Atlanta. His heart is for reaching the next generation, for being Jesus in and to your community, and for announcing the good news of Jesus to the nations.