On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Eastside Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Mark Auffarth preached a message using Psalm 2 as his text. If you would like to read my summary of Dr. Auffarth’s message, “Jesus the King,” please read on. . . .
“Jesus the King”
From the “Jesus and the Psalms” Sermon Series
By Dr. Mark Auffarth, Lead Pastor
Eastside Presbyterian Church
Greenville, South Carolina
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Quote of the Week:
“Jesus is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) and the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:6). He was lionhearted and lamblike, strong and meek, tough and tender, aggressive and responsive, bold and broken-hearted. He sets the pattern for manhood.” (John Piper)
Passage of the Week:
1 Why do the nations rage[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break[b] them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
[a] Psalm 2:1 Or nations noisily assemble
[b] Psalm 2:9 Revocalization yields (compare Septuagint) You shall rule
(Psalm 2, English Standard Version)
Summary of and Editorializing by Bob Stouffer (All errors are mine alone.)
It was reaching a fever pitch in Jerusalem. The teachers of the law were not happy. They would quell the disturbance any way they could. They knew God. This interloper Jesus was clearly not from God. They wanted everyone to believe this. It was not that clear. Jesus had cast out demons. He had opened the eyes of the blind. He had created food for the people. The teachers of the law refused to see even the possibility of his power. Why would He show up in Jerusalem? Did He have a death wish?
Jesus was in town. He was there with the disciples to celebrate the Passover. One among him was a traitor, who would turn Him in. Jesus was at Gethsemene. He expected them. Didn’t He know they would put him to death. They arrested Him. They beat Him. They taunted Him. He dared to question their authority. He claimed to be God, which was unthinkable and unforgivable to the teachers of the law. It had been going on for 3 years, and their rage was at a fever pitch. He received the brunt of their rage.
Pilate wanted to free this Jesus. In Pilate’s mind, they were being completely irrational. But he wanted to prevent a riot. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the people cried out. What could this man have done to have caused such anger? Pilate gave Him up. The soldiers beat Him, and they crucified Him like a common criminal. We read about Him in this Psalm. He humbled Himself from a position of such magnificence.
We found out in Acts 4 that what I have just told you is going on in Psalm 2. Peter and John, let go from prison, prayed part of this Psalm in their prayer. And God laughed at the ridiculousness of the powers to be that they believe they had authority in some way, shape, or form. People in power are full of themselves. We set our identity to the position. We are important. Most people in Jesus’ time were oblivious to what was happening. As Christianity spread, leaders saw this as a threat to their power. They did whatever they could do to put a stop to the movement.
Charles Spurgeon pointed out that opponents of Christianity predicted the extinguishing of Christianity. Christians had brought the empire “to ruin.” On the contrary, Christianity grew stronger than ever, triumphing over the emperors. All died. There were suspicious deaths, suicides, murders, combat deaths. Ruler after ruler after ruler have tried to throw off the fetters of God. But they’re all dead. They’re all dead. Rulers tried to rid the world of Christianity, but they didn’t succeed? Why? They didn’t see reality.
What is the reality? Psalm 2 holds the reality. Peons cannot stand up against God. It’s preposterous. God created and sustained them all. They are alive because of God’s sovereign mercy. These men could reign for a time. God scoffs at them — that they would think they could rage against the Lord’s anointed. He rebuked them. They acted like they had power when they had none. They were arrogant. When God speaks, He terrifies, especially if you don’t know Him. This is the picture of God in Psalm 2.
His King is Jesus. And He will not be thwarted. Do you know Jesus? I went to Baptist school. A girl told me Jesus was a Baptist. Some of us think he’s a Presbyterian. He’s not. A Republican? He’s not. A Democrat? He’s not. You can’t put him in a box.
Jesus doesn’t like religious people very much. His harshest words were for the very religious. Religious people think Jesus will be pleased by religious people. Be careful about “religion.” You may think yourself pure and serving Him when you’re not doing so. We think we know Jesus. Be careful.
Jesus reached out to. the oppressed and poor, but he also reached out to the oppressor and those who made people poor. He declared lust as as bad as adultery, but why did he spend time with adulterers? He lived in an occupied country, but he reached out to the occupiers. We want to say to Jesus that He should choose a side!
The people had crossed over the Jordan, ready to take Jericho. God said he was on neither side. The question is “whose side are we on?” Not “whose side is God on?”
Abraham Kuyper once said that there is not a square inch over all of creation over which Jesus doesn’t declare, “Mine!”
What are the implications?
First, this truth from Kuyper should bring us to our senses. He is sovereign over all and powerful over all. All things have been orchestrated by his loving command for our good. We think we’re in charge, but that’s a facade. He controls everything. He is God, and we are not. Such should change the way we live.
Secondly, time is running out. In verse 10 of Psalm 2, we learn that we must kiss the son, for his wrath can flare in a moment. There’s a time when the time will be up. His wrath will flare. Those who do not kiss Him will be dashed to pieces like pottery. We must give homage to the Son.
Our religion is private, and we’re afraid to go there with people. Do we imagine that time may almost be up?! The time is now for us to share what Jesus has done for us! The time is now to be on-mission for Christ! The time is now to be about the business of the Kingdom! Time is running out! It’s time to be in our community!
The phrase at the end of the Psalm sums it all up: Blessed are those who take refuge in Him. It’s not “Submit, or die!” The Psalmist is talking about a loving homage. Come to the Son! You can find love from the Son. The Father had let the people crucify Him. He was dashed to pieces like pottery. God’s anger was appeased in the Son’s suffering and death. This is a Psalm of strong language and strong grace. He offers refuge to those who trust in Him.
One more thing I want you to see in this Psalm. Paul told the people in Antioch that God’s promise had been fulfilled. The Father raised up the Son. In a special way, at the Resurrection, when Jesus was raised from the dead, the first-born of the dead, the Head of the church, so that in everything he might have supremacy. We too will rise from the dead, if we’re in Christ.
Here’s the deal with all of this. If we’re thinking about our church growing, it will not be done by church transfer, since there is a church on every block in Greenville. It’s a consumer market. There are too many churches with bells and whistles.
What if we were the church had massive compassion for those who didn’t know Jesus? What if we took this Psalm seriously? His anger will flare up at some point, and we don’t want His anger to be directed at our neighbors and co-workers? What if we had compassion for people in our spheres of influence? What if we were the church on-mission in our spheres? Those who trust in Him — He is a refuge for them.
What if we were a church who truly believed in [and lived-out] the power of the Gospel? What if we were the people who lived on-mission? What if we prayed prayers of boldness? The disciples had been threatened not to speak the name of Jesus. In Acts 4, they prayed and spoke with boldness about Jesus. And the place was shaken! What if we were the church that decided to be done thinking about it and be the church which was doing it. Come what may! Our God is on the throne! Let’s kiss the Son! Let’s lead other people to kiss the Son!
That’s the Gospel.
And the Gospel changes everything!