21/02/2007

The power and empire of Christ

Last Monday, my wife and I took our daughter out for an early birthday present - a visit to the Tower of London. My daughter loves history and has wanted to see the Tower for a long time.

As well as having a very interesting history, the Tower is home to the Crown Jewels. As people queue up to see the jewels a video is running showing the last Coronation of the Queen. At one point she was handed an Orb (see the picture), and the Archbishop says these words:

"Receive this Orb set under the Cross and remember that the whole world is subject to the power and empire of Christ our Redeemer."

These are powerful words. Are they true? I believe so, and I believe that ultimately His empire will extend:

From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be prayer and praise.
(From the hymn Crown Him with many crowns)

The scriptures tell us:

"Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession." (Psalm 2v8)

"He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." (Psalm 72v8)

"The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool'" (Psalm 110v1)

"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2v14)

I called this blog The Best is Yet to Come because I believe that, despite many tribulations, ultimately, "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name." (Psalm 86v9)

In God's providence, my sight of the Orb coincided with three other things:

1) I have arrived in my Sunday evening expositions of Zechariah to the middle of Chapter 14. Next Sunday's message will cover - "And the Lord will be King over all the earth" (v9).

2) My good friend Dan has transcribed a teaching of Ern Baxter's entitled "What on earth is God saying about discipling the nations?" This is a must read - a totally awesome message.

3) I have just started reading properly (as opposed to skimming) the glorious book The Puritan Hope by Iain H Murray, which shares the biblical vision (through the teaching of the Puritans), of the glorious hope of the triumph of the gospel.

All three of these things are setting my heart on fire. What a glorious thing God has purposed for His church and for the earth!

I was thinking of filling this post with lots of quotes, but I would really encourage everyone - read for yourself and be stirred with the glorious vision of Dr Baxter and the Puritans! Very different people, but yet sharing the same Biblical vision.

But why is this so important? Because such an understanding of God's purposes stirs us to seek His face with true passion. I can't resisting closing with Murray quoting J H Thornwell:

"If the church could be aroused to a deeper sense of the glory that awaits her, she would enter with a warmer spirit into the struggles that are before her. Hope would inspire ardour. She would even now arise from the dust, and like the eagle, plume her pinions for loftier flights than she has yet taken. What she wants, and what every individual Christian wants, is faith - faith in her sublime vocation, in her Divine resources, in the presence and efficacy of the Spirit that dwells in her - faith in the truth, faith in Jesus, and faith in God. With such a faith there would be no need to speculate about the future. That would speedily reveal itself. It is our unfaithfulness, our negligence and unbelief, our low and carnal aims, that retard the chariot of the Redeemer. The Bridegroom cannot come until the Bride has made herself ready. Let the Church be in earnest after greater holiness in her own members, and in faith and love undertake the conquest of the world, and she will soon settle the question whether her resources are competent to change the face of the earth."

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