Close Menu X
Navigate

Kingdom of God Anticipated: The House of David and the House of God

September 13, 2015 Speaker: Ben Watson Series: The Kingdom of God Anticipated

Passage: 1 Chronicles 17:1–17:15

Sermon from 1 Chronicles 17:1-15 by Ben Watson, Pastor
Series: Kingdom of God Anticipated (Part 2 of 3)
Delivered on September 13, 2015

Last week we began to think together about Missions. We devote a lot of time to Missions every year because we think it’s pretty significant. This month has an important purpose, and that purpose is not to guilt you into thinking more about missions or to guilt you into giving more to missions. The purpose of this month is not to convince you that you haven’t written to or prayed for missionaries enough. Honestly, you’re doing pretty well. I’ve never known a more missional church. Many men and women from this church, no kidding, many have either gone to shout the gospel to the nations or are taking real steps toward going to shout the gospel to the nations. We’ve sent out seven missionary teams and two church planting teams in the last four years. That’s brilliant! That’s a testimony of the work of Christ! But this month isn’t about us. This month will not pat you on the back or give you a to-do list. That isn’t the point of this month.

This month is a celebration of our great rescue. We spend time thinking about Missions this month because we want to cultivate affection and worship for the God who sends and saves. We gather here this morning and this month to celebrate the God who sent his Son to secure our redemption, and who sends son after son after son and daughter after daughter after daughter to shout the good news of salvation to every tribe and tongue and nation. This month we celebrate our rescue, because our faith, and our hope, and our fellowship, and our eternity was secured when God moved in the hearts of men and women to leave everything they knew and loved and to blister their feet and break their backs so that you might hear the good news of the gospel. We are the nations to whom God has sent to save.

And I suggested last week that we cannot appropriately appreciate, or appropriately praise, or appropriately serve the God who sends and saves without understanding that from which we’ve been saved, and that to which we’re being saved. This month we want to cultivate affection for the sending and saving God, and to do so we need to spend some time thinking about what you’ve been saved from, and what you’re being saved to. As soon as you get this—as soon as you appreciate the profound hopelessness of your condition before Jesus gave his life so that you could wear his righteousness, and as soon as you appreciate the unimaginable beauty of his Kingdom (this sheer weight of glory of which you are an heir)—you won’t need prompting to consider your gospel coworkers in the field. As soon as you get the brilliance of your rescue, you won’t need to be prompted to considering giving more of your time or your resources to advance the Kingdom of God. As soon as you get the staggering nature of your rescue, you cannot help but shout, “Send Me!”

So we began to look deep into the Old Testament. We began to search for the deepest roots of the gospel, the farthest reaching shadows of the Christ story. And we looked briefly at the life of Abraham. Abraham had no hope because he had no heir. But Abraham trusted God, who promised to give him a great name, to make of him a great nation. God promised Abraham that his sons and his son’s sons would multiply, and they would be as many as the sand on the seashore or the stars in the sky. And the first of these sons, Isaac, was precious, not only because he was impossible (remember, Abraham was old, and Sarah was barren), but also because all of God’s promises to Abraham would be fulfilled through him.

But that’s when the story turns. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son—his only son whom he loves. And this must have been staggering. Abraham must have felt paralyzing fear. But Abraham trusted God, and he trusted that God would provide his own lamb for sacrifice. And even as Abraham bound Isaac and reached for the knife, he trusted that God would fulfill his promises. He trusted that God would not lie, that God would provide, that God would work miracles.

And God did provide. God didn’t allow Abraham to sacrifice his son, his only son, his beloved son. There was need for sacrifice, there was need to satisfy the wrath of God. But God would provide. Only one beloved son would be required. God would send his son, his only son, his beloved son. On the mount of the LORD Jesus shall be provided.

And that’s when we stumble upon the significance of this moment in the history of our salvation. God sees Abraham, willing to give up his only son to satisfy the wrath of God, and God starts making promises.

Yes, Abraham, you’re people will be many. Yes they’ll become a great nation. Yes you’ll have more sons than the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore. But there’s more.

A seed of Abraham is coming. The seed of Abraham will possess the gate of his enemies. In the seed of Abraham will all the nations be blessed!

A seed of Abraham is coming. He is the hope of the nations. Wait for him.

When we look at the story of Abraham, and when we hear the promises about a coming seed of Abraham, we’re gazing upon the distant shadows of the Christ story. It is yet the dawn of fallen creation, and God is already promising reconciliation and hope. It is yet the dawn of fallen Creation and God’s program for the redemption of his people is unfolding. The momentum is already building.

These promises to Abraham begin to answer the big questions that the story of Genesis prompts. “Who will reconcile man and God? In whom shall we place our hope? If man cannot save himself, then who will save him?”

God will provide a lamb. The seed of Abraham will reconcile God and man. The seed of Abraham, the only, precious son of God will reconcile man to God. He is the lamb to be sacrificed. He is the ram in the thickets. A seed of Abraham is coming. And when he comes, he will establish a kingdom whose enemies will be vanquished. And when he comes he will bless the nations.

These are the distant shadows. These are the beginnings of an answer.

Today we’re seeking more of the answer. Today we’re going to follow the distant shadows closer to the source. These Messianic moments in the story of Scripture—moments like the promise of a seed who will crush the head of the serpent, moments like the promise of a seed who will bless the nations—they develop over the course of the story. They change in scope, in size, in volume. The momentum builds. So today I want to continue to trace the roots of the Christ story through another major moment, another significant moment in the story of our redemption. We’re going to try to give a better, a fuller answer to the question raised at the outset of the story. “In whom shall we hope?” “Who is this seed of Abraham?”

Today we’re going to look briefly at the story of David, King of Israel. Specifically, we’re going to read together the story of God’s great promise to David—a promise to build a House, and to give a Son whose throne will be established and whose Kingdom will never end. What I want to do today is to read through this promise—the promise of a coming King—and I want to highlight the fulfillment of that promise in the New Testament. So we’re going to be reading a lot of Scripture today, because I want you to make some very serious connections. When you read about David, I want you to think to yourself, “A better David reigns. He has secured his Kingdom. And he will rescue his people and establish his Kingdom on Earth. He will bless the nations, and he will reign forever and ever.” That’s the connection we need to walk away with. And that’s the connection that, if we really get it, will change the way we live our lives.

So take a look at the text. Turn with me to 1 Chronicles 17.

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”

But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in. For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus shall you say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be prince over my people Israel, and I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall waste them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

(1 Chronicles 17:1-15 ESV)

Now there’s a lot to deal with in this text. We could spend three weeks on the story that’s lead to this moment in David’s life, this moment in the life of the people of Israel. But we don’t have that sort of time. So I want to catch you up, very briefly, to the story thus far.

God kept his promise to Abraham, and Abraham’s sons multiplied, like a lot of times. And hundreds of years after Abraham’s death, the people of Israel are innumerable. They’re also slaves, oppressed and hopeless. And when they cried out to God, God sent them a deliverer. By the great working of God’s powerful miracles, Moses escorted the people of Abraham out of slavery in Egypt and to the borders of a Promised Land. Eventually they got there, despite a generation of rebellion. But as soon as the people of Israel settled in the Promised Land, their faithlessness began to manifest. They did not trust God like their father Abraham. And in their rebellion they worshipped other gods and sinned without restraint. God’s justice never stops, so their rebellion earned his wrath. They were no longer under his protection, and so they were vanquished by their enemies. And when they were at their lowest, they cried out to God, and our merciful God sent a deliverer. On the heels of their rescue, they became comfortable, and as soon as they had opportunity, they began to rebel again. A pattern develops. Wrath, desolation, prayer, rescue, restoration. Wrath, desolation, prayer, rescue, restoration. Wrath, desolation, prayer, rescue, restoration. The pattern unfolds in an increasingly disturbing spiral. And the people are only safe when they are under the protection of a deliverer.

The people are only safe when they’re under the protection of a deliverer.

The people are only safe when they’re under the protection of a redeemer.

And they know this. The people see that God’s provision of a rescuer is their only hope. So they take it upon themselves to find a king. This king would be their permanent rescuer. And when he died, they wouldn’t have to suffer again under the wrath of God and the persecution of their enemies, because his mantle of protection would be passed on to a son.

“We want a king, like the other nations,” they shout. Sounds like a plan. But it’s the people’s plan, not God’s. “I am their king,” God says, “and today they’re rejecting me.” The people prefer creation over Creator, and God gives them up to their rebellion. Look! A shiny, tall, handsome, powerful king, hand delivered and hiding behind the luggage. Saul had all of the trappings of a king, but he didn’t trust God. He was not God’s king, he was the people’s king. And he fell, and his son fell, and the people were stranded.

“You want a king? I’ll raise up a king after my own heart.”

Enter David. Young, short, hairy David. Just kidding, apparently he was handsome. Or ruddy, whatever that means. David is unique in the story of the people of Israel. David trusts God. He loves God. He chases after God’s glory. He weeps and sings and laughs and shouts about the glory and faithfulness of God.

But this is where we stop for a moment, because I have to be honest with you. This story after this point is a bit more complicated than it may seem at first, because it’s in the Bible twice. The story of the kings of Israel appears in our Scriptures two times. Two different narratives. They are not the same. And for a long time this bothered me. That’s why I want to deal with this now, before we begin to interpret this passage.

in the narrative of Samuel, the shining beauty of the story of David is interrupted by an ugly, black mark. Adultery. Betrayal. Murder. The division of a kingdom. The death of a child. The author of Samuel seems intent upon demonstrating that David was not perfect. He was not the hoped for seed of Abraham.

That same sin is not included in Chronicles. The dark story of David and Bathsheba does not mar the Chronicler’s history of David.

Why?

Why two narratives?

Why two different narratives?

I’m going to read you something, but before I do, I want to submit one significant detail: Samuel was written before the exile of Israel. Chronicles was written after the exile of Israel. Look, Israel’s sin never stopped growing. Israel’s sin spiraled until they lost the Promised Land. And although sections of Samuel may have been composed before David’s reign, the majority of the text was composed and edited sometime before the reign of the last Judean king. Judah was yet a nation when this text was written. The majority of the tribes of Israel had been cast out of the Promised Land, and the nation of Judah was on the precipice of exile.

Okay. With that said, let me read you an excerpt from a very cool book by a Jim Hamilton, Professor of Biblical Studies at Southern Seminary.

“The Chronicler passes over David’s sin with Bathsheba and Solomon’s sin with his foreign wives not because he is producing revisionist history but because his purpose is different from that of the authors of Samuel and Kings. The authors of Samuel and Kings are, among other things, justifying God’s wrath on Israel, which culminates in Exile. They are showing how Israel deserved to be cast out of the land. The Chronicler’s purpose is different because he writes after the exile has taken place. One of the major issues facing the remnant that returned [to the Promised Land after the exile] is whether God would continue his program with Israel. Has the nation sinned so severely that God has cast them off entirely? Or, will God resume his purpose to cover the dry lands with his glory? Will he install a new [Davidic King] on the throne in Jerusalem, see to it that a new temple is built on Zion, and transform the hearts of the sons of Israel such that they will keep [the Law], all with the result that Yahweh’s glory will radiate out from the Temple and the peoples round about be brought to worship him and serve the king of Israel? I submit that by rehearsing God’s promises to David [in 1 Chronicles 17] and by retelling the story of Solomon’s building the temple [in 2 Chronicles 2-7] the Chronicler is asserting his faith that God will resume his purposes through Israel. The temple will be built. A new David will reign. Yahweh will cover the dry lands with his glory. The Chronicler writes to rekindle Israel’s hope and faith that God will keep his word to them.”

Okay, so that makes sense. Two different purposes. But why is this important for our passage? Why bother to make the distinction?

Because when the author of Samuel records this promise, he includes a very important sentence. You can find it in 2 Samuel 7. “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.”

Okay, do you see the potential issue? To whom is this passage referring? Is this passage about Solomon, or is this passage about Jesus? I think the answer is both. Let me show you why.

The first account of the life of David is written so that the reader could encounter, in explicit terms, the ever-increasing sin of God’s people that led to their exile. Samuel is written to explain the downfall of God’s people. Or, to put it in different terms, the author of Samuel is stating very clearly, “David is not the seed of Abraham. Solomon is not the seed of Abraham. Do you want proof? Look at their sin. Murder, Adultery, Idolatry. The greatest of the kings of Israel were yet corrupt, were yet bound by their sin. You want the seed of Abraham? You must look beyond fallen David. You must look beyond fallen Solomon.”

And when you open the book of the Chronicler, you encounter a different purpose with the same message. “The messiah is coming. The seed of David is coming. All of the kings, all of God’s promises to David, all of the glory of Solomon were but distant shadows of the coming King of Israel!”

In other words, the Samuel narrative speaks of the son of David whose throne will last forever. It also speaks of Solomon, a son of David whose reign will be blessed and who will encounter God’s discipline when he commits iniquity. God’s blessing on the House of David extends to Solomon, and his sin is that much more audacious because he encountered God’s wisdom, his protection, his blessing, and yet he turned to idols and sex.

When we open the Chronicles, the author speaks of the son of David whose throne will last forever. And we know it’s not Solomon or any of his royal sons because the kings of Israel are no more. Could it be that hope is building again? May we yet hope in the seed of Abraham, who will vanquish our enemies and secure our Promised Land? May we yet hope in the seed of Abraham, in whom the nations will be blessed? The answer of the Chronicler is a clear and resounding yes. The Son of David is coming. The Son of David will build a house for God. Violent men will never again lay waste to the people of God because of the protection of the Son of David. “I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”

The promise to David that is captured in the Chroniclers account is a promise to the people of God. Hope in the Son of David. He will build a house for God. His throne will be established. His enemies will never again lay waste to his people. This is the nature of the coming Kingdom of God. Israel was right to hope in this king. This King will reign eternal. This king will protect his people. This King will bless the nations.

The Seed of Abraham is the Son of David.

The Seed of Abraham is the Son of David.

Prove it.

That’s a big claim. Prove it. The Son of David is the Seed of Abraham. The promise to Abraham is fulfilled by the Son of David. We can make claims like this all day. Prove it. Prove that these promises are one and the same. Prove that these promises—that every promise in between and every promise after—is about Jesus.

Turn to the story of the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1:57.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

for he has visited and redeemed his people

and has raised up a horn of salvation for us

in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

that we should be saved from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us;

 to show the mercy promised to our fathers

 and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us

that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people

in the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

(Luke 1:57-79 ESV)

Do you remember this story? Do you remember old Zachariah the priest and barren Elizabeth? Do you remember that an angel came to Zachariah when he was serving in the Temple, and he promised that he and his wife would have a child. This child would be special because he would make way for the Messiah, the King of Israel. But Zachariah didn’t believe this angel, so he shut his mouth. You want proof? See my power. Bam! Can’t speak. No talking. Shh.

It’s at least a little funny, right? Don’t trust that I’m able? No talky talky, Zacheriah!

But as soon as the promise is fulfilled, as soon as the forerunner is born, his mouth is opened.

Now I want to point out a few things. First, just as soon as Zachariah’s mouth was opened, he was moved by the Holy Spirit to prophesy. Months of silence. And when his mouth his opened, he is moved by the very words of God. “THE SON OF DAVID IS COMING!” “OUR REDEEMER IS COMING!” “WE WILL BE SAVED FROM OUR ENEMIES!” “GOD HAS REMEMBERED HIS PROMISES!”

And just look at the staggering nature of this prophecy. This passage is important because it weaves together the promises of God which we’ve been looking at for two weeks, and it shines a HUGE, BLINKING, BUZZING RED NEON ARROW that points to baby Jesus. This child in Mary’s womb is the seed of Abraham. This child in Mary’s womb is the Son of David.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,

 for he has visited and redeemed his people

and has raised up a horn of salvation for us

in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

that we should be saved from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us;

to show the mercy promised to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us

that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, John. You’re the greatest of the prophets, because you have a front-row seat to the salvation of your people. You have a front-row seat to the fruition of God’s promise to Abraham. So go. Go shout about the salvation of God.

GO! give knowledge of salvation to his people

in the forgiveness of their sins,

GO! because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

GO! to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Go, forerunner. Go shout the gospel to everyone who will listen. This news is worth shouting. This news is worth hearing. The Son of David is here. Go tell everybody.

I know what you’re expecting. You’re expecting that I’m going to turn to you, now, and I’m going to ask you to be like John. Because there’s not a hint of space between the announcements of the arrival of the Seed of Abraham, of the coronation of the Son of David—in all of their glory, shouted feverishly by an old mute man driven by the power of the Holy Spirit to prophecy—there’s no space between this heralding proclamation and the commissioning of a forerunner. A better David is coming, go shout the good news. Not a breath between. The seed of Abraham is here, now go shout “SALVATION.” You think that I’m going to turn to you now and ask you to shout the good news of salvation, just like John.

But that wouldn’t make sense, would it? Because John was unique. I mean, John was the last of the prophets. He had no equal among men. I couldn’t really make that connection, could I?

Unless Luke does it for us.

I couldn’t make that connection—I couldn’t commend you to do what John did—to see the merciful work of Christ, the Son of David, to recognized the gracious work of the seed of Abraham, to see the fruition of the promised Kingdom of God, and then to turn to the nations and scream “SALVATION IS COMING! THE SON OF DAVID IS COMING! REPENT, BECAUSE THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND! BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD THAT TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD!”—I couldn’t commend you to do that which characterized every waking minute of the greatest prophet ever. I couldn’t ask you to go and do likewise, if the likewise has to do with the greatest man born of woman.

Unless Luke has already done it for us.

Turn to Luke 24.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

(Luke 24:36-48 ESV)

Jesus stood victorious. Risen from the dead, victorious. Having established his kingdom, victorious. Having defeated his enemies, victorious. Having fulfilled the promises to Abraham, victorious. Having fulfilled the promises to David, victorious. King of all creation, victorious. King Jesus stood there before his disciples with one mandate.

You. Are. Witnesses.

Every word of the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled and they HAVE BEEN FULFILLED IN ME.

You. Are. Witnesses.

The Christ should suffer and the third day rise from the dead AND HE HAS AND HE DID.

You. Are. Witnesses.

REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS SHOULD BE PROCLAIMED IN HIS NAME TO ALL NATIONS.

You.

You are witnesses.

You.

John’s response to Jesus is the only appropriate response to Jesus. You are a herald of the coming Son of David. You are his herald to the nations. He will reign forever, and you are his herald. You are his ambassador to the nations. You are the forerunner now. Shout to the nations. “REPENT, THE KING IS COMING!” The seed of Abraham is here! He will bless the nations! The dawn of the day of salvation is at hand. You. Must. Run. through the streets proclaiming the good news.

Our King, the Son of David, the seed of Abraham, has given us a mandate. Let’s follow our King.

So that’s a lot of text. A lot of connections. A lot of promises and a lot of fulfillment. What does this mean for me? What does this mean for my life? What does it look like to obey the King’s mandate? What does it look like to walk in the footsteps of the forerunner?

I can think of a few answers.

Application:

First: When Israel was cast out of the Promised Land, when—whether by military force or by famine or by genocide—the sons and daughters of Abraham were forced from their homes, were driven across field and spring and desert. When the people of Israel became beggars and servants in foreign nations, we called them Exiles. They were exiles from the Promised Land. They were forced to leave everything they loved, they were forced to grab whatever of their possessions they could carry, they were driven, man, woman, and child, from their homes and towns and markets, hopeless. We called them exiles then. Homeless, hopeless exiles.

We have a new name for exiles. We call them Refugees.

If you’ve paused from your work or your busy schedule for even a brief moment in the last several weeks you’ve seen them. Hundreds and thousands of Refugees. They are homeless, hopeless exiles. They have been driven from their homes, from their markets, from their communities by military force, by genocide. And they stand on the borders of dozens of surrounding nations pleading for an opportunity to become a beggar or a servant in a foreign land.

It is statistically probable that at least several hundred Syrian Refugees will become a part of our community in Fort Worth. Or rather, it is likely that several hundred Syrian Refugees will join the thousands of Refugees that are already here. Right here. In Fort Worth. Not far from my home.

The promise of the coming Son of David was written to give hope to Refugees. Christ is the only lasting hope of exiles. Christ is the only lasting hope of Refugees. They come to us pleading for security, for survival, for an opportunity to flourish. They cannot find lasting security, lasting survival in Fort Worth. But they can find a home, a permanent home, a stable home, and a safe home in the Kingdom of God. The Son of David, the King of Israel is the only hope for Refugees.

You are witnesses to that hope.

You. Are. Witnesses.

The nations have come to us. The exiles have come to our community. We see them at the grocery store. We see them at the mall. And we know the Son of David who is their only lasting hope.

Christ is the refuge of the refugee. We must introduce them to Christ.

Look, I’m asking you to seriously consider the opportunity we’ve been given. This is the gospel equivalent of slow-pitch softball. This is a no-brainer. Nations of exiles have knocked on the door of our community, pleading for refuge. They are pleading for security. They are pleading to live.

The Kingdom of God is the only refuge for refugees. The Kingdom of God will provide them the only lasting security.

SHOUT THE GOOD NEWS OF THEIR SALVATION. The dawn is here, vanquishing the night in the bright light of Christ’s redemption. A new day has come. Shout about it.

Get into their lives. Meet them. Serve them. Bring them food. Drive them around town. Teach them English. And turn every single conversation to the Son of David. They’re seeking what he’s offering.

Second: Take seriously your mandate to witness. I want to repeat that, because it’s important. You’ve been given a mandate from your King. You are witnesses. You are witnesses to his rescue, to his redemption, to his glory, to his coming Kingdom. You are witnesses of these things.

Now go. Be a witness.

It’s not complicated.

You are witnesses. Go tell the story of Christ’s redemption. Go tell the story of the seed of Abraham. Go talk to your friends and coworkers about the Son of David and the coming Kingdom.

Look, I’m not going to tell you what this looks like in your life. But I’ll tell you what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like being a nice guy for years and never mentioning the name of Jesus. Actions don’t speak louder than words unless they’re accompanied by words. You’ve gotta talk about Jesus. You must. You’ve been given a mandate, and cooperation isn’t optional.

Obedience, I promise, always involves the Gospel, and it always involves the nations. Your witness of Christ’s redemption does not stop at your neighborhood. It does not stop in your state. It does not stop in your nation. It does not stop. Period.

Start with your neighbor and never stop witnessing.

How does this play out in your life? How does the mandate to witness play out in the life of your family? How does the mandate play out in the life of your Care Group?

I don’t know. Talk about it. Talk about it in Care Group. Talk about it with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray about it. Pray about it together, with you wife or husband, with your children. Ask God to make you a witness, to move powerfully to make you a witness to your coworkers, your peers. To the nations.

Talk about your mandate to witness. We’re in this together. We have been given a mission, and that mission involves the gospel, and that mission involves the nations.

Go. Talk. Witness.