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Author:Rev. George van Popta
 send email...
 www.vanpopta.ca
 
Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
 jubileechurch.ca
 
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
 www.ancasterchurch.on.ca
 
Title:Christ the King
Text:LD 19 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God The Son
 
Preached:2003-05-18
Added:2004-02-28
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs: Hymn 31:4,5; Psalm 72:1,2,3,4; Psalm 72:5; Psalm 72:10; Hymn 5:1,5; Psalm 47

Reading: Psalm 72

Text: Lord's Day 19
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

I proclaim to you:

CHRIST THE EXALTED KING

1. The majesty; 2. the blessing; 3. the comfort... of his exaltation.

1. When Christ ascended to heaven and was enthroned at the right hand of God the Father, He became King of kings and Lord of lords. He was exalted to the throne of the universe. We speak first about the humiliation of Christ: his incarnation, crucifixion, death and burial. It was at that lowest point of his humiliation that his exaltation began. He arose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and was enthroned at God's right hand. He reigns in majesty as the heavenly king.

Do you acknowledge the kingship of Christ?

We live in a culture and society that is drifting away from that recognition. The results of the 2001 census released this past week reflect that. The 2001 census indicates that 16% of Canadians state they have no religion. As recently as 1971, fewer than 1% declared no religion. Quite a slide in just 30 years.

In addition to that shift towards paganism, the churches have been emptying out as well. Many of those who claim to be Christian seldom darken the doorway of a church. Attendance at religious services has fallen dramatically across the country over the past 15 years. Nationally, only one-fifth (20%) of Canadians attended religious services on a weekly basis in 2001. In 1986 28% of Canadians went to church every Sunday. Again, quite a slide in just 15 years. Quite a rejection of the claims of the King.

Did you know that many of Canada's founders acknowledged the kingship of Christ? You can see this at, e.g., Parliament Hill. Two texts of scripture are engraved into the stone of the Peace tower. One is Ps. 72:8-He shall have dominion from sea to sea. Psalm 72 was meant as a prayer for the reigning king of Israel. This Psalm, however, speaks of the king in terms that no mere human could attain. It speaks of a king who reigns forever and who rules over all nations. Both Jews and Christians have always understood that, ultimately, Ps. 72 is speaking about the Messiah. It speaks about the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Applying Ps. 72 to our Canadian context, Christ is the one who has dominion from the Atlantic Ocean in the East to the Pacific Ocean in the West. Every Canadian owes allegiance to King Jesus.

The words spoke powerfully to the fathers of the dominion of Canada. These words of Ps. 72 are also incorporated in Canada's Coat of Arms. A mari usque ad mare ("From sea to sea"). Canada's motto. A beautiful motto.

Psalm 72 speaks of a king who rules in a righteous and merciful way. That's King Jesus. Righteous and merciful. Majestic, judging without partiality. Compassionate, delivering those who call upon him, having pity on the weak and needy. Many kings and rulers impose heavy burdens upon their citizens. King Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ... For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The kingship of Christ is characterized by righteousness, compassion, justice, mercy, and rest. The trouble in our country is that the citizens are rejecting the kingship of Christ. There is very little acknowledgment of him as king over all of life. They have rejected his words, his revelation, both the gospel and the law.

Which is somewhat ironic since the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill has a second text of scripture inscribed in it: Prov 29:18-Where there is no vision, the people perish. The vision of Prov. 29:18 is the revelation of the Word of God. Without the Word of God, people perish. The NIV translates Prov 29:18 well: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. When people reject the Word of God that proclaims the sovereign, king and gracious kingship of Christ, the people cast of restraint. The Word of God restrains us. It holds us back-we who are conceived and born in sin. Rejecting the royal Word of Christ the King leads to anarchy, chaos. The days of the judges where everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

That's what you see about you ever-increasingly. Chaos in the lives of Canadians-individually and nationally. They have largely rejected the King who rules from sea to sea. Our nation has traded the Prince of Peace for King Selfishness and Queen Pleasure. Canadians have lost the vision. They have let go of the revelation of God. They are running wild.

And, sadly, the leaders of our country-the governments and the courts-are leading the charge away from King Jesus and his Word to chaos and anarchy. Think only of Parliament's inaction to enact any kind of abortion law. We have had no law since 1988. For 15 years it has been open season in Canada on the unborn.

Or think of the recent court decisions moving forward the same-sex marriage agenda. And the proposed laws to squash even discussion on the matter.

The King's Word has been rejected. The King has been rejected. Restraint has been cast off, and the people perish.

Let us, as congregation of Christ, continue to acknowledge the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ who is seated at the right hand of God in majesty and glory.

2. And let us so continue to experience and enjoy the blessings of his royal kingship.

Answer 51 speaks about the blessings our exalted King pours out upon us. A double blessing. The church lives in the stream of heavenly blessings that Christ pours out. At the same time we live under the protecting hand of our King. The Lord is our salvation and our strength.

a. By His Holy Spirit he pours out heavenly gifts upon us His members. Heavenly gifts are gifts that come to us from heaven and that prepare us for heaven. Christ pours them out upon us.

We speak of heavenly gifts. But we ought not have a wrong understand of the word "heavenly." The material gifts we may enjoy are also heavenly gifts of Christ to us. You need to have the eye of faith opened to see that even your daily bread and a cup of cold water are heavenly gifts.

The greatest gift that Christ gives you is when he opens your heart through his Spirit and Word. When you begin to love the gospel and obey it. When young children love the Lord Jesus, that's a heavenly gift. When children obey their parents, honour and love them, that's a gift from heaven. To be content with what you have and not lust for more things, to know joy in the midst of affliction, to keep trusting the Lord in days of sorrow and loneliness, to deny yourself and take up the cross, to be able to forgive others-those are all heavenly gifts, heavenly blessings that the exalted Christ pours out upon us by His Holy Spirit.

Even the adversities we suffer in this life are heavenly blessings. The Lord is teaching us, purifying us, by them. At the moment, adversity is hard to bear up under. As Heb 12:11 says, No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Later on we say: It was good! It is well with me. It was a heavenly blessing.

Christ gives to his members according to their need and their circumstances. E.g., he will not give you the grace to die until the time comes for you to die. But when the time comes, he will give you the grace you need.

Christ gives daily what you need for that day. He does not fill you up with his grace and blessing for a year at a time. You need to read and pray daily and you need the weekly ministry of the Word. Through reading, prayer and preaching, Christ pours out his blessing upon you, daily and weekly.

Christ does not give us drops of grace but pours it out upon us in streams. He is not meager in bestowing his gifts. If you are spiritually impoverished, then you need to examine yourself. Then you do not have the floodgates open to receive the flood of grace; rather, you have built a dam. And if the heavenly blessings are not, in turn, flowing out of you to those around you, then it is only because you are not open to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Then you only show that you are so full of other (earthly) things that there is no room for the heavenly blessings.

You need to empty yourself of yourself. Then Christ will fill you with his Spirit, his graces, his blessings. It is only the living branch that can drink in the water. Dead branches receive nothing. In fact, they are cut off and thrown into the fire.

Be a living branch and so receive the living waters of the Spirit of Christ. Be like the thirsty ground that soaks up the water. Like a flower blossom that opens itself for the early morning dew.

b. Not only is Christ our salvation; he is also our strength. By his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies.

There still are enemies. Psalm 72 speaks about the time when all the King's enemies will be beaten and his righteousness and peace will reign over hill and valley. But we are not at that point. Enemies are still around.

The devil has been thrown out of heaven. God no longer listens to him. But he still tries to harass us. And at the end he will be released for a little while.

Even if his power is largely curtailed since Christ was enthroned and established his millennial kingdom, the devil still want to devour us. He only can if you allow him. If you don't allow him, he cannot touch you.

But even though his power is largely curtailed, we still have to contend with the other two enemies: the world and our own flesh. The world tempts us away from the straight and narrow path. It entices us with all the pretty things of this life.

And the enemy within, our own flesh, our own sinful desire, does not cease to attack us. The flesh, constantly calling to be indulged, satisfied.

However, if you stay connected to Christ, he will defend you and preserve you against all the enemies. You need to stay connected to Christ. Like your arm needs to stay connected to your head in order to function well, so you need to say connected to Christ your head to withstand the attacks of the enemy. As you stay connected to Christ and so strong in the face of the enemies, you will taste the goodness of his promise: I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

3. We speak thirdly of the comfort of the exaltation of our King.

Today Christ is seated at the right hand of God, but he will not stay there forever. The time is coming when he will leave the throne and return to earth. Visibly, majestically, gloriously. That will be the fulfilment of his exaltation.

The day and hour is unknown. We need to be ready. We need to watch.

It will be a day of comfort for the church. That day will mark the end of all sorrow. Do you experience sorrow? The day of the return of your Saviour will mark the end of your sorrow. Do you experience illness, physical or mental illness, depression, anxiety, fear, pain? The day of the return of your Saviour will mark the end of it all.

That day will mark the end of the persecution of the church. Today the church is persecuted in many places. We need to pray for the persecuted church. The day of the return of Christ will mark the end of all persecution.

A day of comfort for the church.

Also the day of judgment for the living and the dead. Only the believer will be comforted by the coming of that day. Only he can lift up his head and eagerly await the King who will be Judge from heaven. For it is only the believer who can say, as Michael Card has written in a song, "When I look into my judge's eyes, I'll see my Saviour there." The unbeliever will call for the rocks to cover him. The hypocrite will run and hide. Only the believer, the one who loves Christ, who followed Christ, will be able to look confidently and eagerly at the Lord Jesus Christ. For the believer knows that the Judge once submitted himself to the judgment of God for his sake and has removed all the curse from him.

That last day will also be a day of separation. His and our enemies will be cast into everlasting condemnation. But his chosen ones he will take to himself into heavenly joy and glory.

This is no Pharisaism speaking. This is not pride speaking. It is the deepest humility. Those who enter eternal heavenly joy and glory are the chosen ones. And chosen one are elected not on the basis of their own worthiness but by free grace.

We speak not out of a spirit of revenge. We seek no personal revenge. We do not say that Christ will cast my and his enemies into hell. Rather, we say that Christ will cast his and my enemies into hell. His enemies! His enemies, which, because they are his enemies are also my enemies. (Psa 139:21 NIV) Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have no enemies other than the enemies of Christ.

That they will be overcome gives us joy and comfort only because they always opposed the glory and kingship of Christ. Because they constantly rose up against Christ.

Look to Christ, beloved. If you look at your sins, you have everything to fear. But if you repent of your sin and look to the exalted Christ, you have nothing to fear.

He comes, He comes to judge the peoples In righteousness and equity; He will redeem the world from evil And righteous shall His judgment be!
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. AMEN and AMEN.



* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.ancasterchurch.on.ca/sermons/may1803pm.html

(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. George van Popta

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