Grace and peace saints of God. Today and everyday we celebrate the Reign of the King - Jesus the Christ. As we proclaim the doxology, "Christ has died. Christ has risen! Christ will come again," we are reminded that the King of the Universe who clothed himself in humanity and dwelt among men, the King who died for our sins and rose to justify us with all power in his hands, the King who ascended unto the Father and now sits at his right hand interceding for us even now, the King - alive and well is returning again to reign for all eternity. Jesus is the King who was and is, and is to come.Rev. 1:8 Jesus is the King whose kingdom shall have no end. Luke 1:33, Isaiah 9:7
This means that no matter what we're facing, no matter how catastrophic thing may appear, God is in control! Somebody ought to say amen right there! We serve the Almighty, Everlasting God, the Ancient of Days! The God we serve is the only one who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think! Eph. 3:20 Yet in all of his power and might, we like the people in today's reading find ourselves thinking that we can do better for ourselves than the creator of all that is.
The Word of God declares in the 24th Psalm that "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness therof; the world and they who dwell therein. For he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters." vs. 1-2 Straight from the mind and heart of God we were created with purpose embedded in the very fabric of our being. To express the glorious splendor of an awesome God; as we engage a spiritual relationship with God and God's creation, God is glorified and his people edified! All under the reign of the King.
The people of Israel had seen neighboring nations come against them led by a man who they had made their king. They had watched as others engaged in what appeared to be an honor and privilege of serving a man who would govern over them. He would make rules and regulations and tell them how they were to live; what they should and should not do, and what they could and could not own. They had watched a people who were obliged to give their sons and daughters to be servants and soldiers for the king.
God's people were not satisfied with the one true King of Kings, and I wonder in the reign of the one and true king we serve, King Jesus, if we have learned very much from Israel's experience, or are we the same. Jesus has told us through the council of his word, to tend after those who are sick and shut in, to visit those who are imprisoned, and care for those who suffer without food or clothing, (Matt.25:40) and yet many of us who say we are the King's subjects and servants continue on as if it's not our concern. Oh yes, we thank God for sparing us from imprisonment, famine, and homelessness, all from the comfort of our homes and church assemblies. But are we the slightest bit concerned about the reign of the King.
The prophet John the Baptist and Jesus Christ himself proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Both speak to the reign of God, also articulated as the righteous rule of the one true King. The statement itself announced that the current domain, as the people had known it, was under new management. In the righteous rule of the King of Kings, the one who "came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly," (John 10:10) we are given principles of the King that will enable us to engage victorious living! That is the wonder of God's Word! We weren't left to try to figure it out all by ourselves, and yet we still try.
And as Christians, as citizens of the King's domain, we find ourselves frustrated and feeling busted and disgusted trying to live in accordance with the will of God, trying to live victoriously and failing miserably, because we try to do it our own way. God tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. God tells wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. Eph. 5:22, 25 Yet we find in this day and time that the divorce rate is just about as high in the church as it is in the secular world! And as I witness the challenges in the lives of my brothers and sisters, and yes even in my own walk, I am reminded of the spiritual struggle that remains in our flesh that desires to exalt itself over the will of God. To dare say, indirectly, but just as boldly, "I want another king!" Even worse, "I want to be the king!" In the midst of the trials and tribulations that are meant to stretch us and not to destroy us, we say to ourselves, "God you just don't understand! So it seems I'll have to take this matter into my own hands."
But in reality it is us who don't understand. Under the reign of the King, God has a system that guarantees our victorious success! It is a system where we fully rely on Christ himself and not on ourselves, because on our best day we could never do what Christ has already done for us and what his Holy Spirit is doing for us even now! When we repent of our sins, and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord (King, Overseer, Ruler), and savior, God seals us with his Holy Spirit and enables us with the grace to be victorious! This grace is an unmerited favor! We don't deserve to live, but Jesus has already paid our debt - already taken our punishment of death. This grace is however, also an enabling power to live in a "new and living way." It is the power to think as the King thinks. It is the power to do as the King would have you to do - live as the King would have you to live, and yes love as the King would have you to love! This grace brings the joyous privilege of being able to proclaim, "Greater is He who is in me, than he that is in the world!" 1 John 4:4
May we be those who will truly live in the Reign of the King - "Not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit says the Lord of hosts." Zech. 4:6 And the people of God said - Amen.
In His Service,
Pastor Emery B. Barber
FaithWorks Christian Fellowship