Jesus From Rags to Riches
Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne
Jesus…Riches, Reconciliation, Regeneration and Reigning
We have been sharing about God the Father, but today and over the next few weeks I want to focus on God the Son, Jesus Christ.
Now you probably all know who Jesus is, the Son of God, the second part of the God head. He is Creator, He is our Saviour and He is the head of the church. My favourite passage about Jesus the Son is Philippians 2:5-11
Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
JESUS CHRIST…NOT A SWEAR WORD
Jesus is always the one attacked – why is that? Why is it that the name of Jesus is used as a swear word? Why don’t people curse Buddha, Mohammed, or Baal? Because, as far as the devil is concerned, Jesus is the threat!
There have been innumerable attacks through the ages on the person of Jesus. His deity and humanity have always been battlegrounds because Jesus is the devil’s biggest threat. Countless cults and heretics by the hundreds have denied the “historical Jesus,” and they’re still doing so today.
The NT, however, mentions the name Jesus by itself some 612 times and many more times in conjunction with other names (e.g., “Jesus Christ”). Why? Because Jesus is the name of salvation.
Matthew 1:21 (ESV)
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
What, then, is the significance of this word? Iesous (both Greek and Latin) corresponds to the Hebrew Jeshua (3091H), which is equivalent to “Joshua”, and means “the Lord is salvation”. That is why men feel they must attack and try to destroy Jesus. With Him intact, they are challenged to deny themselves, deny their religion, deny their works, and trust Him only for salvation.
THE POWER OF JESUS
What power there is in that name Jesus!
Acts 2:38 (ESV)
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3:6 (ESV)
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
Jesus is the Son of God, and while men tried to destroy Him in His day, while men try to deny Him in our day, there will come a day, the day…
Philippians 2:10-11 (ESV)
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
JESUS TAKES US FROM RAGS TO RICHES
Mary Donaldson was a typical Aussie girl, living her life, struggling with money and employment, going to Bondi Beach, hanging out with friends. One night at the Slip Inn pub in Sydney she met a stranger named Fredrick, visiting for the 2000 Olympics, and they fell in love. Before she knew it, they were married and Mary Donaldson became Princess Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat.
In an instant, Mary went from common folk to crown princess. Why? Because a prince fell in love with her. Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Kings, and He has fallen in love with you!
Jesus is God, He’s the creator, He’s the Saviour and He’s the sustainer through His Holy Spirit living within us. I cannot cover every benefit of Jesus loving you, but I want to focus on four things that happen when we are adopted into His family. We go from rags to reconciliation, regeneration, riches, and reigning.
Reconciliation is a word often used in this day and age, especially referring to reconciling with Aboriginal people. For us it means re-establishing peace.
Romans 5:8, 10 (ESV)
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
The Greek word for reconciled is KATALLASSO which means “to change or exchange as coins for others of equal value.” The idea then is to exchange hostility for friendship. In several places the prefix APO is added to KATALLASSO, and this means bringing back something to its former position.
Colossians 1:20 (ESV)
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Mankind was once perfect in the Garden of Eden but was turfed out because of their sin. Reconciliation is bringing us back to that relationship. If you read Romans 5 you’ll see that Adam lost it, and Christ bought it back with His blood.
What a truth! As a believer, each of us is no longer at variance with God; we have returned to that time of walking with Him “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8), communing with Him in heart and mind. A direct connection to God again. Relationship reconciled.
ONLY JESUS RECONCILES
It’s fascinating that katallasso was never used in ancient pagan worship. Why? Because the pagans were never reconciled to their gods; they had no concept of a god with whom they could have no variance, no enmity. The gods of the ancient pagan religions were always angry, always demanding appeasement.
Only the blood of Christ could accomplish that for you and me. Only the death of God’s Son could bring back a state of peace between, God and us. Even the OT sacrifices were inadequate; they were only an “atonement,” that is, a covering of sin. Only by Christ’s blood could we actually be reconciled.
The Gospel is simple. We all have sinned, and the penalty is that we all deserve to die and go to hell. So, God sent Jesus, His Son, to die in our place, opening the way for us to be reconciled, and all we need to do is receive it. We deserve to die, but Jesus Christ died in our place.
During the Civil War, it was legal for men who wanted to avoid the draft to pay for personal replacements. In one particular instance, a man paid for another to go into battle for him, and that individual was killed. A few months later, the man who paid for the replacement received a second draft notice. But he took the legal agreement to the draft board, saying, “The second draft is invalid. Someone already went to war and died in my place.”
This is a picture of the Christian’s situation. When Satan wants to re-draft us into sin, we must oppose him by pointing to Jesus’s victory: “Satan, you can’t force me to that old life anymore. The payment has already been paid. Jesus died in my place.”
Titus 3:5 (ESV)
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Jesus’ work on the cross regenerates us. In Greek, PALIG-GENESIA. Genesia as in Genesis, means to be born. The prefix PALIN means “again”, so regeneration literally means to be born again! Jesus said,
John 12:24 (ESV)
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
In ancient Greece the Stoics used this word to refer to the earth, destroyed by fire, being reborn afresh. A phoenix like regeneration if you will.
For us the point is that we were dead in our sins, but Jesus bought us back, and now we are re born, regenerated, born again!
Tony Evans said he heard a mortician say that sometimes the muscles within cadavers twitch. He even saw a twitch that catapulted a cadaver off the table! But after sharing that insight, he told Tony, “That stuff doesn’t bother me, because I know that dead is dead, even when it acts alive.”
Indeed, it’s the same with our body of sin. Yes, it’s moving around like it’s still in charge. Yes, we’ll still sin. But previously we had to because we were sin’s slaves. Now we no longer need to be enslaved. If we continue to sin, it’s because we’ve forgotten our true identity. We’re not acting regenerated!
Romans 6:10-11 (ESV)
For the death he (Jesus) died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Think about the riches we have because of Jesus. Peace, access into God’s grace, joy, hope, love, the Holy Spirit – what riches we have in Christ!
And trials work for us, not against us, to develop Christian character. How rich we are!
Many of us view our future inheritance as pots of gold sitting in various places throughout our heavenly mansion, but this is because our minds are polluted by the world’s ideas of wealth.
Ephesians 1:7-8 (ESV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
The Greek word for riches is PLOUTOS, from which we get English words such as plutonic, meaning a rich friendship. Aristotle only used the word referring to physical wealth, but Plato used it for abstract wealth, things like wisdom, honour, and mercy.
True riches, true wealth, is not in material things but are, as Paul would write a few centuries later, in spiritual things. And this is nowhere greater than the wealth of true and total forgiveness of sin in the redemption of Christ.
Perhaps even more important, however, are the words according to in Ephesians 1:7: “according to the riches of his grace.” ACCORDING TO in the Greek is not EK meaning “out of,” rather KATA, which literally means “down” and shows God’s domination. God has not given “out of ” His riches, He has not thrown us a bone from His infinite riches, but rather He has given “according to” or “dominated by” His riches. All the riches of heaven are ours as our inheritance, not when we get to heaven, but right here and now.
Romans 5:17 (ESV)
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
In Greek the word is BASIL-EUO, which is to have dominion over, reign over or exert control or influence over.
When we belonged to the old creation under Adam, death and sin reigned; now that we are in Christ in the new creation, grace is reigning, and we are reigning in life.
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
You see, you have been adopted into God’s royal family, and therefore His wealth, prestige, honour, authority, and riches are also yours. But sometimes we continue to live like paupers.
Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus Christ You don’t just get riches, you get authority. You can live like a king by the grace of God, with His riches, His authority, and His Spirit within.
FROM RAGS TO RICHES, RECONCILIATION, REGENERATION AND REIGNING
God’s grace is inexhaustible, and His grace is ours in Christ Jesus! People tell me they want God to treat then fairly, to give them what they deserve, because they feel life has been tough in them. Listen, you don’t want God to give you what you deserve, because we all deserve death and hell!
What we need is grace. What we need is to understand our birthright. To understand how we can be reigning with Him, we must understand adoption.
ADOPTION: WELCOME TO THE ROYAL FAMILY
The Eastern concept of adoption goes far deeper than our Western understanding. Only Paul uses the word adoption in the NT, and he no doubt borrowed it from Roman culture since the Jews knew nothing of it.
Romans 8:15 (ESV)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Greek HUIO-THESIA literally means “son-placing.” Roman children possessed nothing and had no rights, until during the teenage years there was a public ceremony declaring a child to be an official member of the family. After this “son-placing,” he had complete family privileges and responsibilities.
This was not necessarily a change in relationship – for a Roman father could be just as loving as any other father, rather what we see here is a change of position. He was no longer a child; he had become an adult, therefore a son, therefore an heir, therefore full rights.
ADOPTION INTO RICHES
Adoption also occurred between a man and a child who was not his by birth.
Augustus Caesar (the Roman ruler at the time of Christ), for example, was adopted. His original name was Octavian, the son of Atia, the niece of Julius Caesar, and thereby Caesar’s grandnephew. Octavian was eighteen years old when Caesar was assassinated (15 March 44 BC). Caesar in his will had adopted Octavian, bestowing upon him the official name of Gaius Julius Caesar. The Senate conferred the honoured title “Augustus” (The Exalted) on him in 27 BC. So the adopted son became royalty.
An adopted person was in a true sense “a new person”, legally and practically. He had all the rights of a son by birth and any old debts were cancelled.
That is the picture of the adopted child of God. We were of our father the devil, slaves to sin, under a sentence of death, already dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). But we have been adopted into the family of God. We are members of a new family, all the old debts are paid, and we are new people with a new Father.
From failure to family, from sinfulness to sonship, from rags to riches, from rejects to royalty, we are like Harry and Megan in reverse. With the royal title comes great riches, but also great responsibility. There is honour and authority, but only in our obedience to the King. When we obey the King, when we serve the King, King Jesus becomes our brother, but He is also our Lord.
Galatians 4:7 (ESV)
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Jesus’ death and resurrection saves us, redeems us and adopts us into the family of God.
TODAY IS YOUR CORONATION
On Saturday 6 May this year King Charles will coronated at Westminster Abbey. This ceremony will formalise his position as monarch and head of the Church of England and marks the transfer of titles and power to the King.
Today is a great day for a coronation. You may have been adopted into the royal family for years, but today let’s celebrate your royal position.