LISTEN TO EPISODE FOUR
KEY THREE | WHO IS CHRIST OVER US TODAY?
The third key explores Jesus being on the throne, ruling now, and reigning now. What’s he ruling and reigning over and what difference does that make to you? Imagine that there were a bakery down the street that wasn’t making it and pretty soon it went out of business. Then another company took it over and they were also a bakery. The new company put a sign in the window that said, “Under New Management.” For whatever reason, maybe because they bake such great cookies, the store took off. It was under new management and when Jesus ascended into the heavens and sat at the right hand of the Father, then you could say in a sense, everything came under new management.
Dr. Steve Greene: Welcome back to the Christ Is Now Mini-Course, written by David Bryant. I’m Steve Greene, your host and facilitator for the educational process of coming closer to Christ, getting to know him and meeting him again for the first time. The book that this course is based on is called Christ Is Now!: 7 Groundbreaking Keys to Help You Explore and Experience the Spectacular Supremacy of God’s Son Today. Our teacher is David Bryant. He’s the author of the book and we are now approaching the third key in our fourth session and that key is Christ Is Over Us Today. David Bryant, welcome back to your seminar and help us understand this great key.
David Bryant: You know the last session, we talked about this four-fold revolution and then we said it’s made up of the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and then in some ways the most neglected doctrine in Scripture for many of our churches and Christians today, and that is the ascension. Well now in this part of our course, we’re actually moving into more of the implications of the ascension. In other words, Jesus is on the throne, he’s now ruling, he’s now reigning. Well, what’s he ruling and reigning over? Of course, what difference does that make to me? There was a bakery down the street a little while back that wasn’t making it and pretty soon it went out of business. And then another company took it over and they were also a bakery and I remember they put a sign in the window and it said, “Under New Management.” And for whatever reason, maybe because they bake such great cookies, but that store took off. It was under new management. And when Jesus ascended into the heavens and sat at the right hand of the Father, then you could say in a sense, everything came under new management. In this session, we want to think a little bit and as I go into more depth in my book, what is going on right now? The Message translation of the New Testament, which is really a paraphrase, says in Colossians 3, it says, keep your minds on the things above because that’s—and here’s the paraphrase—because that’s where the action is. I love that and that’s what we’d like to talk about in this session. What’s going on? What’s the action?
Dr. Steve Greene: You mention that it fulfills, as well as fills full the Old Testament prophecies. How does that happen?
David Bryant: The Old Testament is just riddled with all kinds of statements either about the current reign of Jehovah or the coming reign of Jehovah, but he is Lord of the whole earth. That whole idea comes through so many of the psalms, many of the prophets, but when Jesus came, he was the fulfillment of all that. Here’s what’s really interesting is that all of the different names that are given to Jehovah in the Old Testament, many of those names come back and are asserted by Paul especially in his writings for Jesus himself. In other words, he said, it’s an unbroken line between what we read in the Old Testament about Jehovah and who Jesus has become now as he sits at the right hand of the throne. The way I see it is, Jesus fulfills all the Old Testament talked about in terms of the Kingdom of God, the reign of God, because he not only fulfills those verses, he fills them full of himself. He’s the one that makes it all become a reality and that’s why we call it Christ Is Now. This is what’s going on right now and it’s not so much about events, it’s about a person who’s ruling and reigning and we get to be a part of that right at this very moment.
Dr. Steve Greene: So you list some overworkings, some use of the word “over” and I think that’s where we want to be in this seminar today, is how Christ is over us. You mentioned first of all, that he’s over the workings of creation.
David Bryant: Well, the Bible’s very clear that Jesus is the one by which all things were made. John says in John, chapter 1, that nothing came into being that didn’t come into being through him. We’re told in Hebrews, chapter 1, that he’s the one who holds everything together. That’s present tense. Right now he’s holding everything in creation together by the Word of his power, by his powerful Word. That just blows my mind to think that the Lord Jesus, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my Savior, my Redeemer, that he has such authority at this very moment. When he said, all authority in heaven and earth was given to him, he meant over all creation as well. So we read in Romans 8 that because of that, the whole creation is groaning and travailing for the day when there will be total and final deliverance by the power of Jesus Christ and by the re-creation of his resurrection.
Dr. Steve Greene: So, you mention, this one is stunning to me, that he continues to reign over the unfolding of world history and with that, global leaders. If we could tie those together because again, every person listening to this message today is probably thinking about what’s happening in this world, what’s happening in our country and how, if we get our relationship right with Christ, he’s over it.
David Bryant: I love the statement he makes to John when he appears to him in his ascended glory in Revelation 1 and he says that he claims for himself that he is the ruler of the kings of the earth, which is to say that there isn’t one person in the position of authority, not just in the terms of government, but business or any other sphere, there’s nobody that is in a position of authority that isn’t ultimately held accountable to the one who is Lord and ruler over all of it. It’s not original with me to say that history is his story and we’re living in the midst of his story. The goal of history, Paul says in Ephesians 1, is that everything in heaven and earth will be summed up under Jesus as Lord. I had a friend that said “without Jesus, history is just like a lot of confetti.” There are all these individual events, everything’s scattered all over the place. You can’t really make much sense of it, but when you put Jesus in it, it’s all about him and bringing everything under his feet until that day comes when every tongue will confess and every knee will bow and Jesus will be proclaimed as Lord throughout the whole universe. Then, you’ve got a whole other way of looking at all the different parts of history. Biblical scholars have a different way of looking at the scroll the Lamb opens in Revelation 5 and 6. It’s just exactly what the scroll represents, but the fact of the matter is that the scroll can only be opened by Jesus and as each of the seals are broken on that scroll, events begin to take place that have global and historical ramifications. That to me is a picture of who Jesus is at this very hour. He’s releasing things among the nations to advance his kingdom purposes. Many times as he said, the kingdom of God advances like leaven that leavens the whole lump and you can’t quite see what it’s all about until the whole bread rises or like a mustard seed that gets planted, the smallest seed, and you have no idea how eventually it’s going to grow to be one of the biggest trees you can find anywhere. God’s kingdom is permeating all of the nations of the world right now. He’s got his hand on the rulers and on the leaders. He’s bringing the events together in a meaningful way, summing them up under Jesus as Lord. That’s going on in a preliminary fashion every single day, right now, but it’s going to happen in the ultimate fashion in the day when he returns in glory.
Dr. Steve Greene: That’s so good. You make a comparison between Caesar and the Lord as you’re explaining leadership. Speak about that.
David Bryant: Yes, what most Christians don’t understand is that a lot of the persecution the early church was experiencing even in the first century was not maybe for the reasons we think it was. You see, the Roman Empire, as widely spread as it was geographically and as diverse as it was ethnically, what they said holds us together is that the emperors seemed to be God and therefore, it’s require of every town, of every village, of every Roman citizen, that you gather together one day a year where you would come to an altar that would be in the center of the village of the city and you would spend that one day worshipping the emperor. Now you could worship any other deity you wanted to all the rest of the year, but that’s the one time a year where Caesar was the only thing you worshipped. They would call him Lord, the same word we use for the Lord Jesus Christ. So when Christians started declaring that Jesus is Lord, they were essentially saying, “…and Caesar is not.” And when Christians refused to participate once a year in worshipping the emperor, that was perceived to be treason, that you are actually undermining the glue that holds this Roman Empire together. So the real reason many Christians were persecuted was because of the Gospel and what it claimed, they were perceived to actually be treasonous. This whole thing of how Jesus is the one who causes all other authorities to answer to him, that came forth shortly before the day he was born when Mary and her beautiful hymn that we read in Luke chapter 1 breaks out and praises to the One who’s still in her womb and says that he’s the one that causes rulers to rise and causes them to fall. So Caesar’s gone, he left the scene centuries ago, but Jesus is still reigning to this very hour.
Dr. Steve Greene: And he reigns over the destiny of earth’s peoples, the broader thought of the earth.
David Bryant: Paul says that when he’s talking to the philosophers in Mars Hill in Acts 17, he does talk about how the whole human race comes from one person, he talks about that. He talks about how the whole human race lives and moves and has its being in the presence of the living God, whether they know it or not. But then he also talked about how the whole human race is going to become accountable to this God through the one whom he has raised from the dead. And that’s when the philosophers threw Paul off of Mars Hill because he suddenly said—you know it isn’t just a general “everybody’s all a part of everything”, but now all of it’s being brought now to the feet of one person who’s being proclaimed as Lord of all. So the destiny of earth’s peoples, Paul was saying, is wrapped up in this one person whom God has vindicated by raising him from the dead. So when I get to Revelation 5 and I read about how this is innumerable multitude—people from every tribe and tongue and tribe and nation—we quote that so often but do we think about what the means? By the time we get to the ultimate fulfillment of the ages, the Gospel will have successfully penetrated every single nation, every people group, every language and will have had a harvest.
I have three children who are all adopted from India. I’ve been to India many times and it is very close to my heart. India is made up of 3,000 different castes and tribes, over 200 different languages and every one of them is going to have a witness for Christ to establish a people called from darkness into the light and they’re all going to be there at the throne. So, Jesus is on the march. The Gospel is moving. He said in Matthew chapter 11, he said the kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and so it is at this very hour, and that’s all another expression how Jesus is over, in this case, he’s over the destiny of earth’s people. So much more we could say on that. I talk about that in the book, but that’s a little bit of a hint of what we’re talking about.
Dr. Steve Greene: That’s a good reason to buy the book, just to read that. It’s so deep and I think there’s some real victory in what we’re about to talk about for the Christian who seems to be demon-focused and boogeyman-focused, that Jesus is over the rebellion of the dark powers as well.
David Bryant: That is really critical. I think that’s one of Satan’s chief strategies is to get our eyes off of Jesus and to get our eyes on to him and we’ll call it spiritual warfare. We’re seeking to defeat him with our prayers and our exorcisms or whatever it may be, but it is so easy to end up finding ourselves more focused on the powers of darkness than the one who’s over those powers, who’s over their rebellion, who will bring all things to a culmination when everyone will be judged and dispersed forever. Jesus said that when he came, he was a strong man who’s breaking into another strong man’s house and binding up that strong man and he said that if that’s what I’m doing by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come upon you. Right now, all across the earth, Jesus is in a cosmic conflict with the powers of darkness and it says in Colossians 2 that when he died on the cross, he stripped them. He rendered them naked, he took away their powers. It’s all just a charade at this very point. And Jesus is on the move to unmask the enemy, show him for what he really is, disperse the powers of darkness, and bring forth a work of his kingdom that is full of righteousness, of light, of love and that’s the triumph we’re looking for. He says in Ephesians chapter 1 that Jesus has now been exalted and given a name above every name, above every principality and power. That’s going on right now. He is in total control of what’s going on in the cosmic warfare in this world and the victory is certain because he’s already achieved it.
Dr. S: That’s great! The last point that you made in this section of your book, he’s over the church, the building of the church for the glory of God, the kingdom principles that we learned. Would you speak to this and teach us more about the overarching power of the church?
David Bryant: Again, there’s so much that we talked about in the book. In fact, some of the next prepositions that we’re going to look at in the next sessions that we’re going to go through really are looking at different facets of how Jesus builds his church. I think about how he grew up for 30 years as a carpenter and then there’s so much of that image of Jesus building his church and he is now the master carpenter. He says, upon this rock, he said this to Peter, I will build my church and the gates of hell—we talked about his power being over dark powers—the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against this. It’s not original with me that whole image means that the church is built and strengthened and prepared to actually advance the work of the Gospel into the very kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of darkness will not be able to prevail against that. If I were to say one thing about what Jesus is building with his church today, he’s building us into a base of operations from which he can launch the work of the Gospel. Every time a new church is planted, it may be among an unreached people group somewhere else in the world or it may be just in another neighborhood in my own town or city, but every time a church is planted and a new congregation is brought together, they become a place where Jesus sets up his throne. Now, his throne is in heaven, yes, but by the spirit of God he also sets up his throne in the midst of those people and then, through them, he wants to advance his Gospel. He wants to advance his holiness, he wants to advance his truth, he wants to advance his saving life among the people around that church, and then of course launching even eventually missionaries to the very ends of the earth. He’s building a church to be his base of operations.
Dr. Steve Greene: And now his church sits at his feet and studies to know him better, to try to understand and meet him again for the first time. One of the things you’ve done for us in opening up these keys is to help us understand that Christ Is Now and what we’ve learned here as we work together to build the church is that we have a role, that we have a purpose and the more we know him and meet him and join him in his work, everything changes for us and for the church.
David Bryant: You say, what do I do right now with everything that I’ve just heard about what Jesus is over us? I would say and I give a lot of ideas to that in the book, but one thing I would suggest is to go back to him being over the dark powers and that is what Paul talks about in Ephesians 6, when he talks about putting on the whole armor of God so that we can stand. If you look at every piece of armor, it’s really a facet of who Jesus is. It’s sort of like Paul says in Romans 13 when he says, clothe yourself in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6 is about me putting on Jesus’ righteousness and wearing the truth about Jesus, and putting on Jesus’ salvation as my helmet, and extending up my faith into who Jesus is, and the sword of the Spirit which proclaims who Jesus is and that is sort of like this Jesus who is over all. Paul says, every day, when you get up, put him on. I have a friend, a very key Christian leader in this nation, who for years has made it his practice every morning when he wakes up, before he even gets out of bed, he lays there for maybe a minute or two and he has a prayer where he takes each piece of the armor from Ephesians 6 which is putting Jesus over me now and clothing himself and saying, this is who I am, Christ over me. And then I’m going to go forth and live for him the rest of the day. I think that’s something we could all do.
Dr. Steve Greene: Well, let’s make that our homework assignment for this unit. I had something else in mind, but that’s better and let’s practice that—to put on the whole armor of God as it relates to Christ over us today. What a great homework assignment to have that worked up before we start our next one. Our next class is on Who Christ Is Before Us Today. We’ve now finished three keys. You’ve studied and learned from David Bryant about Who Christ Is To Us today, Who Christ Is For Us Today and just today we’ve finished the lesson, Who Christ Is Over Us. I can’t wait to speak to you again in our next seminar and it’s Who Christ Is Before Us Today with David Bryant, Christ Is Now. You can find it on Amazon.com. If you don’t have this book, it would be a great time to get it. David, thank you for your excellent work.