God is the King of All the Earth

Don’t you see, brothers and sisters, your cynicism is a deadly, treasonous sin. Your pessimism is a statement of rebellion against the great King who rules over the nations. God has spoken clearly. Who are we to be cynical and hopeless and disillusioned about the power and advance of the gospel? Who are we to believe what we read in the newspapers more than what we believe here?

Things are bad in the world, and undeniably getting worse these days. We know that as Christians our home is in heaven, but what how should we view the progress of God’s kingdom in this present world — should we be filled with dread and despair that what we are seeing is just part of an inexorable increase of wickedness that won’t end until the world is destroyed; or courage, boldness, and hope that what we’re seeing is mere temporary setbacks in the unstoppable progress of the kingdom of God growing greater and greater in this world?

On November 6, 2011, Pastor Stephen Baker of ClearNote Church, Bloomington, Indiana preached a sermon titled God is the King of All the Earth that addresses such questions as these. Brothers, let’s consider together: can it be that our pessimistic outlook for the kingdom of God in this world is not only erroneous, but sinful, faithless, and leading to lives of disobedience to our Lord?

Here is a transcript of the sermon and a link to the audio.


God is the King of All the Earth

No connection
What a great king does
Scripture examples
We are traitors
The gospel for the peoples: Look around
Application

No connection

Please turn with me to Psalm 47, the psalm that we’ve read together just a few moments ago.

Psalm 47.

O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham,
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.

This psalm means almost nothing to us.

We are almost completely unable to understand the meaning of these words. We are unable to feel the power of these words. We are so flat, so cool, so composed. We are moved by nothing, we are hopeful for nothing, we are fanatical about nothing. We are afraid to hope, afraid to expect, we are morbid, we are cynics, we are skeptics, we are pessimists, we are apathetic, we care for nothing, we feel nothing, we are disillusioned, we are jaded, we are bored, we are scoffers and scorners, we are mockers. We think that excitement and hope and expectation and optimism and anticipation and certainty and cheer are for children and fools.

And therefore, we cannot understand and taste the glories of this song. And therefore we are afraid to act and we are afraid to risk. And we have somehow convinced ourselves that our cynicism, our pessimism, our hopelessness, is godly. After all, we can read the newspapers. We know how things are really going. We know how things are really going to go.

But this psalm is a psalm of hope. It is a psalm of expectation, it’s a psalm of optimism, it’s a psalm of good cheer.

Listen to it again:

O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.
He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham,
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.

Don’t you see the hope, the expectation:

O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.

Where is that among us?

We read that, and there’s no connection with us. That’s so undignified. It’s so uneducated. It’s so naive. It’s so childish. We know what’s really going to happen. We know what things are really like. It’s so childish. We’ve forgotten that our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

What does a little child think before we get to him? What does he think when he reads O clap your hands? Yeah – “Oh, we’re supposed to clap our hands!” Shout to God with joy. “Oh, we’re supposed to shout to God with joy.” Now, come on. It doesn’t really mean that. It means, “in your heart”. (Laughter)

“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.

Why?

For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.

What a great king does

In our sophistication, in our Americanness, we have forgotten what a great king is. We’ve forgotten the stories of our youth that used to stir us up. We’ve forgotten the stories of glorious, majestic, noble kings who ruled with power and authority and kindness. Those are children’s stories. We’re done with that, and we know what kings are really like. They’re tyrants who deserve nothing but to be overthrown. Or they’re nothing more than pathetic figureheads, leftovers from some old, dead culture that entertain us in the tabloids of England. The royalty. Psshw! We all know what they’re like.

And so the word king means nothing to us. We don’t have kings. We have presidents. And right now that pretty much, with all of the campaigns — buffoons, that’s how we think of them. Bumbling, self-serving politicians. But the Lord Most High is to be feared. He is a great king over all the earth. He is the King of Glory. He is the high king of heaven. He is the great king above all gods, he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And what do kings do? They rule. They make laws. They judge. They bless their people, they extend their power, they conquer their enemies. And this is what the King, this is what our King, does.

Verse 3,

He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.

Verse 8,

God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.

God sits on His holy throne. That’s what a king does. Psalm 9 verse 7:

But the LORD abides forever;
He has established His throne for judgment.

That’s what a king does.

Psalm 11:4

The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyes test the sons of men.

That’s what a king does.

Psalm 45:6

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

Psalm 97:2

Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

Psalm 103:19

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.

That’s what a king does — that’s what our King does!

Clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD…is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.

Now what does all of that have to do with optimism and with joy, and with confidence, and with childlike hope? The psalm tells us. Look at it again:

O clap your hands…

Who?

Peoples.

What does that mean?

That means nations, that means ethnic groups, that’s what it means–it means all the swarm of Gentiles around the world, that’s what it means.
So,

Clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.

All the earth.

He subdues peoples under us
And nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory of Jacob whom He loves.
God has ascended with a shout,
The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people…

Of the Gentiles,

…have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham…

What does that mean? To be a son of Abraham, a child of Abraham, what does that mean? It means to be a believer. The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.

Our God, the great King, is the king over all the earth. He rules over all the nations. He subdues the peoples. He rules over the ethnic groups of the earth, and they come and they assemble themselves as His people! These are declarations of the advance and the power and the conquering dominion of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and this power and this conquering dominion of the gospel should not come as a surprise to us. But we have been trained in America not to think of this. We’ve been trained to not expect this.

But this is not some novel, rare, small little, you know, footnote kind of theme, kind of obscure in some little Old Testament prophet book that we don’t even remember the name of somewhere. This is not some novel theme. It’s everywhere. So let me remind you of–of this. Let Scripture remind you of this.

Scripture examples

Psalm 2:1-9. Just listen:

Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed…

Against Jesus Christ.

…saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens…

What?

…laughs…

“You’re not going to win! I don’t care what the newspapers say. I don’t care how bad it is.” He laughs.

And

The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion,
My holy mountain.”
“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

That’s what God says to our Lord Jesus Christ. “They’re yours, they’re all yours. I don’t care what the kings say, they’re yours.”

Psalm 22:

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,

All the ends of the earth will remember and repent! They’ll turn to the Lord,

And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations.

He will subdue the peoples to worship Him. To repent.

Psalm 67:

God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us
That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
And guide the nations on the earth.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us,
That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Psalm 86:

There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.
All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And they shall glorify Your name.
For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.

Psalm 96:

Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols…

Nothing. Empty. Vain.

…but the LORD made the heavens.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Isaiah 52:10

The LORD has bared His holy arm…

The LORD has rolled up His sleeve. He’s bared His holy arm,

…in the sight of all the nations,
That all the ends of the earth may see
The salvation of our God.

And that’s just a little tiny sprinkling of all the places in Scripture that say exactly the same thing.

We are traitors

The gospel will conquer all the nations! What do you think it means that the nations will come and worship before Him, how do you expect that to happen? Will it happen in some nebulous future? Even if it is in the future, how will it happen? Even if it is in heaven, how will it happen? How will they get there? How will whole nations–if you want to put this off into heaven, fine–how will they get there? By believing the gospel. By repenting. By coming to trust the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel will conquer the nations. The Lord Jesus Christ bled and died for men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation and He will see the fruit of His death. He will reign over the nations, not just in the world to come, but in this age. The kingdom of God will spread to the ends of the earth, just like it says over and over and over and over again–not in some future age that’s different from today. The rule and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ will extend to all the nations now, in this age, through the power of the gospel preached by the Church.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It’s gonna get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse! Don’t you read the papers? Don’t you see how bad it is?”

Don’t you see, brothers and sisters, your cynicism is a deadly, treasonous sin. Your pessimism is a statement of rebellion against the great King who rules over the nations. God has spoken clearly. Who are we to be cynical and hopeless and disillusioned about the power and advance of the gospel? Who are we to believe what we read in the newspapers more than what we believe here?

The great King has said, “I will rule over the nations” and we say, “Yeah, right.”

The King of Glory has said, “I have bared My holy arm. All the ends of the earth will see My salvation,” and we say, “Not likely.”

God Himself says,

From the rising of the sun even to its setting…

From east to west across the whole globe,

…My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations

And we say, “Wellllll…maybe in heaven. It’s a nice picture. It’s a nice metaphor. It’s a nice thought. But we know what’s really going to happen.”

Jesus Christ Himself says,

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…

And instead of believing that declaration of authority and making audacious plans and speaking the gospel with the boldness that comes from hope, we sit on our hands, we bite our tongues, we retreat into the fortresses, the bunkers of our church, of our home, our hobbies, our degrees, our jobs. And we’re traitors against our great King. Traitors. Because if we’re not for that plan, that declaration, we are against Him. Because His authority, His command, the reality of His march through the earth with the gospel, means almost nothing to us.

The gospel for the peoples: Look around

Now. I want you to do something right now. I want you to actually look around. Look around, right now. I want you to look at the faces around you.

What do you see?

If you think it’s crazy to expect the gospel to actually reach to all the nations and to transform them, then how do you explain the people sitting next to you? Who are you? Who are you?

You are the nations, aren’t you?

I mean, just think of the ethnic groups represented here. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, African, Jewish, German, English, Italian, Polish, Irish, Spanish… have I missed any? French–ok, French. Who else?

Scottish, is that what you said?

Dutch. Van [unintelligible].

Alright, so how do you explain this?

Just look around. If you need help believing what God says over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, ok fine–just look around you! Here we are.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not good news just for one ethnic group, and just looking around demonstrates that Jesus Christ came for the nations, He came for the peoples. Be filled with hope and confidence in the reach and the power of the gospel. Be optimistic about the reign and rule of Jesus Christ.

Application

Now what do we do with that practically? What difference does that make for us practically, right now?

First of all–what do we need to do? First of all, we need to obey the psalm. What’s it say to do?

O clap your hands, all peoples; [clapping]

Shout to God with the voice of joy. [cheering]

Verses 6 and 7 — we’ll do this in a minute, so just hold on:

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.

In other words, believe it, believe it to such the extent that it actually comes out. Clap, shout, sing — you don’t do that about stuff you don’t believe.

What else?

How will we change here and now if we have confidence of the global reach of the gospel? What does that have to do with us here, now? Well, all of you Bloomingfooders and farmers’ marketers will remember this uh, this phrase, alright? And it goes like this: Think… What? …globally. Act locally. I have no idea what that has to do with beans and carrots and organic milk, but it has a lot to do with the kingdom of God, doesn’t it? Think globally. Jesus Christ rules and reigns over all the earth. He is the King of the nations, His authority is universal, His global victory is certain. Believe it. And then act, locally. This is part of the nations. This is part of the nations over which Jesus Christ rules. Your neighbors are under the authority of Jesus Christ, He said it! All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Your neighbors are under His authority. Your professors will someday bow their knee to King Jesus.

The frat houses of Bloomington will someday be filled with men who are sober and faithful and godly and zealous for the Lord God Almighty. And the sorority houses will someday be filled with women who are chaste and modest and gentle and quiet as they seek to honor Jesus Christ.

What? You don’t believe that? You honestly don’t believe that, do you? “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I know what it’s really like.”

Don’t you think God knows what it’s really like? Do you really think His gospel is that weak? He has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the frat houses.

That all the ends of the earth may know the salvation of our God.

And if you don’t believe that, then you’re useless. You understand? You’re useless. Because boldness comes from hope. Hope comes from faith.

More than that, what about you, personally, right here, right now? You are here this morning. God brought you here! The King of the nations brought you here and put you under the preaching of the Word of God in the middle of the worship of His people. This is no accident! Think of all the people all over the globe of your particular ethnicity who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to them. Why are you here?

They’ve never heard that they can be reconciled to God, that their sins can be forgiven, that they can be made right with God. Why are you here?

God put you here. He put you here so that you could hear of the love of God for sinners that’s not limited to some little ethnic group or some culture, but that’s broad as the world. He put you here this morning so that you could have the opportunity to turn away from your sins and to trust Jesus Christ to save you from God’s wrath. And Jesus Christ Himself is here, offering Himself to you. He is willing to save you, He is able to save you, He is filled with mercy and compassion and He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Come to Him!

He is the King. Bow to Him. Obey Him. He commands you to believe in Him–obey Him. Take the mercy from His hand. He is coming again soon to judge the world. But now He offers you mercy. Take it.

Let’s pray.

Father, we call on you now, please, to come and to awaken us from our lethargy, our cynicism, our pessimism, our hopelessness, our disillusionment, our utter lack of faith in the promises and declarations of Your Word. Please save us from that. Fill us with hope, and out of that hope, fill us with boldness. I pray, Lord, for those here who–that You have brought here this morning who do not know You, who do not submit to You and do not obey you, who do not trust You. I pray, Lord, they would be sobered by the judgment of Your holiness; that they would be humbled by Your offer of mercy to them; and I pray that they would take it. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.

This entry was posted in ClearNote Fellowship, courage, evangelism, faith, fruitfulness, honoring God's Word, hope, transcripts. Bookmark the permalink.

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