The coming of God's Messiah-King was predicted in the psalms. Many of the psalms foreshadow the coming of that King. Two of the psalms directly predict the coming of that King, Psalms 2 and 110. Psalm 110 is a direct prediction of the coming Christ. Nothing about David or any of the kings that followed him in Israel could have fulfilled the prediction of Psalm 110. It is purely prophecy concerning the coming Christ. We do not have to doubt the direct application of this psalm to Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself interpreted the psalm and applied it to Himself (Mark 12:35-37). This psalm is the most quoted in the New Testament. At least twenty-five times these words are referred to the Lord Jesus. God did predict the coming of His King.
David overheard a conversation in heaven. That is the substance of Psalm 110:1. The Lord Jehovah promised the Lord Jesus Christ that He would reign. As a third party David, the greatest king of Israel, heard this promise. He recorded what he heard as a matter of prophecy.
This promise concerns the person of the King. He is greater than the greatest of the kings of Israel. Peter clearly said this in Acts 2:34. He will be the epitome of the royal, the regal, and the ideal king. He is greater than any heavenly being. No celestial creature excels His greatness (Heb. 1:13).
This promise concerns the power of the King. God has exalted him as ruler and sovereign. As awfully as man rejected Him, God has exalted Him (Acts 5:30). He reigns now as Savior and Intercessor (Rom. 8:34).
This promise concerns the position of the King. He is now seated at the right hand of God. This is the place of honor and the place which indicates the completion of his task. Other priests stand daily. He is seated because he has offered the once-and-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 10:1 11ff.).
This promise concerns the realm of this King. His rule is absolutely at one with the rule of God. The scepter of God's strength, power, and might also belongs to Him. He will rule in the very midst of those who are His foes. He will exercise sovereignty in the midst of those who are His enemies. He will literally march forth through the ranks of His enemies.
This promise addresses the followers of the King. They will be joyful volunteers. He will not draft or conscript His followers. Fresh youth will constantly join the ranks of those who follow after His leadership (v. 3).
The predicted King will join together the role of king and priest. God has sworn and will not change His mind that He will send one who combines the powers of a great ruler with a great bridge builder to God. The Latin word for "priest" is pontifex. The word itself means a bridge builder. A priest is one who builds bridges between God and man.
The origin of this King-Priest is mysterious. He is compared to that Old Testament king-priest Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 5:5-10; 6:19 to 7:28). He is an eternal priest without predecessor and follower. He is the final bridge builder between God and man.
This King-Priest will conquer all of His enemies and build a worldwide kingdom (vv. 5-6). With His volunteer followers, He will wage a war of righteousness until the whole earth belongs to His Kingdom. He will pause to refresh Himself along with His followers, but then He will continue unabated until all belong to His kingdom (v. 7).
If the greatest king who ever lived called Him Lord, would you not call Him Lord? Why not volunteer for His army today and be a victor then?
More than any other figure of intensity the New Testament compares the Christian life to the races and games of the arena. We ought to run purposefully to get the prize (1 Cor. 9:24). We should take care that we do not run the race in vain (Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16). At the end we should be able to say that we had fought a good fight and finished the race (2 Tim. 4:7). The author of Hebrews reminds us that we run our race in a spiritual stadium surrounded by former runners who now witness to the reality and triumph of faith.
Run the race in light of the encouragement. The encouragement is twofold. Former participants in the same race pack the stadium. They are the heroes of Hebrews 11. They are witnesses in the sense that they speak to us of God's faithfulness in the race. They have run and won. Our race is being run in a stadium full of victorious athletes. But they are not only former participants, they are present spectators. We are in some sense to be cheered onward by the fact of their observation. Indeed, their numbers have increased greatly since the author wrote of those heroes in Hebrews 11.
We ought to take courage by the thought of both biblical and historical Christians who witness to us through their lives and with the thought of their present observation of our race.
Run the race without the impediment. We are to act with decisiveness in laying aside anything at all that hinders us in the race: "let us throw off everything that hinders" (12:1). Originally this word referred to the bulk of the body. The runner abstains in order to be sleek and swift. It also referred to an arrogant bearing which exudes all undue confidence. But mostly it refers to any burdensome load. We are to free ourselves from anything, however innocent, which hinders us in the race. It could be any relationship, possession, or habit which slows us in the least. The strong word "throw [it] off" speaks of stripping oneself of a garment that entangles the feet and hinders the effort. There is an immediacy, urgency, and radical call to be done with impediments.
If this is true of things in and of themselves innocent, how much more certainly true is it of known sin. Such sin "easily entangles." The author is realistic about us and our sin. We are susceptible and sin is easily contracted. The word suggests the fatal easiness with which sin stands around us and then encloses us. There are those sins toward which we are inclined because of temperament, weakness, and environment. We are encircled by the opportunity to sin and we are encircled by witnesses to encourage us. To which will you give heed?
This is the supreme motive and the highest encouragement. Above the cloud of all human witness is our King. Far more than any other contestant has He faced the battle we now face. He endured suffering beyond all others and received glorious joy beyond the battle.
Fix your attention on Jesus. The human name "Jesus" emphasizes our Lord in His humanity. We are especially to pay attention to what He suffered in His human nature. This means that we must continually look away from distractions. The very word suggests looking away from some things in order to look toward one thing. We are to see in the Lord Jesus the great Example and the great Giver of faith. He is the great example of faith in the life of His own divine humanity. He lived by the unseen and the future. He both began and ended His life as the great Example of faith.
But He is also the great Giver of our faith. He is the Originator of our faith and will be the Completer of our faith. This is true of the faith of every person of faith in the biblical record. Moses wrote of Christ (John 5:46). Abraham saw Christ's day (8:56). Wherever you find the first stirrings or the final victory of faith you find the Person of the Lord Jesus. He is the Example and the Giver of faith.
He enables us to look beyond present discouragement to the future encouragement of a life of faith. Our Lord Jesus was enabled to endure the shame of dying the death of a criminal considered by His executioners accursed of God (Gal. 3:13) because of the joy that followed the conflict. He was willing to trade the pain to reap the joy.
This is a basic decision which the life of faith makes initially and continually. We must say with the apostle Paul, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18).
John describes Christians as those who are in fellowship with God and with one another. To be a Christian is not just to look back to a past experience but to participate in a present fellowship. Only those whose conduct is "walking in the light" can have fellowship with God and with other believers. The belief that "God is light" has a profound implication for our walk with Him and with one another. First John 1:5 tells us what God is and verses 6-10 tell us what we are bound to be in the light of that fact. Those who walk in the light know the fellowship of forgiveness.
"God is light" represents one of the three great statements John makes about the nature of God. Elsewhere he tells us that "God is spirit" (John 4:24) and "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Whereas others tell us what God does, John tells us what God is.
Consider the source of this statement: "we have heard from him" (1 John 1:5). Some believe the Lord Jesus made this statement but that it was not recorded in the Gospels. Still others understand this to be a summary of all Jesus said about God. The purport of everything Jesus said and did reveals God as light.
Consider the significance of this statement. Positively, it is a word about the Person, purity, and purpose of God. The Person of God is light. Light is the divine essence, the physical accompaniment of the presence of God. God dwells in light that is unapproachable (1 Tim. 6:16).
Light also refers to the purity of God. Christians have put on an "armor of light" (Rom. 13:11-12). Believers are all "sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night, nor of darkness" (1 Thess. 5:5, NASB). You cannot separate the Person of God from the purity of God. The early Gnostics taught that one could know the Person of God without knowing the purity of God. John says this is never true.
Light refers to the purpose of God. Light pervades everything unless it is shut out. God reveals Himself. He does not conceal Himself. In that medium of self-revelation is where God and man meet. In the physical world we are revealed to one another only in the physical light. In the spiritual world we meet with Him and one another only in His light.
Negatively, in God there is no darkness. This does not mean that we can know everything there is to know about God. It does mean that there is nothing that hides, no secret reserve in God. We can know all of Him that we desire to know.
Negatively, there is a false claim. Those who claim to have intimate experience with God and yet who habitually walk in darkness are deceived. The Gnostics taught that one could know God spiritually yet do anything one desired with the body physically. Fellowship with God and a life in the darkness are mutually exclusive.
There is a contradiction. The person who claims to share life with God and yet walks in the darkness morally does not do the truth. Truth is not only to be believed; the Christian does the truth. Talk is cheap; only walk really counts.
Positively, there is a conduct that reveals true Christian character. That conduct is to "walk in the light." The psalmist could say, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" (27:1). This light comes from the written Word of God: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. . . . The entrance of thy words giveth light" (119:105, 130).
The consequence of walking in the light is twofold. In relationship to God and other believers, "we have fellowship with one another" (v. 7). This means a daily, intimate sharing of all life. In relationship to sin, we experience continual cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ. One experiences the initial cleansing of salvation only once. One experiences the daily cleansing of Christ's blood repeatedly (John 13).
This is a word of warning and encouragement. It is a warning to those who habitually live a dark life they must conceal and hide. Such do not belong to God or the light. Those who walk in light, however, can know daily renewal of their fellowship with God. Where do you walk?
—Gregory's Sermon Synopses