Good morning, happy Lord’s Day, and welcome to the gathering of the commonwealth of heaven. We are an outpost of the heavenly Jerusalem, pilgrims assigned to press the victorious kingdom of God upon all the nations. We have been assigned here in the greater Seattle area, and now, in the beginning of the twenty-first century of the reign of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He summons us each Lord’s Day to gather as that outpost and be joined in a mysterious way, a covenantal way, especially through our liturgy, with the heavenly city. We hear of John’s experience of this on the island of Patmos when he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day where he received the Revelation. And the writer of Hebrews tells us that in much the same way we are gathered up together to be with all of the saints that have gone before us up into the heavens where we gather at the throne of Grace, worship our King, and pronounce judgment upon the nations.
It is not an arrogant pronouncement of judgment. It is a pronouncement which we received as well. It is a pronouncement due to our utter rebellion by our covenant head, Adam, and our own resultant sins of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, of refusing to glorify God, and of refusing to give thanks to Him for all things. But God, who is rich in mercy, called us to Himself, gave us new life in Jesus Christ, and through our death and resurrection in Him, our baptism, we are joined to the new humanity, the kingdom of God, the citizenship of heaven.
This is therefore a political gathering. The kingdom of heaven comes with much violence for it breaks the yoke of oppression and tyranny – the yoke of the devil and all his minions. It sets captives free, it enables a love for and an ability to obey God’s law and walk in His ways faithfully and joyfully. It provides life where there is only death, forgiveness where there is only blame and shame, and hope where there is only despair in the midst of suffering. Welcome to Jesus Christ.