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The King’s Code
- The King’s math
1.1. Christ = King (Luk 23:1-2)
1.2. Love = Loyalty (Joh 14:15)
1.3. Upgrade = Sacrifice (Phi 2:5-11)
1.4. Holiness = Intolerance (of sin) (2Co 7:1)
1.5. My King is King > All other Kings (gods included) (Mat 28:18).
1.6. My King’s reboot > than your best life now. (Rev 21:1-5).
1.7. Serve the King = savor the Kingdom (Phi 1:21-23)
- The King’s inquiry
2.1. Do you serve the King? (or, I serve the King, who do you serve?) (1Jo 5:19)
2.2. Why would anyone be so stupid not to serve the King? Only the King can offer a life free from pain (Rev 21:4 versus the Atheist/religions of the world = Free from pain at death – not during life. The reality for the Atheist/religions of the world = Rev 20:15).
2.3. What happens to you if the King returns in 2046? (2Th 1:7b-10)
- The King’s speech
3.1. The King is not your holy toilet.
3.1.1. As long as I confess my sin to King Jesus, I don’t have to worry about consequences b/c He takes care of it. He is my holy toilet. Text often used to support this kind of thinking (1Jo 1:9).
3.1.2. You continue to practice sin (thinking yourself to be immune to its eternal consequences) and you will be guilty of treating the King’s blood as an unclean thing and declared apostate by God (Heb 10:26-30; Deu 29:18-20).
3.2. The King requires more than faith alone.
3.2.1. The mantra of the modern-day church, is “nobody is perfect” (e.g., “We are a church who likes to say, ‘we are not perfect and don’t pretend be.’” – Easter postcard from a church in Centennial, CO)
3.2.2. If God expected perfection, then why did He send His Son to die for our sins?
3.2.3. Though God does not expect perfection, He does expect faithful obedience. IOW: you won’t get to heaven on just faith alone (1Jo 2:4, 3:5-10; Mat 13:41; Jam 2:24).
3.2.4. No excuses. We can be faithful (Deu 30:11-20).
3.2.5. So then, you may not be perfect, but you’d better be faithful.
3.3. To have faith in Jesus means you have pledged your complete allegiance to Jesus as the King.
3.3.1. To put faith in Christ or believe upon Christ for salvation means more than trust or mental ascent to Who He is (the Son of God/fully God/Deity, the son of David/fully man/the Messiah or King) or what He has done (lived a sinless life so as to qualify as our atoning sacrifice and rose again in the third day as proof of God’s acceptance and our justification through Him – Rom 4:25; 1Co 15:1-4) (e.g. faith as trust or mental ascent – 1Co 13:2).
3.3.2. Putting faith/believing upon Christ for salvation also means swearing our complete allegiance to Jesus as our King IOW: We are now loyal to the precepts of our King, not the preferences of people (including self).
3.3.3. Allegiance was the 1st century understanding of the term pistus translated as “faith” and the idea behind belief. It referred to more than mental ascent or trust. It implied also loyalty to that thing/person (Rom 3:3 and Mat 23:23 pistus is translated as “faithfulness” [a synonym for allegiance]).
3.3.4. Examples where translating pistus as “allegiance” makes more sense given the context (Act 24:24-25 [τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν πίστεως] = allegiance to King Jesus [v25 all about allegiance]; Tit 2:9-10 “submissive in everything, well-pleasing not argumentative, not pilfering but showing all good faith [pistus]= allegiance; Rom 1:3, 5, 16:25-26 = Paul’s gospel goal is to bring about “the obedience [pistus] of faith” – i.e. the obedience consistent with our sworn allegiance).
3.3.5. Examples from the 1st century Jewish historian, Josephus: 1) “The inhabitants of this city determined to continue in their allegiance [pistus] to the Romans (The Life 104), 2) “Bacchides troubled not himself with the oaths he had taken, but slew threescore of [the people], although, by not keeping his faith [pistus] with [them] (i.e., by failing to show allegiance to his prior oaths) he deterred the rest who had intentions to go over to him.” (Antiquities 12.396). 62% of the time [pistus] in Josephus refers to allegiance or a pledge of loyalty
3.3.6. Our faith-sworn allegiance/loyalty is viewed as a sacred and binding pledge or vow by God (1Pe 3:21 “pledge” = sacred/binding vow).
3.4. The King’s gift of grace expects reciprocation in the form of allegiance.
3.4.1. Evangelicals are famous for their insistence that our salvation is a gift of grace which means there are no obligatory strings attached. This (however) is a modern understanding of the term grace and gift.
3.4.2. In ancient times (including the time of Jesus and Paul), the ideas of gift and grace – especially when given by dignitaries, always expected reciprocation in the form of allegiance/loyalty (See, Paul & The Gift, John M.G. Barclay).
3.4.3. (e.g. Eph 2:8-10) = The gracious gift was not conditioned on prior acts (“not your own doing, not a result of works”), but does expect future performance (“good works prepared beforehand” – i.e. the Law) in return (“A gift can be unconditioned [free from prior conditions] without also being unconditional [free of expectations of some return].” – John Barclay ibid, p. 562)
3.4.4. This understanding of grace/gift is not a violation of (Rom 4:1-4).
3.5. A Christian not suffering persecution is not a disciple of the King.
3.5.1 When we swear allegiance to the King (i.e., put faith in Jesus) we also commit to suffer persecution from others as we take a stand for His unpopular gospel (Phi 1:27-29; 2Th 1:3-5; Mat 10:34 w/Luk 2:34-35; Joh 15:18-19).
3.5.2. Those who are living in faithful obedience to their former pledge of allegiance are guaranteed to be persecuted (2Ti 3:12).
3.5.3. You are therefore not a true disciple of the King if you avoid such persecution (Heb 10:35-39).
3.5.4. We should count it a good thing when we suffer for our King since this points to us being genuine Christians (Mat 5:10-11; Jam 1:2-4; e.g., of persecution – family/world condemning us for our loyalty to the King over them).
3.6. A Christian without a church is not a disciple of the King.
3.6.1. Evangelicals think it is possible to get to heaven without the earthly covenant community established by our King.
3.6.2. How does a person do that when the key for loosing was given to the church (not individuals)? (Mat 16:18-19 w/Joh 21:21-23).
3.6.3. In Scripture, baptism – where a person is loosed from their sins/saved (1Pe 3:21; Mar 16:16), is never recognized [as saving] when practiced by individuals not authorized by the church (e.g., Act 19:1-7).
3.6.4. The early church believed baptism (as well as the sacrament of the LT) to be given only to the Church and those they approved: 1) “baptism cannot profit a heretic (i.e., individual claiming to be a Christian not recognized by the Church) unto salvation, because there is no salvation outside the Church.” – Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage, 3rd cent.), 2) “Let no one do anything touching the Church, apart from the bishop. Let that celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid which is held under the bishop or anyone to whom he has committed it. Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Church. It is not permitted without authorization from the bishop either to baptize or to hold an agape (LT); but whatever he approves is also pleasing to God. Thus, everything you do will be proof against danger and valid. “– Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch, 2nd cent.)
3.6.5. If a person (therefore) claims to be saved yet was not saved in – and continues to belong to a legitimate church, then they are claiming a salvation outside that of King Jesus. (Good luck with that)
3.7. A church without the King’s authority is a church overrun by Satan.
3.7.1. (Mat 16:13-19): 1) the church has been given the authority and power of Jesus’ Kingship (13-17) “You are the Christ/King” w/ Jesus’ response (18a) “on this rock” = On this authoritative and powerful foundation of my Kingship, “I will build (establish) my church”, 2) b/c of the church’s kingly authority and power, the satanic forces that rule this world will not extend into her midst (18b) “the gates of hell” = Idiomatic reference to the jurisdiction of one’s rule. In this case, the rule of Satan; “shall not prevail against it” = Satan’s rule will not be able to overrun the church, 3) Jesus calls that kingly authority and power given to His church, the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” (18a -“I will build my church w/19a – I will give you the keys…”) = The “you” refers to the “church”, 4) what those keys/the King’s authority and power looks like is the ability to determine who receives forgiveness from God and who is no longer able – i.e. who is now apostate (19b w/Joh 21:21-23 [“Holy Spirit” = Jesus’ promised authority/power – see Mat 12:31-32] w/Mat 18:15-20 [two strikes w/witnesses] w/Tit 3:7-10 [an allusion to Mat 18:15-20]) = By the time the judgment has reached the authority of the church, that person is considered to have reached their third strike and are now no longer to be recognized as a Christian but (once more) of the world (e.g., tax-collector). They are “self-condemned” or apostate. Hence the reason we are to “have nothing more to do with them.”).
3.7.2. A church therefore w/o such authority and power (who denies they possess the ability to bind and loose) is a church where the gates of hell can prevail – i.e., they are a church overrun by Satan. In contrast church possessing the King’s authority and power is therefore the safest place on planet earth. What kind of a church do you want to attend?
3.8. A church not practicing excommunication or declaring unrepentant people apostate is a church without the King’s salvation.
3.8.1. With respect to excommunication: (1Co 5:1-7) = All forms of sexual immorality are a capital crime. Hence the reason for no further detail in relation to what the man in question has done with “his father’s wife.” Under the New Covenant capital crimes are now punished by excommunication – or by temporarily removing them from their place of salvation and protection from God w/ the hopes that this discipline will deliver them from the practice of such heinous sins, ensuring again their place on the path of salvation (v2 -“Let him who has done this be removed from among you” v5 – “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”).
3.8.2. This however is not the only reason Paul demands such action be taken by the Corinthian church. It is also for their protection. Those covenant communities who refuse to take such disciplinary measures will be found guilty of the same sins (2Jo 1:9-11). Hence the reason Paul quotes God’s oft-repeated command to “purge the evil person from among (us)” (1Co 5:13; Deu 13:5, 17:7, 12, 21:21, 22:21, 24).
3.8.3. How (then) to respond to those who question our church’s practice of excommunication, “We practice excommunication because we want to give our people the best chance of being delivered from their sin and getting to heaven without jeopardizing the salvation of the rest of the church.” (possibly followed by) “Does your church not care about its people?”
With respect to declaring unrepentant people apostate (2Ti 2:15-21“swerved from the truth”) = Gone apostate. Hymenaeus was already excommunicated for prior blasphemy (1Ti 1:19-20). His continued actions (or refusal to repent) sealed his fate (Heb 10:26-30; Deu 29:18-20). As a result, he and his new partner, “Philetus” (as for Alexander, see 2Ti 4:14-15) were to be permanently avoided so as to stop their apostasy (in this case, their blasphemous talk) from spreading like “gangrene” and infecting (or damning) the rest of the church. Only through cleansing ourselves from such people can we remain “useful to the master” and “ready for every good work.” (As already) mentioned, those covenant communities who refuse to take such disciplinary measures (i.e., to purge the evil person from among them”) will be found guilty of the same sins (2Jo 1:9-11). IOW: they become a church no longer able to offer salvation to its members (Rev 2:4-5) “abandoned the love you had at first” = Abandoned your loyalty to the King (i.e., refusing to do what He says); “repent…if not I will come…and remove your lampstand = You ability to offer salvation (to loose people from their sins) (“lampstand” = Temple/tabernacle lampstand which was symbolic of God’s presence in the temple/tabernacle – or among Israel, for the purpose of salvation).
3.8.4. How (then) to respond to those who question our church’s practice of declaring unrepentant persons apostate, “Why would we jeopardize the salvation of those who have hope for those who no longer have any hope?”
3.9. Not welcome to the King, not welcome to us.
3.9.1. Not everyone is welcome to God and therefore worthy to receive His gospel offer. With respect to those people, we are not to waste our time (Mat 7:6, 10:1-7, 14; Luk 3:4-7).
3.9.2. More than that, to waste our time with such people will wreck our relationship with God: 1) (2Co 6:14-18) = It makes no sense to Paul (and should make no sense to us) that anyone who truly loves their King (“Christ”) would want to be “yoked,” have a “portion” in or “fellowship” with an “unbeliever” seeing that they exist in “partnership” or “accord” (i.e., loving relationship) with “Belial” (aka, Satan). If we don’t want to wreck our relationship with God, then we must “go out from their midst” and “be separate from them.” Only then will God “be (our) God and (us)…His people” (16). Notice, it is indeed conditional (17- “Therefore go out…then I will welcome you.”). Does this mean we don’t want to reach unbelievers for Christ or can’t associate w/them? No. 2) (1Co 5:9-11) = We can (and should) associate with unbelievers as the means to evangelism and seeing whether God is calling them to Himself. In respect, to false Christians (i.e., those claiming to be a “brother” or follower of our God yet living in sinful rebellion and darkness), not even association is allowed. Like the excommunicated and apostate, we are to “judge” them and “purge” them from our life since by their spiritual idolatry (in serving a false King) they are second in line to the apostate (vv12-13).
“Why would we want to wreck our relationship with God by spending time with people who hate him and are in a loving relationship with Satan, darkness and idolatry?”