To Him Be Glory For Ever and Ever

Christ the King Sunday

To Him Be Glory For Ever and Ever

Text: Revelation 1:4-8

Intro

How do you explain the unexplainable?  How do you describe the indescribable?  How do you express the inexpressible?  How do you communicate with you human words something that can’t fit inside of human brains?

Who is Jesus?  What is Jesus like?  What has Jesus done?  Why is Jesus important?  What will Judgment Day be like?  What will heaven be like?

Questions near impossible to answer.  Concepts near impossible to understand.  Thankfully Jesus himself gives us answers to all these questions in the words that he himself gave to his apostle John in the first chapter of Revelation.  As we sift through these precious words this morning we’ll only be able to join John in saying:  To Him Be Glory from Beginning to End!

I.

If you had to write a position description for Christ the King, what would you write?  I’m not talking about a position description for Christ the King Church or School.  We have a whole bunch of those in our faculty handbook.  I’m talking about Jesus.  If you had to describe what the Son of God and King of all should be like, what would you write?  Perhaps we could relate to what we might describe the ideal president of the United States to be like.

Ideally, the perfect president would be someone who comes from the best lineage possible.  His family line would be so special and important that he’s almost royalty.  He would be the son of a president.  Thus he not only wants to be president, but he has always been around the oval office.  He knows what to do and he can get things done because being president is in his blood.

The perfect president would be youthful and energetic.  He would be broad shouldered and athletic.  He would be handsome and dashing.  His face would be on every magazine cover.  He would have millions of friends on Facebook and millions of followers on Twitter.  He would have half a dozen New York Times best sellers.

The perfect president would have the best foreign policies.  Every country would respect him.  Every war would be ended.  The US dollar would be more valuable than the Euro.  Trade would flourish.  Commerce would flourish.

Under the perfect president’s watch, every American would be rich.  Every American would have a sports car in the garage, gourmet food in the fridge, and a luxurious castle on the beach.  Every person would be wealthy.  Every person would be healthy.  Every person would be happy.  Everything would be just perfect.

As we imagine what our position description for Christ the King might be like, we begin to see that it’s a lot similar to what the Jews of Jesus’ time had in mind.  They wanted a Messiah who would reestablish the kingdom of Israel.  They wanted a Messiah who would break the oppression of the Roman Empire.  They wanted a Messiah who would help them, heal them, feed them, and free them.

They really thought they were on to something for a while, too.  Jesus came preaching with great power.  He miraculously fed thousands.  He raised the dead and healed the sick.  It was just what they were looking for!

The problem was that Jesus was not what they were looking for.  So when they realized that, they walked away or became angry and eventually conspired to crucify him.

Is Jesus the kind of King you want?  Look at him.  Look at him standing before Pontius Pilate in the gospel today.  Is that what you have in mind?  A man stripped and beaten?  A man humbled and humiliated?  A man with seemingly no respect, no power, and no authority.  It’s no wonder the dumb-founded Pilate didn’t know what to make of Jesus.  He heard Jesus saying one thing about being a king and having a kingdom, but his eyes were telling him another thing.

We struggle with that same problem today.  Earthly eyes don’t like what they see in Jesus and earthly ears don’t like what they hear about Jesus.  My earthly heart would rather see Jesus riding around seated on a throne in an armored brigade bringing all the earthly blessings we imagined in our ideal American president.  My earthly heart would rather see real and tangible results now—health, wealth, success.  My earthly, sinful heart doesn’t like much what I see in Jesus.  He doesn’t seem to be a very great king.

II.

But Jesus gives us a different vision and description of himself in Revelation today.  Today we step back from the isolated incidents of Jesus’ life to observe the big picture of what Christ the King is really like.  And what an impressive sight we see!

The book of Revelation was written around 95 A.D. to Christians who were suffering terrible persecution.  Life itself was difficult and challenging, but they were also running for their lives from the Romans.  What an incredible greeting to these suffering Christians this letter starts off with:  Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven-fold Spirit before his throne, and from Jesus Christ.”

The very first things mentioned are the grace and peace of God.  Amidst all their troubles, amidst all their suffering, amidst all their persecution they still had God’s undeserved love (his grace) and spiritual peace.  This grace and peace were granted to them by the true God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

What a unique description of the Trinity!  The Father who is, and who was, and who is to come—he has no beginning and no end and has always been our God.  The Holy Spirit with his seven-fold gifts, also at God’s throne.  Jesus who is the Christ, or the Messiah.  This triune God was still with these suffering Christians in the most difficult of times.  But now the rest of the information is all about Jesus.

We vainly imagined our ideal leader or president earlier.  Take a look though at the description of Jesus’ character, qualifications, and position as King.  Jesus is described first as the faithful witness.”  He is the one who spoke the truth and testified to the truth.  He faithfully proclaimed to us all of the will of his Father.  This is why Jesus is often called “the Word” with a capital W.  He is the one who has conveyed to us who God is and what God is like because he has showed us how much God loves us by his suffering and death.

Next our King is described as the firstborn from the dead.”  Jesus was the first to rise from the dead.  Others in the past had been raised from the dead by God’s power, like Lazarus the brother of Mary and Martha.  But Jesus is the first to rise from the dead by his own power.  And because he rose from the dead, we will rise from the dead.  This is why he is called the firstborn from the dead.  He was the first, and now many more after him will be born into everlasting life.

Finally in verse five our King is described as the ruler of the kings of the earth.”  In case we forgot and loved some of our earthly rulers, in case we ever had a governor or president or king that we thought was the greatest ruler that ever was, Jesus reminds us that he is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords.  He is in control of all.  He is the ruler of all.

Those are Jesus’ qualifications as King.  Now look Jesus’ performance as King.  Again, we imagined that our ideal leader or president would make us wealthy and successful.  But look what our true King has done in the next paragraph.  He loves us and has freed us from our sins by his own blood.”

When we see the humble, humiliated, suffering Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate and we think, “This doesn’t look much like a king!”  Yet this is why Jesus is such a wonderful king though!  He loves us.  Even though we don’t understand Jesus or want Jesus for the wrong reasons, even though we have disobeyed Jesus and sinned against Jesus, he still loves us.  He loved us enough to set aside his kingly glory to suffer and die for us.  He shed his blood and gave himself to free us from the sting of death and the doom of hell.

By his great love and redemption we have an incredible result!  Verse six:  He has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father.”  Our King is so great and our King is so powerful that he has in turn made us to be a kingdom, a royal kingdom that rules with him now and forever.  He has also made us to be priests who serve God in prayer and praise now and forever.  Though our proudly conceited earthly hearts may want other things from Jesus, our King has given to us the greatest of blessings!  He has given us forgiveness, salvation, and eternal victory!

Look at the description of his eternal victory in verse seven, a prophecy of what will happen on Judgment Day:  Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.  So shall it be!  Amen.”

These words are the basis for the beautiful and majestic hymn we just sang, Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending.  When Jesus finally returns on the Last Day, every eye will see him and behold him.  Even those who pierced him and who hated him shall see him and they will deeply mourn because of him.  Then they will see their final destruction and their final ruin.  But we will see our final victory and triumph.  As we sang in the last stanza of the hymn about that Last Day:  Yea, Amen, let all adore you high on your eternal throne.  Every knee shall bow before you; come and take your people home!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  You shall reign and you alone!

We’ve seen Jesus’ qualifications as King.  We’ve seen Jesus’ performance as King in the past, present, and future.  Now finally we see Jesus’ true character as King in the last verse:  ’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

What an incredible description again!  Many sermons could be preached on this verse alone!  First Jesus tells us that he is the Alpha and Omega.  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  You can see a version of those letters on your service folder cover as well as on the front of our altar and on the stole that I am wearing.  Jesus is the First and the Last.  He is the Beginning and the End.

If that isn’t clear enough, the next phrase tells us that Jesus is speaking as the Lord God.  Jesus is Yahweh, the Lord.  Jesus is God.  And if that’s not clear enough, he goes on to say that he is the one, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  The very same description back in verse four that is given to God the Father, Jesus uses to describe himself here.  Jesus isn’t just our King.  Jesus isn’t just our Savior.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, Yahweh, the Almighty.  Jesus is God!

Conclusion

How do you explain the unexplainable?  How do you describe the indescribable?  How do you express the inexpressible?  How do you communicate with you human words something that can’t fit inside of human brains?

Our great God is so much bigger and greater than anything we can fathom or imagine.  But in eloquent, beautiful words Jesus describes for us today what he has done, what he is like, and who he is.  And on this Sunday, Christ the King Sunday, we humbly bow before Jesus and worship him with great thanks and praise.  Jesus Christ is our King!  Jesus Christ is our Savior!  Jesus Christ is our God!  So today we join John and all saints and angels to sing in praise:  To him be glory and power from beginning to end for ever and ever!

AMEN

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on November 25, 2012, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi, Phil, what a great sermon! I am sending a printout to my relative. He is blind, and his wife, Samantha, is in a BIC class. They are really searching for the Savior. I don’t know his email, but will put it on the “mule” and send it up to WI. You realize, of course, that if there is ever a vacancy at COS, I am adding your name to the call list. Love your way of making the Word mine! Happy holidays. Hug Becky! Marge Buelow

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