Sweet wig. Soul Patch added.
The last two weeks of Advent I enjoyed doing an exposition of Handel's Messiah for the morning sermons. I felt the liberty to preach such sermons in light of Handel's use of straight Scripture. Of 52 Sunday sermons from the Redeemer pulpit, approximately 48 are straight exposition. I thought mixing it up with a multimedia extravaganza would be good for 2 of the "other" sermons. Of course, a multimedia extravaganza for Redeemer means playing various audio clips from Messiah. Cutting edge stuff. Maybe we're going emergent? NOT.
Anyways, I'm looking forward to our annual missions conference at the end of January and studying the Scripture that makes up Handel's Messiah proved to be a great primer for our upcoming focus on missions.
Messiah traces the promise of Christ from Isaiah 40 through to His ultimate glorification and triumph depicted in the book of Revelation. We tend to think of Messiah as an Advent-focused piece of sacred music, when in fact, it is a glorious survey of the whole of redemptive History revealed in Scripture. One of the very clear themes of Messiah is the increasing exertion of Christ’s Lordship on the Earth since His ascension to the right hand of the Father.
It is a mistake to think of the Kingdom of God in purely futuristic terms. The idea that Christ will reign on the earth someday ignores the teaching of Jesus that declares the Kingdom to be inaugurated upon the incarnation of Christ. The Kingdom is NOW, and growing. I think Handel captures this scriptural reality wonderfully in the second part of His oratorio, particularly as he progresses from the ascension of Christ to the Hallelujah chorus. Notice the Lordship of Christ expand by Handel’s Scriptural progression (from Part II of Messiah)-
Unto which of the angels said He at any time: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee?(Hebrews 1 : 5)
Let all the angels of God worship Him. (Hebrews 1 : 6)
Thou art gone up on high; Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even from Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.(Psalms 68 : 18)
The Lord gave the word; great was the company of the preachers.(Psalms 68 : 11)
How beautiful are the feet of them: that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. (Romans 10 : 15)
Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10 : 18 / Psalms 19 : 4)
Why do the nations so furiously rage together, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed. (Psalms 2 : 1-2)
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us. (Psalms 2 : 3)
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. (Psalms 2 : 4)
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalms 2 : 9)
Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.(Revelation 19 : 6)The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.(Revelation 11 : 15) King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.(Revelation 19 : 16)Hallelujah!
Do you see the subduing of the nations from the time of Christ’s ascension? While we associate the much-loved “Hallelujah Chorus” with Advent and the birth of Christ, it is actually a joyous response to the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Messiah wonderfully and biblically displays the lordship of Christ expanding on earth between his first and final coming (right now!).
The scriptural certainty of Christ's Kingdom expansion gives me great excitement about the mission of the Church. Missions are a celebration of the Lordship of Christ. It is our great privilege and joy to be a part of Christ’s expanding kingdom.