Date: June 19, 2022
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: 2 Kings 24-25
Series: A King For The People & A People For The King
Well, good morning. Good to see you all. If you got to Bible turn with me to Second Kings chapter 25. Today we’re ending our series and First and Second Kings. While you’re turning, I’ll just say, just another day to be really thankful for our team here who leads us in worship. George, who would normally lead us was sick today. So Chris was supposed to be behind the board jumped up last second, and is leading us. Aren’t you thankful for the team who uses their gifts to lead us? Let me just say, I mean, some of you know some of the folks that are up here, some of you don’t, but just their heart is not to just use their musical gifts to serve the Lord or to perform for us but to lead us into the presence of God together. They do that so well. I’m thankful for Chris and this whole team, I’m thankful for George, they do such an excellent job of that. So we have lots to celebrate today. As Ken said, It’s Father’s Day, I don’t know if that day hits you as a sad day, if you had a maybe a tough experience of fatherhood with your dad, or you know, maybe you longed to be a father, you’re not maybe it’s a just a great reminder of a great dad that you have in your life. But either way, whether it’s a day, there’s a challenge, or it’s a day is full of joy. The thing to recognize is that this day is the day to celebrate the Fatherhood of God for you in Jesus Christ. So it’s a day to remember and no better place to be than in the house of God to worship Him. Tell him thank you for becoming a my father, thanks for being the perfect father, where every earthly father doesn’t measure up. But that’s true of the best of earthly fathers. So we’re thankful for that. It’s also Juneteenth. Which is the day that we commemorate the the Emancipation Proclamation being declared to the last group of slaves in Galveston, Texas, who became aware of the freedom that they had been afforded under a constitutional change. That is worth celebrating. Yes, amen. Because we have a God who brings injustice to an end, and brings freedom even greater than earthly freedom. So no better place to be than in the house of the Lord today, celebrating what God has done. What a good thing that is. Not only that we have much going on this week. So tomorrow, our middle schoolers head off to Harvey cedars, I want to I want you to be praying for them this week, you know, these times of retreat away, or I don’t know, if you had this experience, I certainly did growing up in the faith moments where they’re the signpost moments where God says, your mind, you belong to me, and I’m going to help you know it in a deeper way than you knew before. I pray that this week could be that for some of our students this week, so this is a week of another week of intentionally raising up the next generation of Christ followers. So let’s be praying, yes. Also, we’re hosting Aroma camps here this week. So for the even younger group, and that they’re going to be utilizing sports to learn about Jesus use the the good gift of a healthy body for so many of them that God has given. It’s going to be a great week of that as well. So just a ton going on a ton to celebrate, to be thankful for. So let’s pray together. Then we’ll dive in to God’s Word. Lord, thank You for Your Word. Now sharpen our minds, soften our hearts, so that we are ready to receive all that you would have for us. pray in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Well, as we’ve been going through the books of First and second Kings, my guess is where we’re going to end today is not going to be any surprise to you, if you’ve been following along, if you haven’t been here for the first time, catch you up, right, which to say, we’ve been going to this book, that’s these books that have been all about these kings who keep failing, the best king start well, and don’t end well, the worst ones don’t even begin well, right. So there is just failure after failure. So we come to the conclusion of our study these books, and the books and where you probably would expect them to end and that’s with God’s people being sent into exile, as punishment for their sin as a way of God’s saying, You have not listened to me, You have not kept the covenant that I’ve made with you, you have not kept up the end of what I’ve required of you. So now here comes the exile, it ends on a very low note, in Deuteronomy, chapter 28 hundreds of years before this, God had warned them, and he had said, you are going to go into exile if you don’t obey what I tell you to do. So the first half of Deuteronomy, chapter 28, is filled with all these really wonderful promises. If you’ll walk with me and obey my covenant, and keep covenant with me, these are all the blessings that will descend upon you. The last half of the chapter is and if you disobey, if you will not keep covenant, these are the curses that will fall upon you. So we find ourselves just now receiving the fulfillment of that. Now, that being said, let me tell you two things. Number one, if you grab the sermon notes on the way in, this is one of those weeks where the sermon changed on Saturday, so those notes are no good. Really sorry. I got fresh stuff for you. Don’t even worry about it. All right. So just mark off those points. You can use that as blank paper, right? Don’t don’t want to see any crumpling up. All right. So but just just so you know, that’s the case. Now as we come to the second thing is that as you come to the exile, the thing I want you to understand is that there is a broader and bigger purpose in the exile. When we might think so as we read the verses we’re about to read, it’s going to feel like we’re ending the book on a really low note. But this is one of those things that you have to wait a little time, in this case, hundreds upon hundreds of years to understand what’s going to come. I’m sure you we’ve all experienced this. I’m sure at some point over the last couple of years, you’ve probably had to take a take home COVID test. Yes. You wait those 15 minutes, right. So I was talking to my mom and my dad, I got on the phone happened to call at a time when mom said that I’ve been feeling under the weather I just took a COVID test is a couple of weeks ago. Then I happen to be there. She’s going, Oh, the 15 minutes is up. As we’re talking. I’ll check. Then I got to listen to 10 minutes on my parents are you over whether it was negative or positive? Might as well not have been on the phone. So thankfully, they did come to the agreement that it was negative. So I wasn’t there. I didn’t see it, I don’t know. But mom is well, all is good. But it takes time sometimes right? You take you take a test like that, you know time release, medicine, allergy pill, all that kind of stuff, it takes time to see the effect of the thing that has happened here, is going to be revealed over here. That’s what we’re going to see with the Exile today. There’s this thing happening in Second Kings chapter 25. That is really discouraging. But there’s something bigger going on. That’s what I want to show you today. So here’s the big idea today is that you and I are meant to learn to live as exiles in the earth. Let me just say that I’m journeying along with you on this. This is one of those things where part of the reason this sermon changed on Saturdays because I feel like I’m just beginning to start to plumb the depths of an understanding of what it means to live as an exile. It’s a really rich scriptural theme one that I my own walk have not spent a ton of time settling in on and reflecting on, maybe you have, we’re going to reflect a good bit upon it today. So we’re going to be in a number of different places in the scriptures. Today, we’ll have the words on the screens might be a little like Bible, you know, drill here if you wanted to, if you want to keep up. But we’ll kind of come back to this second Kings text as our anchor now. So that’s our big idea. God doesn’t want us just to learn from the exile of Judah, like what was it like for them, He wants us to learn to live as exiles ourselves. We’ll talk about what that means.
So for lessons about living as an exile, and what that means for us. Let’s read Second Kings chapter 25, verses 1-12. So in the ninth year of his reign, Zedekiah, who is the king of Judah at the time, in the 10th month, on the 10th day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siege works all around. So the city was besieged to the 11th year of King Zedekiah. So almost two years. On the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine was so severe in the city, that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city and all the men of war fled by the way of the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden, and the Chaldeans were around the city. Now you understand what’s just happened is, all the men of war have left and who’s still in the city, the women and the children. And they went in the direction of the Arabah, but the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho and all his army was scattered from him. Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And they pass sentence on him. They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took them to Babylon. In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that was the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and he burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem, and the rest of the people who were left in the city, and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon together with the rest of the multitude. Nebuzaradan the King, the captain of the guard, carried into exile. But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowman.
Now, can we agree? This is a sad story? Yes, we come to the end. We recognize that as we’ve been reading through these books to the Bible, this is sort of the expected in as we’ve watched king after king forsake the covenant that God has made with them, they have worshipped idols, they failed to break down the high places they failed to practice worship according to the law. They have exhausted themselves not the Lord and thing after thing after thing we have watched them break covenant with God. So in a kind of straightforward sense, we go okay, well. So, as I follow the story, it makes sense that this is kind of where we end and, and that’s probably the purpose of it is to kind of learn like, this is what happens, you know, sin has consequences. There you go. But is that it? I mean, that’s really the question I want you to ask is that is that the only lesson that we’re supposed to learn here today is sort of that st has consequences. That’s certainly a lesson to be drawn from this. But what I want you to see is, like I said earlier, there’s something much bigger going on, with the exile of Judah. In fact, God is at work, bringing about his purposes, not in spite of it, but through it. So that you and I then on this side of the Cross are called to learn to live, like exiles, not just a negative lesson about the consequences of sin, but a lesson about what it means to live as exiles, the mindset, the heart, the focus of those of us who understand that this is what God has called us to. So that’s what I want you to see God is accomplishing something much bigger. Let’s see what that is together. So first lesson, I told you four lessons that we’re going to look at Lesson number one, and since I didn’t have these for you, I’ll repeat them.
Alright. Number one, learning to live as exiles means learning God must be obeyed. As the first lesson learning live as exiles means learning that God must be obeyed. Now, this relates to the thing that I just said about sin, and its consequences, already referred to Deuteronomy chapter 28, and how God lays out the blessings that will come for obedience, the consequences that will come for sin and rebellion. But here’s the thing I want you to see is that what had happened really, among the people of God among Judah, and among Israel, was that they had begun to do a thing we call presuming upon God, which means that they presumed that because God had called them his own people and said, your mind and made a covenant with them, that they didn’t need to live a certain way that they could do whatever they wanted, and that God would say, I’ll still look out for you, and I’ll still take care of you. They presumed that they could do whatever they wanted. God says, No, when I call you into covenant with myself, I call you while I keep covenant with you, in faithfulness, I call you to keep covenant with me in faithfulness. And if you want, there will be consequences to that. Now, that makes sense in the Old Testament context, but we think then, what about the New Testament where we believe that once God has redeemed us in Christ, we can’t lose that? So what do you mean that there would be consequences. While we believe that you certainly cannot lose the salvation that God has purchased for you, we do believe that if you presume upon God, to claim the name of Jesus, and live in any way you want, in denial of that truth that you belong to him, you would reveal that you never truly belong to Him. Your sin would have its consequences. This is what Romans 2 means when it says this again, I told you, we’re gonna jump around. So me, let me read to you what Romans 2 says in the New Testament, about how God thinks about this, Romans chapter 2, verses 4 and 5. Having just talked about not judging others for the sin that you yourself are still doing. That’s what Paul is just talked about, like, why would you judge someone for something you yourself are doing? He says, Then in verse 4 and 5, he says, or do you presume, on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Isn’t that good that God uses kindness, to lead us to repentance. But because of your heart and in penance, at heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. This and this is written to a church to people who claim to be followers of Jesus. So when Paul is saying that what he’s declaring to them is that if you find yourself claiming the name of Jesus, and then living any way you want, as if that is not to impact the way that you live, as if it’s not a call to righteousness, and holiness and repentance. If you fail to see the kindness of God in Christ, leading you to repentance, be warned that you are in danger of coming under the wrath of God. Do not presume to claim the mercy and forgiveness of God offered in the blood of Jesus, and then walk away and live a life that does anything but exemplified the nature and the love and the mercy of God. That makes sense church. It’s a warning. It’s a hard warning to hear. But it’s a necessary warning and the Scriptures speak it to us again and again. Do not presume upon the kindness and the forbearance and the patience of God. Listen, the thing that you and I recognize is that to be exiles that we’re meant to recognize is that to be exiles means to live with a mindset that says I am called to obey all that God calls me to and to obey His Word. And we get mixed up because we have this sense and just like Israel did, that obedience means a loss of freedom, that obedience means a loss of joy, that obedience means a loss of life. Why did they want to worship at the high places? Why did they want their idols? Why did they want to continue to practice unjust practices and unfair trade among themselves? Why did they want to do that? Because they thought it was to their betterment, because they thought they were missing something, if they obeyed God. This has always been the case with people because of our sinful hearts that make idle their idle factories is that we convince ourselves so easily in our phones, that the path to greatest joy and fulfillment is something other than obedience to the Word of God. Do you know that there is no joy, true and lasting outside of obedience to the commands of God, we’ve got to embrace that and believe it and exiles know it. exiles who live not in their true home and know they’re not home, say, oh, that I’m made for that. Not for this. Therefore they say, oh, obedience and joy, hand in hand, always obedience and joy, never separate, always together, never looked for joy outside of obedience, you will not find it, you’ll find a faux version of it, you’ll find a generic copy of it. It will always let you down. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it will not produce true and lasting joy. It cannot by definition, because you weren’t made for it. That’s what exiles. Now, this is what Peter says. So Peter, is this fascinating letter, this epistle in the New Testament. He uses there’s debate among scholars over the years that seems to have mostly kind of honed itself into settlement here. But there’s this idea that is Peter writing to Jews who have become Christians, or is he writing for Gentile Christians? I do believe the answer is to Gentile Christians. But he uses this reference to the exile of the Jews and talks to them like they are exiled Jews. He’s using that as a metaphor. He’s saying you are to learn New Testament Christian from the exile of your ancestors of those who are not your physical lineage, but those who are your spiritual heritage, the Jews, and so listen to what he says in First Peter 16 through 19. Again, he this theme of exile is just ever present with Peter. He says this, verse 16, chapter one, he says, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy, that’s God’s speaking you shall be holy, for I am holy. That’s obedience. If you call on him, his father, who judges impartially, according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your what? Exile, knowing that you were ransom from the feudal ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. Now I want you to see what Peter’s doing. There’s juxtaposing two things, he’s bring them together in a really beautiful way. One, he refers to them as exiles. What he’s saying is you need to understand yourself through this lens. If you do, then the you are going to be a person who waits for the appearance of one who is both your father, coming with great love, who you are waiting for saying, Dad, come and get me. You are also waiting for the one who is the perfectly righteous judge who knows how to bring judgment upon all sin. Therefore, he says, you wait with fear, with all struck wonder at the purposes of God, bringing these two realities together, saying, My father and my judge are coming. So I am awestruck. I wait as an exile, wanting them to walk in the holiness of God be holy, for I am what church, holy. That’s the mind seventh and exile. I want to obey beatings and joy, hand in hand, always.
Now, that’s the first lesson lesson number two.
Lesson number two. Learning to live as exiles means learning to rest in our identity. He’s learning to rest and our identities at rest very intentionally. How many of you have had like it just the best feeling at the end of a really long day, you’re mentally tired, you’re physically tired, where you just like you want nothing more than to crawl into bed. You know, that feeling? You just like throw yourself into bed and you think, Oh, this feels really good. Just resting in but summon up that image if you can Then, as you think about what it means to rest in your identity of fall wholly into it, we think identity think two things, value and purpose. That’s really what makes up an identity. Where’s my value come from? What is my purpose in life? Where’s my value come from? What is my purpose in life? Thinking through the lens of an exile helps us understand how we can further rest in our identity and understand here’s what would have happened for Judah, Judah goes into exile. In that moment, don’t you know that what happened is a lot of is probably an identity crisis. Because their identity as the people of God was so tied to Jerusalem, and to the land that God had promised the place that he said to Abraham, I’m gonna bring your people here, they had been brought out of slavery and into this land. So there’s all these promises now that they’re going, Wait, are they still good? Are we still the people of God? Does he still call us his own? Does he still love us? I mean, just think about what I just read to you in Second Kings chapter 25. What all happened, the temple got torn down, the walls of Jerusalem got torn down, the people got taken out of the land and into exile, the houses got burned down, and the king’s palace got burned down. Did everybody catch that? When I read it? This is not just okay, like war is happening? No, this is the people of God now going into an identity crisis? Who are we? If we’re not the people of the land? Who are we if we’re not the people that God protects? Who are we? If we’re not, you see where I’m going? Right? The temple worship is no longer accessible to us. It doesn’t the temple is gone. This is where we went to worship the Lord, at least where we were supposed to. So what are we? What are we to do so their identity is thrown into all this confusion. Now, there’s a big difference between our exile and the exile of the Jews. Here it is, is that the exile of the Jews came about because of their disobedience and sin. Our exile has come about because we’ve been rescued from our sin. You and I were at home in the world until Jesus redeemed us and then we became exiles. Once our sin was dealt with, that’s when we became people who are no longer home here. Does that make sense? That’s when we became citizens of another kingdom. Citizens of another city belonged to another king, with a place waiting for us, a city prepared for us an eternity waiting for us. So that’s a huge difference. Yet, in spite of that difference, I would argue this, there is still an identity confusion that is possible when you’re living in exile. Because living in exile implies, it implies that you don’t fit. Do you see that? To be an exile is to say, this is not the place I truly fit. It’s not the place my heart resonates with. It’s not the place that makes a ton of sense to me. I don’t make a lot of sense to it. So there is this ill sense of fit. It’s like a constant walking into a middle school cafeteria. Will anybody sit with me? Does anybody like me? Do I have a place or there are people for me? Right? You didn’t know it was so theologically deep in middle school cafeterias. But it’s the real deal, right? They’re learning in exile mentality every day. The listen as exiles are exiled status can do one of two things. You got to flip it, you got to turn it the right way. Because being exiled, who don’t fit, and you don’t fit at your job when you’re like arguing for integrity and honesty, in spite of the bottom line. You don’t fit in the public school system as a teacher when you’re like, I can’t teach that about gender and sexuality. I can’t affirm that. It’s not true. You don’t fit in the fit. It feels awkward and hard. Because you don’t fit, it can cause you to go, oh man, like who am I? What’s my value? What’s my purpose? But don’t you see church? Let me show you the very same thing. That exiled mindset says I don’t fit here that could cause an identity crisis can be the very thing that solidifies your identity. Because saying I don’t fit here means I do fit there. Knowing I fit there, what does that do for me? It tells me I have a place I’m accepted a place I belong, a place where my value is seen and cherished. I know who I belong to. So the exiled status while it can, in one sense, throw you into confusion if you learn to leverage it. It can throw you out of confusion and into certainty. Does that make sense church see that as exiles we live learning to read asked in our identity. Now, let me take you to Hebrews chapter 11. Because a such a rich text on exile, listen to this. Now, this is great because this is not about the exile of the Jews into Babylon. This is way before that the writer of Hebrews is talking about all these famous people of faith, and he’s lauding them for their faith, Old Testament saints. In particular, here, he’s about Judah, Abraham and Sarah. He’s saying that they have this exile mindset. He’s not talking about the Jews going there. So this is long before that. He’s saying that Abraham and Sarah, that when they looked at the world, they didn’t feel like they fit there. They revealed it through their choices. So watch what he says then about exile mindset, and about how it can shore up your sense of identity. Hebrews 11 13 and 14 says These all died in faith talking about Abraham, Sarah, These all died in faith, not having received the things promised. But having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers, and what exiles on the earth, for people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country. That is a heavenly one. Therefore, what’s the result of that? Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. Do you hear it? Haven lived as an exile, Sarah lived as an exile, they said, We’re not looking towards earthly comfort and home here, we’re looking to a better city. We’re looking to a God who’s not ashamed to be called our God. They’re filled with faith. It shored them up in certainty, not an uncertainty. I hope that makes sense.
Lesson number three, learning to live his exiles means learning to trust, God will keep his promises. Learning to live his exiles means learning to trust that God will keep his promises. I might add, even when it looks like there’s no way he can. Maybe especially when it looks like there’s no way he can now let me get you. I told you. How many of you are, you know, we have the phrase, the forest for the trees, right? Have you ever been accused of like missing the forest for the trees, you know, so focused in on the small that you don’t see the big, this is where we got to see the big, okay, in order to understand the true purpose of the exile across all of Scripture across all of God’s redeeming history. That’s where we can truly gain our lesson from it. So, flip back to Second Kings go to Second Kings chapter 25. If you still got your Bibles open, and you guys are hanging with me, good job, by the way. Well done. The end of Chapter 25 this book ends in a weird way. All right, let me read you this. It’s a little nod, a little hint, a little like elbow nudge, nudge, if you will, this is telling us something. If you read this, like in your quiet time, my guess is you might read it and go like that’s a weird way to end this. Alright, but listen, look at what he does. Verse 27, through 30 of Second Kings chapter 25. And the 37th year of the exile of Jehovah Qin king of Judah, so Jehovah chin head was king before is that a Kaya? The first the exile happened in stages. Jehovah chin and like Daniel are like the first to be taken into exile, then Zedekiah is put on the throne. That’s the part we read. It’s the last stage and they’re all taken out. Right so Jehovah Qin has now been in exile for 37 years. 3070 are the exile of Jehovah and king of Judah in the 12th month on the 27th day of the month. Evil Mara Adak, king of Babylon, the next king after Nebuchadnezzar in the year that he began to reign graciously freed Jehovah Qin, king of Judah from prison, and he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehovah chin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life, he dined regularly at the Kings table. And for his allowance, irregular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived. The end. Like Wait, what? Like, what is this just like, Okay, so our old King got to eat some good food. Two thumbs up. You think like, why, why is he doing this? Well, let’s remember our story. God had made a promise to a king that kings name was anybody. David said Can Samuel chapter seven what was the promise, one of your sons will reign on the throne forever? It’s a promise of the Messiah, the promise of the Savior. So all through our story, what have we seen? Israel goes into exile they cease to exist. But Judah, even now going to exile, what is God’s saying right here at the end? The line of David is always being preserved, even when they’re terrible. He preserves them. Why, for the sake of my promise to my servant, David, why does Second Kings in with this story about Jehovah chin coming out of prison after 37 years, because God is giving a little little nod little wink to you and saying, Hey, remember my promise to David, because I haven’t forgotten. Do you might have thought I forgotten it. They’re all going into exile. But the last word that I’m going to speak in this book is Jehovah chin has been brought out of prison, because I’ve still got a plan. And I’m still going to keep my promise. I’m still going to keep my promise. Now. That’s the first thing that we see. Now, Jeremiah is prophesying during this time. And so we find in the book of Jeremiah, it would have been Jeremiah writing to the exiles. He’s called the prophet of weeping because it’s just one bad thing after another, to be honest, in Jeremiah. So he’s the contemporary of Zedekiah of Jehoiachin, and he’s writing to the exiles there, flip over or go to the screen, Jeremiah, chapter 23. Jeremiah, chapter 23. I want to show you another thing that we see here, so he’s saying, Hey, I’m keeping my promise to David. That’s why I’m talking about Jehoiachin, . But Jeremiah is going to tell us even more, there’s something even more going on. Jeremiah, chapter 23, verses 3-6 says this, Then I will gather the remnant of my flock, that term remnant is going to be really important for us, then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply, I will set shepherds over them, who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord. So what he’s just said, Jeremiah, is, even though this exile has happened, I am going to bring a remnant back from that exile back to the land back to Jerusalem. So here’s what we’re learning about the exile. Oh, it’s not as if God said, Hey, I had this great plan, but then my people screwed it up. And now I’ve got to send them into exile. So there’s really nothing I can do about it. Gotta say, no, no, I’ve had a purpose in the exile. The purpose of the exile is to reveal the remnant. The remnant is the true people of God faithful down through the ages. It was never God’s intent to say a people marked by a physical lineage are my people. He says, no, no, it’s always been the people of faith that are the true remnant. We’re going to look at that in just a second. But here’s what I want you to see the exile reveals the remnants, and then they’re going to be brought back into the land. But then the remnant does something else. Exile reveals the remnant, now remnant reveals the righteous branch. Look at versse 5 and 6, Behold, the days are coming is right after what he just said about the remnant, Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David, a righteous branch that has language directly from Isaiah four and Isaiah 11. We studied those that book a while ago, if you remember, that’s the name for the Messiah, the righteous branch. I will raise up for David, a righteous branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days, Judah will be saved in Israel dwell securely, and this is the name by which he will be called the Lord is our righteousness. All right, so follow along with me. Now. Here’s what we’ve learned. God is sending them into exile to reveal the remnant and through the remnant, the righteous branch will be revealed. Then God is going to do something through the righteous branch. But the first thing I want you to see is that God is keeping his promises Amen. The longer you live in exile, the long and the more it can feel like well, God, do you remember me? The longer we wait for Jesus to come back is the longer we live in exile. And the longer that happens, the more we find ourselves probably saying, Do you remember me? How long Oh, Lord, the more difficulty we encounter sometimes because of our sinful choices. Sometimes because we live in a fallen world that is a mess, and sometimes because we don’t fit here, and it just is difficult. But in all of those things, we are prone as exiles to think, is there any purpose in this? Like, why are we why are we still here? Why won’t you come and bring an end to this? In all of this, here’s what I want you to see from This exile reveals the remnant which reveals the righteous branch is that Has God ever stopped keeping his promise to the nation in this text? No. His promise to David goes forward. In the moment that looks darkest, it’s not just that God keeps His promise, in spite of the thing happening to you, the thing happening to you is part of how he will keep his promise to you. Do you see the difference? The exile is not plan B. It’s not God adjusting to the sin of his people. It has been determined that it would be the way that he would reveal the remnant, and through that remnant send the righteous branch. He keeps his promises always. He never fails, not one falls to the ground. He is the only one who has the perfect knowledge to always make promises he knows are right. He’s the only one with the strength to bring about the fulfillment of every promise, he never finds in himself, any lack of strength to say, I know I made that promise, but I just can’t keep it. It’s just beyond my strength. It’s beyond my knowledge. It’s beyond my power to understand how God is the only being in all of existence who never has to say that. How many it was Father’s Day, how many dads that don’t raise your hand, have said I promise I will do such and such and then you realize, three days later, there’s no way I can keep that promise. Not because you didn’t want to but because it was beyond your capacity to. We’ve all done that. And we don’t like it. That never happens to God.
That brings us to lesson number four about how the righteous branch whose revealed by the remnant which is revealed by the exile, the last lesson about living as exiles, I mean truly embracing an exile mindset. The last lesson about living as exile says this is that learning lives exiles means living to see people restored to God. Living as exiles means living to see people restored to God. If you and I truly understand ourselves as strangers and aliens and Sieber says, As exiles. What that will mean for us is that we will be laser focused on seeing other people join us in eternity. We’ve got to recapture that it has been a season of confusion for the church and we have gotten lost. We have worried about secondary issues instead of primary issues. We have loved dissension rather more than unity. We have got to restore our mission mindset. We are here as exiles soon to be taken home. We have got to take as many people with us as we possibly can. That’s what matters. Not since secondary issues don’t matter. I’m not saying that they’re not worth hashing through and wrestling with and discussing core seeing God’s kingdom come to earth and all his justice and righteousness come bear upon our society. Course those things matter. But nothing matters more than seeing people join us as exiles who will one day be brought home. There’s nothing that matters more than that. We’ve got to get our minds and our eyes on it. I’m so tired of being distracted by issues that do not have nearly the significance of this. We are going to be focused. Yes, church, you’re going to be focused. Let’s know what x 15 says, I love this. I had not noticed this before. I don’t know how I have not noticed this before studying this week. So let’s talk about the remnant how God uses the remnant right to reveal the righteous branch. This is now New Testament Acts chapter 15 Jerusalem Council, the Spirit has been poured out on the Gentiles and the Jews are shocked. They’re like, oh my goodness, okay, what does this mean? Right? God reveals what it means. Then as they come together as a council, their decision a very wise one is to say, No, we don’t we don’t require Gentiles to obey Jewish law in order to become Christians. Right? It’s not about the law. So look at what he then says. Quoting from Amos, this is James talking. And we’ll begin in verse. Let me get in verse 13. After they finish speaking, James replied brothers Listen to me Simeon, as Peter has related how God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for His name. Think just understand what a big deal It is for a Jewish man to say the Gentiles are a people for His name, being called by his name. With this, the words of the prophets agree so he’s saying what Peter is saying is what the prophets were saying, way back when. Then he says just as it is written, after this, I will return and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen, I will rebuild its ruins. So that’s Amos talking about the remnant coming back from Babylon. Everybody follow that? I’m gonna bring the remnant the line of David or bring him back. We’ve now revealed through this sanctifying process of the exile, who the true remnant are, I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it. Why? That the remnants, not of Judah or Israel, but who the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord. All the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old. Do you see what James has just said? He’s just said, the exile was to reveal the remnant the remnant was to reveal the righteous branch and the righteous branch reveals what that salvation is for everyone. That there is a remnant of people from every nation that is being drawn, that is being brought forth. In Romans chapter 11, verses 1-6. Right? Here’s the beauty of the exile revealing the remnant revealing then the righteous branch is that God reveals something else through the exile. So Romans chapter 11, verse one, one of these key texts, when it comes to understanding what God is up to Romans 11, 1-6. There’s this whole discussion about, well, how does the church and Israel as a nation relate to one another? Listen to what Paul says, I asked them has God rejected his people talking about Israel? By no means, for I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, God has not rejected his people whom he for knew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? This is First Kings 19. Well, remember this says they’re all worshipping false gods are all worshiping bail. He says, Lord, they have killed your prophets. They have demolished your altars and I alone am left and they seek my life. But what is God’s replied to him, Paul says, I have kept for myself 7000 men who have not bowed the knee to bail, that’s, that’s the remnant. So to at the present time, there is a remnant chosen by what grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works. Otherwise, Grace would no longer be grace, because I don’t want you to see, this whole exile thing is about revealing to you and I enter the whole world that God saves people by grace through faith, not by works. The exile reveals the remnant, the remnant reveals the righteous branch. The righteous branch reveals that he is the remnant is not a people just of the nation of Israel who obey the law. The remnant is a people who, whether they were under the Old Covenant or the new were always a people of faith, Abraham was justified by faith. Right? The remnant of Israel were justified by faith. He’s saying that’s always been the case for Jews and for Gentiles. The Remnant the God is raising up the call by his name, are people redeemed by faith? That’s the point I just said, You got to get your eyes up on the forest for the trees. If you just look at the story, Second Kings 25. You think yourself wow, what a depressing end. But if you understand that God is using the exile to reveal that salvation, for the whole world is coming. But it’s coming by faith and not by works, then you understand. This is a crucial moment in the story. It’s telling us something way bigger than just a group of people got taken out of their homeland and into a foreign land. It’s telling us something way bigger than just there are consequences for sin is telling us God is on the move. Now, listen, last last text here that I’m going to read you and you guys have been great to jump around with me. We’ll conclude with this first Peter going back there, which is this exile themed book. If the Jews exile existed to reveal that salvation was by grace through faith, then what does our exile exist for? The same thing, the same thing. We are exiles so that people would know salvation by grace through faith. First Peter chapter 2, verse 11 and 12 tells us this, he says, Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and what exiles do to abstain from the passions of the flesh, in other words, holiness, the very first point we made, obey, to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul, because your soul now has a new orientation changed. Verse 12, keep your conduct. So what does he do that it’s called a holiness? Then what is it go from there? Keep your conduct among the Gentiles remember, he’s writing to Gentiles. So he’s using that phrase Gentiles there as a as a euphemism as a metaphor for someone who doesn’t believe. So he says, Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable among unbelievers honorable, so that when they speak against you, when they say what you’re doing is good as bad. They speak against you as evildoers. They may see your good deeds and what will be the result and glorify God on the day of visitation. He doesn’t mean glorify God through their condemnation, he means glorify God so that when he visits when he returns, they’re saved, that they may see your good deeds, you part of the remnant, an exile, living for the city that you have not yet seen, not for the city in which you currently live, living as if to bring heaven to earth, and the righteousness of God in your life, the holiness of God in your life that as you do that, everyone who looks at you and is prone to say, you don’t fit here, and the things you’re doing are wrong, they will see your your conduct is so becoming so right, so true, so gentle, so meek, so full of the power of the Spirit, that they would see that in you. They would say, You know what they know something I don’t know. They know someone I don’t know. That then through that process of questioning, they would come to see the God who has invited them to come and become a citizen of his kingdom. See, what First Peter two is telling us is that our exile exists to make more exiles who will one day come to the true city? Who will one day come home, and we have got to be laser focused on it.
Let’s pray together. With Jesus, we thank You for Your Word, pray that our meditating upon it today has been pleasing to you. As we as I asked at the beginning, that our minds would be sharp to receive your word, and that our hearts would be soft. Don’t let it be the reverse. We don’t want soft minds and hard hearts. We want sharp minds and soft hearts. Would you give us that or Jesus so that you be glorified and honored. And now Lord, if we if we praise you, at the beginning of our time, in order to prepare our hearts to receive your word, then what we’re doing now is we’re turning to you having heard your word and wanting to respond and give you glory, and give you praise because your word resounds in our hearts that resounds is what is true, the spirit within us cries out that Your Word is true. As we hear truly proclaim and so we pray that it has been we pray that you would bear fruit from it and in accordance with your word. As you told us it will not return void it will not return empty. So we pray let it have its way now. We turn to worship you you’re worthy. Jesus name we pray. Amen. The standard worship Lord together to conclude our time together.