"He Must Reign"
"He must reign, till He hath put all His enemies under His feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25)
In these past messages our eyes have been turned to that Throne that was seen by Ezekiel through the open heaven, with the "appearance as of a Man upon it above." And we have seen, I trust, how everything that follows is just the expression and manifestation of that Throne - of the absolute exaltation of the Lord Jesus above all things.
Now, when Paul wrote these words that we have quoted above, he was not thinking of some future time when Christ would reign and put all His enemies under His feet. He was not thinking of Jesus as waiting for a time to come, when something would be done that would put Him in that position and bring about that result. Whenever Paul - or, for that matter, any of the apostles - referred to Christ's exaltation and Lordship, he and they always regarded it and spoke of it as a present thing. While they looked on into the future and saw something more of its outworking, in its beginning and in its actuality it was not to them a future thing; to them it was now. And when Paul said, "He must reign," he meant, "He is reigning, and must continue to reign, until He has put all His enemies under His feet."
That is something that has to be recovered in our consciousness and in our conviction. That is the thing that needs to be restored to its place in the Church's life and consciousness continually. For, to a very large extent, while the Church adheres to the doctrine of the exaltation of Christ, His Kingship and Lordship, the reality, the power and the consciousness of it has been to a very large extent lost. The Church, in the beginning, lived in the consciousness and the power of the fact - as it was to them - that Jesus was on the Throne; undoubtedly, unquestionably He was on the Throne; He was Lord of all. Peter affirmed it: "He is Lord of all!" (Acts 10:3). Paul said: "God did set Him far above all rule and authority" (Ephesians 1:20, 21). It was something accomplished. That was their view of the matter; that was their conviction; that was their consciousness; and it was so powerful with them as to affect every aspect of their lives.
And until that is as true in the life and realization of the Church in our time as it was at the beginning, the same results and effects will not be found in the Church or through the church today. If the mighty impact and registration of Christ at that time was something incomparably greater than the deplorable state today in the Church, it was due to this one thing. If you wish to trace the secret of their power, their influence, their progress, their onward march - for in spite of a world of terrible hostility, persecution, martyrdom and every other kind of adversity, they marched forward "terrible as an army with banners," and were described as the people who had "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) - if you wish to discover the secret, you will find it here: "He must reign - He must reign, till He hath put all His enemies under His feet." He is reigning!
(continued with # 56)