A Clash of Two Kingdoms

Pastor Tom Ascol addresses John’s Gospel Chapter 18 verse 28 through Chapter 19 verse 16 in a message entitled “A Clash of Two Kingdoms.” The message contrasts the differences between these two kingdoms, the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God. In one Jesus is scorned; for the other Jesus sacrificially gave His life.

The two kingdoms are in constant conflict because their orientation is different. One focuses on man and his desires while the other is centered on God, His love for us, and our service for Him. This conflict will endure until Jesus’ return at the Second Coming. In the passage at hand the kingdom of man is represented by two groups, the religious authorities and the political authorities. The Jewish religious hierarchy and the Roman civil authority seldom worked together. Neither did they have much in common. Here, however, they allied to persecute what they perceived as a common foe. The religious group wanted the crucifixion of a “dissident.” The Romans wanted peace. As the pastor pointed out, justice was subverted as both ruling groups found a way to their own success using pragmatism and relativism rather than by relying on absolutes such as moral right or honest testimony. Interestingly this subversion, or perversion, of justice inevitably resulted in hypocrisy and injustice as is evidenced by, among other things, the Jews declaration in v. 15, “We have no king but Caesar.”

The challenge for members of the Kingdom of God is to live a life that reflects their citizenship. They have a King and should live lives honoring Him. This is emphasized even more so when these citizens recognize the King secured redemption for them through His death. Rather than employing pragmatism and relativism, rather than evidencing hypocrisy and injustice, the King lived in a manner contrary to the characteristics of the kingdom of men. His Kingdom is based on, governed by, and manifests truth; truth about heaven and hell, truth about judgment and sin, truth about humanity, but also truth about God, a truth that sets believers free.

This truth does not absolve believers from responsibility. Jesus’ statement to Pilate regarding Pilate’s authority having been received from heaven illustrates the doctrine of Concurrence. This doctrine makes plain that God is sovereign and men are responsible. Both parts of this doctrine work in conjunction and both truths have results. There is peace and joy for believers in relying on God’s sovereignty. The responsibility part for men requires them to live aright even as they see Pilate’s failure so to do. Yet, in large measure and in personal application, this can only be accomplished by recognizing our need, the need for spiritual reconciliation with God, and responding to the call of Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death as the Lamb of God pays in full for our sin. The Bible teaches believers: “By His stripes [we are] healed.” Can you say that today? Trust Him. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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