Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christ the King

Christ the King
22 November 2015
John 18:33-37

Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The signs of the end are all around us, constant reminders that “heaven and earth will pass away.” But all of these signs are centered in the Cross of Christ, whereby He has conquered sin and death, that we might be raised with Him in righteousness through His Word of the Gospel, which “will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). He is “the firstborn of the dead,” who in His great love “has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5). His salvation is certain, because “His dominion is an everlasting dominion,” and His kingdom “shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

For this purpose, He came into the world, to reign in love through His voice of the Gospel, which is the truth (John 18:37). So is the righteousness of Christ “a light to the peoples,” which “will never be dismayed,” because it is the justice of His Cross and Resurrection (Isaiah 51:4–6). As He “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory,” so wait upon “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20–24).

Christ's kingship is totally other than this world. Jesus explains to Pilate. Though He is a king. His kingship is not of this world.  Pilate has Jesus inside his court and the Jews are outside. Pilate is torn between the two. He is trying to make up his mind by asking Jesus questions. His first question is whether Jesus is a king. This is a political term and thus it is very dangerous. Jesus dodges the question by asking Pilate if this was his or others' opinion.

The other question concerns what Jesus has done. Jesus explains that His kingship is not of this world. This is proved by the fact that Jesus is not using force to defend Himself. Jesus explains that His mission in the world was to bear witness to the truth.

But, only those of the truth. And of God. Will accept His words as truth.  Therefore, with Pilate, we must ask, "What is truth?" Or, more telling, - from that epic move a few good men... "Can you handle the truth?"

Pilate asks, “Are you a king?” This peasant preacher. Jesus of Nazareth – Is He a king? This prophet. Who enters the capital city on a donkey – Could He be a king? Where are His palaces? His bodyguards? Is this a king, who stands here before Pilate with a crown of thorns on His head, a reed in His tied hands, and with rags for a regal robe? A King? – Are you kidding? Jesus is every inch a king because –
  1. He was born a king
  2. He lived as a king
  3. He died as a king
  4. He conquered as a king
I.        He was born a king – His is an eternal kingdom
Sages asked at His birth, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” –Matthew 2:2
A.     The wise men, who, “saw His star in the east,” came to worship Him.  [1]

B.     The response of these wise men to Jesus is entirely appropriate. And their actions serve as a model of all true discipleship. They seek Christ. (v. 2), And when they had found Him. They rejoice (v. 10), and worship Him (vv. 2, 11 a).  They offer Him gifts. Gifts that befit a king. (v. 11 b; cf. Psalm 45:7-9; 72:15)

II.     He lived as a king – A kingdom of power
A ruler is most powerful…when he tends to the needs of his subjects.” –Danker
A.     Speaking to Pilate as He stood trial Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”[2]

B.     It is the kingdom of heaven. And it belongs to another world. Christ is a king. And He has a kingdom. But it is not of this world. His kingdom is not by succession. Election. Or conquest. But by the immediate and special designation of the divine will and counsel.
Its nature is not worldly. It is a kingdom within men. (Luke 16:21), Set up in their hearts. And consciences (Romans 14:17). Its riches are spiritual. Its powers eternal. And all its glory within. The ministers of state in Christ’s kingdom have not the spirit of the world, (1 Corinthians 2:12.) 

In this kingdom. Its guards and supports are not worldly. Its weapons are spiritual. It neither needed nor used secular force to maintain and advance it. Nor was it carried on in a way hurtful to kings or provinces. It tended not to alter any national establishment in secular things. Nor opposed no other kingdom. But that of sin and Satan. 

Its tendency and design are not worldly. Christ neither aimed nor would allow His disciples to aim at the pomp and power of the great men of the earth.

Its subjects, however, they are in the world. Yet they are not of the world. They are called and chosen out of the world. Are born from. And bound for, another world. They are neither the world’s pupils. Nor its darlings. Neither governed by its wisdom. Nor enriched with its wealth. 

III.   He died as a king – A kingdom of His grace
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” –INRI
A.     In His suffering, agony, crucifixion, and death He offers life and salvation to all who would believe in Him.  In His cruel death, the Father offers clemency to all who are convicted of sedition against Him.  C.S. Lewis in his book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” describes it this way, “”When an innocent victim who had committed no treachery dies in a traitor’s stead the table would crack and death itself begins to work backward.”  

B.     Do you believe this?  The cruel cross of Calvary always looms ahead of us. Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you?  The surroundings and the circumstances of His death are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.    

IV.  He conquered as a king – His kingdom of glory
And He shall reign forever and ever, King of Kings and Lord of Lords” –Handle 
A.    In the book of Revelation St John writes, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,”      

B.    As a son and daughter of this king. You have been given the hope and promise that you too will live and reign with Him in glory. This is your destiny. This is your eternity. 

Is this Jesus a king? Most certainly, He is – He was born. He lived. He died. A king. When He appears in glory. We shall see Him, as He is – The Alpha and the Omega – King of Kings. And Lord of Lord. “Even so come quickly Lord, even now, Amen
Words –1,325
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability –81.6%
Reading Level –4.5

[1] Matthew 2:2

[2] John 18:36

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