Sermon Options: November 21, 2021

September 2nd, 2021

CHRIST THE KING

2 SAMUEL 23:1-7

The peasants wait nervously outside the palace to learn the identity of their new emperor. The tribe sends its wisest elders to choose their new chief. Every four years Americans step into the voting booth with naive hopes that with this new leader happy days will be here again. The whole world longs for a good king and a brighter future.

I. Kings Begin with High Hopes

Coronations are often the high point of a king’s reign. King David embodied the hopes of Israel. David’s promise was evidence as he received anointment from Samuel, slew Goliath, and befriended Jonathan. The people sang ballads about the daring escapades of this one after God’s own heart. David was King Arthur and Jerusalem was Camelot.

It was a kingdom where might was used for right, justice was for all, and shining knights, like angels in armor, battled to snuff out evil. For one brief shining moment this was “happily ever after.” At his best, David was the most splendid king who ever sat on any throne, a king with high hopes and great dreams.

II. The Kings of This World Inevitably Fall

The dreams didn’t last. By the end of his reign, David was king of a divided, disorganized, and disintegrating kingdom. His reign was a series of tragedies: David’s sin with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, the rape of his daughter Tamar by his son Amnon, the rebellion and murder of Absalom, continuous fighting between the tribes of Israel, and wars with the Philistines.

Finally David was judged too old to go into battle. The round table cracked. The shining moments are brief. The glimpses of glory fade. The kingdoms of this world are destined for collapse.

III. Jesus Is the King Whose Reign Will Last Forever

David comes to the end of a disappointing reign, and yet his farewell address is not sorrowful. The one dream that didn’t die was of a king yet to come. One will come from David’s line who will be a king like David at his best. The King of all kings did come, and one wonders if David would recognize him.

Peter Fribley wrote: “How can you be king who ruled with stories? Who walked to work and slept beneath the stars? . . . How can you be king who refused kingdoms, claimed no crown, walked to work, thumbed a ride to town?”

Jesus is a king unlike human rulers, who seek power and pleasure, who want celebrity and comfort. And unlike human kingdoms, the kingdom in which Christ reigns is a realm with no boundaries, no limitations, and no end.

IV. Our Lives Depend on Recognizing Jesus Kingship

Those who stand against this king, the Lord of all, will not stand at all. David said those who don’t recognize this king are like the thorny bramble thrown into the fire. If we live as subjects of the one true King, then we will be transformed. Jesus can free us from our small worlds and our self-centeredness.

The dream of Christ’s kingdom will renew us. The One who is and was and is to come will bring grace and peace. He will make us a kingdom, priests serving God and one another. Every one of us longs for the One who will make our lives complete. Christ invites us into his kingdom, now and forevermore. (Brett Younger)

THE BOTTOM LINE: JESUS

REVELATION 1:4b-8

It is amazing the difference a few years make. It seems only yesterday when I wanted to write a letter to a friend and needed only paper and pencil. While a high school sophomore in Miss Livergood’s typing class, I used one of the first electric typewriters. Today I sit before a “one-eyed friend” who tells me how to type, warns me about spelling errors, and even corrects my poor grammar. While I’m writing my letter I can be listening to my favorite music on a CD—from within the computer! Writing a letter to a friend has never been so easy!

John did not have the convenience of a computer, but he did possess the heart of a writer. He probably chose seven churches to write to because they each had a special place or influence or authority within the Roman province of Asia, which included the western seacoast of Asia Minor on the shores of the Mediterranean. John wrote to the seven churches because the people knew and loved him, and in return he loved them the most. Through these seven churches the other congregations in the area heard the message—in fact every church in every generation has heard the truth. The truth of which he writes was that Jesus is Lord—the Eternal One. John writes about this Eternal One in several aspects.

I. Jesus As the Eternal Witness

A witness gives evidence to an act, event, or person. In verses 4 and 5 Jesus is an eternal witness of the truth concerning the Father. Jesus speaks from firsthand knowledge. Christ can identify personally with God’s will, is able to speak with authority about God, and carries God’s truth as no one else in the world could or can do.

His witness comes through the Resurrection. God, who loved him with all of his heart, raised Jesus from the dead. All who believe in him share in this resurrection. Because he lives I, too, can live!

II. Jesus As the Eternal Eraser

Do you regret the sins you have committed? Do memories of your pre-Christian life haunt you? Does Satan reinvent the wheel of past regrettable circumstances?

Marjorie Holmes related that a friend wrote to share how her granddaughter had made a wonderful observation. As Marjorie’s friend and her granddaughter stood on a grassy hillside observing an airplane do its fancy skywriting, suddenly the words began to dissolve. The girl asked her grandmother how the words disappeared. As grandmother groped for an answer, the little girl’s face brightened up. She exclaimed, “Maybe Jesus has an eraser!”

Holmes wrote that the day she received the letter had been an awful day. In fact for some time she had been extremely discouraged and depressed. She had been grieving over past mistakes, a cruel word, a moment to witness slipped by, a child unjustly punished, a friend let down. She stated, “No matter how much we mature as people, grow as Christians, try desperately to compensate, memories of our own failures rise up to haunt us, and sting. . . .”

The small child in her innocence and wisdom helped Holmes to realize that, like the writing on the sky that simply disappears, Jesus has wiped away all things that we can bitterly regret. Jesus does have an eternal eraser!

What does he need to use his eraser on in your life?

III. Jesus As Eternal Victor

The book of Revelation assures victory. Defeat is never mentioned—not once! We, the soldiers of the cross, catch a glimpse of the battleground. There will come a moment in history when heaven and hell will collide. Good versus evil; satanic hatred versus divine love. Amid the thunder and lightning, smoke and haze stands Jesus, the Son of God—the ultimate warrior. Spanning time from a manger to a cross, from a tomb to resurrection life—Jesus triumphs over Satan, Hell, sin, and all the forces of evil. As Christians we are assured of being on the victory side. Forward March! (Derl G. Keefer)

WHAT IS TRUTH?

JOHN 18:33-37

In this text, Pilate is asking a question we all have asked: “What is truth?” This question must be addressed before you can trust the Bible, or commit your life to the Lord it proclaims.

I. How Can I Know Anything Is True?

There are several ways we gain information, or know something is true. Some things we learn through what our five senses experience. We learn some truths from what we see, touch, taste, smell, or hear. Some things we learn by figuring them out, such as through mathematics. Einstein didn’t see or touch the theory of relativity; he discerned it rationally.

And some truth we can only know as God reveals it to us. Jesus does not look like a king to Pilate, and it certainly isn’t logical. Since his kingdom is not of this world, Christ’s kingship is one of those truths that must be learned through revelation from the Bible.

What is the difference in truths we can know by experience or logic and those we can only know from revelation? The first two can be proved to others, but biblical truth has to be accepted by faith. Or is that difference always true?

II. Can We Trust Everything We Know As “Truth”?

Our senses can fail us, or fool us. Everyone has seen an optical illusion that appears to be something it is not. Magicians rely on being able to fool your senses. Algebra—as exact and absolute as is mathematics—rests on a series of axioms and postulates. These statements, such as a + b = b + a, are called axioms instead of theorems, because they cannot be proved. Virtually all of mathematics is built upon some statements that cannot be proved (or disproved), and must simply be accepted “by faith.”

Everything you know by experience, you know because you trust your senses—which can be fooled. Everything you know logically, you know because you trust your reasoning abilities—which also can be faulty. Everything anybody knows about anything ultimately rests upon faith assumptions. Philosophers call these assumptions “presuppositions.”

Thus no one can say biblical truth, in general, is inferior to experienced truth or logical truth because biblical truth rests on faith. All knowledge requires a leap of faith to trust the methods by which we gained the knowledge. All knowledge is based upon presuppositions.

III. How Do We Know Which “Truth” to Trust?

A problem arises when truth sources disagree, such as when your eyes see something your logic tells you is impossible. You have to decide which source of knowledge is the authority. The Bible says Jesus walked on water, but experience and physics say that is impossible. The Bible says God loves you, but you don’t feel loved. Which source of information do you believe?

Jesus told Pilate he came to bear witness to the truth. Elsewhere Jesus said he is, “the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus reveals God’s truths to us. You can trust the Bible more than your experience or logic.

The problem is, too many people “test” the truth of the Bible at the wrong place. They begin with a promise saying God answers prayer, and test God by asking for a new luxury car. When they don’t get a car, they conclude: the Bible is not trustworthy.

Start with Jesus, the witness to the truth. Do what he requires: confess your sinfulness, turn from your sin, ask to be forgiven, become a follower of his, and receive his gift of eternal life. Then you will know the truth, and it will set you free! (William Groover)

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