#30 KING Of kings And LORD Of lords
This morning I want us to ponder the meaning of the words we find in (Rev. 12:10-12) “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. A similar passage is seen in chapter 11 and verse 15 where we read “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
You see, God really is in control of all things. We see in the book of Genesis that God created the world from nothing. Throughout the books of the Bible we see Him sustaining all things, directing all things ordering all things according to His divine will. And here in the book of Revelation, God is bringing all things to an end. It is interesting that scientists say that the universe is winding down but they will not acknowledge the One who is doing the winding for they don’t know Him! And while these men place billions and sometimes trillions of years into the equation God is the One who has set the timetable for all things. And what we are to be about in this world but this: since we were called with a holy calling, made new creatures in Christ Jesus and re-created unto good works that God ordained beforehand that we should walk in them, we are to be about our Father’s business. We are to be living as strangers and aliens in this world of sin. But we are not to live as monks. We are not to sequester ourselves in some monastery so as not to have anything to do with people. According to Jesus we are to be letting our light shine before men.
Now consider that thought for a moment. We are light bearers! Is the light we have our own? I doth say thee nay! In the Apostle Paul in (Eph 5:8-14) says 8 “For you were once darkness, that is, by ourselves we are dark. We are naturally like a house with no lights on. We are like a deep dark cave. But God moved upon our dark, dead spirits and Paul says, “but now you are light in the Lord. By way of illustration consider the moon. It has no light of its own. It merely reflects the light of the sun as do all the planets. They shine with a light not their own. So do we! We were once darkness. We were once black with the stain of sin that went clear down to the bone! But God had mercy and transformed us from children of darkness, children of wrath into children of righteousness, children of the light. And the command to us is this: Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So if the command from Jesus is to let our light shine before men what does that mean but that we are to be hidden in Christ, that when men see us they are seeing Him. There is some truth to the statement that we may be the only Jesus some men see in this life. And so we see how great our responsibility to live godly in Christ Jesus so that men will see our good works and glorify Him! If men are merely seeing us, if we are hiding the light under a bushel basket or under a bed then there is a problem. Remember that it is He who has saved us and not we ourselves; we are the sheep of His pasture. We once believed ourselves to be kings of our own destiny. But one day God visited us and the terrible truth came out; that we were merely fooling ourselves…that our thrones were made of plastic and our crowns merely colored paper. But once we were dethroned we found joy and peace. But isn’t it interesting how quickly we become complacent. We laugh and lament over the children of Israel as they turned from the true God who had demonstrated His existence and followed after idols of stone that could do nothing. And yet there is nothing new under the sun. when we look away from God to other things for joy and comfort we too are following after idols.
But I as you to remember He who said in (Isa 42:8) “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Our God is He who told the Israelites that He is a jealous God. He is no one to fool around with. I ask you to consider the question of Elijah as being put to us today. We find it in (1Ki 18:21) “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. This is really a very simple question. Some people try to make it hard but simply put, will you live for Jesus or for yourself? Will you obey the command to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself? Or will you strive with all of your might to be supremely selfish and heartless and evil minded and suspicious and…I could go on. I want you to notice the response of those who heard the question. And the people answered him not a word. What is your response to the challenge of the word of God?
This is why God tells us in His word to examine ourselves, to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith and that is what this lesson is all about. This testing is not just for new believers but it is for all of us. Paul said in (1 Cor. 9:27) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. I believe that this speaks of rigorous self examination. Those who have undisciplined bodies are like those who believe that everything physical is evil and all restraints are off. But Paul in (Romans 13:14) calls us to holiness of life, calling us to prove or back up our words with deeds, that is by our actions, making our calling and election sure. He says,” Let us be Christ’s men from head to foot, and give no chances to the flesh to have its fling. So holiness of life, being doers of the word and not just hearers only, this is the proving ground for true faith. The Christian faith is founded on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It is not in cleverly devised tales but faith founded upon fact. It is the fact that Jesus Christ the Son of God came in the flesh, lived a sinless life in our place, died a sacrificial death in our place and rose from the dead as the first fruits of all who will follow Him. In whom have you placed your faith? In what do you trust? Is it in the King of kings and Lord of lords? Or are you looking elsewhere? John spells out exactly Who it is that we are to trust in his first Epistle. He says in (1 John 1:1) 1What was from the beginning, In the beginning, from all eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, the eternal Word. Then he says…what we have heard, John and the other Apostles heard the Voice of the Eternal God proclaiming that “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”!
Now others heard Him as well but not all heard with the ear of faith. In fact, after Jesus spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood many of His ‘disciples’ said, “This is a hard saying. Who can hear it!” Paraphrased this statement would read, “That man is out of His mind. I’m not going to stay around any longer and listen to Him.” You see, not all had ears to hear with. Not all had been given the grace to receive His message. Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our report and to whom has the Arm of the Lord been revealed?” In (John 1:10) the Apostle said 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
And such were some of us. We did not always delight in the message of the Gospel. It was foolishness to us, a hollow sounding message that gave us the willies. But then God in mercy reached down and touched us with His divine grace and changed us. Our stony hearts were replaced with hearts of flesh and our dead souls were resurrected. Jesus called us saying “COME FORTH” and we came out of the grave of self, of spiritual death. We stepped out of the tomb at the sound of His voice and stepped into His marvelous light. (John 1:12-13) 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. Now John speaks of something that only a select few have had the privilege of experiencing. John saw our Lord! He continues saying…(1 John 1:1)”what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life…
What a blessing that must have been. But the scriptures tell us that blessed are those who have not seen and still believed! But again not all thought that the sight of Jesus was a blessing. The Pharisees saw red. The people for the most part saw a source of entertainment. John states it so eloquently (John 1:11) 11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. Isaiah said, “Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. So we see that the sight of Jesus did not bring joy to everyone’s heart. But for those select few who were given eyes to see; what an incredible blessing to look upon the face of Jesus Christ and beholding Him, to see The Eternal Father. Remember Jesus words to Philip: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” And so John is giving an incredible eye witness account. He is saying in no uncertain terms, “I SAW THE LORD! I am an eyewitness to the fact that He lived, died and was raised from the dead. John was not alone here. Consider (Luke 1:2) where he speaks of the reliability of the Apostles saying of their accounts…2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I am relating to you the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles. Next consider Peter who along with James and John, the author of our epistle, was part of the inner circle. They were the closest of Jesus’ men. Peter said in (2 Pet 1:16-18) we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, In other words we weren’t telling you a story that we received 2nd or 3rd hand. This was not just some incredible tale we dreamed up but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. We were on the Mount of Transfiguration and saw the Lord unveiled for a moment and so we read…17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
Now I ask you to remember back to our studies in 1st John and the evil Cerenthus, the Gnostic false teacher and preacher of another gospel, who had infiltrated the Church and had begun teaching his false doctrine of Jesus. He was a ravenous wolf who came in not sparing the flock of God. Remember too that the Gnostics taught that Jesus had no physical body because anything physical was evil. They also taught that Jesus was not divine but that “The Christ” entered Him for 3 ½ years and then departed from Him prior to His crucifixion.
But Peter says, “Hey, I am an eyewitness of His majesty. I was with Him. This is the same thing that John has already stated: that he and the other disciples had seen, heard, and touched Jesus. Now he reinforces his eyewitness statement by saying to those who teach that Jesus was a mere phantom or that it is the ‘Christ Consciousness’ that is the key and that we are to look for some mystical experience, that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. He says…2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us… This passage is much like what John said in (John 1:14) 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. Now we continue in (1 John 1:3) 3what we have seen and heard what we have experienced as eyewitnesses we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. It is not some mystical state of mind that we have arrived at through years of staring at walls or through meditation. We have a relationship with the Eternal God through His Son Jesus Christ. We have fellowship, communion, and a personal relationship with the God of the universe. We have been made partakers of the eternal life that comes from God. He has sent His Son into the world to redeem men from every tribe, tongue and nation, to cause those who were His bitter enemies to become His children. Those who were far off have been brought near. The dead are raised, the deaf hear and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And we are eyewitnesses of His majesty.
It is 4These things we write, so that our joy both ours and yours may be made complete. I want you to think back for a moment. Go back to the time before you were born again. Up till the day we were saved, we were joyless people. We were void of peace and happiness. Oh there were times when we could be said to be happy but those times were short-lived. The reason for this is because we were subject to our emotions, to our circumstances. If things were going well, so were we. If things took a turn for the worse, so did we. But now we walk in newness of life. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. Now we walk by faith. We live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. We trust in God to see us through each day. And though there are times of trouble we can truly say that we have found rest for our souls, a place of peace from the storms of life. We have been given a future and a hope, strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Were we to die this moment we would rejoice for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Would we not all agree that such a prospect as that is far more preferable than to remain here in this vale of tears?
Our lives are now directed by the Holy Spirit of God Who leads us and guides us in the way we should go, Who councils us and watches over us! On a daily basis we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Each day we are conformed a little more to the image of Jesus Christ as each day the pruning process of sanctification eliminates the sinful things that cause us so much grief. And each day we long more and more for our heavenly home. Each day our prayer is a little more earnest when we say, “Even so come Lord Jesus, come quickly.” And what we see in our opening text is just that, the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. Look at it again. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ… We are, as Peter put it, looking for a new heavens and a new earth, and a place where righteousness dwells. We are looking for a new day when two bit dictators have no place to stand, where sin’s ugly head is forever banished from our sight and where we will bask in the radiant glow of the holy light of God Himself. In this place there will be no atheists, no agnostics, no denominations, no programs. There will only be a glorious forever and ever of worship and praise to our King of kings and Lord of lords. Look at that phrase a little more closely.
There are indeed kings and lords on this earth. And some of them hold absolute sway over their subjects. But they are subject to a higher authority. In (Ecclesiasties 5:8) we see that high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them. And remember who some of these high officials are. Nebuchadnezzar found out that there were ‘holy watchers’ observing him. Evil men are allowed to prosper for a while but their lives are just like ours. It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away! (James 4:14) We know that on the appointed day, Jesus will return to this earth and pull the curtain down on all that is evil. These ‘boasters’ who wallow in their own self importance will be rudely awakened on that day.
And what is our attitude toward them to be? Should we be calling for their heads before the Lord? Let me tell you what our attitude should be. (2Co 5:11) 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; If you will but ponder the idea of hell for even a moment you will pray like you never prayed before that God would have mercy on these poor sinners who don’t know their right hand from their left. You will pray that God would remember that they are but dust and would forgive them of their sins and deliver them from the wrath to come, that He would deliver them from that great and terrible day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. For many will say on that day, “Lord, Lord!” But He will not regard them except to say, “I never knew you. Depart from Me you evil doers!” The words of Joshua ring just as true for us today as they did nearly 4000 years ago when they were first spoken. (Josh 24:14-15) 14 “Now therefore, fear, (be afraid of, stand in awe of, be astonished by, reverence, honor, respect) the Lord, and with this godly fear serve Him in sincerity completely and wholeheartedly, and in truth, that is with stability, continuance, faithfulness, and reliability and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Turn away from the idols that creep into your mind or turn you aside from God. With wholehearted zeal Serve the Lord!
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. If Jehovah is God serve Him but if Baal or money or sex or whatever else you can dream up is you god, then serve him. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I will follow Him who is holy and true, He who is the true light, for He alone is King of kings and Lord of lords!