(Brook Hill United Methodist Church – November 22, 2015)
Revelation 19:6,11-16 (The Message) 6 Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
11-16 Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many crowns. He has a Name inscribed that’s known only to himself. He is dressed in a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as “Word of God.” The armies of Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords
Revelation 11:15 (The Message) 15 The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out, The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever!
This weekend Hood College presents music from Handel’s “Messiah” as they have for many years.
Their selections include the “Hallelujah Chorus”, whose words are from the scripture we just read, in the older King James Version:
“Hallelujah! For the Lord God the Omnipotent reigneth! The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings, and Lord of lords! Hallelujah!”
These strong words tell of the day when Jesus’ Kingship is fully manifested. This morning I want to think with you about that day.
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year.
On this Christ the King Sunday, I’m asking you to think with me about Jesus our Victorious King, under four headings:
- Jesus Is Our King Victorious.
- Jesus’ Victory and Kingdom are Real, but Only Partially Manifested.
- It Makes a Difference for Us that Jesus is Both Victor and King.
- We Will See the Day when Jesus’ Victory and Kingdom are Fully Manifested, and This Moves Us to Give Thanks.
So here we go:
- JESUS IS OUR KING VICTORIOUS.
(a) Because of His lineage as the only begotten Son of God, Jesus is rightful king of the universe.
Colossians 1:15-17 (New International Version) 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…
When we look at Jesus Christ, we see God as we can see Him in no other human.
Everything in the heavens was made by Him: The star called Deneb can be seen in the night sky. It is the most distant visible star. It has been estimated to be as far as 3000 light years away from us. If that is so, then a light-beam which left that star in the time of King David is actually arriving on earth today. (Amazing!) And friends, Jesus made that star Deneb.
And everything on earth was made by Jesus: You have an average of 37.2 trillion cells in your body, and about 200 different types of cells (Smithsonian Online). Jesus knows each cell. He created each of them. He keeps them functioning at this hour and at every hour of your life.
Everything started in Christ and finds its true purpose in him. Everything is held together by Him. He is the rightful king of the universe, and the rightful Lord over all.
He knows you. Do you know Him?
So, because of His lineage as the only begotten Son of God, Jesus is rightful king of the universe.
(b) By His death and resurrection, Jesus has defeated death and all the dark forces of the universe.
Colossians 2:13-15 (The Message) …Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.
Let’s think about what this means:
When God created humans, He made us in His image. Then Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and their disobedience brought a kind of captivity to Planet Earth.
Our first parents’ sin brought death into the human race. First, physical death. And also spiritual death – separation from a holy God.
Sin brought spiritual darkness into world. Ultimately, it brought war into Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria. It brought ISIS into the world, with bombing in Paris and Beirut.
Sin brought addiction to America. It brought broken relationships to Frederick and right into Brook Hill Church. Sin brought illness and disease into your family.
But Jesus came to bring deliverance. He came as a human, with flesh and blood, just like us. He knew pain and sorrow and hurt and grief.
When He died, he took all the sin, all the pain, all the darkness into the grave with Him.
Then He rose again – HE ROSE AGAIN! SET FREE FROM THE BONDS OF DEATH! VICTORIOUS OVER THE ENEMY!
When He died and rose again, He overcame the powers that held us captive. He defeated the devils and all their dark schemes. He overcame sin and death. He made a way for us to reconnect with our Father God.
So I declare to you that JESUS IS OUR KING… VICTORIOUS!
- JESUS’ VICTORY AND KINGDOM ARE REAL, BUT ONLY PARTIALLY MANIFESTED.
If you are a believer in Jesus, He has forgiven all your sins. But you still struggle with sin and temptation.
If you have an addiction or an unhealthy compulsion, Christ can set you free from that destructive behavior, but you will still need to live your life “one day at a time.” You may still need to build your life on the wisdom of the 12 STEPS in your ongoing recovery.
As a follower of Jesus, your broken relationships can often be rebuilt, but sometimes the wounds and misunderstandings seem to make reconciliation impossible.
Jesus’ victory is real, but the wars on earth rage on, with an untold sum of human misery.
Why is that? Why is Jesus’ victory real, but only partially manifested?
I wish I had a magic answer for you. I wish I had a slick algorithm that could clear this up for you in 0.17 seconds. But there’s some mystery about it. Are you good with that?
Jesus gives us some clues about this mystery in His 15 kingdom parables (or stories). Here are two of them:
Matthew 13:31-33 (New International Version) 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Let’s think about this:
Jesus says that his kingdom is a living, growing thing, like a mustard seed. It began very small indeed, with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. It continued with His life of love – helping people, serving people, healing people, teaching them.
The kingdom of Jesus reached a greater manifestation when He died and rose again.
And now, for 2000 years it’s been working its way from person to person. The kingdom continues to grow, sometimes slowly, until now (and who knows what the number really is?) there are an estimated 2.5 billion Christians, about 1/3 of the earth’s population.
It takes a long time for a teaspoonful of yeast to work its way through 60 pounds of flour!
So Jesus’ victory and kingdom are real, but only partially manifested.
- IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE FOR US THAT JESUS IS BOTH VICTOR AND KING.
And that difference is HOPE. Pastor Wade spoke of HOPE last Sunday. Hope is an anchor for our souls:
Hebrews 6:19 (Living Bible) 19 This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven…
So we do not DESPAIR, as many do today. It gives us HOPE when we remember that Jesus is our King, and He is Victor over sin and death.
- WE WILL SEE THE DAY WHEN JESUS’ VICTORY AND KINGDOM ARE FULLY MANIFESTED, AND THIS MOVES US TO GIVE THANKS.
Earlier we read the passage in Revelation 19:
The day is coming when Heaven will open wide. (And some of this imagery is both symbolic but also true.)
We will see Him riding a white horse, leading the armies of Heaven into battle. His eyes will be blazing with fire, and many crowns upon His head. (We sing a strong hymn of praise about this.)
His robe, soaked with the blood of crucifixion. A sword comes from His mouth to subdue and rule the nations. Does He have a tattoo? On His robe and on His thigh two phrases are written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!
The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, And He shall reign FOREVER AND EVER!
And for this we give thanks, in this Thanksgiving season, and always.