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REIGNING WITH CHRIST IN HIS KINGDOM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, September 7, 2003


"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).


Dr. James O. Combs, former editor of the Baptist Bible Tribune, preached at our church last Sunday morning. He spoke to us on the vast panorama of Bible prophecy. It is good to be reminded of things in the future. The Bible often tells us about future events. And one of the most important things we could think about in the future is the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My text this morning deals with His coming Kingdom on earth.

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

I will bring out three important points from this verse.

I. First, the text speaks of the Rapture.

The text says,

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection…"
      (Revelation 20:6).

The Scofield note on Revelation 20:5 says,

The "resurrection of the just" is mentioned in Luke 14:13-14, and the resurrection of "life" [is] distinguished from the "resurrection unto damnation" in John 5:29. We learn here [in Revelation 20:5-6] for the first time what interval of time separates  these  two  resurrections  (Scofield  note  on  Revelation  20:5).

The first resurrection is the Rapture, when living and dead Christians are caught up to meet the Lord in the air,

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

That is the "first resurrection" spoken of in our text. The Scofield note on I Corinthians 15:52 says,

Two resurrections are yet future [that of the saved, and that of the damned]. They are separated by a period of one thousand years. The "first resurrection"…will occur at the second coming of Christ [in the air], the saints of the O.T. and church ages meeting Him in the air; while the martyrs of the tribulation, who also have part in the first resurrection, are raised at the end of the great tribulation (Scofield note on I Corinthians 15:52).

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible points out that the first resurrection "takes place in installments" (note on Revelation 20:6).

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power …" (Revelation 20:6).

The "second death" refers to the lake of fire. It does not mean annihilation, but refers to being cut off from God in eternal torment. The Bible says,

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death" (Revelation 20:14).

II. Second, the text speaks of Christ's Kingdom.

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

This is a clear declaration of Christ's one thousand-year reign on earth. It will be the answer to the prayers of Christians across the centuries,

"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

Christ  will  descend,  and  true  Christians  will  be  raptured  to  meet  Him  "in the air" (I Thessalonians 4:16). Then, seven years later, Jesus will come down to the earth, to the Mount of Olives, from which He ascended, and will set up his 1,000 year Kingdom on earth.

Now turn to Zechariah 14:4. Here is a description of Christ returning down from Heaven, to the Mount of Olives, from which He ascended.

"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south" (Zechariah 14:4).

When the feet of Christ touch down on the Mount of Olives, it will cleave due to an earthquake.

Now look at the last thirteen words of verse five,

"And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee"
      (Zechariah 14:5).

The true Christians of all the ages will pour down from the sky with Christ at His Second Coming.

Now turn to Revelation 5:10. The Christians will glorify God because He has

"…made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible says,

Together the Christians who were saved before the [seven year] Tribulation, along with the [Christians] saved out of the Tribulation will "rule and reign" during Christ's one thousand-year kingdom (note on Revelation 5:10).

That is the glorious hope of every real Christian. That is where we are going! We are preparing to be "kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). That's why we sing,

I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land.
Oh, who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.
      ("On Jordan's Stormy Banks" by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

We are literally "bound for the promised land"! The sky will open and we will follow Jesus down to earth.

"And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee"
      (Zechariah 14:5).

We will then be made

"unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).

He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, he is coming again,
With pow'r and great glory, He is coming again.
     ("He is Coming Again" by Mabel Camp, 1871-1937).

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

III. Third, the text speaks of Christians co-reigning with Christ.

"They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Many Christians do not realize that this is the immediate goal of the Christian life. We do not merely get saved to go to Heaven some day, great goal though that is. But there is an immediate goal. We are to prepare ourselves to co-reign with Christ in his 1,000 year Kingdom on earth.

There are two main qualifications for co-reigning with Christ. First, you must be converted. That is no small qualification, because Jesus said,

"Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

I know there are those who make a distinction between the various phrases concerning the Kingdom, but I have never been interested very much in such divisions and distinctions. If you are not prepared to enter the kingdom of Heaven by being converted, you must not think that you will have any part in His Kingdom on earth! That seems simple enough to me. And Jesus went so far as to say,

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

If you are not truly converted you will not enter the kingdom (Matthew 18:3). If you are not born again, you will not even "see the kingdom" (John 3:3). You will be in Hell.

So, the first qualification for reigning with Christ in His 1,000 year Kingdom is that you be converted, truly born again. Make it your chief concern. Make sure that you get saved by trusting Jesus Christ. You must be washed clean from your sins by the Blood of Christ if you hope to co-reign with Him in His 1,000 year earthly Kingdom.

But, secondly, you must be trained as a disciple of Christ. Jesus commanded us,

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

Dr. W. A. Criswell pointed out that "teach all nations" is "more literally rendered as 'make disciples'" (Criswell Study Bible, note on Matthew 28:19). Following Dr. Criswell's translation it would be,

"Go ye therefore, and [disciple] all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

One of the things that a New Testament church is supposed to do, in obedience to Christ's command in the Great Commission, is to "make disciples [of Christ in] all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

The local New Testament church is told to win people to Christ, and then train them to be disciples of Christ. The discipleship training that we are told about in Matthew 28:20 happens within the local church. That is one of our Baptist distinctives. We are to train you to be disciples in the local church. That training program in the local church is well outlined in Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 11-12,

"He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).

One of the reasons you should be in church every Sunday is to learn the Bible, and to learn how to live the Christian life, as a disciple of Christ.

Jesus said,

"Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).

After the first resurrection (also known as the Rapture) all true Christians will be rewarded according to their works, at the Bema Judgment:

"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward" (I Corinthians 3:14).

The rewards will be given out to Christians in the 1,000 year Kingdom of Christ. The goal of the Christian life, therefore, is not simply to go to Heaven, great as that is - but to lay up rewards in the coming earthly Kingdom of Christ.

Make sure you are saved. And then make sure that you do as much for Christ as possible.

"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:20).

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose physically from the dead on the third day after He was buried. He is now seated at the right hand of God, up in Heaven. Come to Christ. Believe on Christ. He will wash your sins away with His Blood, and save your soul.

Then get into the local church and go to work for Christ. Be in church every time the door is open. Do as much work for Christ as you can. Lay up treasures in Christ's coming Kingdom!


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Revelation 20:1-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"He is Coming Again" (by Mabel Camp, 1871-1937).

THE OUTLINE OF

REIGNING WITH CHRIST IN HIS KINGDOM

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

I.   The text speaks of the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:16-17;
Revelation 20:14.

II.  The text speaks of Christ's Kingdom, Matthew 6:10;
I Thessalonians 4:16; Zechariah 14:4-5; Revelation 5:10.

III.  The text speaks of Christians co-reigning with Christ.

1. You must be converted, Matthew 18:3; John 3:3.

2. You must be trained as a disciple of Christ,
Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:11-12;
Revelation 22:12; I Corinthians 3:14;
Matthew 6:20; Revelation 20:6.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."