Christ the King
Rev. Dr. D. K. Schroeder
Colossians 1:13-20 Sermon
November 20, 2016
Click here for service internet broadcast/podcast.
Hymns (from The Lutheran Hymnal):
341 "Crown Him With Many Crowns"
339 "All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name"
657 "Beautiful Saviour"
660 "I'm But A Stranger Here"
JESUS IS ALWAYS THE KING
TEXT (vs. 17-20): ďHe [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, , whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.Ē
During this past election, there has been a phrase I've seen and used frequently. I've seen it in Emails and on church signs. The phrase simply says, "Regardless of who is elected president, Christ is still King."
I'm not going to wax on and on about our recent election, but it does make for a good illustration in a number of different areas. So let's look at some general facts.
People choose a candidate based upon their previous record, along with the promises they make. They have certain expectations as to how their candidates will perform once theyíre in office. Sometimes a person elected to office will meet or exceed peopleís expectations; while other times they will not meet them or go against what people expect, and people will be disappointed. But the person elected is the one in charge; and regardless of the publicís expectations, theyíre still the person in charge when all is said and done.
This is a fact that seems to be somewhat muddled following our most recent election. There are protesters who are violently preaching "love," and many of which that have indicated our "president elect" is not their president. I just wonder how these people would have reacted if those on the other side of the fence would have reacted the same way?
Today is the last day of the church year, a day in which we talk about Jesus Christ being the King. This is a fact I believe we all know. Amongst Christians, thereís really no dispute about it at all. Christians believe and accept the fact that Jesus is not only their Saviour from sin, but also the Lord and King of their lives. All power in heaven and on earth is his. He is definitely the person in charge.
While the Lordship and Kingship of Christ might be evident to us, it wasnít so with the early church in the city ofColosse. They were having trouble accepting the fact that Christ was above all else. Hereís what was going on:
Colosse was a major population center inAsia Minor. It had been captured and made a part of theRoman Empireunder Antiochus III somewhere between the second and third centuries B.C. At that time, it was settled by several thousand Jewish settlers from the regions ofMesopotamiaandBabylon.
But since Colosse was a major commercial center, other people appeared on the scene with numerous popular philosophies of the day, none of which were consistent with the Christian faith. As a result, there began to appear a hybrid mixture of Christianity and false doctrine.
For one thing, there was the popular belief that the angels were in control of human destiny on earth. For them, the only means of escape was by worshipping these angelic powers and seeking their help as mediators between God and his created world. This of course was robbing Christ of his glory and displacing him as the only mediator between God and mankind.
Another belief was that Christians must practice abstinence and self-punishment to somehow try to ďescapeĒ temptations and evil influences of the world. In effect, this was putting part of the responsibility of salvation upon the people themselves, instead of on Christ alone.
Undoubtedly there were other areas where the Christian faith was being compromised; these are just the two specifics that Paul mentions.
And so as Paul begins his letter to the Christians in Colosse in our text for today, he talks about Jesus in no uncertain terms. He establishes the truth of the Gospel, that Jesus has saved us from sin and the devil, and that through faith in him we have redemption and forgiveness for our sins; that Jesus is true God, and that through him all things were created by him and for him; that he is the truly supreme above all things; that he is head of the church; and that nothing in heaven or on earth is greater than Jesus Christ. Indeed Christ is King; not only is he our king, he is king over everything. Whether people believe it or not, or whether they accept it or not, it is a fact nevertheless. Thatís just the way it is. It would be wise for some of the people protesting our current president elect to remember this fact too.
So where does that leave us? We know and believe that Christ is our King. So now what?
The first thing we need to consider is the will of God. Do we know what Godís will is? How can we get a glimpse of what is going on in the mind of the Almighty?
A good place to start is in I Timothy chapter 2, verses 1-4 where Paul writes, ďI urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyoneófor kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.Ē
This is telling us that God wants everyone to pray for the leaders in government. He wants everyone to know him and be saved. He wants nobody to be condemned. Furthermore, he wants his children to pray to him, and to live peaceful and godly lives.
Okay, so how do we lead godly lives? If we look at John chapter 14, verse 15 Jesus speaks these words: ďIf you love me, you will obey what I command.Ē That would lead us then to the 10 commandments, which Jesus summarizes as ďloving God and loving your neighbor as yourself.Ē
So if we want to know what the will of God is, all we need to do is look at what he tells us in the Bible. This is where he has revealed himself, and where he tells us what his will is. The Bible is clear enough on this subject that we should never be left second-guessing. Since Christ is our King, we will always search the Scriptures to find what his will is, and what is pleasing to him.
But, almost like someone holding a political office, God will not always measure up to peopleís expectations, at least in an earthly sense. When a tragedy like the 9/11 attack on the WorldTradeCenteroccurs, people will systematically begin to question God. Theyíll say, ďIf Christ is truly a kingÖif God is above everything else in this world, if God is really in charge, why did he allow something like the 9/11 tragedy to occur?Ē And whatís even worse, are the well-meaning people who will look at a tragedy like that, and glibly say, ďOh well, it was Godís will.Ē Statements like that are of no help or consolation whatsoever.
It is important for us to remember that there are many, many things in this world that happen that are NOT Godís will. Thatís right, this world is full of events and occurrences and actions that are not Godís will.
To prove this point, all we need to do is take a brief look at things. It is not Godís will that 9/11 occurred; it is not Godís will that Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler carried out the atrocities they did on their people; it is not Godís will that people are starving to death; it is not Godís will that millions of unborn children die each year through abortion; it is not Godís will that women and children are battered and bruised; it is not Godís will that people are beaten and robbed, and the list could go on and on.
Of course these things are not Godís will; if they were, then we would have a very sadistic God indeed. Furthermore, if all of these maladies were Godís will, then he wouldnít be consistent with what he tells us in the Bible.
Godís will isnít shown in the tragedies which occur on this earth; rather, Godís will is shown in how we, as Christians respond to them. Since Christ is our Lord and King, we respond to those things that are not Godís will with what we know Godís will to be.
Paul gives some great advice in Romans chapter 12, verses 17-21: ďDo not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for Godís wrath, for it is written: ĎIt is mine to avenge; I will repay,í says the Lord. On the contrary, ĎIf your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.í Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Ē
As long as there are evil people on this earth, bad things are going to happen. Itís sad, but true. Thankfully, God does give us the opportunity to respond according to his will. He tells us how to do it. We respond as loyal subjects in Christís kingdom.
If we want to get to the very heart of the matter regarding Christ being our King, letís look at what Paul writes in verses 13 and 14 of our text from Colossians chapter 1: ďHe [the Father] has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.Ē
The world is indeed evil. It is full of the influence and work of the devil. The devilís kingdom is one of darkness. We donít have to look too hard at our lives to see how weíve been influenced by this. The sinful ways of the world have become our ways far too often. Satanís ways have lured us time and again away from what is Godís will to what is his.
But we have been transferred into theKingdomofChrist; not by anything we have done, but by what God has done for us. We have entered this kingdom of light through faith in Jesus our Saviour. Through him, we have redemption. He has paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross. Through him we have forgiveness for our sins. God will no longer hold any of our old sins against us; they have been completely and totally forgiven. This is all Christís work, all done for us on our behalf. Therefore, Christ is indeed our King; not through campaign promises or a popular vote, but through faith alone.
Throughout the years, people have tried to unsuccessfully marry Christianity with other pagan teachings. The Masonic Lodge has attempted to do this by mixing in their various rites and rituals with the excuse ďwell itís based on the Bible.Ē Loosely basing something on the Bible in no way makes it Christian or correct. Others have tried to mix in reincarnation, or voodoo, or Buddhist philosophy, or the teachings of Mohammed, or the occult, or Wiccan practices. Some have tried even mixing in just a few good works as being necessary for salvation. But it just doesnít work. It didnít work for the church at Colosse, and it doesnít work today.
Anything that is added to what the Bible teaches serves only to rob Christ of his Kingly glory, and threatens the inheritance we have through him.
A person who is elected to a political office will often not live up to our expectations. We might not like a particular candidate for a variety of reasons. And once they're in office, we can frequently get fed up with the job they are doing, and we are disappointed.
Thankfully with Christ as our King, we will never be left short or disappointed. Heís done everything on our behalf. He lived, he died, and he rose again. He won the victory over death and the devil. And now he lives and rules eternally.
May we always show that Jesus Christ is our King, and he lives in us as we carry out Godís will in our lives.