Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.
OUR CHRISTIAN WITNESS OF CHRIST AS KING
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
26 November 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (Matthew 25:40)
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Today is Christ the King Sunday; but does our Christian witness show the world that He is indeed King?
And in order to look at ourselves as a Christian nation or people, we must observe our attitude toward the things we do, as the rest of the world views us.
We say in this country that we have a war on drugs, yet we see drugs present in all areas of society.
We have pledged huge sums of money to fight against the importation of drugs, yet our own C.I.A. made deals to get information or to gain influence in foreign lands; and in return for these services, they have allowed drugs to come into this country.
Those drugs also kill some of our own people and destroy many other lives, probably far more than would be helped by the covert action.
Such a deal as this even caused the crash of an airplane in Scotland, with the loss of many lives.
We don’t have to make deals such as these to protect our country. What we need is to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, and trust in Him to solve our problems.
Look at what happened in Eastern Europe. For more than forty years most of those nations had been living under Russian Communist domination. The people have had little freedom.
Then, all of a sudden, the communist governments gave way to democratic rule, and there seems to be many reforms; but little or none of this is being done in the name of Jesus Christ.
Unless Jesus Christ rules our lives as Lord and King, the future of what we do still carries doubt with it.
In Germany, we are seeing this effect as Communist rule ended in East Germany. The “honeymoon” of the reception of the first refugees ended. The West Germans got tired of the long lines and low supplies in stores, and many of the store owners have been complaining about shoplifting.
The East German freedom centered on material goods. They did not center their freedom on seeking Jesus Christ and even thanking Him for their freedom.
And what about West Germans? Where are they to show the East Germans the truth about our Lord the King? The problem is that most of them don’t know Him either.
And our country is heading in the same direction, even if we don’t like to admit it.
Unfortunately, humans still brutally dominate and kill billions of innocent animals every year, because the love, compassion, peacemaking qualities of Jesus Christ are absent from most human hearts.
But there is hope, if we truly desire to receive it.
In Exodus 6:1-9, the Lord told Moses how He was going to solve Israel’s problems. Turn in your Bibles to this passage, and let’s look at it together.
1. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he shall let them go, and under compulsion he shall drive them out of his land."
2. God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord;
3. and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.
4. "And I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned.
5. "And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.
6. "Say therefore to the sons of Israel, '1 am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
7. 'Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8. 'And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.' "
9. So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.
One of the reasons the Communist governments put restrictions on religion is to take the people’s minds off of God and to focus on other things. For they know that if the people hold fast to their faith in Jesus Christ, the government will have a lot harder time controlling them.
God’s promise to the Israelites is the same as the promise of Christ’s deliverance.
We don’t have to make deals with the devil or evil people in order to free captives, whether human or animal.
What we need to do is truly trust in Christ.
Since the beginning of the change in Europe, we have been allocating money to communist countries, and we have been catering to both Russia and China for a long time, so that we might improve relations.
Why do we then not try the same with the communist governments south of our border?
It is hard to overthrow communist governments with force. But with true Christian love we could remove their power, for Christ the King would rule in their land.
Yet because of our fear of communism, we support corrupt right-wing governments, like that in El Salvador, who send their death squads to kill Catholic priests and their housekeepers whose only desire was to help people in need regardless of their political views.
And for political reasons we continually rant over Cuba, instead of lovingly mending our wounds through the love of Jesus Christ.
What we are doing is not Christian, and it makes a lousy witness to the rest of the world.
The Roman government ruled the land of Israel in the days of Jesus’ incarnation, and their rule was like that of the communist governments, for they worshipped other gods.
And the Israelites also were under the religious rule of the Temple leaders who professed to know God, but did not; much like our own government and those of other left and right-wing governments.
What did Jesus say and do about these two governments?
He rejected the leadership of both as not having any option for His believing followers.
Did you hear that?
He rejected the leadership of both forms of government because they did not know Him and follow Him as their Lord, Savior, and King.
He told the people to follow Him, and He would show them a third option: (Just like we were told in our Exodus reading.)
One that would lead them out from under the burdens of both sets of rulers.
One that would deliver them from the sins in their own lives and those who ruled over them in earthly governments.
One that would bring them forgiveness for their sins; for through their individual repentance, He held the power of their redemption through the shedding of His own blood.
And one that would call them to Himself, in a heavenly abode that He was
preparing for them Himself.
And think about Daniel's advice to the leaders of Babylon.
Jesus Christ our King is making this same promise to us today, if we would only listen and do what He tells us.
We must learn to recognize a sin as a sin and turn away from it and not support it just because it originates in this country, or in any country, or from and worldly leader.
We must tell the truth and live by the truth, even if it hurts at times; for if we who are Christians and know the truth don’t do this, our country will fall.
The people in our country, and even some in our churches, are much like the people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas when Jesus made His triumphal entry.
Listen to what they were like as we look at our New Testament lesson for this morning, John 12:9-19 –
9. The great multitude therefore of the Jews learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.
10. But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus to death also;
11. because on account of him many of the Jews were going away, and were believing in Jesus.
Not all of the people who went after Jesus were doing so because they believed in Him and had accepted Him as their Lord, Savior, and King. They were following after Him for the excitement and to see the signs and wonders that He performed.
And the religious leaders made the same mistake that corrupt government leaders make today. They thought if they killed off the sign of the miracle – Lazarus – that the people wouldn’t believe.
In fact, the opposite is true. Without the sign, most of the people would have turned to Jesus directly.
Think about it. If we took away all of the Christmas lights and presents, wouldn’t the people tire of following Santa Claus and return to following Jesus?
The killing of the Catholic priests will have a similar effect, and will in fact turn more people against the government.
And the same is true of the effect that the C.I.A. had on people’s
faith in our government; for if they continue with their same practices
unchecked, then the people will turn against the government leaders who support
these actions, just as they have in the past.
But we have allowed this evil to enter in because we have not wholly accepted Jesus as our King.
I'm not saying that we need a Christian government; we can and should have a secular government, but we should all be livings by His loving, compassionate, and peacemaking teachings, for they apply to all peoples and governments, regardless of their professed beliefs.
Once again, going back to our Scripture, note what happens on the following day as Jesus enters Jerusalem:
12. On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast [of Passover], when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13. took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel."
14. And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it as it is written,
15. "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."
16. These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
17. And so the multitude who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised Him from the dead, were bearing Him witness.
18. For this cause also the multitude went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.
19. The Pharisees therefore said to one another, "You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him."
If we would just stand firm upon the truth – that Jesus is indeed Lord and King – and believe in His teachings and promises, then no corrupt government, no corrupt leader, and no corrupt individual could lead us away from Jesus Christ.
But we must be willing.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells us how to bring this to pass:
1. Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
2. saying, "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God, and did not respect man.
3. "And there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.'
4. "And for a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man,
5. yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, lest by continually coming she wear me out.' "
6. And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said;
7. now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?
8. "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
When King Jesus comes, will He find faith on the earth?
The answer to this question should be deep down in the innermost part of our being; and we each should be able to say truthfully, “At least while I am here, there will be faith.”
And if each of us can say this, honestly, then there will be faith upon the
earth until He calls us home.
Jesus Christ is the only King, the only ruler that we could ever have who will never ever fail us; who will never tell us a lie; who will always be at our side when we need Him; and who loves us so much that He died for us that we might live.
Sing Hosanna to the Lord!
Sing Hosanna to the King!