2 Samuel 23:1-7 Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favorite of the Strong One of Israel: The spirit of the LORD speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land. Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away; for they cannot be picked up with the hand; to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot. [NRSV]
Revelation 1:4b-8 Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account, all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. [NRSV]
John 18:33-37 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this, I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” [NRSV]
The cross-section of kingdoms of David, Herod, Jesus and the Lord God in heaven make for a day for us to look at authority, praise, faithfulness, divinity, humanity and to sort out who truly is our king.
The final words of King David speak of God’s power and trustworthiness. God is like the sunrise on a cloudless morning or the glistening of the dew upon the grass. These are beautiful images but the heart for us is our connection is in God’s covenant with the People of God.
God’s ability to hold up both ends of faithfulness, God’s part and our own, is what is the witness of God’s awesome power.
COVENANT is the greatest power. (This is God’s exercise and witness of loving grace.)
Secondly, we see the SACRIFICIAL self-lessness of God that cannot be compared to any earthly kingdom.
As Jesus stands before Gov. Pilate, plainly says his kingdom is above all kingdoms, and yet does not save himself that the world might be saved through him.
Finally, in the Holy of Holies at the very throne of heaven, Jesus seated at the right hand of God, carries the marks and signs of his suffering and selflessness for all people to REMEMBER and know, by his stripes, we are made whole.
COVENANT, SACRIFICE, REMEMBRANCE — Jesus is King!
- Reason for our Thanksgiving
- Reason for our Praise
- Reason for our Repentance
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Christian year. We end our calendar and fiscal years in December, but today is the conclusion of another year in the reign of Christ.
What is the state of the church?
- We have celebrated the completion of paying off the indebtedness for our building
- We have prayed over dozens of prayer quilts
- We have given thousand$ in food, clothes and other assistance to those in need.
- We have sacked hundreds of meals for children
- We have gathered to worship, pray, sing and praise for 52 more Sundays
- We have baptized persons in faith and welcomed new members
- We have honored and remembered members who have died and gone ahead to heaven
- We have read and studied for hundreds of hours in Sunday School, classes and studies.
We have a final question to answer:
What does it mean for me to know Jesus is ‘my’ king.
- What is my end of the covenant? Have I been faithful to God’s call in my life?
- Have I given sacrificially of my prayers, attendance, gifts, service, and witness?
- Do we this day, choose to repent of our faults, failures, & excuses and
- today REAFFIRM the Jesus is my king? Is our King?
If so, repeat these:
- Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.
- Forgive my thoughts, words and deeds that have hurt you, others and myself
- I repent for the times my words and actions said NO when you asked for a YES.
- I am your servant, You are my King.
- He Lives! Jesus Christ lives in me, in us, today!
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD! [NRSV]
It is one thing to complain about division in the world; it is another to offer the solution.
Praise the Lord! Is the solution.
Serve the Lord! Is the solution.
Share the Lord! Is the solution.
Our culture and intellect has pressed diligently from every direction to belittle, dis-empower, and reject God and our faith in God, all the while replacing God’s purpose for creation and humanity with a chaos of something “other”, “non-” or “the anti/pro” or some lowest common denominator of the strongest voice or wealthiest player.
It is actually not a new behavior: Look at Psalm 53:1 NIV
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.
The fruit of cultivating a culture without God returns us to chaos, destruction, and emptiness.
- When the world is in chaos, turn to the one who orders life and light out of chaos.
- Praise the Lord instead.
- When the political boxing area calls for title fights,
- Praise the Lord instead.
- When we think about placing hope OR blaming trust in someone who is one breath away from their last breath,
- Praise the Lord instead!
- When God is the one breathes that breath of life into us all.
- Praise the Lord!!
Happiness is found by those who have faith in the Lord. The Lord who gives structure to life, and good – justice and faith. Vs 6
Happy, joyful and at-peace are the who find God’s purpose as our purpose.. it is the puzzle piece finding its part in the wholeness when it finds its place in the puzzle’s place and not in its own empty box.
We hear Jesus’s words from the New Testament in the verses 7-8. The core of what we know as the Great Commission for disciples: Giving Justice to the oppressed, food the hungry, freedom for those in prison, vision/insight to the blind. In verse 9 we hear Jesus’s word from the Sermon on the Mount calling for the humble to be lifted up and to care for the stranger, the orphan and the widow.
Political Talk / Silence
First, we talk too much about politics. Don’t let this be an excuse to avoid politics, but think of it this way, for every hour you spend reading and listening to news and editorials about politics, spend two hours in prayer, bible study and serving others in the name of Jesus Christ.
For those who want to avoid the reality of conflict and controversy but not listening to any news, time trying to ignore the conversations, spend twice that time reading the bible, praying and serving others in Jesus name.
For those who think this invitation is speaking to someone more than yourself, then its time for a wakeup call and spend three times as much effort praying, studying and serving others for the purposes of Jesus Christ.
Exercise for Healing
- Turn off the TV, social media and get face to face with the people of God and study the word
- Turn off the worry and fear and model for the world what it means to have faith in the chaos.
- Turn off the excuses and silence and let your service and worship clearly point to Christ in the world.
Jesus said he was the Way and the Truth. Following Jesus and you bring light to what is dark and evil. Follow the way of princes and political parties and their way leads to a cliff, not a wall.
Hear the core of this Psalm: Our hope is in the Lord, Praise the Lord.
Bottom line: praise the Lord who is
- strong enough,
- gracious enough and is
- the salvation of all generations.
The world is telling us today that, our voice and our place, we are not only wrong, but they are also bold enough to say we are oppressive, abusive and wrong.
- If the world does not trust prayer, we must intercede until they do.
- If the world does not trust scripture, we must read, listen and follow until they do.
- If the world does not listen to our songs of praise, sing until they do.
- If the world does not love as Christ loves, then love until they do.
- If the world does not follow and find its pieces fitting into God’s puzzle and plan, then find your place and invited the pieces next to you to find their hearts true home and fit.
Be the praise, Be the voice, Be the Word, Be the presence. Be the witness. Be the song. Be the church.