Kingdoms – Kingdom of Man

KINGDOMS_Mainpage_Slide-1024x346

Luke 6:20-26

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

This is God’s Word.

 

So has anyone here ever had a child ask you the question Why? And you tell them why, only for them to ask you again, why? Why? You think what is going on with this child?  I’ll tell you what is going on.

Even at that young age, 4, 5, 6 years old that child of yours is beginning to formulate his or her worldview.

If you follow all of those whys back far enough ultimately you move back to reason for existence, explanation of origin, and governing rules of the universe. How you answer those questions, where you land on those questions will largely determine your worldview.

James Sire who has written extensively on the idea of worldview defines the idea like this, “A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”

Lets break this down a little bit:

A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, – So this is what you believe, what frames your perspective of the world. It can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) – So whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or an Athiest. There is some sort of story wherein you explain life.  Existence, morality, relationships. So, as Christians we have the Bible, – and the story of creation, a Muslim would have the Koran, and an Atheist has a story, Big Bang Theory, Origin of Species, evolutionary perspective to explain the world. These all tell a narrative of how we got here and why we are here

Every worldview has presuppositions that they hold to. Assumptions that guide their thought. Which may or may not be true. A couple of weeks ago evolutionist Bill Nye – The Science Guy debated creationist Ken Hamm over the validity of the creationist model.  Now it was an interesting debate, because it wasn’t really a debate over evolution or creation it was a debate over Worldview. It was a debate over the assumptions that rule our thoughts and observations. So, when Bill Nye is observing the world, he is observing the world with the assumption that there is no supernatural, that everything that exists is natural, or visible, in the dimensions that we can see.  Well that is a big assumption and because I believe, and I would guess most of you believe that that assumption is wrong, Bill Nye’s worldview and therefore his conclusions are so wrong.  In fact over and over throughout the debate Bill Nye confronted questions about observable phenomena within the universe that he had to simply say I don’t know or we used to believe that but now we believe this. Ken Hamm has created his model based upon the worldview assumption that there is a natural world and a supernatural world.  And therefore throughout the debate Hamm’s worldview displayed itself as very consistent with his models, and he wasn’t left saying I don’t know, he was trusting in the revelation of God, the Bible.

So worldview is well illustrated – The Theist has the Presupposition that there is a Natural World and a Supernatural World, the Atheist only believes in the Natural and therefore these two perspectives understand the world and everything about the world in a very different way.

“A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”

Some people know that they have a world view, and some people know what governs their worldview, some people do not.

But whether you know you have a worldview or not, you do. There is some lens through which all of us are viewing the world.  The better you understand your own worldview and the things that determine your worldview, the more consistent your life will be.

Over the next 4 weeks we are going to be looking at worldview and in looking at worldview we are going to try and answer these basic questions,

What do people believe? (and I include us in people) Or what are different worldviews? And Why do they believe it? What are the governing forces in these worldviews?

How does that belief system answer the deep questions of the soul?  How does that worldview system bring you peace?

And Why Does it Matter?

And we are calling this series, Kingdoms, because worldview is more than just a set of ideas, it is a Kingdom that you live in, that governs and directs your life.  If you are a Christian you have new citizenship in a New Kingdom.  There is a new Kingdom that you call home, a new way that governs and directs your life.  Over the next few weeks we want you to see how these Worldview Kingdoms work and how they are at war with the Kingdom of God.

__________________________________________

Today we are going to begin by talking about The Kingdom of Man.

Which is the predominant Kingdom worldview of the Western World, specifically of the United States and Western Europe.  So this is our world, this is the value system of those who we live around and amongst.

So first of all what does the Kingdom of Man Believe, and Why Does it Believe it? The Kingdom of Man is built by three pervading thought systems, or value systems, and they are humanism, secularism, and materialism.

 

I want to briefly interact with these. So the Kingdom of Man is Humanistic.

Humanism – a system of values and beliefs that is based on the assumption that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion.  In other words the humanist places humans at the top of the run. The highest good, the highest success is the human and there is nothing greater. This type of thinking of course has been around from the beginning of time.  What did Satan tell Eve in the Garden.  If you eat that fruit, you will be like God and you wont need God Eve, Satan’s model puts Man above God and all want to believe that. See this has always been in us, but it has been helped along. We see Humanism in Evolutionary thought.

This is Ernst Haekel’s Tree of Life – which is basically an elaboration of Darwin’s tree of Life it illustrates very well that there is nothing above man, the whole evolutionary system shows that everything flows to the man, toward the human.

Humanistic thinking flowed out of the Enlightenment – You see before the Enlightenment Meaning in life was gained by duty to higher things – So Your family, your job, your community, your government, and your God were all higher than you and so you got meaning in life from submitting to these things, and forsaking your wants and needs for these greater things. But, enlightenment thought is just the opposite the enlightenment says you get meaning when you find fulfillment for yourself, In other words you are on the top of the chain now and things like your family, your government, even your God exist to make you happy and to fulfill you. This is the essence of humanism, its all about the human, existence, purpose, life is all about the human.

In the worlds of Lil’ Wayne – “Find your thing, and Do you”

Last fall Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida, 110 Miles, no human has ever done that, and the amazing thing is, She was 64 years old.  So those of you 64 years olds out there that need some inspiration there it is

But after this swim, she did an interview with Oprah and she told Oprah that she was an atheist.  She said, “So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.” Then Oprah responded.

“Well, I don’t call you an atheist then. I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is. That is what God is. It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.” So this is kind of classic humanism. It is the human Spirit that is divine. So in the Kingdom of Man it is when all is going well with the human that the Spirit is most free, when he is wealthy, and successful, when he can laugh, when is loved and totally fulfilled that he is most satisfied.

So, if the Kingdom of Man is defined by Humanism then it must also be defined by secularism.  Secularism – the belief that religion should not play a role in public life. Why should it, if the human is the highest end, where does religion have any place in that? In the Kingdom of Man it is believed that reason has no flaw. Decisions rather should be made by the reasonable man, who doesn’t need divine intervention but fully capable of solving all human issues, on his own. So Religion should play no role in Public life. Man can solve his own problems, he doesn’t need to pray, he doesn’t need God. So, you see fulfillment in the Kingdom of Man, comes from solving those problems, from winning, from being on top, from victory, from success. The Kingdom of Man is Humanistic, it is Secular, and lastly the Kingdom of Man is materialistic.

I recently wrote an article entitled, “Does Wal-Mart have more money than God?”  I shared these stats from 2011 – In 2011 Wal-Mart’s total worldwide net sales total topped 418 billion dollars, with 309 Billion dollars coming from sales within the United States. If Wal-Mart were a country its GDP for 2011 would have edged out the entire GDP of Austria making it the 27th wealthiest nation in the world. Comparatively, Americans gave 298 Billion dollars to charity in 2011.  This figure of course includes all charity and not simply Christian giving.  Considering these figures Americans, the most generous people on earth, gave more money to Wal-Mart in 2011 than they did to God.  If man is the highest end, then feeding that man’s appetites and establishing his Kingdom is the highest good.  So in our western humanistic world we are very materialistic.  We like things, even it is just Wal-Mart Things, Even if we are buying “Great Value” brand, we like stuff. We like to be wealthy, and that is where peace and happiness is found in the Kingdom of Man, in material things.

The Kingdom of Man says that Man’s chief end is to glorify himself.

There is actually a branch of humanism called “Christian Humanism” which is basically humanism with some Christian symbols

And rather than saying as John Piper has made famous, what true Christianity says, “That God is most glorified by us when we are most satisfied in him.” and the Mantra of Christian Humanism is

“God Is Most Satisfied with Us When We Are Most Glorified by Him.”

See the Kingdom of Man is all About the Man.  It is all about the Man being successful and wealthy, and fulfilled, and glorified. I spend a lot of time here because you need to understand that this is the world that most of you were born into, this is your world, this is your Kingdom, and what we call normal, and what we naturally value, all flow out of the ethic or the Value system of the Kingdom of Man. You see there is really no Christian Humanism, that is an Oxymoron. To follow Christ means that you abandon your former Kingdom, to begin to follow Jesus is treason against the Kingdom of Man that you were born into. The call of a Christian is to abandon one Kingdom for another and it is a serious call.

Jesus steps into the Kingdom of Man, with a new message, with a new way, that is totally different than the value system of Man’s Kingdom.

To help us understand this, we are going to be in the book of Luke today and we’ll actually be studying the book of Luke throughout this whole series. Today we are going to be looking at Luke 6, at a sermon that Jesus preached in a flat place, this has been known throughout church history as the sermon on the Plain, as it shares many similarities to the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew. What we find in considering these sermons, is that these are themes that Jesus regularly addressed, that he regularly preached.  What we see in these sermons is the ethic of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Christ.

Jesus came into a world of Kingdoms, the Kingdom of Judaism, the Kingdom of Paganism (With Rome), the Kingdom of Gnosticism, and the Kingdom of Man and he totally blew that up.

 

So to introduce his Kingdom and the ethic of his Kingdom Jesus said.

20 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Now notice this is different from the more popular Sermon on the Mount. Wherein we read, in Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And we like the Matthew version because Poor in Spirit is a little less concrete, Oh yeah I am poor in Spirit, whatever that means.  But here in the Luke version Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” No one says this.  No one has ever said this.  Blessed are the poor. See everyone has a message for the poor, but typically the message for the poor is “you can be rich,”

The American Message to the poor is this, you don’t have to be poor, this is the land of opportunity, you can work hard, you can find success, and then you can be wealthy. Here is what is implied, because self worth, and a successful life is measured by monetary success.

So, you know make something of yourself and then you will be valued, and then people will care about you. Now don’t get me wrong, people should pursue success, I think people should work hard, but when the message to the poor is only, hey work hard and maybe you can get out and maybe you can make some money, and maybe you can be successful. You are subtly saying, because poor people until you at least get to Middle class your life isn’t worth that much. That falls in line with the Kingdom of Man.  Who is worth something in the Kingdom of Man? Well it is the powerful, it is the wealthy, it is the human Spirit being fulfilled.

You see poor people don’t have anything to offer the world and so the world typically kind of throws them away.  You don’t have anything-marketable skills, you don’t have any money, and what can you give me.

People don’t value the poor, people take advantage of the poor, and people despise the poor. In the Old Testament Hebrew, there are several nuances to the word poor but one of them is needy or people without, but one of them and one of the most common is certainly to be oppressed.  To be afflicted.

No one says, Blessed are you who are poor, except for Jesus.

The Jesus ethic is so countercultural, it is so unexpected, and it gets worse.

He goes on to say, 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” Again no one says this.  People may say, take compassion on the hungry, help the hungry, but Jesus says the Hungry are the bless-ed. The Hungry are blessed. Blessed are you if you are Hungry. Again no one says this. In every culture eating is a sign of blessing, to be hungry was evidence that either the gods or the culture around you was not pleased with you. No one says Blessed are the Hungry except for Jesus.  His Kingdom ethic so different, but it gets worse. He goes on to say “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”  Now no one says this, no one says, blessed are the mourners. People always say get over your sadness so that you can be happy.

I remember one time I was talking to a friend and she had just had a tough break up and I said, you know rather than try to do something fun why don’t you wallow around, really listen to some sad music and just be sad for a while.  And she said, “what are you talking about, she said no one is telling me that, everyone is telling me to get out and enjoy myself, and here you say I should embrace the pain.” I am not saying that my advice is any good, but it does illustrate the point, no one is saying, blessed are those who weep, no one is saying you should mourn. That doesn’t capture the human Spirit.

 

It is an incredibly odd thing to say and in all of this Jesus steps in and totally turns the humanistic, secularistic, materialistic Kingdom of Man on its head.  The Kingdom of Christ is so very different from the Kingdom of Man. It is something entirely new. You see the message of Christ and really the beauty of the church is this, you are valued here, you are loved here, your life is beautiful in the Kingdom of God.

Ultimately the hope of the poorest, hungriest, and saddest Christian, is the same hope of the wealthiest, and fullest, and happiest. It is the hope of the eternal Kingdom, where they will both be kings.

 

So which Kingdom is better? Which way should you follow?

How does this Kingdom or How does this Worldview answer the deep questions of your soul? I want to spend just few moments analyzing the Kingdoms to try to answer some of the deeper questions. I have three.

Which Kingdom Fulfills?

Which Kingdom Satisfies?

Which Kingdom Lasts?

So, Which Kingdom Fulfills?

There is a deep longing in the soul of every man to be justified.  To feel like your life really matters, like you have really achieved something.  Its like why Rocky wanted to go the distance with Apollo Creed so he wouldn’t just be another Bum from the neighborhood, so he could actually have made a name for himself, so he could have actually justified his existence.  We will look for this fulfillment, for this justification somewhere.  The Kingdom of Man says you can justify yourself by winning, by becoming someone great.  Blessed are the winners the great achievers, but the problem with the Kingdom of Man is that there is always someone who beats you, and if your whole existence is based upon the win well then it is very easy to feel worthless, as if your life doesn’t really amount to much.

In the Kingdom of Christ, even the mourners are called blessed, even the poor, or the hungry are called blessed. Theirs is the Kingdom.  Because Jesus has won an eternal victory.  His victory is so big, it is so sweeping. The author of Hebrews says that we have been made Holy through the offering of Christ, once and for all.  An eternal, sweeping and complete victory.  Jesus has justified everyone in his Kingdom; Jesus has won for everyone in His Kingdom. The Problem with the Kingdom of Man is that it doesn’t save anyone – You have to save yourself, and so there is no room for the poor, there is no room for the mourner, there is no room for the hungry. But Jesus says, come, come, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.

 

Which Kingdom Fulfills, secondly I want to ask Which Kingdom Satisfies? You know satisfaction is interesting.  Because no one is ever satisfied.  You can’t afford to be in the Kingdom of Man, because in the Kingdom of Man you have to always be looking to the next big thing.

I’ll never forget 2010, I had just watched Alabama beat Texas, and it was the post game interview, so like 20 minutes before Nick Saban had been on the podium winning the BCS National Championship.  He was in this interview and they asked him, “How does it feel to win a National Championship?” Now keep in mind 20 minutes before this guy was standing on the 50 yard line of the Rose Bowl holding up the Crystal Football, and they said, “How does it feel to win a National Championship?” And Saban said, “Well to be honest, every victory presents a new set of challenges, now we enter the 2010 season with a target on our backs, I have a motivation issue with my players, and I really need to get back on the recruiting trail.” I remember listening to that thinking, man this guy is going to be tough to beat. But truth be known that is the way a lot of people think, they can never be satisfied they are always hungry for the next victory, and even the greatest victories do not leave them filled, That is how the Kingdom of man thinks, that is how the western world typically thinks, especially in competitive America but Jesus said “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied” – And not you will fill yourself – you will be filled, I will fill you, I will satisfy you. That is the only way you will be filled that is the only way you can be satisfied.

 

Let me show you something that will set you free, and if you find this, you can find satisfaction, if you don’t find this you never will.  So literally you life happiness depends on this.

Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

There is a flow in this creation that you are a part of, right and if you understand this and as soon you understand this you will be so satisfied but if you don’t understand this you will never be satisfied you will always be frustrated you’ll never find peace.  Everything in creation was created By Jesus and is For Jesus, By Jesus For Jesus.  If you understand that you were created by Jesus and that you were created for Jesus that is what it means to be in the Kingdom of Christ and there is great satisfaction there.  But the Kingdom of Man wants to tell you that all things just happened, and there is no point to any of it.  It is just a matter of time space and matter and that of course will never satisfy your soul. That in fact is the great problem of atheism, it is irrational no one can live as if it is true.  If there is no cosmic meaning then there is no personal meaning and no one believes that and no can live that way. But maybe the Kingdom of Man wants to say, that all things are created by Jesus but they are for you. This for example would be what the Christian humanist would say. But again this will always fail you, this will always leave you unsatisfied, because this is not the designed order, this is not how God made things to be.  The Kingdom of Man is based on a lie that this world was designed for you, when of course it was not, when of course it never could be, and that false premise will always leave you so empty. But when you see this, and you realize your correct place in the universe that you have been created by and for a God that loves you who has an incredible purpose for you in his eternal Kingdom, that is so freeing… Surrender to God’s will for your life and be satisfied, surrender to Christ and be saved.

Thirdly and Finally, Which Kingdom Lasts?

If you notice in the text. Jesus uses the word now over and over.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, Blessed are you who weep now, and Woe to you who are full now, Woe to you who laugh now,

And what he is doing with that one little word “Now” is he is showing us the very temporal nature of the Kingdom of man. Nothing lasts.

Last week Shaun White, the Flying tomato, came in 4th in the snowboarding half pipe.  For like 10 years this guy couldn’t be beaten but now Shaun White is 27. He was 4th beaten by a 25 year old, an 18 year old, and a 15 year old and the articles this week were saying that Shaun White has been replaced by a new generation.  He’s 27, and he’s over the hill.  He’s done. Nothing lasts in the Kingdom of Man. It is so short, it is so quick, you can’t hold onto anything in the Kingdom of Man. But the Kingdom of Christ is forever, in fact the Kingdom of Christ is built on forever. Jesus even says in verse 22 and 23.

“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!  (or in other words now) He says, Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven;” Because there is a reward that is coming, there is a Kingdom that is coming, that is so great and so sweeping, and so eternal, where joy and life never ends.

Don’t you want that? Don’t you know deep down in your soul that you were designed for that?

 

So, lastly I want us to meditate on that question, Why Does it Matter? Why Does Worldview Matter? Because literally everything is at stake.  If you are wrong on this you miss everything, but if you are right if you find Jesus, if you find his Kingdom you gain everything.  You are the one who is truly blessed. In Luke 6 Jesus gives us some insight into the blessing of His Kingdom, and in Romans 4 Paul actually takes the blessing of God deeper because you see the greatest problem that this world faces is not poverty, or hunger, or sadness, or ridicule. Your greatest problem, and my greatest problem is our own sin.  The Kingdom of Man has no solution for this, but in the Kingdom of God we can truly say along with Paul and King David. 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Blessed is he who is saved, blessed is he who has found a perfect righteousness outside of the law, blessed is he who has met the Risen Lord.  Don’t miss Him.

 

You see we are here today to celebrate a King, who has rescued us from the empty Kingdoms of this world, and who has defeated all of our enemies even death through His Resurrection and in the power of the resurrection he is inviting you into His eternal Kingdom, that fulfills, and satisfies, and lasts. He came to rescue you, he came to save you, and he was willing to pay the ultimate price for your soul, blessed is the man who knows the Risen Lord. Won’t you follow him today? Won’t you trust him?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s