MOST KNOW HIM AS JESUS, BUT FEW ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND KING
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
20 NOVEMBER 1994
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Samuel 23:1-7
We have just come through a period of spiritual growth in our Christian year.
Hopefully, each of us let our roots sink deeply into the Lord's foundation soil and received the waters of insight from the Holy Spirit and the warm light of God Who brings forth wisdom.
Now we are about to enter a new season, one of anticipation, which should be filled with love and hope and joy and peace.
And we will have it all, if we are living in the kingdom of God.
This brings us to today.
Today is Christ the King Sunday.
And since the Lord's kingdom exists in a realm that is invisible to the eye, one must enter this kingdom spiritually.
Thus the title of today's sermon: "Most People Know Him as Jesus, but Few Accept Him as Lord and King."
Most people might even tell you that Jesus is the Son of God.
And many people would even say that they love Him.
But Jesus reminds us in John 14:15,
15. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
This is the key ingredient of kingdom living.
It doesn't matter what people say with their mouths; it's what they do with their lives that counts and distinguishes them as citizens of God's kingdom, instead of citizens only of the world.
Three thousand years ago, David saw this difference in his own life and in his kingdom. Listen to what is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:1-7.
1. Now these are the last words of David.
David the son of Jesse declares,
And the man who was raised on high declares,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
We may not have been raised to the high position as was David, but all citizens of the kingdom have been anointed by God for a specific job.
2. "The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
This should be the same for us. If we are citizens of the kingdom, we, too, should speak what the Spirit of the Lord tells us.
We, too, should have the word of God continually upon our tongue.
3. "The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
God speaks to us in this same way, if we have ears to hear and a heart and mind to perceive.
'He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
4. Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.'
5. "Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Will He not indeed make it grow?
This is a promise for each and every person who receives and accepts Jesus as their Lord and King.
How does this growth take place?
It's as we were just told, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
But what about the other people?
6. "But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns,
Because they cannot be taken in hand;
7. But the man who touches them
Must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear,
And they will be completely burned with fire in their place."
What an utter tragedy.
What an utter waste.
For they, too, could have had the kingdom, with all of its glory.
Our Scripture lesson for this morning, Revelation 1:4-8, gives us a very interesting perspective.
John is not addressing the people outside the church, but the people inside:
4. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: 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;
5. and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,
6. and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.
8. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Everyone should know this and rejoice.
Everyone should be exceedingly thankful that they are part of His kingdom.
Then if this is true, why did John address the churches?
Because church members tend to become lazy and complacent, and relate to their relationship more as members of a social club, than as spiritual members of God's kingdom.
The influence of the world around the church draws many away to participate in the world’s “kingdom.”
We need to be reminded and encouraged.
We need to focus our own selves upon our King, and be sure that it's Jesus, for the ruler of this world deceives many.
As we are told, all will see Him when he returns.
But, unfortunately, few will go with Him into His everlasting kingdom in heaven.
But if we know Jesus as Lord and King, and live like it, then rejoice; be thankful, for the kingdom is ours forever and ever.
Even ungodly people recognize this truth, and fight against it.
The Roman ruler, Pilate, recognized Jesus as a King, but gave into mob rule.
Listen to what we are told in John 18:33-40.
33. Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
34. Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?"
35. Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?"
Pilate understood about human behavior, and the evil things which people do; but he also recognized the truth, even if he fought against it.
36. Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."
37. Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
At this saying, obviously Pilate became fearful, but this is also when his fear of the world took over.
38. Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him.
Pilate had the power to free Jesus, but that would take a lot of guts.
He was looking for an easy way out.
He wanted the people to make the decision.
Think about ourselves, and about the world around us.
When we have the power of truth in us, do we stand firm, even if the whole world seems to be against us?
Or, do we do as Pilate is doing:
39. "But you have a custom, that I should release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?"
40. Therefore they cried out again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas." Now Barabbas was a robber.
Listen to what Jesus told the people way before all this took place (Matthew 10:32-33):
32. "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
33. "But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
All these people knew Him as Jesus.
But they couldn't have accepted Him as Lord and King, or they never would have denied Him to either themselves or before others.
They were not thankful that He was ushering a new and everlasting kingdom into their presence.
They were thankful only for the physical life they had in the present.
Let me give you another, but more personal example:
When Mary and I first came here seven years ago, you quickly learned that we didn't eat or wear any animal products, because we strongly believe that the horrible way animals are treated on farms and in laboratories is an abomination before God.
In the past seven years, you have not seen us waiver even once; rather you have seen us stand steadfast in our convictions, even though none of you seem to agree with us.
Unlike the people of Jerusalem, you have not rejected us, but you have rejected this teaching in favor of the cruel ways of the world.
As we approach Thanksgiving Day this year, really reflect upon what each of us, individually, is truly thankful for, and reflect back upon this message.
And I pray that each of you will be dining with King Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Your Comments are welcome
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