Christ the King Sunday, November 23, 2014
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
Who Is this King of Glory?
Provider of righteousness and peace, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ You reunited heaven and earth. When sin disrupts the harmony of creation, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon Your waiting people so that we would trust You, love You, and become Your agents of reconciliation in a cruel and hurting world. Amen.
I read this week that while Queen Victoria lay dying, a member of the royal household mused to Edward, Prince of Wales, “I wonder if she will be happy in heaven?”
Edward matter-of-factly replied, “I don’t know. She will have to walk behind the angels–and she won’t like that!”
For those who pay attention to such things as Liturgical Calendars – today is Christ the King Sunday – the last day of the Church Year. And on this day we pay special homage to the all-time truth that Jesus Christ is King of the Universe! We call Him Lord and Savior – that’s what that means! “Lord” means that Jesus is the ultimate authority! He is the one, the only one, who walks in front of the angels in heaven!
And as King, He has righteous rule, He reigns supreme, He judges justly, he has final say. And what we know of Jesus through His written Word, the Bible, is that He is all-powerful and all-knowing and always-present and completely-loving! Therefore, He is totally trustworthy.
We have invested September and October listening to the Old Testament prophet Micah and heard him remind us that even though there are so many ways in which we fall short of meeting God’s standards, we can always count on His unconditional love. Micah kept reminding us of God’s worthiness of our worship.
In November we have been in the book of Malachi. This is the very last book in the Old Testament, and this is the very last chapter in the Old Testament! Next week we begin the brand new liturgical calendar, and we will be talking about the advent of this King we call Christ. We know almost nothing about Malachi, except that his name means “My messenger” or maybe “My angel”. Malachi continues the theme of God’s worthiness, but his emphasis is on our responsibility to worship Him well.
Hear the Word of God from Malachi 4:1-6…. —-
1 “Surely the day is coming [what day is coming? The day of the King – Judgment Day!]; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Before we get too far in today’s sermon – I have an announcement to make. Last Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of my very first Sunday as this church’s pastor – which makes today my (approximately) 1,200th sermon with you. To celebrate this milestone, I plan to preach for exactly 12 more minutes today! At minute-11, someone can wave your hand, and I’ll try to wrap it up. This is my way of honoring you for allowing me to serve with you for two decades, so far!
What do these six verses of Scripture have to do with the ecclesiastically invented holiday of Christ the King Sunday? How does this chapter answer the question, Who is this King of Glory?
Remember that most of this book has been a prophecy of condemnation about the ways we do not acknowledge God properly, how we do not worship Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, or all our strength; about how our sacrifices have been easy and mostly just left-overs. Here, he says, “Look out, the day is coming – and it will not be fun. But for you who revere my name, [listen to this] the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
He says that Thanksgiving will come! Count your many blessings, name them one by one! See what God has done!
And then this great Old Testament prophet does an amazing thing! He ties the whole Old Testament to this coming King.
Verse 4, “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.”
What is Malachi talking about there? [The 10 Commandments, at least.] Moses the great deliverer who freed the Israelites after 400 years of slavery in Egypt! – The Exodus, the Red Sea crossing, the 40 years n the wilderness, the manna from heaven, the water from a rock – Moses is a type of the Christ who waited another 1,600 years – Malachi ties the great deliverer Moses to the coming King!
Verse 5, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.”
Elijah – thought of as the representative prophet of all prophets – Elijah was the prophet who never died , weirdly II Kings tells us that he was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire without ever dying – And Elijah was expected to return before the Messiah came.
These same two, Moses and Elijah, came and appeared to Jesus and three of His apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration – Jesus told the men walking to Emmaus after the resurrection how the Scriptures from Moses and the prophets (Elijah?) explained who He was.
Malachi ties all of that together in two verses.
Verse 6 – As we approach this Christmas – families – turn your hearts to one another – if parents and children cannot do that (for which there are a variety of reasons why this might be so), then cross generations with friends and colleagues. Be community. Call Jesus King, and do that together! If we don’t, Malachi warns us of “total destruction”!
To close, I just want to draw your attention to some Presbyterian denominational stuff – maybe we can draw our hearts together with other Presbyterians even.
Look at your Sermon Notes page:
On the PC(USA) Mission Agency website ( <a href="http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/why-i-belong/ " ), they have posted an article titled “Why I Belong”. Among several theological points listed are the following. These points answer the question, “Who is this King of Glory?”
For more than 200 years, Presbyterians have remained UNWAVERING in this one conviction: Jesus is LORD (I Cor. 12:3). All power, truth, and salvation rest with God alone.
John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I Corinthians 12:3, Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the ONLY savior of the world, and the TRUE awaited Messiah. (Acts 16:31; Book of Confession, 5.077 [The Second Helvetic Confession])
Acts 16:31, They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
II Timothy 3:14-16, But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
“Jesus Christ is the only SAVIOR and LORD, and all people everywhere are called to place their faith, hope, and love in him.” (Ephesians 1:3-14; BoC 5.107-5.110)
Romans 10:9, If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Ephesians 1:13-14, And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Who is this King of Glory? He is Immanuel, the promised of ages! Even the angels of heaven fall in line behind King Jesus. Let us, join them, and fall in line behind Him while we are still on earth.
Lord Jesus – You are the king of kings and Lord of lords – today, maybe for the very first time, some in this room this morning are confessing You as their King and Lord, as their Savior, and as their most valued Treasure. Live in our hearts and minds this morning, and draw us close to You as we are drawn close to one another. May this Thanksgiving be different. This time we want to glorify Your name in every thing we do and say, through Jesus Christ, my King. Amen!
Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship; Calvin Institute of Christian Worship; Grand Rapids, MI; 2012; P. 519.
Smith, Ralph L.; Word Biblical Commentary 32; Word Books; Waco, TX; 1984; Pp. 335-342.