Upside Down Kingdom
Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Roderick caesar the third on the lead pastor of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica queens new york. And I’m so excited that you decided to join me for the full gospel hour right here on global seven my prayers that you will be blessed, you would be encouraged and inspired by this message. Thank you so much for joining and God bless Now let’s turn our attention to the text today Luke. Chapter one A 30 through 33 Luke chapter one verses 30 through 33 I’m going to be speaking today about the upside down kingdom, the upside down kingdom and the angel said to her, do not be afraid mary for you have found favor with God and behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name jesus and he will be great and he will be called the son of the most high and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom. There will be no end. Dear God, I thank you so much for this time. I thank you for these your people. I thank you for those that are listening today. I pray Lord that as this word goes forth that you would be seen, you would be heard, you would be felt wherever we are Lord, wherever we’re watching from, you would be glorified as this word goes forth that you would show yourself mighty, Show yourself strong and anchor us in this kingdom that has been turned upside down in the midst of this world that has been turned upside down, be with us, strengthen us. We thank you, we praise you in jesus name. Amen and amen when we take our eyes, uh if when we take our eyes and take a look at what we see in the natural, what we see in the regular world from our day to day lives the kingdoms that are in charge of uh of things going on today. When we take our eyes and look at what’s going on today, we can examine the structure and the way that things are accomplished, the structure and the way that things get done. When we look at rulers. When we look at presidents, when we look at kings, when we look at queens and how different countries run things, uh you see uh maybe a pattern or you see the way that things that, that different rulers do things, but when we take our eyes off of the things of the world and maybe take a look into scripture and we look and shift our gaze on the true story of scripture, specifically the account and the events surrounding the birth of jesus. We find some interesting things. The first point that we find is that Jesus, jesus’s birth by human standards is impossible, Jesus’s very birth by human standards. Looking at what the text in scripture says about his birth is impossible. It takes faith to believe in the birth of christ. Can I get an amen somebody? It takes faith to believe in the birth of jesus christ? The second thing that it points out to us is that the events surrounding his birth takes uh sends a specific message. The events surrounding the birth of Jesus sends to us a specific message. And it also takes faith to hear that message. Read that message and see what the events in those uh surrounding the birth of christ are trying to tell us. It takes faith to see it and to believe what these messages are trying to convey to us third and finally, uh that the kingdom that jesus christ’s birth ushers in is radically different than the kingdom as we see around us today. The kingdom that Jesus christ ushers in which is the Kingdom of God is radically different than the kingdom’s we see today. And it takes faith to live in the radical way that the Kingdom of God instructs us as believers to live. It takes faith to live in the radical way that the Kingdom of God instructs us as believers to live, jesus, I was born of a virgin whose name was mary. We see this account where the angel appears luke 1 30 we just read it. He says, don’t be afraid mary, you have found favor with God and behold, you will conceive in your womb and you’ll bear a son? This is great news. You call his name, jesus. He’s gonna be great. He’s gonna be the son of the most high. The Lord’s gonna give him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom. There will be no end. Be excited, mary jump for joy. This is great news. Before mary gets all excited. She’s responds with a question, a very logical question. A great question. A question that you or I would ask if we were in the same situation. She says, look, God. Um I know you’re trying to sign me up for this class called motherhood. But there’s another course that I haven’t taken the prerequisite for, right. There’s something that’s necessary for this to take place, that I haven’t done. It’s a class that I want to take the class that I plan on taking when I married my husband joseph, my fiance, joseph, but I’m not, I’m not just there yet. You see God, there’s a step missing in this process. You know, I don’t know if, you know, but when a man and a woman love each other very much, you know, they come together and basically got what I’m trying to tell you is I’m a virgin and I have not yet had sex. So how could this happen, How can I be uh pregnant? How could I be the mother to this person. Uh this this person jesus that you’re telling me to name this messiah that we’ve been waiting on. How could this happen when the necessary steps haven’t even taken place yet? And God says yeah, yeah I know. Well we’ll just skip that part, We’ll just skip, we’ll just skip that part. He’s like oh but I haven’t known joseph from a biblical standpoint. Yeah it’s fine, we’ll we’ll skip on past that part. What’s gonna happen is the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you and therefore the child to be born will be called Holy the sun of God. Now mary, you could just drop the mic right there and say wait a minute, what is this, what does this mean? How does this even happen? God just creates life. The author of life creates life. And now he says uh he says the Angel of the Lord says behold now your relative Elizabeth, in her old age has also conceived a son. And in the sixth month, who in the sixth month with her, who was called barren. So Elizabeth was barren, She could not have Children. This is mary’s relative. And the angel of the Lord is saying now look you’re going to conceive and you’re going to uh have a child and you’re still a virgin and your relative is going to have a child and she’s too old to have Children. Why? Because nothing Is impossible with God verse 37. Nothing is impossible with God. That’s what the angel of the Lord says, when he speaks to mary, he says, look, this is an impossible thing. But it’s only impossible if God isn’t involved. This is an impossible thing. But it’s only impossible if you remove God from the equation. Once God steps into the equation impossible, leaves the room impossible steps out because God comes into the picture and God is intimately involved in the miraculous, intimately involved in the process and says, look, oh we’re just gonna skip past this necessary part because I’m the necessary part. I’m gonna skip past this part and we’re going to produce this baby, this miracle child. This this this ruler, this messiah called jesus. You see, God could have found a loving couple that loved each other that we’re married and would consummate their marriage and through that marriage. But but no, no. God said, look, I’m I I specialize in the impossible. I specialized in what people say can never happen. And all of this is taking place to let us know a principle that God is in the impossible business. And he will circumvent or or go around the natural order of things to get his will accomplished. You go around what you think makes logical sense and do something impossible so that his will can can come to life. He’ll do that through us through us because our God is the God of the upside down kingdom. And so he uses a virgin to conceive them to to conceive and 2 to bear the messiah. He uses the relative of this virgin uh Elizabeth who’s elderly and unable to conceive. She’s been barren for some years. And God uses Elizabeth to produce the son who would be john the baptist the forerunner the one that goes before jesus and prepares the way and prepares the ground. She’s six months pregnant. And God is saying, look once this this son is born. Once john the baptist is born, he is going to prepare the way prepare the soil, prepare the ears, prepare the hearts for what jesus will say Why? Because a barren woman is giving birth because I specialize in the impossible. A virgin is giving birth because I specialize in the impossible. We cannot be so tied to our plan. We cannot be so tied to our logic. We cannot be so tied to man’s way of thinking or what makes sense to us that we miss out on the miraculous imagine if mary said but God uh we got our our wedding day book, you know our wedding date and you know we have the data and we’ve already put the deposit down. We got you know that the caterers coming. We’ve got all these different things. Everything is situated for the wedding. Everything is good God says in. Sorry sorry it’s not it’s not it’s not gonna happen? The way you thought it would happen. Are you gonna be so tied to your plan that you’re not willing to lay it down and let God work through you. God literally worked through mary physically worked through mary so that jesus could be produced and and come into the world and jesus could be born. But we cannot be so tied to our plan to our logic that we miss out on the miraculous. But do we have the faith to believe that God can work through us? Do we have the faith to believe in the miraculous that God is speaking about and God is sharing with us? It takes faith, it takes faith. Now watch this. God uses what is weak and what is unassuming to conquer what seems strong. Matthew chapter one Uh huh. The Lord speaks to not only mary but to joseph, joseph is in a dream and this angel appears to him and says mary will bear a son and you shall call his name jesus for he will save his people from their sins. And all of this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call his name immanuel which means God with us. So God speaks to not only the mother but also the father that’s coming into the plate that’s coming into the situation. Speak to joseph because joseph being a respectable man didn’t want to embarrass mary, he thought to put her away quietly so as to save her from shame and possible even death. She’s gonna put her away quietly. But the angel of the Lord came and said, no, no, no don’t do this. Do not do this. Instead take her as your wife. Because she is the child that she is pregnant with is the child of the Holy Spirit. She’s going to bear a son. His name will be jesus because he will save the people from their sins. Now watch this. How many of you know that when something uh is a threat, you want to stop that threat immediately when something is a threat to you, you don’t want that threat to get any closer or grow any bigger or get any stronger than it has to. You want to immediately get the threat out of the way, remove the threat. So what we realize here is that what seemed weak too. Man also was was a bit of a threat to the king that was in in this day, King Herod. And he heard of this messiah, He heard of this king, he heard of this baby that would be born that would be king. And he heard from the wise men and the different individuals that were uh reading the old text and they said, oh this this virgin will conceive and bear a son. And he says wait a minute. This, there’s gonna be another king that’s gonna be born. No, no, me only me, only my lines. So he’s threatened by jesus. And so he says, okay, I’m gonna I’m gonna take care of this, this this jesus, I’m going to kill all of these Children that will be born. Just to eliminate this threat. He goes to great lengths to try and do this. But before he does, the Lord again speaks to joseph. The angel of the Lord appears to joseph in a dream says rise up, take the child and his mother flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you to do so. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him and he arose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and they remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet out of Egypt, I called my son. So they had to flee. They had to run from Herod who was intimidated by the birth of jesus was intimidated by what jesus was, was was what Jesus meant. And so he went to go kill all of the kids a specific age and under. And this was a sorrowful time. And and we realized that God took his child and protected him and ran and they fled to Egypt. Now it doesn’t really seem like a strong thing to run from a fight, right, it doesn’t really seem like a strong thing to run from a fight. It seems like if if God was as strong and he wasn’t weak, he would pull he have lightning strike strike Herod down. And if we, you know, read on, we see actually how Herod passed. But I believe that there’s different ways to show strength, different ways to show wisdom because there’s nothing more helpless than a baby, There’s nothing more helpless than a baby. And so God keeps his son jesus safe by taking them and pushing them into hiding and telling joseph to take them into hiding. And so we look and we would say, oh that’s not strength, that’s not real strength. If God was really strong, he would do X, Y and Z. But God says, look, I’m onto something here. There was these instructions that maybe didn’t wouldn’t make sense to us as the reader. But can we trust God when what he tells us to do, it doesn’t really make sense. Well, can we trust God when the instructions he’s giving us, don’t really add up in the way that we think it would. And so when jesus is finally born, you would think that this king, this person that was prophesying this messiah, you would think that when he’s born it would be placed in a castle, he would be born to a king and queen, he would be of noble birth and all of these different things that come with kingship. But let’s take a look at what takes place joseph in luke. Chapter Two he goes up from galilee to the town of Nazareth to judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem because he was the house and of the lineage of David to be registered with mary who was patrolled, who was with child. And so while they were there, the time comes for mary to give birth and she gives birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and lays him in swaddling cloths and lays him in a manger because there was no place for them in the end, Jesus says what the son of man. Foxes have holes? Birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head. That wasn’t a new experience for Jesus, that was from birth. There’s no room in the end. And so he’s placed in a manger, a place where the animals go to eat. The bread of life is placed in a place where the animals go to eat. Right? This this jesus placed in uh some place that you wouldn’t think that he would be placed a king and a manger. No, no, no, no way not not, no, no, that’s not happening. How weak does that seem? How weak does that seem? And so we realized that he’s wrapped in swaddling clothes. He’s placed in this manger. There are, there are a couple of humble beginnings there in a humble situation, they don’t have the best care they’re giving birth outside of the in because there’s no room and now watch this what we would perceive as weak was assigned to the shepherds and the wise men that jesus was actually strong. What we would perceive as weak was a sign that this child is the messiah. Because we serve a god of an upside down kingdom. We serve a god that takes the the the the things that are are are wise and foolish and uses them to confound the wise luke. Chapter two, it says, look unto you, this is born this day. This is when the the disciples, excuse me, the shepherds are in the fields and we see the angel speaking and he says unto you, Born this day in the city of David, a savior who is christ the Lord, Imagine the shepherds just doing what they need to be doing and making sure they’re sheep are safe. They’re watching over the sheep. They’re hanging out there talking to one another and the angels show up and say unto you is born in this city this day, a savior who is christ the Lord and they’re thinking, oh my gosh, a savior. First of all, the location of where he’s born, nobody know nothing good can come of this place. And so we realized, it says, there shall be assigned for you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. The angel tells this to the shepherds. The shepherds are saying, wait a minute, oh my gosh! This is where the savior is and they rush to worship him. Suddenly there was an angels, uh there was with the angel, a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God, saying glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let us go over to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. And they went with haste. They’re hearing from one angel and then the sky cracks and there’s a choir of angels just singing, dropping great music on glory to God in the eyes and they can’t believe what they’re seeing. And they’re remembering what the angel said. A savior is born to you today, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. It does not compute, it does not add up. It does not make sense. How could this savior be placed in such lowly positions? How could the Savior be born in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger a place where the animals eat from. This does not make sense because the Kingdom of God is not one that makes sense to human minds. It’s one that takes faith to believe and it’s an upside down kingdom. So with haste, they say, let’s go and see what has happened. Let’s see what God has told us about. They rushed to mary and they went with haste and found mary and joseph and the baby lo and behold lying in a manger, not a bassinet. All done up. All nice, not a fancy crib, not a nice room booked in the in a manger, john the text says he came to his own and his own received him, not started there, tried to go into the end and said sorry we got no room for you rejection from a baby. And when they saw it they made known the saying that had told them concerning this child. And everyone who heard it wondered what the shepherd said. But mary treasured these things in her heart. And at the end of these eight days he was circumcised and called jesus, the name that was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. So this takes place the shepherd see. And they say oh my gosh, this is incredible! Oh my gosh! This is amazing! Oh my gosh! God is with us, oh my gosh! This is incredible! The savior is coming. And they rush to see because the sign that was given was a sign that let them know that even though this doesn’t make sense to us, this is the savior. So they bow down before him, the wise men come, they follow the star. They see this child and they bow down before him and give him gifts and spices. And no doubt mary is treasuring this thing in her heart because a virgin gave birth to a child because the kingdom is not one that computes, it’s not one that makes sense. It’s just one that’s turned upside down. And there are so many signs that confirm that jesus is who he says he is and that he is this messiah. The sign of the swaddling clothes was assigned to the shepherds. But there are so many other signs that we look at. If we look in the past and looking in scriptures that were written prophesying and pointing to this miraculous birth. The first is is the version birth. If we look in Isaiah chapter seven verse 14, therefore the Lord himself, we’ll give you a sign that this messiah is coming that this messiah is here. The Virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name immanuel, which means God is with us. That is, it’s massive. It does not make sense. It’s logic turned on its head, which makes sense in the kingdom. But in our naturalized in our natural minds, it does not make sense because what if you have faith to believe, then you please God. But you have to you have to believe that he exists. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. It takes faith to believe that this virgin mary gave birth to her son. There’s a show on that’s been on I think some years ago called Jane the Virgin. And it’s about, it’s basically uh girl that that goes into a doctor’s office for a regular routine checkup or something along those lines and she ends up getting IVF treatment and she’s pregnant and she hasn’t conceived and she hasn’t had sex. And it’s like oh jane the Virgin is huge. There’s this show that was huge a couple of years ago and that was something that everyone was was thinking of and and saying, oh wow, that’s amazing. You know, with technology and science and everything, what medically, what’s amazing things that we’re able to do. But they didn’t have any of this back then. This was a completely foreign and unreal concept. But yeah, the Virgin gave birth to show that hey, this is the messiah. One of the other things is that this baby, this child would be born in Bethlehem in Micah chapter 51 of the Prophets, he says. But you Bethlehem Ephrata though, you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me, one who will be ruler over Israel whose origins are from old and from ancient times. This messiah, the text says will be born in Bethlehem just as jesus is born in Bethlehem. This messiah. This jesus the Savior will be of the line of David Isaiah chapter 9: verse seven of the increase of his government and peace. There will be no end. And on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth. And for evermore, it is the zeal of the Lord of hosts that will do this Now. This was a promise that we see in Isaiah. But it was also a promise that was given to David. Where the Lord said, look, your line will not end. Why? Because the messiah will come through your line, David. And this is a wonderful miraculous thing. But it’s it’s it’s an upside down kingdom. And another confirmation is the massacre that surrounds the death. Oh, jesus Jeremiah 31 15. This is what the Lord says. A voice is heard in Rama a morning and a great weeping Rachel weeping for her Children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more. Similarly to moses who was placed in the basket to flee the wrath of Farrow, Jesus had to flee to Egypt to flee the Wrath of Herod. And there was a great weeping, a great uh many tears of the mothers who lost their Children on the with the king that was trying to secure his own lineage. And these signs point to the fact that this child that was born in a manger but would eventually leave here a savior this child this week and unassuming child holds all of creation and the fate of all of creation in his very blood because he takes breaths and and and and grows up that the fate of all creation is going to be in his decisions, in his choices, in him, laying down his life and not succumbing to the temptation that he’ll face later on. But right now he’s just a baby right now. He’s just a baby who’s gotten gifts. Just a baby that’s probably crying and needs to be nursed. Just a baby that needs to be changed. He’s just a baby and yet he’s being served and yet he’s being bowed down to and yet he’s being worshiped as though all of eternity hangs in the balance because it does because we are a part of a kingdom that is upside down. That is why the shepherds came to worship a baby. That is why the wise men came and gave gifts and worshiped a baby because this king was the ruler over an upside down kingdom. And that kingdom is the kingdom that were part of today. That kingdom is the kingdom that we are a part of today. The kingdom that jesus’s birth ushers in the kingdom of God is radically different than the kingdoms of the world today. First Corinthians 26 verse first Corinthians chapter one verse 26 through 31 paul writes and he says, consider your calling brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards nor powerful. Uh not many were of noble birth, but God chose what is foolish in the world to bring shame to the wise. God chose what is weak in the world, to shame. The strong God chose what is low and despised in the world. And even things that are not to bring to nothing, things that are so that no human might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in christ, jesus who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption so that it is written. Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. So paul is writing to a different audience in a different context, but the principle of what he’s saying is God uses the foolish things. The things that individuals look at and would do a double take and say, oh this, this doesn’t make sense and scoff at this to confound the wisdom of the world. And God uses uh the things that are low and despised in the world and the things that are not the things that look insignificant, the things that look like, they have no meaning to bring to nothing. The things that are, he uses a shepherd boy to topple a giant right. He uses a child that’s born in a manger to grow up and conquer sin and the grave. So we can boast as the text says, Let us boast. Let the one who boast boast in the Lord. I encourage us today As we celebrate this holiday season and look forward to uh to not only what we are praying that God will do, but look forward to 2020 to look forward to what God is doing. We can boast in the God of this upside down kingdom. We can boast in the God of this upside down kingdom. We are called to live differently as citizens in this upside down kingdom 1st Peter four. It says that the time that has passed suffices suffices for doing what the gentiles want to do. The gentiles. They want to live in sensuality and drunkenness with passions and orgies and drinking parties and idolatry and all of these things and with with respect to all of this. They’re surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, they malign you but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. And so for us we live in an upside down kingdom. We don’t do what others may do. And they may think it’s strange that we live differently. They may think it’s strange that we maybe think differently because we think with transformed minds, we don’t walk the ways of the world were not conformed to the ways of the world, but were transformed because in this upside down kingdom we’ve renewed our minds. The kingdom. There’s an upside down kingdom and we are called to serve this king who died for those in his kingdom died for all eternity for all creation. But he died also so that those that come to him can be in his kingdom and live as sons and daughters of the most high God he died so that we too could reign with him. As I close out. I want us to think about this fact today. Think about the fact that this God we serve says that we must take up our cross and follow him because yes he was worshiped at birth. Yes he grew up and became a carpenter like his physical uh father figure joseph, but he also died on the cross. He worked with wood and was a carpenter for his life. But yet he died on a tree, died on a cross the upside down kingdom. He dies on this cross. And he says, just as I took up my cross. Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. We must remember saints of God. Yes we’re grateful that jesus came. Yes we’re grateful that jesus was born. Yes he’s you know a wonderful baby lying in a manger. But he also came for a reason and died so that we might live and have life life more abundantly. And that life abundantly looks like taking up your cross. Looks like following him so we can be worthy of him. That’s what he says. But whoever finds his life, we’ll lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake, we’ll find it. Talk about an upside down kingdom right? If you find your life you say yes I’ve got it. This makes sense. This adds up, that’s exactly what I want. This is me, this is me, this is what I want to do. This is what I wanna see. I wanna live for me and and do the only thing that I want to do what makes me happy and do what brings me joy and that’s all I want to do. I want to do what seems right to me. I want to be in charge of of my life and submit to no one with no accountability, no authority. We say these things from a natural perspective it seems like yeah, that makes sense. That’s that’s perfect, that’s great. Go with it. And you live life for you with you being first with you being the most important thing in your own life, jesus says, look, if you find your life and you say, hey, it’s all about me. That’s you know, you’ll lose it, you’ll lose it. You think you have it but you’ll you’ll lose it, it will be gone. But when you lose your life for my sake you’ll find it. When you lay your life down and say God not my will but yours be done God not my will but yours be done. As jesus said. Nevertheless may not be what I want but nevertheless not my will but yours be done. If we lose our life for the sake of christ we’ll find it in this upside down kingdom. So let’s lose our lives and find them in this king. Let’s find our place in this kingdom that does not behave, how the world behaves, does not think how the world thinks. Let’s remember that we are changed because we walk on a different foundation. We are changed because we are guided by a different set of principles. We are transformed because we, our citizens of heaven, we’re in this upside down kingdom and all these prophecies happened. All these prophecies took place about jesus coming and they came to fruition. They came to fruition. The prophecies happened because with the birth of jesus christ now we’re made new now we’re made whole the birth of this child whose very existence God in the flesh has the ability to turn the world upside down to turn our lives upside down. So if you’re listening, you’ve heard this message and you realize, hey, I don’t have a relationship with jesus, I don’t know him but I want to I want to have a relationship, I want my life changed from the inside out. I want my life changed. I want to have hope in darkness. I want to have hope when it seems hopeless. I want to have something to look forward to. If that’s you, I’m gonna ask you to text. Save to the number at the bottom of your screen, text saved to the number at the bottom of your screen we have people that will be in contact with you. I want to just lead you to a meaningful relationship with jesus christ this holiday season. It’s important that we know what the real reason for the season is right, jesus the christ, the greatest gift of all the gift that turned our lives upside down. Dear God, we thank you so much for this time. We thank you for your people and I pray Lord that as as this message has gone forth that you would be glorified and everything that was said and done. I pray Lord that as we celebrate this christmas season and look forward to next year and we would know that you are with us even though our world has been turned upside down God you’ve been with us, strengthen us God keep us protect us Lord and I pray Lord that we would walk in a way that is pleasing to you walking away that gives you glory. We thank you, we praise you. We trust you. We ask all of these things in jesus name and everyone said amen, Amen and amen God bless you. Hello again and thank you so much for tuning in to the message at global seven. Once again my name is roderick caesar the third, the lead pastor of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle. My prayer is that you were blessed and encouraged by the message. And if you want to contribute and give to the ministry, you can text b g t f i 277977. Again, you can text b g t f i 277977. We’re so thankful for you and my prayer is that God will continue to strengthen and empower and encourage you. As you listen to this message, we hope you tune again later and God bless you. Thank you so much.