Last week we continued our trek through the implications of the Kingship of Jesus Christ.
We have posited and demonstrated from Scripture that Jesus Christ is a King… indeed a King of Kings. We have labored to demonstrate that this Kingship is not limited, nor is it etheral, nor is it pietistic nor is it Gnostic. He is King and His Kingship exercises authority and so flows into every nook and cranny of life.
This passage that we are again considering this morning teaches the Kingship of Christ. All authority has been given to Him in heaven and in earth. Only a King has all authority and Christ is King. This is what we have been examining and this has been the Testimony of the Church through the ages;
“It is a profound political reality that Christ now occupies the supreme seat of cosmic authority. The kings of this world and all secular governments may ignore this reality, but they cannot undo it. The universe is no democracy. It is a monarchy. God himself has appointed his beloved Son as the preeminent King. Jesus does not rule by referendum, but by divine right. In the future, every knee will bow before him, either willingly or unwillingly. Those who refuse to do so will have their knees broken with a rod of iron.”
, “In one word, if anything is made clear in the Bible concerning ministerial duty, this is clear: that Christ has appointed the pastors and evangelists of his church to be the teachers of religion to men, the appointed school-masters of the world in the one science of theology. But as Lord Bacon shows, this is the splendid apex of the whole pyramid of human knowledge. It is the mistress of all sciences to whom all the rest are tributary, history, ethnology, zoology, geology, literature, and especially philosophy, her nearest handmaid. The mistress must dominate all and rule all lest, becoming insurrectionary, they should use their hands to pull down the foundations of her throne. The teachers of the supreme science must not be ignorant of any other science. They ought to be strong enough to lead the leaders of all secular thought; for if they do not, the tendencies of the carnal mind will most assuredly prompt those secular leaders to array their followers against our King and his gospel.”
R. L. Dabney
Of course the point of the Dabney quote is that the minister is responsible to trumpet the Kingship of Jesus Christ over every thought discpline making sure that every thought discipline continues paying tribute to Christ the King.
With that in mind, taking a minimalist approach, and looking at matters deductively we have taken a birds eye view of the Kingship of Jesus Christ. As Reconstructionist … as Biblical Christians … as those who take every thought to make it captive to King Jesus we have considered the following items in this series. We have admitted there is overlap in these but when you slice matters thin that is inevitable.
1.) Theocentric thinking
2.) Organic or Holistic thinking
4.) The Reformation Solas
5.) Limited and Constrained Government (which implies Hard money)
6.) Jurisdictionalism (Sphere-Sovereignty / Subsidiarity)
7.) Covenant Theology
Today we wrap up this series by considering Missions and Oikaphilia.
Perhaps the best way to start this morning is by noting in the text the requirement of Christ to
19 [g]Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to [h]follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you [i]always, to the end of the age.”
There is here the requirement to go to the nations and teach them to follow all that Christ has commanded.
It is the nations – nation by nation – which are to be taught all that Christ commanded (theonomy). This presupposes that Christ intends to own the world as it is gather nation by nation in their nations and this ownership includes their being instructed in Christ’s commandments.
So, here we see the bringing together of Missions, Theonomy, and Kinsim.
It appears here then what we have is what we spoke of last week and that is theonomy dressing itself consistent with National covenantalism. We are to collect the nations by Baptism and then disciple the Nations teaching them all things Christ has commanded. Just as Israel was separated and brought into National Covenant at Sinai so the nations are to be gathered to be discipled, taught God’s law (all that Christ commanded) and are to swear National covenant, thus both segregating one ethnos from one another while at the same time bringing in a spiritual unity by their mutual national allegiance to Jesus Christ. This segregating of the various ethnos (people-groups) continues unabated until they enter the new Jesuralem nation by nation in the eschaton
Revelation 14:6 – “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth– to every nation, tribe, language and people.”
Revelation 15:4 – “Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
The nations in their nations come into the New Jerusalem.
Rev. 20:23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth [ad]will bring their glory into it.
So, in the Great Commission the nations are gathered in their nations and in the eschaton the Nations continuing as nations will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem.
The national emphasis of the covenant is reiterated in the Great Commission, commanding all covenant nations to conform to all that God hath commanded.
Now we pause here to note that when Christ says to the disciple to teach the nations all that Christ has commanded we see that as being harmonious with what God has commanded of men in all times and places. We don’t argue, as some do, that the God of the OT had one law while Christ as a new and different command for people. So when Jesus says … “teaching wherein all I have commanded you,” we hear the law according to its original intent and yes that includes the general equity of the civil law.
So, we see in this Great Commission that Jesus lays upon the disciples includes both a overt presupposition of Nationalism but also an overt insistence on theonomy.
We should not miss that Nations begin with patriarchal lines of authority. That is the way it was in the Old Covenant and there is nothing in the NT where we get the sense that Nations are not patriarchal in their lineage. Fathers of people groups are the gatekeeper of those nations and so when Christ commands to disciple the nations I understand that to mean that we are to begin with the heads of household (Fathers) in converting the nations.
So, what have we seen here so far. We have seen there is laid upon the Church by King Jesus to gather the Church nation by nation via baptism which proclaims Christ crucified and upon the gathering of the Church there is to be a theonomic push to disciple the nations. We have seen the nations should be gathered, baptized and discipled through the Fathers as Nations are understood by means of patriarchal lines. The Fathers are the heads of the family covenant lines. Many household lines descended from one patriarch comprise a nation. The idea of the word “household” in the NT underscores this idea as generally (not universally) in the NT the heads of households were patriarchs.
So, in this Great Commission is implied, familialism, missions, and theonomy. Each strand contributing to the whole enterprise. The Great Commission does not overthrow the covenantalism of the Old Testament wherein the family and the father is at the center of the organizing principle of the nation.
One implication of all this is that no one can credibly argue that the Great Commission abolishes the idea of a distinction of nations and races because the Great Commission itself affirms their meaningful continued existence, and abiding distinction when it calls for a gathering, baptizing and discipling of all NationS.
All said, Christ’s Great Commission so thoroughly presupposes familialism (Kinism) that any attempt to construe it in an anti-nation by nation fashion only pits the Christ against His own words. Which is merely to render the Christiantiy self-contradictory and incoherent.
So, Christianity does not create a New World Order where internationalism becomes the socio-political means of the organization of mankind. The success of the Gospel means that the Nations as Nations continue to exist. In such a way the long standing Christian principle of unity in diversity is maintained. When the Great Commission is taken in its Biblical context, according to its original intent, the converted World finds a spiritual unity in Christ while the diversity of who God has ordained them to be as Nations continues on. In such a way the created One and many reflects the un-created One and Many.
Supporting this older reading that focuses on nations as nations in discipleship are chaps like Matthew Henry who could say on Matthew 28,
[2.] “What is the principal intention of this (Great) commission; to disciple all nations. Matheµteusate-“Admit them disciples; do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations;’ not, “Go to the nations, and denounce the judgments of God against them, as Jonah against Nineveh, and as the other Old-Testament prophets’ (though they had reason enough to expect it for their wickedness), “but go, and disciple them.’ Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, bring the nations to be his subjects; setting up a school, bring the nations to be his scholars; raising an army for the carrying on of the war against the powers of darkness, enlist the nations of the earth under his banner. The work which the apostles had to do, was, to set up the Christian religion in all places, and it was honourable work; the achievements of the mighty heroes of the world were nothing to it. They conquered the nations for themselves, and made them miserable; the apostles conquered them for Christ, and made them happy.”
Note in that Henry quote the implied postmillennial eschatology.
What Christ envisions in the Great Commission was exactly what was anticipated in the Old Testament. Theologian Martin J. Wyngaarden speaking of Isaiah 19 wrote 60 years ago,
“Now the predicates of the covenant are applied in Isa. 19 to the Gentiles of the future, — “Egypt my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance,” Egypt, the people of “Jehovah of hosts,” (Isa. 19:25) is therefore also expected to live up to the covenant obligations, implied for Jehovah’s people. And Assyria comes under similar obligations and privileges. These nations are representative of the great Gentile world, to which the covenant privileges will therefore be extended.”
Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of the Scope of “Spiritualization” in Scripture (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), p. 94.
“More than a dozen excellent commentaries could be mentioned that all interpret Israel as thus inclusive of Jew and Gentile, in this verse, — the Gentile adherents thus being merged with the covenant people of Israel, though each nationality remains distinct.”
“For, though Israel is frequently called Jehovah’s People, the work of his hands, his inheritance, yet these three epithets severally are applied not only to Israel, but also to Assyria and to Egypt: “Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance.” 19:25.
Thus the highest description of Jehovah’s covenant people is applied to Egypt, — “my people,” — showing that the Gentiles will share the covenant blessings, not less than Israel. Yet the several nationalities are here kept distinct, even when Gentiles share, in the covenant blessing, on a level of equality with Israel. Egypt, Assyria and Israel are not nationally merged. And the same principles, that nationalities are not obliterated, by membership in the covenant, applies, of course, also in the New Testament dispensation.”
Wyngaarden, pp. 101-102.
And the heirs of the Reformation have taken this task of Missions seriously through the centuries.
Before we chronicle some of that let’s make something clear here. Missions is one of those inescapable category realities. Everybody is a missionary for their God or god. Everybody seeks to evangelize those who don’t agree with them on the subject of religion. The Government schools, for example, are great Missiological Institutions. Every day they are working to convert the poor souls present. Legislation is all about Missions as legislation seeks to coerce you to worship a particular god. Authors, Musicians, painters and sculptors are all doing Missionary work with their art… they are seeking to win you to think like them in terms of religion.
So Missions is inescapable and the question is never whether or not you will be a Missionary. The question is only what kind of Missionary for what god or God will you be.
This passage calls all of us to be Missionaries for the God of the Bible. As we are going (“Go and make Disciples) we are to be heralding Christ. The need to be Missions minded as never been so great. The Institutional Reformed Church, exceptions notwithstanding, isn’t doing Missions for the God of the Bible. I’ve seen their Mission to the World up close and personal and I can tell you that the God they champion is a different God than the God of the Bible. I suspect that is true of all Reformed denominations. Consider how bad the rot is that you see in the Church in the West and ask yourself if you believe the Mission sending agencies of those churches have escaped that rot?
The Church, when healthy has always been a Missions sending agency.
The Reformation itself was a Missions reality and those of the Reformed faith more than any other have been God’s Missionary’s extra-ordinare.
The Reformation restored the Gospel and without the Gospel there is no Missions. Without the proclamation of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s righteousness alone any Missionary effort would have been converting people to another faith besides Christianity.
The Reformation was Missionary through and through. Ironically enough it took the Gospel to what was known as Christendom. Calvin’s Geneva pumped out Missionary after Missionary to herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Nations that had become pagan because of the bastardy of Rome. Because of the Missions effort of the Reformation France would see the rise of the Huguenots pushing that nation towards Reformation as upwards to 1200 Pastors left Geneva to plant 2000 Churches in France. Those French Reformed Church then in turn sent Reformed ministers to Brazil for the first time.
Knox was trained in Geneva and was sent out to win Scotland and that is what happened. The authors of the Heidelberg Catechism were trained in Geneva and we are to this day touched by their missionary efforts.
The Reformed have always been God’s Missionaries whether it was John Eliot with his praying Indian Towns (Algonquian) or David Brainerd working with the Seneca & Delaware Indians or Jonathan Edwards working with the Mohicans.
It was the Reformed during the 19th century who packed their belongings when headed to Africa in coffins because they knew they weren’t coming back and were going to be buried in Africa so they packed their belongings in their coffins. Read the great Missionary stories of Henry Martyn, of Stanley Livingstone, of John Paton of the New Hebrides, of Hudson Taylor, William Carey to India. Read them … Read them all. Give them to your children. Read them and learn of the great Missionary impulse among the Reformed to see men bow to King Christ.
And what of us today? Is there any less of a need to be Missionaries right where we are? If the Reformation excelled in Missions to then Christendom what greater need is there today to excel at Missions to the former Christendom in the West that is now crumbling down around us. How much greater the need to be God’s Missionaries who speak forth the Vanilla Christianity that we have been considering these past few weeks? There is a need for Missions here in America. Our communities … our families, out country needs the Reformed, postmillennial, theonomic, covenantal, anti-Statist, blood soaked Gospel of Jesus Christ. We again must command all men everywhere to repent. We must again stand on the Scripture alone presupposing God and His Word as our starting point. It is this Gospel that we must speak forth once again and that into the teeth of whatever resistance.
Good Missionaries should be pucker up or duck kind of people. That is what we see of St. Paul and those who went with him on the Missionary journeys. People either loved the stuffing out of them or they hated them. Was this not what St. Paul was getting at when he said,
II Cor. 2:15For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?