Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King

Luke 23: 35-43
The Crucified King
I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

Three realities are presented in our text for this morning as the Son of God - Christ the King - hung suspended between earth and heaven. He speaks to a common thief. We observe and recall three eternal truths.

I.        I tell you the truth – Our transfer into glory is based on the reality of Christ’s resurrection.

A.     It was started in our Baptism.
1.             When we were baptized into Christ’s death we were buried with Him in His death so that your sin with all their powers and evil lusts were drowned, killed and died.

2.             Yet, Christ was risen from the dead. Death could not hold Him. Thus we’ve been given new life. As Christ was risen from the dead by the glory of the Father therefore we live a new life.

B.     Now we are Resurrection and Easter people.

1.            The life we now live we live to Jesus Christ. We live and serve Him in His kingdom which He has established as He is KING above all kings and LORD above all lords.

2.            You are no longer your own. We give glory to God with our life as Christ is your leader – your guide and stay in life.  So says the hymn writer:

Christ be my leader by night as by day;
Safe through the darkness, for He is the way.
Gladly I follow, my future His care,
Darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.[1]

Transition: Christ tells us the truth this day, this hour –

II.            Today – At the moment of death we take a walk - from one end of the kingdom to the other - from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory. We close our eyes to this world only to behold the face of Jesus.

A.             We find ourselves these days with many items on our “to do” list. As we return to our jobs after the Thanksgiving holiday we might find any number of tasks the boss has for us to do. College students who return to campus this week after a much anticipated break will come to the realization that there are only three weeks left in the semester. And for the rest of our students - there are only four weeks left before the winter term comes to a close.

B.            That assignment you were given just a few weeks ago now has a due and completion date fixed to it. In addition, there are Christmas letters and cards for us to write, address and send. There’s shopping, wrapping and baking to be done. Our calendars are full – the anxiety level can become high. Some might become stressed and overwhelmed, ready for a freak-out or a meltdown to occur at any moment.

C.             Yet, each day is a new day, filled with challenges, and opportunities. The promise of today reminds us that despite our hurried and busy lives there is eternity waiting for us.  We are an active people with much to do – our plate is full – yet Jesus who is even more active in our life than we sometimes fail to realize reminds us that each day despite our circumstances He is ordering our days preparing us for eternity. His message comes to us today.

Transition: His message comes to us in truth today – it is a message which eternity in mind. 

III.           You will be with Me in paradise – There we will live and reign with the Savior throughout all eternity.

A.            As Resurrection and Easter people we have a future. True, we can sometimes become overwhelmed by our present circumstances. We can sometimes become lost in the forest because of the trees. There are certainly distractions and disruptions which can happen these days. Yet, despite the diversions in our life - this promise spoken by Christ our glorious KING keep us focused and grounded. The promise for this common thief is for you and me this day – “today you will be with Me in paradise.”

B.             We will live with Christ throughout time. We who are at present mortal - consisting of flesh which is made of earth and dust are destined for eternity. This wonderful promise is given to us by Christ our KING who has created us to have fellowship with Him.    

Conclusion: What they said at death’s door.

Ø  Thomas Paine, An American author and unbeliever: "I would give worlds, if I had them, that [my book] 'The Age Of Reason' had never been published. O God, what have I done to suffer so much? But there is no God! But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter? Stay with me, for God's sake! Send even a child to stay with me, for it is Hell to be alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one."
Ø  Francis Voltaire, A French unbeliever said to his doctor: "I am abandoned by God and men! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life. Then I will go to Hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!"

Ø  Dwight L. Moody, An American preacher and believer: " I see earth receding, Heaven is opening, God is calling!"[2]

On this Christ the King Sunday recall the Savior’s wonderful promise, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  Soon and very soon we shall see the King!

+Soli Deo Gloria+

[1] Christ Be My Leader from Lutheran Service Book © 2007 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
[2] I’ve Got Good News For You – a work used for adult instruction written I believe some time during the late 1970’s early 1980’s Was the major source @ Immanuel Lutheran Church, Rock Island, IL

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