Tony Evans - Encountering Jesus' Name
God has a house. The name of his house is called his kingdom. God's kingdom is his rule over his creation. This creation is called God's house. "The earth is the Lord's, the fullness thereof, and the world and all they that dwell in it". He calls the creation his abode. God decided that he was gonna run his house a certain way, and the way he was gonna run his house was through a creature he would create, who would run his house on his behalf for him, and that creature would be called mankind. And so, in Genesis chapter 1, the Bible says that God created Adam, and he created Eve, and he says, "I'm gonna let them rule". In Psalm chapter 8, verses 4 to 6, it says, "God created man a little lower than the angels," and when he created man a little lower than the angels, he said, "I created them so that they might rule". Psalm 115, verse 16, says, "The heaven belongs to God, but the earth belongs to man".
So God created an earthbound creature: man, whose job it was to run his house God's way. Adam fumbled the ball because he turned the running of the earth over to the devil when he rebelled against the owner of the house: God. When Adam rebelled against the owner of the house and he turned the house over to the devil, sin entered into the world, bringing chaos to humanity and corrupting God's creation. God wants his house back, but because of how God set it up that he would only run his house through a man, through a human being, he did not cancel that approach, and so he says, "Then I need another man because the first Adam failed to run my house my way". This led to the unfolding of the Old Testament in anticipating a man who would run God's house God's way, a king if you will, who would rule on earth from the perspective of heaven.
The whole Old Testament is the anticipation of this King this King who would come through the Jews, who would sit on the throne of David, who would oversee Israel and, from Israel, rule the world. And so, the prophets anticipated this King Abraham's covenant anticipated this King and David's line anticipated this King. When Jesus came, John the Baptist took the center stage in Matthew chapter 3, verse 2, and John the Baptist says, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand". When Jesus began preaching in Matthew 4:17, he stepped onto the stage of history, and he says, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is right in front of you". When he sent out his disciples to preach in Matthew chapter 10, verse 7, he says, "You go out, and you proclaim that the kingdom of God has arrived because the King is here," so when we talk about Jesus Christ and the name that we're talking about today, you may know him as Savior, and that, he is, but today I want you to make sure you understand him as King. Because he is King, he has a kingdom, a house over which he rules. It was this claim to his kingdom and as King that got him killed.
In John chapter 19, verses 14 to 22, Pilate says, "Here is your King". They said, "Crucify him, crucify him". That's after they had laid out palm branches on Palm Sunday and laid out their coats and says, "Hosanna, the King has arrived". One week later, "Crucify him". Unfortunately today, there are many people who come to church and say, "Hosanna," but leave and say, "Crucify him," because we don't mind him being King by name as long as he's not King by authority. We don't mind Jesus carrying the title as long as he's not telling me what to do. Let me explain something about God's kingdom. It's not a democracy. He's not asking you for your vote. He is not seeking your permission. He wants to declare what he wants done. When you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, that got you to the sweet by-and-by. When he becomes your King he joins you in the nasty here and now. Jesus wants to be your Savior, but he also wants to be a ruler. He wants to be the one who has final say-so over all matters in your life.
A kingdom is a domain over which a ruler sits and over which he exercises authority. The kingdom of heaven refers to the jurisdiction over which God rules through Christ. The kingdom of God refers to the person, God. The kingdom of heaven refers to the sphere. When Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this world," he did not mean, "My kingdom is not in this world". He means that the kingdom authority doesn't come from this world. The kingdom authority I exercise in this world comes from the world I came from. I come from heaven down to earth to answer the Lord's prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done", where? "On earth as it is in heaven". Jesus's prayer was that there would be a group of redeemed people who would sit underneath his rule as they live their lives on earth as he gives instruction from heaven.
So when we say Jesus's name is "the King" you are declaring that "Jesus Christ has final say-so over my decisions". Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. We want Jesus to have final say-so over the decisions we agree with. We want Jesus to have final say so over the decisions we like. The idea is not for the ruler to adjust to the rulee. The idea is for the rulee to adjust to the ruler. Jesus Christ wants to be your Savior who takes you to heaven and your King who rules your life in history, which means that your question on every subject in your life should be one: "What do you want me to do about this"? When you begin asking that question to your King and answering that question in the affirmative, there are only two words you're supposed to give to that question, "Yes, Lord," "Yes, King".
When you ask that question and answer that question, now you are functioning as a citizen of his kingdom and not as a Benedict Arnold in his kingdom. You see, God has to contend today with a lot of Benedict Arnolds, people who are in the kingdom, working for the other side because what they seek to do is bring non-kingdom values into the King's house, and they will not only wait for the King to adjust, they will even pray for him to adjust, not understanding this is his crib. This is his house. The whole creation is spoken of that way and most certainly the people of God. This is no small issue. Jesus says, "My kingdom is in this world, but it's not from this world. It comes from heaven".
So God wants you to make heaven's decisions in your earthly movement, in your earthly direction. That's why there's so much about kingdom in our church, the kingdom agenda, the visible demonstration of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. You don't get to decide what a marriage is. You don't get to decide how you should handle resources. You don't get to decide how you act in the workplace as a representative of the King. He rules it all because he is King over all. So, if he is not allowed to speak into it, that means that you have become your own king in another's kingdom. When you come to Christ, you switch kingdoms, and you pledge allegiance to another flag. That's why the Bible says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God", Matthew 6:33, "and his righteousness," and then he says, "and then all these things will be added to you".
In other words, "Seek my kingdom," and the king got your back. Do your own kingdom in my kingdom, and you take care of yourself. I like the way Luke puts that same verse 'cause Luke throws in something else. Luke wants you to know that when you seek first the kingdom of God, when you, Luke chapter 12, verse 31 and 32, he says, "When you seek the kingdom of God", I love this. He says, "It's my Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom". In other words, "I can't wait. I can't wait to show you what I can do. I can't wait to let you see what happens when the King takes over our life, when the King takes over your direction, because it's the Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom".
So, a lot of us are missing out on some things God wants to do in our minds, in our hearts, in our circumstances once he becomes King once he gets the final say-so, once he determines... one of the reasons that all of us, to one degree or another, stay defeated so long is Jesus is not King. The Bible says that the flesh will always seek to nullify Jesus's authority. That's why the Scripture says, once you come into the kingdom, that you suffer violence, the Scripture says, that is, you suffer resistance. You are going to suffer pushback. See, when you get saved, that part's the easy part 'cause you go to Jesus Christ, you acknowledge you're a sinner, that you need a Savior, and you trust him for the gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of sins, and based on his promise, you're given eternal life, and you come through the door. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the door".
You go through Jesus, and now you enter the kingdom. John 3:3, says, "You cannot enter the kingdom unless you are born again". So that's getting saved. That's being converted. That's being justified. That's being born again. That's when you trust Jesus Christ. That is entering the kingdom, but what a lot of us do is we enter the kingdom and hang out at the door. We enter the kingdom and say, "Oh, Door, thank you for letting me in the door. It's nice to know I'm no longer outside. I'm no longer under judgment. I am now saved and safe, and I'm at the door," and we come to church every Sunday to celebrate the door. God says, "No, I let you in the door so that you can enter into a kingdom, so that you can enter into a whole new realm of divine rule of my kingship".
But when you do, and you bring your history with you, you bring your background with you, you bring your secular education with you, you bring your secular viewpoints with you, you bring the media with you, you bring the pain that you had before you came in, and you dragging all of that into God's kingdom, and God is sayin', "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, we gotta... no, no, no, you in my house, and I know that's how you used to out there, but you're in my house now, and since you're in my house, we are going to have to deal with that". The moment that occurs, then the kingdom suffers violence. In other words, there's gonna be a clash, and there's supposed to be because the Bible says the flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit wars against the flesh, so, "wham," there's gonna be a clash.
Now, what a lot of people say when they get the clash is, "Well, I need to get closer to Jesus. I need to get more spiritual". And you do. You do need to get closer to Jesus. You do need to get more spiritual, but the first thing you need to establish is who's in charge because it's until you establish who's in charge, you will use getting close as an excuse not to deal with it. See, some of this stuff don't take that long. It only takes long because he is not King. The Bible says in Philippians 3, verse 20, you are now, I am now, we are now to view ourselves as citizens of heaven. Let's talk about that for a minute. Citizens of heaven. A citizen is where it's your nation. It's your official place of residency. We are citizens of the United States of America. This is our kingdom. Our kingdom is the US of A. It's our kingdom. Because we belong to this kingdom, we belong to its Constitution and its rules.
Now, if you travel, you have a passport. That passport allows you to leave this kingdom and go to other kingdoms. You can go to other countries with your passport. That passport will identify you. Whether you're in England or Spain or Russia or China, that passport says, "I'm visiting. I don't belong here, and I may be visiting for a long time, but I'm not a citizen here. I'm a citizen of the United States of America". When you accepted Jesus Christ, you became a citizen of heaven. He does not expect you to leave your passport at home. When you go to work, when you go to play, when you hang out with your friends, when you go to the bank, he does not expect you to leave your passport at home, pretending that you don't belong to your homeland. You are part of the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of heaven means, when you're not in heaven, 'cause we're not in heaven right now, that means that right now we have to carry our passport on the locations of earth that we happen to be because this is not our kingdom. This is a foreign country we're visiting for a certain limited period of time.
See, what a lot of Christians wanna do, they wanna be here without a passport, but if you lose your passport, you've lost your legitimacy. You've lost the official documentation of where you really belong. Jesus's name is King. He is ruler. He is the final authority, and therefore, he says, "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand". He's not just talking about going to heaven. He's talking about experiencing God's rule, which starts off with accepting the Savior, but the kingdom of heaven is his sphere of authority and rulership. Jesus says, Matthew 28:19-20, "All authority has been given to me, not only in heaven but", he says, "on earth". "I'm in charge of what finally happens at work. I'm in charge of what finally happens in your house. I'm in charge of what finally happens in your relationships. I'm in charge of all that. So, if I'm in charge of all that, it is in your best interest to let me rule all of that". And so he says, "Your job is to repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand".
"Repentance" is the "internal determination to turn, proven by fruit," that is, "visible demonstration you are serious". God's not taking your word for it. You just could be in an emotional high right now. So, he says, "No, I wanna see some fruit on this tree. You've got to show me something". "I'm from Missouri," God says. "You've got to show me something". In other words, "Let me see you're serious by your decision, not just by your church attendance. You must now say, 'Whatever you want me to do, I'm going to do it even though I don't want to do it.'" That's called faith 'cause faith has to operate against emotion sometimes. He is King and I will give you the final designation of his name in Revelation 17:14, where it says, "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with him are the called and the chosen and the faithful".
And then, in chapter 19, verse 16, "And on his robe and on his thigh, he has a name, a name written, 'King of kings and Lord of lords.'" It says in verse 19, "And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies, assembled to make war against him who sat on the horse and against his army". He's not only King. He's King of kings, okay? Don't miss that. He's not only King. He is King but he's also King of kings. When he talks about him being King of kings, it says the Kings of the earth go against him. That means all the other chief people who think they in charge are gonna come against him. Jesus is gonna show the kings that he's not only the King he is the King of all the other kings. He doesn't just boss the low-level folk. He doesn't boss the middle, you know, the mid-level management, the folk who think they in charge, who think they have the last word. He's King over top of them.
The folk you are afraid of, the folk who got more money than you, the folk who have more clout than you, the folk who have a higher position than you, Jesus said, "I'm King over them. I'm not only King over you, I'm King over the folk who you think are king over you. So, I can not only overrule you, I can overrule the people you think can't be overruled 'cause I'm King of kings, and I am Lord of lords. That's why no human being has the last word over me". No human being has the last word over you 'cause no human being is King of kings. They may be a king, but they're not the King. You know the King and the King is king over all other folk who think they're kings because he's King of kings, and in the book of Revelation, when he comes then, he not just coming to be nice. He's coming to show up and show off.
It's like the man who saw the wagon run away with a little boy in it, and he saw the wagon. The horse was dragging the wagon. The boy would be killed. The young man ran over, and he was able to get to the horse, and he stopped the horse. And he stopped the horse, and he saved the young man's life. The young man grew up, and the young man became a very terrible boy. He became a terrible young adult, and he began to commit all kind of crimes. He was finally found for committing a dastardly crime. He was brought before the judge. When the young man looked up, he noticed that the judge was the same man who had saved him when he was a boy. It was time for him to be sentenced. That's when the young man said to the judge, "Your honor, I don't know if you remember, but I'm the boy you saved when I was young. I'm the boy you delivered when I was young".
What he was hoping was, because he reminded him of that, that he would get a less sentence. That's when the judge said, "Well, back then, I was your Savior, but right now, I am your judge". Right now God is your Savior. When you stand before him, he's gonna be your judge, and he's gonna wanna know then, "What did you do with my salvation in ruling your life as a member of my kingdom when you stand before me at the judgment seat of Christ"? Don't let him just be a king. Let him be the King. Don't just let him be a king or the king. Make him the King of all kings so that you can see what it looks like when the King takes over the rule of all of your life.
Jesus Christ is King. If you're king that means you have a kingdom. He is King of the world, and he wants to be King of your life and my life, which means we're his subjects, and he rules over us as King. The whole world is his realm. The church represents his kingdom influencers. Are you representing him? Am I representing the King in what we say, how we act, how we relate, and the impact we make? If he is King let's let him know that we are servicing his kingdom, the only real kingdom that matters.