November 24, 2019

Sermon for Christ the King, Sunday November 24, 2019

Passage: 1 Timothy 1:17
Service Type:

Sermon for Christ the King – Sunday November 22, 2019
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:4b–6 (NKJV)

1 Timothy 1:17 (ESV)
17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
The King Eternal, the King of Kings,
Dear Fellow Citizens of His Kingdom –

She is quite active for the ripe old age of 93. She was just 25 years old when her father, King George VI died, and has been the Queen of England ever since his death, on February 6, 1952. She is the longest tenured monarch in the history of the British Empire, 67 years. If she makes it to the age of 96, she will have been the longest ruling European monarch in history, having ruled for 70 years. When Queen Elizabeth dies her son, Prince Charles will take the throne (71 years); and then his son, Prince William after him (37 years).

He is the eternal Son of God. When he entered the human race in about 4 BC, He was born of a Virgin named Mary. He did not begin to be 9 months before His Birth, for He had existed from eternity. There never was a time when He was not. After living a sinless life on earth for 33 years, He laid down his life to make atonement for every sin of every human being who has and who will ever live. Afterward, on the 3rd Day, He arose from the dead and 40 days later He ascended into heaven where He sat down at the right hand of God, having been given the highest place of authority and power in the Universe.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Exalted Christ of God, has been ruling the universe for nearly 2,000 years…but you won’t find his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. In fact, the world at large does not recognize the Kingship or the Authority of Christ the King.

 Pontius Pilate – When He revealed to the Roman Governor that He was – in fact – a King, Pontius Pilate couldn’t believe his ears and did not recognize Jesus’ kingship or authority. He wrote an inscription to be nailed above His Head on the Cross, which read: “This is the King of the Jews.”
 Jewish Leaders – Even his own people, the religious leaders of the Jews mocked His Kingship and offered allegiance to the Roman Emperor, Caesar.
 Romans Soldiers – They made fun of Jesus’ claim to be king, showing their scorn by outfitting him in a faded purple robe, weaving him a crown of thorns and a stick as a scepter. They bowed down before him and offered him sour wine.
 Criminals – Even one of the men executed alongside of Jesus mocked Him and called upon Him to prove his authority and power by saving him. Sadly, only his counterpart – also a criminal – wanted anything to do with Jesus Kingdom.

Today is the last Sunday in the Church Year; entitled simply: “Christ the King.” This is no joke. This morning we are reminded that Christ has qualities unlike any other King this world has ever or will ever know. Christ is deserving of praise above every other King this world has ever or will ever know.

May God the Holy Spirit grant that we live in faith and die faithful to Christ the King.

Heavenly Father, ever since the beginning, Satan has been trying tirelessly to turn eyes and hearts away from you and your Word and your Son and Savior Jesus Christ. When doubts arise in my heart and trial and temptation come my way, help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross to rescue me from eternal death. He destroyed the work of the devil (1 John 3:8) and is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11). In every tribulation and affliction, let me always see Jesus as the strength of my heart, the joy of my life, and the certainty of my salvation. In His Name I pray. Amen.


Sensationalism…we live in an age of sensationalism. Reality, honesty and humility don’t count for much anymore. Social Media thrives because sensational headlines get us to click the link. It’s all about spin and perception of reality.

 Businesses – nearly every business claims to offer the lowest prices or the best service. It just wouldn’t do to say, “Great Prices” or “Honest Service.” It isn’t enough to offer a good product, you have to be the biggest, the best and the greatest – or at least claim to be. We are constantly being told – this or that – is the best…you just gotta try it. Have you listened to a commercial lately?

 Athletes who find success are quickly referred to as the Best, the Greatest. Now some athletes are dubbed – GOAT – the Greatest of All Time. I understand success, but what kind of foolishness suggests that NO ONE will EVER be a BETTER player?

It’s getting to the point that certain words don’t mean anything anymore. Millions of dollars used to be an immense number…but not anymore. Literally rarely means literally. A miracle is almost never really a miracle. Forever…means nothing.

In the Word of God before us this morning we find some words that really do mean what they say…but that’s only because they are applied to Christ the King. There is no other King who has these qualities or who deserves this kind of honor and glory…He is – literally – the most exalted King of Time and of Eternity.

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,

What does it mean when it says that Christ is the ‘King of the Ages’? When we hear the word ‘ages’ we may think of a period of time in history. We probably think of an ‘age’ as a fixed period of time – like the ‘age of reason’ or ‘the middle ages.’ When this word is used in the plural it often refers to an undefined and unlimited period of time. In fact, at the very end of this verse, the words ‘Forever and ever’ are literally ‘the ages of the ages.’

When Christ is called the King of the Ages it means that He is the Eternal King. Earthly Kings and their greatness are measured by the length of their rule and the things that they accomplished during their rule. Earthly Kings are confined by time and their rules brought to an end by death. King David ruled for 40 years (1 Kings 2:10) and then he died.

When God sent an angel to the Virgin Mary, He promised that her Son’s rule would not be cut short by death (Luke 1:30b-33, NKJV):

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Christ isn’t only called the King of the Ages, but also described as ‘immortal.’ The word that is translated ‘immortal’ means ‘imperishable.’ In 1st Corinthians the word is used to contrast the crown of olive leaves received by ancient Olympic champions (perishable) and the crown of life given to those victorious in Christ (9:25):

25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

In contrast to every earthly king and queen – who are perishable, who die and their reign comes to an end; Christ the King is imperishable and neither He nor His Kingdom will dry out and fade. He is the Eternal King, the imperishable. He is also invisible.

Earthly Kings are in the spotlight. If they are to be successful, they have to understand that they are visible. For this reason, their public and personal lives have to be beyond reproach. They have to be respectful and set an example of honesty, integrity and dignity. The King has to keep his word and take responsibility for his actions. He has to be fair and enforce the Law in his realm. The King has to look the part of a king and to cultivate his image.

No earthly king is above reproach. Every king has a skeleton in the closet, a face that needs saving.

Christ the King, having taken up full use of His Divine Power, is invisible. Even if he was visible, He wouldn’t need to cultivate his image or be rid of a skeleton in his closet. He wouldn’t need to take responsibility for His actions, for He was Himself without sin, perfect and pure. It was he alone (1 Peter 2:22, NKJV):

“Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth;”

He is the only God. Every other king ever connected to the human race…was only human. The Emperors of the Roman Empire may have claimed to have been divine their personal lives were a parade of proof to the contrary.
Still Roman citizens and vassals thought twice about publicly criticizing the Emperor, for to do so was to risk punishment or death!

Christ the King is the only God. He is not like us and yet it is the human way to grumble against and to criticize Him. He is imperishable…we mortal; He is invisible we are seen; He is the only God and we His Creation. He is merciful and patient. For us, it is the fact that Christ is the only God that gives us comfort and confidence in the face of EVERY ENEMY.

For while they mocked Christ’s Kingship when He came in humility to save; while He is openly mocked and treated with contempt and scorn today, the Day is coming when that will all change. For (Philippians 2:9-11):

“…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Christ the King has qualities unlike any other king. Christ the King is deserving of praise above every king.

17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Christ the King deserves honor. The word translated honor is a word that also means ‘price or value.’ If you own something that has been given a high value, is worth many thousands of dollars, you treat it with respect, you take care of it. We might say that the higher the value, the higher the price, the greater the honor.

Our mountain of sin – a mountain we could never hope to atone for – is forgiven in Christ. It isn’t just forgotten; atonement has been made; forgiveness obtained for every single sin. Instead of eternal punishment, we are promised eternal life in the presence of our creator, a life without sin, sorrow, death or crying.

We bear His Name. We are called ‘Christians.’ So, do we bring honor to that name…or do we bring it shame? Do we try to fit in and purposely tarnish our own reputations to escape any trouble in this life? We do, to our own shame.

Still, He loves us and strengthens us by His Word. He helps us to mature through Word and Sacrament so that we ‘Hallow His Name and His Word.’ He forgives us. Don’t be ‘shamed’ into honoring the King. Look at the Cross and you won’t be able to help yourself.

Christ the King deserves glory, forever and ever. It belongs to Him. He will receive that glory. He will receive it from the mouths of those who die believing in Him. He will receive it from the angels who surround his throne. We will, by the grace of God, join them to sing his praise forever and ever.

Now perhaps you noticed that these words, this song of praise or doxology, is near the end of the 1st Chapter of the 1st Letter to Timothy. What was it that the Holy Spirit used to prompt the Apostle Paul to write these words? It was the fact that God had mercy on him, on a man who was an enemy, a blasphemer and chief of sinners. We could stand next to Paul and say some of the same things (1 Timothy 1:12-17):

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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