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Author:Pastor Keith Davis
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Congregation:Bethel United Reformed Church
 Calgary, Alberta
 www.bethelurc.org
 
Title:The King of Glory
Text:Psalms 24 (View)
Occasion:Ascension Day
Topic:Christ's Kingship
 
Preached:2019-05-30
Added:2019-05-31
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)


Ascension Day 2019

 

Silent Prayer

*Call to Worship: Psalm 66: 1-4  

*Votum and Salutation

*Song of Praise: 

TPH # 280 Wondrous King, All Glorious

Scripture Reading:

Psalm 47

Song of Response:

           TPH # 370 A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing

Congregational Prayer

Offering and Offertory:

            Cause 

*Song of Preparation

            TPH # 374 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (1, 2, 3, 5)

Scripture Reading

Psalm 24

Sermon: The King of Glory

Prayer of Application

*Song of Dedication

            TPH #24 B The Earth and Its Riches 

*Benediction

*Doxology

            TPH #380 Crown Him with Many Crowns (1-2)

 

  1. Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne; hark! How the heav'nly anthem drowns all music but its own: awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
  2. Crown Him the Lord of life, triumphant o’er the grave, who rose victorious from the strife for those he came to save. His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high; who died, eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die. Amen  

 

*Moment of Meditation

*Postlude

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


The King of Glory

Psalm 24

Bethel Ascension Day May 30, 2019

 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ, Psalm 24 has been referred to as the coronation Psalm. The word coronation has to do with the crowning of the king – but more generally, it refers to entire ceremony of pomp and circumstance, with the king wearing all the royal regalia, where he not only has the crown placed upon his head, but where he sits also upon his royal throne and he is recognized, received and revered by his subjects as the new king! 

 

And while this Psalm was written at a time in Israel’s history when they had kings and crowns and thrones, it’s interesting that many commentators point out that the occasion for the writing of this Psalm was not the crowning of a new king in Israel, but the bringing up of the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-Edom (2 Samuel 6). It might seem a bit strange that this would be the occasion for the writing of this Psalm, but just consider this.   

 

What did the Ark of the Covenant represent? It represented the presence and the glory of God among His people. And just recall for a moment, what did the wife of Phineas the priest, and the daughter-in-law of Eli name her son on that awful, fateful day on which he was born? She named in Ichabod, which means the glory has departed, because on that day the Philistines had not only killed her husband Phineas in battle, but they had also captured the Ark of the Covenant!

 

The glory of the Lord has departed Israel! But David sought to restore the glory by bringing the ark back to Jerusalem! And in doing so, David knew that it was not a simple wooden box that he was bringing back. David was not reclaiming a lost possession, an ancient artifact or a priceless relic of the Hebrew cult. No. David knew that the Ark symbolized the very presence of God among his people and that is what David wanted to restore.

 

And so as David brought the ark back, he and all Israel with him celebrated and danced and worshipped because God was going to up to Zion, back up to take his rightful place! The gates were opened, and the Lord, Jehovah, the true King of Israel was coming back to take his royal throne and to rule among His people once again!

 

And that is where we see the beautiful connection to Ascension Day. This is the day we celebrate our Lord’s going up to the heavenly Zion, to sit on his royal throne surrounded by the heavenly hosts all singing the praises of His glory. This is the day the church of Jesus Christ celebrates the coronation of Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! This is the day we celebrate the glory of the Lord filling the heavens above, which calls us to anticipate the day when the knowledge and glory of God will the earth as the waters cover the sea.

 

So on this Ascension Day we consider Psalm 24 as God’s People Adore the King of Glory.

1) His Royal Claim

2) His Righteous Character

3) His Regal Entrance            

 

1) His Royal Claim

As you can see by my points, this Psalm is divided into three distinct sections, and joined by one unifying theme. But I have to admit, at first glance, when you come to this Psalm and read it, that unifying theme isn’t readily apparent. It’s hard to see at first how verses 1-2 connect with verses 3-6; and then how verses 3-6 connect with 7-10.

 

So in an effort to make things easier, so you can see the connection more clearly, I’m going to flip Psalm 24 upside down a moment (turn it on its head). For just a moment, let’s take a look at the way this Psalm ends.

 

After asking twice “Who is the King of Glory”, the Psalmist clearly identifies Him twice: first he says: in verse 8 he says, the LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. And then again in verse 10: the Lord Almighty (or the Lord of hosts) – He is the king of glory!

 

So the king that the Psalmist is talking about here is Jehovah (YHWH). He is the eternal and supreme God. He is identified with that special and holy name of God that has reference to Him being the Covenant God of Israel – who called Abraham and chose him and promised to be a God unto him and to his seed; and promised that all nations would be blessed through Him. 

 

This LORD is the King of all glory! The Lord is the one who is coming to His people, who is being received, adored and praised and worshipped as He receives his rightful crown (the crown that he has earned), and as He sits on the Throne that He has won by his hard fought battle!

 

Now, that’s the same King, the same LORD being spoken about in verse 1 where it says: the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. In fact, and I know you can’t see this in the English text, but in the Hebrew, the original langue of the Old Testament, the very first word of this Psalm is YHWH. It reads YHWH’S is the earth and everything in it. Or ‘To YHWH is/belongs the earth and everything in it.

 

And you see, the effect that has on this Psalm is that it puts everything into perspective. Yes, the opening 2 verses are referring back to creation, taking us back to what God did in Genesis 1-2 where He created all things out of nothing, where he separated the land from the waters above and the waters below; where he spoke and brought things into being -- the light, as well as the earth, and the sun and mon and stars and planets and galaxies near and far -- the entire universe!

 

And the Lord also brought forth the animals and creatures on the earth and in the sea and above the earth and under the earth, all according to their types and kinds; as well as every plant and tree and bush all according to its kind. And God also created man to be his image bearers -- male and female he created them.

 

And yet these opening verses of Psalm 24 are not so much a statement of the LORD as Creator, as much as they are a statement of the LORD as the sovereign and rightful KING over all that He has created. This is the LORD’S Royal Claim! He is the rightful KING and LORD over all – but notice, particular attention is given to ALL THAT DWELLS THEREIN!

 

Yes, this can refer to the cattle on a thousand hills, and the beasts of the fields, the fish of the sea, and birds of the air but it especially and particularly refers to the countless millions and billions of people who live on the earth, who have been created in God’s image and therefore are subjects of the King, and who owe him all glory and allegiance and praise and worship and honor.

 

In fact, Spurgeon sees these words as a subtle (or not so subtle) rebuke against Israel for her shortsightedness and her closemindedness in thinking that their God -- the Lord and King of all glory -- was only the God of the Hebrews! As we’re going to see with Jonah, that was certainly his problem. He couldn’t bear the thought that His LORD could also be the LORD of the people of Nineveh.

 

Spurgeon wrote this about the bigotry of the Jews in Jesus day: recall how angry the Jews were with our Lord when he told them that there were widows in Israel, but the Lord’s prophet was not sent to any of them, but only to the Gentile widow of Zarephath; and that there were many lepers in Israel, but none of them was healed except Naaman the Syrian. And we recollect, too, how angry the Jews were at the mention of Paul's being sent to the Gentiles. And so we are amazed that they should have remained in such blindness, and yet have sung this psalm, which shows so clearly that God is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also.

 

And so now I hope you see more clearly how these opening two verses tie in with the rest of this Psalm – it’s the Royal Claim of our Lord where he says that I am LORD, the sovereign King over all people everywhere who have ever been and ever will be. The body and soul of every human man belongs to me by my divine right as I AM Creator and King.    

 

And all mankind everywhere, in all ages, and all nations, is to come before me and bend the knee and bring to me all homage and worship and glory and praise and glory! And if I could interject here a moment, and show you what this looks like from a scene right out of Revelation 5:13 where is says: 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” 

 

Ultimately, that is the scene envisioned by the Psalmist -- where Jesus Christ Himself, the Lamb of God, the King of Kings has ascended and is enthroned in glory, and everything living thing in heaven and earth and all that is within them falls down and worships at His feet!

 

That is the scene in glory above right now; and when our Lord returns again, that will be the scene in the new heavens and the new earth! But now the question presents itself: how do we get to there? How do we who are on earth below (verses 1-2), ever hope to attain to heaven above where the King dwells (verses 7-10)?

 

How can we who are sinful and fallen people, who are objects of God’s wrath; who have rebelled against the LORD our King, who have thrown off the rule of God and of His Anointed Son, who only deserve the wrath and condemnation of our King – how is it that we can have any hope of approaching our glorious King to give Him the praise and honor that is due His name?

 

2) His Righteous Character

That’s where verses 3-6 come in, and this is where we consider our second point: His Righteous Character. The Psalmists asks: Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His Holy Place? Which is to say, who is worthy? Who in David’s day was worthy to come unto Mt. Zion to worship the LORD? To offer him sacrifices? To call upon his name in prayer and praise?

 

Who is worthy? Who is holy enough? Righteous enough? Was David worthy? Was Solomon worthy? Was Abraham and Moses worthy? Was Sarah or Ruth or any other woman of virtue worthy? Are you worthy? Am I, a Pastor, worthy?  The answer is the same for everyone. No one (in and of ourselves) is worthy. Not one (Romans 3:23).

 

And let’s keep in mind what happens to those who aren’t worthy, and who try to approach the LORD anyway. If we use the occasion of the Psalm – of David bringing the ark of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem, we only need to remember that this was not the first time David has attempted to do this. Do you recall what happened the first time?

 

In 2 Samuel 6 we read that David had loaded the ark of the Lord on a cart drawn by oxen (instead of having Levites carry the ark on poles as instructed by God); as the oxen walked along, and as David and the whole house of Israel was celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with cymbals and harps and tambourines, one of the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reched out his hand to steady the ark (vs 6). At that moment, the wrath of the Lord broke out against Uzzah and the Lord struck him down and killed him on the spot.

 

Due to that incident David was angry at God (when he should have been angry at himself), and David was afraid to bring the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. David was content to keep God away at a safe distance – for again, who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Who can stand or dwell in his Holy Place! Not lowly sinners, that’s for sure!

 

David left the ark at the home of Obed-Edom for three full months before he went back for it a second time, this time having learned his lesson and remembering how the Lord had instructed Israel to carry the ark. But that story just reminds us of the fact that God in His holiness is a consuming fire! He is the thrice holy God who is without sin and who also requires perfect righteousness.

 

The short answer to ‘who can ascend the hill of the Lord, and who can stand in his Holy Place’ is not David, but it was David’s true son; Jesus Christ. Jesus the son of David, the only Begotten Son of God; true and fully God and yet true and fully man. He is the One who came from the Father full of grace and truth; He is the one whose character and person is holy and righteous and good, the one in whom there was no sin, nor a sinful human nature.

 

And we know that when Jesus Christ suffered and died on Calvary’s cross (as Isaiah 53 says), it was for our sins and transgressions that he had died. Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

And II Corinthians 5:21 says the same thing essentially: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become … what?? That we might become the righteousness of God. That we might become as righteous, as holy, and as worthy as Jesus Christ Himself – because if indeed we are in Christ, his righteousness has come our own!

 

As Lord’s Day 23 of the Heidelberg Catechism puts it: God, without any merit of my own, out of sheer grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ; as if I had never sinned nor ever been a sinner, and as if I myself had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me!  

 

You see, that’s how it happens! That’s how unholy, unworthy, undeserving sinners like Abraham, and Moses and David, and Uzzah, and you and me and our children, and all the generations before us and all the generations yet to come, can ever hope to attain to heaven; can ever hope to approach God without being utterly destroyed by God’s holy wrath.

 

It’s only by believing on the One Savior and Mediator whom God sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, and by fully trusting in His righteousness as our own. That’s the only way anyone was ever saved – even the Old Testament saints. For they too had to have faith in God; faith to look to God; to trust in God and obey, and God counted their faithfulness in Him as righteousness! 

 

And to this very day, when we preach the Gospel here in church among the people of God; or when we share the Gospel out there, among the nations who don’t yet know Jesus Christ, we preach the same message. For you see, the way to heaven is the same for everyone! No one comes to the Father, Jesus said, except through me!

 

And when we do believe, when we do believe in and trust in Jesus Christ, then it means that we also believe that all our sins are forgiven; the guilt and fear has been removed!! So that now we may, as David did the second time, approach the LORD our King with confidence and boldness; to worship and to praise, knowing that in Christ we have clean hands and a pure heart; a soul that does not lift itself up to idols but that is lifted up to the Lord (see Psalm 25:1)

 

So Christ and His righteousness is the key to understanding the second part of this Psalm (and Psalm 15 for that matter). Which then brings us back to the third and final part:   

 

3) His Regal Entrance             

I mentioned before that this Psalm is a Psalm of coronation – a ceremony of the crowning of a new king. And that is really brought to light when we connect this with the account of our Lord’s Ascension. We see this Psalm in a whole new light – in the light of the crowning of the King of Heaven!

    

In making the connection between this Psalm and our Lord’s physical ascension into heaven, Spurgeon writes: We have here a picture of our Lord's glorious ascent. We see him rising from amidst the little group upon Olivet, and as the cloud receives him, angels reverently escort him to the gates of heaven. The ancient gates of the eternal temple are personified and addressed in song by the attending cohorts of rejoicing spirits.

"Lo his triumphal chariot waits, And angels chant the solemn lay. 'Lift up your heads, ye heavenly gates; Ye everlasting doors, give way."

 

He adds: They are called upon "to lift up their heads," as though with all their glory they were not great enough for the All-glorious King. Let all things do their utmost to honour so great a Prince; let the highest heaven put on unusual loftiness in honour of "the King of Glory." He who, fresh from the cross and the tomb, now rides through the gates of the New Jerusalem is higher than the heavens; great and everlasting as they are, those gates of pearl are all unworthy of him.

 

And to add to the glory and majesty of this most wonderful and memorable occasion is this antiphonal questioning and answering that was probably sung back and forth by the people: who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle! Who is he this king of glory? The LORD Almighty, He is the King of Glory!

 

It’s as if to say He and He alone, is the KING and to Him and to Him alone is due all glory and honor and power and praise!  Tonight, and every day, you and I are called (just like those ancient gates) to lift up our heads and our hearts and voices and lives to the LORD and to praise and exalt and magnify His name.

 

Our victorious LORD, our conquering KING has gone up into the heaven on our behalf. There he sits enthroned in all glory and beauty and majesty – and from there He exercise all power and dominion and authority over heaven and earth, and powers and principalities. From there He builds His Kingdom; He gathers-in the lost; and He brings about His sovereign will and good purposes all over the earth.

 

In addition to that the LORD sits at the Father’s right Hand, there to be our heavenly High Priest, who lives to intercede for us before the Father. And from there Jesus Christ also (through the working of the Holy Spirit) pours out upon us His church every spiritual benefit and blessing imaginable – the blessings of His Spirit of joy and peace and patience, of grace and mercy and love, and of power and unity and a sense of purpose and calling in this life – and assurance for the life to come. All that is ours because of our Mighty and all glorious King.  

 

And as if that was not enough good news for one sermon – the even better news is that just as He promised, this LORD and King is coming back again. And he is coming soon to usher in His eternal and everlasting Kingdom, where He will be all in all, and where every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. AMEN.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://bethelurc.com/

(c) Copyright 2019, Pastor Keith Davis

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