The “Reign of Christ” is celebrated on the last Sunday of the Church Year. The Reign of Christ, which began with the Resurrection continues on until the end of time. This Reign is breaking into the physical world in our time as more and more people” listen to Jesus” and decide to come under His divine spiritual authority (John 18.37c). These are the ones who are “on the side of truth”. The point is that there is another side, made up of those who oppose (i.e. Islam) or chose not to listen to Jesus; and who have no part in His eternal Kingdom. Those who do chose to listen to Jesus are moving “from error into truth, from sin into right-relationship and from death to spiritual life” (Eucharistic Prayer 3, Book of Alternative Services).
1. Listening to Jesus moves us from error into spiritual truth
Jesus has revealed spiritual truth to us through the example of His life on Earth, His teachings as recorded in the Bible and through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that those who listen receive:
- Wisdom and understanding open our spiritual eyes to the Bible
- Knowledge that we need for a life of joy and peace with God
- Comfort and healing – that authenticate the healing miracles of the Bible as truth
- Discernment of spirits that protects us from deceiving spirits
Many people in our time are not listening to Jesus, have been deceived by false teachers, are not on the side of truth and are not part of His Kingdom. Common false teachings include:
- Pelagianism – we can save ourselves by good behaviour
- All religions are the same vs Jesus the way, truth and life
- Baptism / belonging to a particular church ensures salvation
- Dispensationalism – Gifts of the Holy Spirit for time of Jesus
- God is love and could not exclude anyone – half-true also holy
2. Listening to Jesus moves us from sin into right-relationship
We pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done”. When we fail to do God’s will – really loving God, Neighbour and self; we rebel or sin against God’s rule. This rebellion pollutes our soul and makes it impossible for God, who is holy, to be in a right-relationship to us. Those who listen to Jesus – read and study the Bible, pray and join a Christian community for worship and teaching; discover Jesus is the only way back into a right-relationship with God. This “way” is the way of the Cross as summarized in John 3.16 - “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is the “New Covenant of Jesus that we celebrate in the Eucharist. This is the Good News, the central truth that all Christians believe and try to live out.
- Many people have trouble believing this – how could one man die as payment for the rebellion and guilt of all men
- Answer is Jesus clearly claimed to be both human and divine – and as God could give His life as an appropriate sacrifice
- Listening to Jesus carefully helps us see the truth in spite of all the lies and half-truths we have heard
3. Listening to Jesus moves us from death to new spiritual life
As biological beings we all die. By His death and Resurrection Jesus showed us that there is something more – that God can raise us to a new kind of life. We need to be clear that the Resurrection is a real, historical event witnessed by many people in different places. It’s authenticity is proven by the radically changed lives and courage of First Century Christians in the face of persecution and death. We can all experience the Risen Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit that He sends to those who listen to Him. The Holy Spirit gives us new eternal spiritual life in the form of spiritual gifts that help us listen to Jesus:
- Gift of love, joy and peace with God
- Gift of Knowledge and wisdom to understand the Bible
- Gifts of Comfort and Healing enrich our lives and assure us we are personally loved by God and in right-relationship.
Those who are on the side of truth listen to Jesus!