When The Son Is CrownedErwin W. Lutzer | August 7, 2005
Selected highlights from this sermon
Even with all of the anti-god currents in this age, we know that Jesus is coming back to reign. The nations may conspire to remove God from schools and the public square, but our God in heaven laughs at their attempts to thwart His purposes. He has set up His Son Jesus as the King, and Jesus will return to reign.
When Christ returns, all resistance and false worship will be put down in His presence. In light of this, we must submit and worship the true King, taking refuge in Him.
Did you know that there is a war going on even in America against Christianity? Are you aware that groups like the ACLU want to criminalize all public expressions of Christianity wherever it is found? I read a book about that just recently – in fact within the last three weeks.
One example of hundreds that could be given is this. A man was in a workplace where there was a poster advertising gay right events and homosexual activities. So in his workplace, in his cubicle, he put up some verses of Scripture, and for that he was fired. This was not China. This was not Canada or Sweden. This was Boise, Idaho.
The Ninth Circuit of Appeals said an employer need not accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs if doing so would result in discrimination against his co-workers or deprive them of contractual or other statutory rights. Goodbye! There are dozens of examples of that.
And then you think of Montana. Ain’t much going on in Montana, huh? A man who owned a convenience store sold all kinds of awful pornography, and then he was gloriously converted and he took out all the pornography and he put up Bibles for sale, and gave out tracts to anyone who wanted them. The Human Rights Commission filed a complaint that he had a hostile work environment because of the Bibles. If somebody had complained about the pornography, well that’s just his First Amendment rights.
Remember that good country of Canada? How well do I remember Canada! A pastor by the name of Mark Harding objected to the school in his district giving out copies of the Koran to all the students, and giving the Muslims their own room to pray in during school hours. He objected because he said, “If you’re going to do that for them you should at least give out Bibles, too, so that we are fair here.” For that he was indicted. The Supreme Court of Canada did not defend him. He was given two years of probation, 340 hours of community service that he has to perform in a Muslim center, and all that because he thought that there should be equality. And furthermore he received 3,000 letters and e-mails, many of them death threats, and when he went to trial he needed police protection because an angry group of Muslims was shouting, “You rebels will burn in hell.” So he needed protection, but that was not hate speech. His was, and that was the consequence, and that’s the great dominion of Canada.
There is so much that I could tell you about this that you wouldn’t even want to hear. Maybe in a different context I’ll get an opportunity to do that.
Sometimes we don’t expect support from atheists but sometimes it comes our way even from them. Anthony Brown who is an atheist has done research on the whole business of persecution, and he wrote an article that was really eye catching. He said that 300,000,000 Christians are threatened with violence and discriminated against throughout the whole world - especially in places like Saudi Arabia. And in Indonesia, 10,000 Christians, he says, have been killed by radical Muslims. And the interesting part of the article is that he said that no other religion is being persecuted like Christianity. It is the one religion that is being attacked all over the world. That’s what comes from the research of an atheist.
Well, I need to ask you this question. Is God indifferent to all of this? Is God saying to Himself, “You know, I created a world of these human beings and they are out of control, and I don’t know what to do about them”? No, God is not indifferent as a result of what is happening on this planet.
The text today is Psalm 2. It’s a marvelous Psalm that reminds us of the fact that God is in control. Actually this Psalm can be divided into four different paragraphs, or four different sections. And really what you have is four different voices that are speaking in this Psalm, and we’re going to look at those voices one by one, and we’re going to see what God is doing about His world.
First of all, in verses 1 to 3 you have the voice of the nations. It is a voice of rebellion. The question is asked, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’” The voice of the nations – rebellion! They are plotting. They rage and they are raging against God.
First of all, they are plotting together. You’ll notice the text there in verse 2. “They take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed.” Now this was really fulfilled when Jesus was here on earth because the Herodians (the followers of Herod), and Pilate did not get along well. The Sadducees and the Pharisees (these various groups) all had their individual differences and they had their wars between each other, but when it came to crucifying Christ, they said, “Let us get together to do it.” That’s what the book of Acts says. They conspired together to have Jesus crucified.
I’m not saying that there is a gigantic worldwide conspiracy against Christianity, but it is fed from an underground stream, and the underground stream is in the spirit world where there is a being called Satan who hates Jesus, who hates Christians. And as a result of that Christianity is being uniquely targeted. We shouldn’t complain. I’m not complaining. I’m only reporting today and there is a difference.
So all of these people are getting together and what are they doing? They are plotting an overthrow. “Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.” Let’s get rid of this God who is interfering with the lives that we really want to live, and replace Him with a god that will allow pornography and call it free speech, a god that will tear down the verses of Scripture in somebody’s cubicle and have him fired. “Let us break their bands asunder. Let us cast away their cords from us.” They might not even know that they are taking on the God of the Universe, but that’s what lies behind their rebellion.
Let’s take, for example, the issue of evolution – atheistic evolution. Have you ever thought of how difficult it is to believe in atheistic evolution? Edward Tryson, who was a physicist, says that he thinks that the worlds created themselves. The earth created itself out of nothing (Excuse me!), that at one time there was nothing, and then suddenly with no personality involved, with no God, there was something, and you have this whole order of arrangements, and you have the stars and the planets that run with such incredible precision that we set our watches by, and it all came from nothing, when we all know that from nothing, nothing comes unless God speaks. Are you telling me that nothing times nobody equals everything? Is that what you are really saying?
Wasn’t it Carl Sagan who said that the entire universe was all in one single atom? In fact, a particle smaller than an atom, and then it broke apart, and in one-millionth of a second you have all of the elements coming together in a way that is so peculiar that one evolutionist said that there is only one chance in a trillion that it would happen, but it did happen. You know what he’s saying? He is saying that there is only one chance in a trillion that what I believe is right. The other possibility is that God intervened.
Why is it that intelligent design (which is so powerful and which has demonstrated that atheistic evolution is not only improbable but absolutely, totally impossible) can’t even be taught in schools? Well, I think Julian Huxley really let the cat out of the bag. Some time ago in an interview he said that the reason that we accepted Darwinism even without proof is because we didn’t want God to interfere with our sexual mores. That’s the reason we don’t want God. We want to do our own thing.
“Let us break His bands asunder. Let us cast His cords from us.” And let us be really truly radically free to commit any sin that we want, and to live any way that we do. We don’t want God. That’s the voice of the nations. It’s the voice of rebellion.
Well, in the next three verses you have the voice of God the Father. He’s got something to say. It says in verse 4, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’”
Oh, God’s done something. First of all, God laughs. It’s not the only time in the Bible where it says that God laughs. It says in Psalm 59:8, “But Thou, oh Lord does laugh at them. Thou does scoff at all the nations.” There’s no evidence in the Bible that God ever laughs at something funny, but there’s plenty of evidence that He laughs at something stupid, and this is stupidity. “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” I mean it is funny. It’s like ants in a field saying, “We’re going to band together and not allow the farmer and his plow and tractor to disturb our nest.” Give me a break! Or it’s like fish in the ocean saying, “We own these waters and we are going to band together and prevent an aircraft carrier from coming into our waters.” Excuse me! “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” You are going to take on God and win? Laugh! That is funny.
God laughs and God says, “Not only am I laughing; I’m also installing.” He says, “I am putting a King on my holy hill of Zion. In fact,” he says, “I’ve already done it.” Zion is Jerusalem. We sing, “Glorious things of Thee are spoken, Zion, city of Our God.” Zion was one of the hills of Jerusalem. You can go to Jerusalem today and you can see Mount Zion, but actually Zion in the Scriptures has come to represent all of Jerusalem. And God says, “I put my King on the holy hill of Zion.” Jesus has been installed as King. You read it and you say, “Wait a moment. This was written 3,000 years ago, and where is Jesus in Jerusalem today?” Answer: He’s not ruling there. Chaos is but Jesus isn’t, but I love this text.
First of all, because it’s in the past tense God says, “I have installed my King.” As far as God is concerned the Bible says, “He calls those things that are not as if they are,” and He’s speaking about the return of Jesus. And He’s saying that there is a time when Jesus is going to come back to earth, and Jesus is going to install His kingdom there on Mount Zion, and He’s going to rule from Jerusalem. And the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet shall be fulfilled when he says, “The Law shall go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and He shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Jesus installed in Jerusalem! He’s coming back to the Mount of Olives. The Bible says when He does, it’s going to split in two, north to south. He’s going to establish His kingdom. He’s going to rule as King. That’s God’s answer to man’s rebellion.
You say, “Well, where are we going to be at that point?” You’re going to have a heavenly body already that is a glorified body, because whether you believe that the Church goes through the Tribulation or is spared from the Tribulation, you do believe that at the glorious return of Jesus, which is spoken of here, at that point most assuredly we will have been translated. We will have met the Lord in the air, and we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And we shall actually rule with Him in the Kingdom. He’s going to have a place for us to rule, and all of you who have cleaned up so well here for Sunday morning today and look so good, you’re going to look so much better in your glorified state. (applause) Isn’t that wonderful?
And as for those who have died who have rebelled against God, and will have died before those events, they will be raised at the end of this period to give an account because God says, “Every knee shall bow; every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And my answer to man’s rebellion is my anointed King.” That’s what God says His answer is. And it’s coming. It’s going to all turn out all right. Did you know that? (light applause) I’ll take four claps today. (laughter and applause) So that’s the voice now of the Father. The Father says, “I’ve installed My King. It’s a done deal.” That’s the decree.
In fact, now we have the voice of the Son. He is speaking. And here we pick it up in verses 7 to 9. “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me (That’s Jesus now speaking.), ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your heritage (God is saying, “Just ask Me and I’ll do for you whatever you want.”), and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.’” It’s the voice of the Father also still speaking about the Son, but “The Lord said to me.” Jesus is quoting here the words that the Father told Him, and what is it that He said? It says, “You are My Son; today have I begotten You.”
Now Jesus in one sense has been the Son throughout all of eternity because He’s the second member of the Trinity. He therefore is God, a very God. We worship Jesus just as we worship the Father. What a lovely hymn we began this meeting with as we sang about “to Thee, the great One in Three.” We worship the Spirit. We worship the Son. We worship the Father, but we worship one God, and we don’t believe that three is equal to one, by the way. It’s not a contradictory proposition because we don’t believe in three Gods.
What Jesus is saying is, “Today You have begotten Me.” There’s a sense in which Jesus was begotten to be the King of Israel when He came in the incarnation and was raised from the dead. You see, when God made a covenant with David he said, “David, I’m going to give you a Son, and that Son is going to rule,” and He said, “I shall be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me.” That part of the Sonship could have never been fulfilled until Jesus was incarnated because that Son had to be related to David genealogically. That Son had to be a human being, though we know Him to be a divine human being. And so in Acts 13 it quotes this passage and it says, “This was fulfilled when God raised Jesus from the dead.” So there is a kind of Sonship that Jesus had to earn through the incarnation that would enable Him to be the King, about which this passage is speaking.
And so it says, “The Father said to me, ‘You are my Son. Today I have begotten You. You are going to be installed now as Israel’s King. And you can ask Me and I will give you all of the nations. In fact, I will give You the ends of the earth as Your possession.” We sing, “Jesus shall reign where’re the sun doth its successive journeys run.” He’s going to reign over all of the earth. And then it says, “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now I do need to ask you a question. What is the imagery here? Well, in Old Testament times, during those eras, sometimes a Pharaoh would take all the vessels of a competing country. Vessels were often used in worship, and therefore they symbolized the gods of the different nations. That’s why you have such concern today in such mythology that grew up around the Holy Grail. It’s all mythology. Nobody knows what happened to the cup that Jesus used, but there’s such interest in it because vessels were often used in pagan rituals.
Well the imagery here comes to us from where a king might then take his scepter and smash all of the rival gods or the vessels that belonged to rival nations. And Jesus here is spoken of very harshly (This is the meek and mild Jesus, by the way.) of confronting all of the opposition and all of the opposing gods and taking complete control over them, and bringing this world into subjection to Himself as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus will rule. Jesus will be King.
And so, you know, the answer to our problem today as we look around us and see this opposition to Jesus to be anointed and to be the Father, is just to know that God says, “I have installed My King who will rule, and it’s a done deal. It is finished.”
I think it was Spurgeon who said that hell cannot erase a single line of God’s purposes. He said that skeptics cannot cut a single twig from the forest of God’s promises. Atheists – God bless the atheists - cannot pluck a single flower from the garden of God’s decree, and Satan cannot dilute a single drop of the ocean of God’s power. I want you to know today that God is in control. It’s okay. It’s going to come out all right. (applause)
I love to tell that old story about the boy who was reading the novel in the living room. His mother said, “Come do the dishes,” and he said, “No, Mom, I can’t because right now I’m in chapter 6, and the villain has the hero down and he’s about to kill the hero (the good guy). I have to see how it turns out.” But she persisted as most mothers do, so he very quickly flipped to the back of the book and he read it and there he discovered that everything turned out okay. The villain died and the hero won. And when the boy went into the kitchen he said, “You know, the villain is doing okay in chapter 6, but is he ever in for a shock when he gets to the last page.” (laughter) I’m here today to tell you that we have read the last page. Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. (applause)
The last three verses are really the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to respond. Verse 10, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
What it’s saying is that in light of what you know you had best get on the side of Jesus in this particular struggle. It says, “Therefore be wise, be warned, O rulers. Serve the Lord with fear. Yes, rejoice but do it with trembling, because Jesus is King. Jesus is God and you had better watch what you think and whom you believe in this struggle.” And then I like the translation that says, “Kiss the Son,” because that’s what the Hebrew says. I know that many translations say, “Do homage.” Well, that’s actually the idea but literally it is “kiss the Son.” And this also was a custom with which people would have been acquainted.
There are three different kisses in Scripture at least. First of all, there was the kiss of Judas. It was a kiss of deception. You remember he told the authorities, “Whichever one I kiss (because Jesus was picked up in the darkness and they didn’t know who to arrest), He’s the one that you should take and arrest.” So Judas goes over to Him, and Jesus says to him, “Friend, why are you coming to Me?” And Judas has some words with Jesus, some words of beautiful comfort and interaction, and kisses Him. That is the kiss of deception. There are people like that today. They look at Jesus and they give lip service to Jesus, and they sing songs about Jesus, and they admire Jesus, but they still don’t belong to Jesus. That’s the kiss of deception, and sometimes you and I can’t tell the difference. Judas looked like one of the pack actually. In fact, the disciples didn’t know that he was a deceiver, which is mind boggling to think that they were together with him for three years and never picked up on it.
There’s also the kiss of reconciliation. Jacob and Esau, you remember, hadn’t seen each other for 20 years and there were hard feelings between them, and they went and kissed one another. It’s the kind of reconciliation that you see in the story of the Prodigal Son, the boy who is in the wilderness and in the far country, and he comes back with the smell of pigs, and the father gives him a hug and kisses him. It’s the kiss of reconciliation. It’s Jesus and us being reconciled. There’s that kiss too.
But then there’s a third kiss, and that is the kiss of worship. Remember Mary in the New Testament, and also a prostitute in the New Testament, to be distinguished from Mary of Bethany. Both of them opened a flask of ointment and they anointed Jesus, and one of them wiped His feet with her hair, and kissed His feet. Now that’s the kind of kiss that is spoken of here. It’s the kiss of adoration and worship. And what the text is saying is that in light of what is happening in the world, in light of the fact that there is a winner who has already been declared by the Father as having won, and in light of the fact that all people are going to have to give an account to Him in the world to come and explain their actions, and the truth is going to come out - in light of that, “Kiss the Son” lest He be angry, the Bible says, for His wrath is quickly kindled. “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Blessed are the ones who know that they are sinners and who come and trust Christ as Savior, and believe on Him as the One to carry their sin away,” because when you stand in the presence of a Holy God, what you are going to need is the righteousness of Jesus to stand there. Blessed are those who come to be forgiven, and come to be reconciled and come to worship.
Bottom line – let’s all smile. It’s going to end very much okay. All right? Let’s pray.
Our Father, we thank You today for the triumph of Jesus. We thank You that there is no slippage in Your purposes, that not one single line of Your promises is in doubt. We thank You today for Christ who is Lord, who is God, who is King, whom You have already installed to reign and to judge. We thank You. Thank You for all the opposition that we receive because we know, Lord, that in the end if we endure well we shall reign with Him. Thank You for Your mercy. For those who have never trusted Christ as Savior, even now overcome their objections and cause them to believe. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.