Sunday, December 24, 2017

[Matt's Messages] “He Will Reign For Ever and Ever”

“He Will Reign For Ever and Ever”
Isaiah 9:6-7 and Revelation 19:6, 16, 11:15 
December 24, 2017

Did that last song sound kinda familiar to you? It’s a brand new song by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher, but it’s also homage to a couple of very familiar Christmas tunes. One was “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rosetti.

And what was the other one? Handel’s “Messiah” right?

“Unto Us a Child Is Born.”

George Frederic Handel was a master at taking texts from holy Scripture and putting them together with beautiful music to form a stunning powerful combination.

And one of those texts was Isaiah 9, verses 6 and 7.

It predicts the birth of Jesus Christ the whole point of Christmas.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV84)
I don’t know about you, but whenever I read these words, I hear Handel’s Messiah in my head. “Wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God! The Everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 is a prophecy of the Messiah of Israel–the promised ruler who would make all things right once more.

Verses 1 through 5 of Isaiah 9 talk of people walking in darkness who have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

We’re at the darkest time of the year right now. Each day is short, each night is long.

These people were walking, living in darkness. But now a light has dawned.

And that light is the joyful reversal of the curse on the world and the end of all war!

And that light comes in the form of a child.


This is what Christmas is all about.

Isaiah wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit about 800 years before the first Christmas.  Before the birth of Jesus Christ.

He didn’t know Jesus’ name.  But He could see the day when Jesus would come.

Now, I’d love to spend time on each of these awesome titles for Jesus and what amazing realities they point to: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ... But we’ll do that another time.

What I want to focus on this morning are all of these words here that talk about his eternal kingdom.

Did you hear them as I read it? I tried to emphasize them. V.6

“...the government will be on his shoulders.”

He would shoulder the government. That’s a big responsibility, calling for very big shoulders.

As a Dad, I understand what it means to have the weight of a family rest on your shoulders.

Well, the weight of the world would rest on the shoulders of this child!

But for how long? V.7

“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.”

“He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

As the choir just sang, “He Shall Reign Forevermore, Forevermore!”

“He Will Reign For Ever and Ever.”

That’s in the Hallelujah Chorus, isn’t it?

The glorious conclusion of part two of Handel’s Messiah. It’s number 37 in your hymnal if you want to look at it. Amazing music.

Most of us have it running in our heads the whole Advent Season.

And I’m sure that our choir’s last song was supposed to ring it again in our ears.

“And He shall reign for ever and ever.”

Where did Handel get that?

It’s in the Bible.

Handel picked three texts from the book of Revelation and put them together.

Revelation chapter 19, verse 6. Chapter 19, verse 16. And chapter 11, verse 15.

From the King James.

Revelation 19:6, John says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

Revelation 19:16, “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

And Revelation 11:15, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

Christmas is about the coming of the greatest King and the greatest Kingdom ever.

And it will be an ETERNAL KINGDOM.

Eternal. For Ever and Ever. Without end.

Just think about that this morning. Make that your big Christmas Eve thought for the day. Dwell on this idea that Jesus’ kingdom will be eternal.

Just pick that sentence apart and take it one step at a time.

#1. HE.

He will reign. This child to be born. This son to be given.

Notice (in verse 6) that He is a gift.

The people whom He will reign over do not deserve this King.

They deserve the darkness, not the light.

They deserve the wicked rulers that they have had, not the perfect One to come.

He comes as a gift. And He shoulders the government as a gift.

As much as we desperately need it, we don’t deserve the kind of government that is being promised to us here.

It’s grace.

We don’t tend to think about government being grace to us, but we’re not used to perfect government.

Whenever we think about government, we are painfully aware of its imperfections.

We’re painfully aware of our own imperfections. We are imperfect sinners living under someone else’s government.

And our governments, even our best governments, are made up of imperfect sinners, as well.

But He will reign.

The baby born in Bethlehem will reign.

And He will reign perfectly because He Himself is perfect.

He is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Not just anybody. But Jesus.

Aren’t you glad that the eternal kingdom to come will be reigned by this Person?

I would hate the idea of an eternal kingdom ruled by anybody less!



And this, of course, is talking about His second coming, more than His first.

He was the King when He came the first time, but His reign had only just begun and is not yet fully realized.

But when He comes again and sets up His eternal kingdom, then He will reign like nothing ever seen before!

Look at the words that Isaiah uses in verse 7 to describe that kingdom.

It’s peaceful. Peace with no end.

And it’s perfect. It’s upheld with “justice and righteousness.”

You know, we can’t really imagine this.

Imagine a perfect place to live with a perfect government.

We can try. But we have never really seen anything like it.

We get foretastes. When something goes right. When government does something well. When you have good parents, good church leaders, good policing, good laws put into effect–you get a foretaste of what it might be like to live under perfection.

But it’s always far from it.

But imagine a world ruled by a Person with absolute power that is ruling absolutely and is absolutely perfect and good!

That’s what this is talking about.

That’s what Christians believe was happening when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem.

The King had come. The King of Kings had come.

And He will reign...


“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.”

That Person, that Perfection. And Forever!

That’s the point of Christmas.

For Ever and Ever.

I can’t wrap my mind around that.

“Eternal” sounds good, but it’s just so hard to comprehend.

But think about the opposite. What if the kingdom wasn’t forever?

If all of that goodness came and then just fizzled and ran out of steam?

What if Jesus came and set up an glorious kingdom but it did not last?

“All good things must come to an end.”

No! That’s not the gospel.

The gospel says, “And they lived happily ever after” because of Jesus.

He will reign for ever and ever!

Isn’t that the good news?!

You know, it’s only good news if you are happy about it.

It’s only good news if this Child born, this Son that is given is your own Savior and King.

He will reign for ever and ever no matter what.

But those who get to enjoy that reign forever are those who have received Him as King now.

Those who have taken Jesus and His gift of salvation by faith.

Those who have come out of the darkness and put their faith in the Light who has dawned.

Is that you?

I hope so. I hope that’s everyone in this room.

And if it isn’t yet, I pray that it will be soon.

I call on everyone here to receive this Son who was given for them.

So that all of us can rejoice together in Him and under His reign forever and ever.

For ever and ever.

For ever and ever.