Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let Them Have Dominion

Genesis 1:1-3, 26-31
Let Them Have Dominion
Sermon Notes
July 19, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         I titled this sermon, Let Them Have Dominion. That title is important. God gave mankind dominion over the Earth. But God’s gift of dominion and actually taking dominion are two different things.
         We all know that mankind failed in his dominion mandate to rule and subdue the Earth. He waxed fat and kicked. He multiplied rapidly and filled the earth but the daughters of men fell for the sons of God and God destroyed the earth in a mighty flood. After the flood, man again multiplied and filled the Earth but he tried to build a tower into the heavens to save himself and God came down and toppled the tower of Babel and scattered the languages.
         God called Abram to fulfill the mandate to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it but he was old and his wife was old and they could not have children. So God brought life from death, and gave Sarah a son in her old age, so she could laugh like she never had before.
         Abraham multiplied, as did his sons, and their sons, Isaac, and Jacob and Joseph. But they did not take the land yet. They were enslaved in Egpyt, like men without a country. But God heard their cry and brought them up from the land of Egypt. God destroyed Egypt and brought Moses and the people to the Promised Land. But Moses could not take them into the Promised Land, either, and it fell to Yehoshua to lead them in. Yeshua, Joshua, Jesus is the only way to fulfill the dominion mandate.
         But even Joshua’s victories were only types and shadows. The land was conquered a little bit at a time until a great savior arose, one named David, who conquered his enemies on every side, bringing them all into submission beneath his feet. He passed on this glorious peaceful kingdom to his son after him. Solomon was the king of peace. But not for long. The eschatological kingdom was still only a type and shadow and as soon as Solomon was dead it all began to unravel.
         But one arose whom all the prophets foretold. There is a prince of peace. He has received His kingdom. He is the Lord and ruler of all. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. He is wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace.
         Jesus is His name. The name at which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.
         We have been making our way through the Minor Prophets. I have greatly enjoyed studying and preaching through these sermons. They are surprisingly relevant to modern life in America. That is saying a lot since they were written between 2500 and 3000 years ago. This simply shows us that as much as things change, mankind doesn’t change that much. We have the same propensity to sin in big ways and are in need of a Savior to deliver us from our sins.
         With that in mind, we have heard a great deal about sins that infect and affect an entire nation. It was true in ancient times in Israel and Nineveh and Babylon and Rome and it is true today. The church has always been the bearer of the light. When the church wanes dim, then the nation wherein she resides is in great trouble. It was true in ancient times and remains true to this day.
         The church in America has been on a spending spree. We are shaking off our great heritage. The result has been a culture of death, Moloch raising his ugly, condemned head. This is distressing to us who embrace life in Christ and expect to see His blessings poured out in the world. But judgment truly does begin in the household of God.
         God will perfect His bride. He is in the process of winnowing the wheat from the chaff. He finds foolish virgins waiting along with wise. There are Judas’s among the Apostles. But note the change from the Old Testament to the New.
         In the Old, the faithful were the few, a remnant, 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Or even after the return from exile, a few thousands to rebuild the ruins. And even in the days of Jesus, thousands came to Him but millions rejected Him.
         Why? Because after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, His disciples would do greater things even than Jesus. Peter preached on Spirit filled church, day one, and 3000 believed and were baptized. A few months later, 5000 believed. After that a multitude. Then the robes were laid at the feet of a young man named Saul as he sought to ravage the Jesus people. But God Himself and had set them on fire. So, the on fire Jesus people fled every direction and the fire with which they burned also spread, like a fast burning blaze in a dry prairie. And Paul, himself, caught fire and burned the world down everywhere he went.
         This week I wanted to give you a little break from the Minor Prophets. You need this break from them and perhaps from me.  No doubt, the message in the Minor Prophets is the Word of God and we need to hear it. Furthermore, as I said, the message is enormously relevant in our day, a day in which up and down are being reversed and the scientists are exhorting us to defy gravity. But up is still up, down still down, male and female are ever as God has created them and no lying President or Supreme Court can make it any other way. God will not be mocked and every man living in a white house will one day stand before His throne.
         These truths hit us hard. We see judgment breaking out and we fear that God might dismantle our house of cards. Dear ones, it is true. He might. Unless, there is wholesale repentance in America, first in the church and then flowing out from there, we should expect to see things unravel further. Maybe, like Nineveh, God’s people will wake up and lead the nation in repentance and God will spare us, and not destroy us as He threatens.
         But we need a break from this way of speaking and we need to be encouraged.

         But what shall we do? We are caught here in the midst of lying leaders, both in the church and in our government. We have lying news anchors, lying celebrities and we feel as if Christ’s kingdom is under assault. We might even start feeling the heat ourselves. What shall we do? Shall we be discouraged? Shall we enter our bunkers of shelter? Do we lay low and hope it all blows over?
         No, that is not what God is calling us to. In the course of God’s kingdom, the Son has risen. Jesus is alive. He is ruling at the right hand of the Father. He cannot be dethroned. Devils might try it to dethrone Him. ISIS devils. Muslim devils. Supreme devils. Religious devils, queerly masquerade parading as Christians. And every other lofty political or religious thought that raises its head against the Lord Jesus and His Word, trying to define them both out of existence.
         But they cannot dethrone Him. He is high and lifted up and His glory fills the earth. The kings and rulers, the pretenders and the apostate cannot dethrone Him. We must keep this in mind!
         America might be in trouble but the kingdom of God is doing just fine. From now until Jesus returns for the final Resurrection, there will never be a better time to be alive. We live in the greatest age and our children will live in the greatest age and their children will live in the greatest age.
         Dear Saints, this is not merely hopeful thinking, this is the gospel truth! If every day is one day closer to the consummation of all things, is it not glory? If every year, Jesus takes a little more territory from the already defeated devil, is this not true progress? If the kingdom of God is growing so that it fills the whole loaf of the world, is this not reason to rejoice?
Providence Kirkers
         In this world of madness, what should YOU do? In the face of opposition, what should you do? With the threat of persecution in America, what should YOU do?
         You should do what you are doing. Remember the mandate from the beginning. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it. In the Old Covenant, this always fell flat. God’s people multiplied but they failed to subdue the Earth. The earthly kings always fell short of their task. They gained dominion only to lose it a short time later.
         But we live in more glorious times. Our King is on the throne and cannot be dethroned. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. That is a dramatic difference!
         So, in Jesus, we CAN fulfill both the multiplying and the subduing. In multiplying, you are doing well. We have joked about this in the past, our church growth plan is getting folks married and having a score of children! But it is no joke. We have been doing this for 15 years and we have now filled up our church. We have 140 kids. We have multiplied!
         What does this mean? It means that we have more soldiers in the victory of the cross. We can spread out and take more dominion.
         We just had a wedding. A few folks always ask me if I am sad about my daughters growing up and leaving the home. Sad?
         Are we sad in a battle charge? Are we sad on the victory lap? Are we sad when the enemy flees in a rout? Are we sad when we hoist our battle flag after the battle? Sad? For this reason I came. This is the joy that was set before me on the hard road of parenting. This is the culmination of a lifetime of labor and prayer. The enemy is running. This is the victory lap. Sad? Of course not!
         Our children are arrows in our quivers. Weddings are bows to shoot them out to take dominion. And that is what God is doing through you.
         Dear Saints, do not listen to the voices that speak like wormtongue to your soul. Be discouraged. Your children are growing up in dark times.
No, it is you who have been stuck in dreamy dark times! We have been like the lotus eaters in our dreamy reality while the enemies have crept in among us.
         I want to encourage you to a renewed awareness, a focused diligence to those things we are already focusing on. Do not grow weary. You are doing well. Do so more and more! We get to wake up to the reality of the glory of our faith in Christ. Our sleepy children will have to wake up and lay claim to the glory of the cross and of Christ’s victory in Word and Deed.  This is God’s kindness to us in the midst of crooked and perverse generation.
Worship- Right worship is the source of strength. It is vital in defeating every foe. This is why sing our fighting Psalms.
By right worship, I include a true understanding of the gospel, submission to the Lord Jesus in all things, study of the Scriptures, faithful weekly attendance with God’s people, faithful attendance to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
         These are all offensive fighting weapons that take dominion in the Earth.
Marriage- Ephesians 5 goes with Genesis 1.
Christ and His Church are fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth. This what marriages do!
Some have said that marriage is now under assault. Welcome to the world! Did you not read the first few chapters of the Bible? The devil has always assaulted marriage. What better place to attack man than his fundamental relationship between husband and wife? What better way to attack the world subduing gospel?
Marriage is not now under assault. It has always been, from the beginning and will be until the last sin is defeated. The devils like to make a mockery of marriage because they think they assault Christ and His Church. They say that marriage doesn’t really matter. Only sex matters and you can do that with anybody! But Christ is faithful and He will perfect His bride!
The only assault against real marriages will be the one that occurs when God’s people fail to tell the truth. The assault here is not marriage in and of itself. The assault is on the kingdom of God, itself. We don’t need Jesus. We don’t need His Bride. We have built our tower to heaven and we don’t care if we are scattered in our confusions!
Dear Saints, don’t get caught up in the confusion. The Holy Spirit has come and revealed one truth in Jesus Christ and His Word. That is not an idea or an ideal. It is true. Marriage is what God says it is and defining it any other way will not make it so.
Your children are going to grow up in an age where their Christian marriages will shock the world again. In the early days of the Church, it was Christian marriage that so dramatically witnessed to a pagan world. As the darkness falls, even a little candle looks like a bright light. You are doing well in this. Continue. Speak the truth.
Love and Respect. The power of speaking the truth. Do not grow weary. Be bold. Be strong.

Child Rearing
         We have taught much on child rearing. There are many methods to achieve the one goal, faithful Christian children. But do not belittle what we are doing among our children.  Do not take your jobs lightly and do not grow weary.
         Mothers, do you know that you are just about the greatest thing this world has to offer? Perhaps the one thing better is a father to go with the mother.
         I am thankful that our many children seem to be growing up faithfully, embracing that which you have instilled in them. But it takes a long time to get them faithfully to their wedding day. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t stop running at mile seventeen. The race does not really start until mile 20. You have not finished a marathon if you run 22 miles. Don’t celebrate until you finish!

         Home school, Christian School, Combination of both.
         Know that the Word is the Absolute Truth and then absolutely know the Word. Stand on the Word alone as your rule for faith and practice. Get it in your bones. Indoctrinate yourself and your children fully. Be an unapologetic Bible person. Don’t worry about trying to impress worldlings.  It didn’t work and it won’t.
Government schools have become a megaphone for liars. It is possible to survive them without believing all the lies but it is getting increasingly more difficult to do so. If ever there was a time to face this fact, now is it.
         These are the things that God uses to establish His kingdom on the Earth. It may not look like much and the rulers of this world scoff at us. But though they think that they bear the sword, it is not so.
         The sword that goes forth and slays all the enemies is the one that protrudes from the mouth of Jesus. It vanquishes every foe. It is an unbreakable blade and every man, woman and child here also possess this sword. The foe cannot deal with it. The president cannot deal with it. The supreme court cannot deal with it. And even if you get killed wielding this sword, the sword still fights! One man is down and two men pick up the sword and slay twice as many foes.
         Outside of Jesus Christ, the dominion mandate cannot be fulfilled. But we are 2015 years into the rule of Christ.
         We are people of faith and are called to live by faith. Do not shrink back from the fight. Do not be afraid to engage. Do not withhold your children from the battle. The battle is the Lord’s. He has in fact already won even though the enemy is unaware. So, press on with confidence, with courage and with joy.


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