November 20, 2016
Text: Jeremiah 23:1-6
King of My Life
Do you realize that in just one week the season of Advent will begin- and once it starts, it is just a
matter of time before Christmas will arrive. As a kid, Christmas seemed to take forever to get
here- while not that I am older, it seems to come faster and faster. As a result, for some of us the
revelation that Christmas is only 24 days away puts us into a panic mode thinking about
everything we think we need to do.
But before we begin, may I suggest, we quiet ourselves, to be still and know that God is God-
that this baby we will soon welcome into our hearts is God’s own son- the king of the cosmos-
and that to invite this baby into our hearts is to invite God’s power and holiness and grace into
our lives that is able to put whatever circumstance that may come our way into proper
perspective because God is with us and will never leave us. May we come and worship the King
of Kings and Lord of Lords and surrender our own crowns of self at the foot of the cross. Pray
Today is “Christ the King” Sunday. For people in biblical times living under the rule of kings,
they would have understood the authority of a king and what it meant to live under his authority
and rule. But for us living in the US, who elect presidents for a maximum of 8 years, the concept
of living under a king is harder for us to grasp.Our founding fathers formed the three branches of government based on and inspired by a verse from Isaiah33:22 that states that God is our judge(judicial), our lawgiver (legislative) and our king (president). Power is divided among the three branches- checks and balances. No one
branch having ultimate power.
But the bible gives God the title of King of Kings and Lord of Lords because a king has all
authority-and God is above all. God’s power and authority cannot be taken away or his character
changed by an opinion or a vote. His word stands forever.
For a time, God has given us a choice of who we will obey and serve, but there is coming a time
soon when Jesus will return in all His power and glory, and on that day, all earthly powers and
kingdoms and people will bow down in surrender.
In the book of Revelations, God’s power and glory are revealed. In the gospel reading this
morning, God’s love is revealed to us in Jesus, a servant king come to die in our place. Both are
important to know, for they are both about who God is.
Webster defines “revelation” as: “of something not previously known or realized-a striking
disclosure.” A striking disclosure. What a great way to describe what it is like to hear the gospel!
Lord, teach us more about you!
One day, Jesus prayed for His followers to His Father saying: “sanctify them in the truth; thy
word is truth.” The word sanctify means to be set apart. We live in a world of brokenness and
false hopes and lies. But Jesus prayed that we might be different- sanctified- set apart from the
things of the world while living in the world to be a light in the darkness. To be sanctified is to be
set apart from sin- and to be set apart for a purpose and high calling- to live not for our glory- but
for God’s glory.
In the Garden of Eden, God and mankind lived together in perfect fellowship, but one day, like a
betrayal between best friends that separates the two, sin separated us from God. And for
centuries and generations after, God seemed unapproachable as His power and perfect anger
towards sin was revealed. But one night in the city of Bethlehem, God sent His only Son to live
among us, to reveal to us God’s love and grace in a way we could see and understand. Make no
mistake, God is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords- a perfect and holy God who hates sin our
sin with a perfect hatred, but still loves us with a perfect love.
In the book of revelations, John was given a revelation of what heaven is like, of who God is like
in all his glory and chapter four gives us a striking picture of what worship in heaven is like. In
the middle of heaven, like the hub of a wheel, is God sitting on the throne. And around him are
twenty four elders sitting on thrones with golden crowns upon their heads.
Think of the honor it would be to sit on thrones around God! On earth, there would no doubt be
the temptation of pride and to worship self wouldn’t there? Look at me! But in heaven, there is
neither sin nor temptation, only worship of God and Him alone.
Instead of puffed up pride, the bible says that whenever the living creatures give glory and honor
and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, the 24 elders fall down in submission and cast
their crowns before the throne singing: “Worthy art thou, our lord and God, to receive glory and
honor and power.”
Worship is not only lip service once a week or once a day ritual- it is a life-changing attitude. An
attitude of surrendering our agendas, our hopes and dreams, as well as our fears and trusting that
God not only cares about us, but is all powerful and able and willing to do something about it.
Worship at it’s core is about surrendering our lives to God- casting down our crowns of
importance and self-reliance. And when we do that, God does not make us feel worthless, but
greets us with open arms and reassures us that we are of great worth in His eyes. And there at the
throne of God, he lifts us up, clothes us with His righteousness, covers us with forgiveness like a
crown, and calls us His own- his children.
On a hill far away stood an old wooden cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. The king of
kings, willingly let soldiers nail him to a cross while mocking him saying- “if you are the King
of the Jews, save yourself!” their understanding of who Jesus the servant king was narrow and
misinformed. Yes, He was the king of the Jews, but He was also the king of Rome, of Judea, of
Fertile, Iowa, the USA, and the whole world. He came not to save himself, He needed no saving-
but came as a servant king to offer himself as a sacrifice to save us all.
To know Jesus as King in all His power is to know that it wasn’t the nails that kept Him on the
cross- it was His love. To know Him as our King is to know His power to save, His ability to
give peace and strength in the hurts and struggles of life; His wisdom and love to guide and
direct us in the truth, for He has conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Even so, He does not demand our worship. He has given us a choice. But the words of a Lenten
hymn say it best: “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” How can we
Be still and know that I am God” the Psalmist wrote. I want to invite you to do exactly that the
next few minutes. As you do, ask God to reveal to you any crowns you maybe hoarding in your
life or that you maybe secretly wearing in disguise. Listen carefully. You may have become so
accustomed to them that you may not even realize you are wearing them. Ask God to show you.
In your bulletin is a piece of paper with a picture of a crown on it. On it, I invite you to write on
it with a pencil, or with a thought what God has revealed to you. And then come forward as you
are able and cast your crowns at the foot of the cross. Pray.