121125 Revelation 1:4 - 6

Last Updated on Monday, 26 November 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Revelation 1:4 – 6
Theme: Who is This King That We Worship?
He is Jesus Christ:
1. Who Loves Us
2. Who Freed Us From Our Sins
3. Who Made Us to Serve Him

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

A couple of weeks ago, when we celebrated "Last Judgment Sunday", I asked the question "Where is Jesus?" We talked about how many people are tempted into thinking that Jesus will never come again as the Judge of all mankind. Based on God's Word, we answered that question assured that there is a Day when Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, will come again; and, yes, he is coming as THE JUDGE of everyone. So today, as we conclude another Church Year by celebrating "Christ the King Sunday", I would like to ask another question: "Who is this King that we Worship?" Based on God's Word we will see that Jesus Christ is our King, who loves us; who freed us from our sins; and who made us to serve him.

The last book of the New Testament, Revelation, was written by Jesus' disciple John as he lived in exile on the island of Patmos. The Christian Church was suffering through a great persecution. Most likely there were many who felt the world was against them and hated them for being Christians. Yet John reminds his readers of the love that they enjoy. "To him who loves us...", John was led to write. Notice the tense of the verb. John reminds his readers that Jesus their Savior "loves" them now just as he had in the past and just as he will in the future. While the world may hate them, believers in the King of Kings enjoy his never-ending, never-failing and unconditional love. Because of the love of Jesus Christ, John was able to write to his fellow Christians, "Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth."

That same love that Jesus showed to the members of the early Christian Church is the same love that he showers upon you and me. It is a love that is in no way earned by us. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that our sinfulness and our sins have only earned for us God's wrath and anger. But the Bible tells us that God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son to live, to suffer and to die as the payment price for your sins, my sins and the sins of the whole world. By the amazing grace of our Savior-God we believe in Jesus as our one and only Savior from our sins. Year after year, month after month, day after day the Lord showers us with his love. And the Bible assures us that not one thing will be able to separate us from the constant love of our Savior. In Romans chapter eight we read this comfort, "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

What is it that the love of Jesus our King has done for us? Here in Revelation chapter 1 we are told that Jesus Christ is the one "who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood..." Notice what has happened with the tenses of the verbs in the verse. Jesus "loves" his people always. In his never-ending, love Jesus has "freed" them from their sins through his blood. Freedom in Christ is sure. It is certain. It is "a done deal." Imagine how these words must have struck the ears of first century believers. Many of them, like John, were being held captive by the Roman government. Yet the Good News for them is that they enjoy a freedom, even while being held captive by those who hate them. Jesus Christ came in their place and set them free from the guilt of their sins through the shedding of his blood. Perhaps as the early Christians read these words from John, it brought to mind for them the comforting Word of the Lord in Isaiah, chapter 61, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners."

As we talked about on Last Judgment Sunday, because of your sins, because of my sins, we deserve to live in torment forever in the blast furnace fire of hell that will never go out. All our sins have earned for us is to be held forever in hells' dungeon. But what Good News is ours to enjoy on this Christ the King Sunday! The One that we worship, Jesus Christ our Lord, is the One who won freedom for you and me. No longer is the devil able to keep us chained up in the prison of hell. No longer are we held captive by a guilty conscious. Our freedom from sin is complete. No more payment is due on our part. Jesus Christ has done it all for us. Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life as our substitute. Jesus came and offered up his body and shed his blood on the cross to make full payment for our debt of sin. Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday so that you and I are able to be 100% sure that his Father in heaven accepted the payment price of his Son's perfect life and his innocent blood that was shed on the cross. We can be sure that, when he returns in all his power on the Great Last Day, Jesus our King will come again to take us to be with him forever in the glory of heaven. How are we able to be so sure? Because we are told that he "loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood..." Or, as we read in Galatians chapter 5, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

This passage from Galatians chapter six leads us to the final point we would like to consider this morning. Who is this King that we worship? He is Jesus who made us to serve him. Our verse from Revelation chapter 1 states it in this way, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." Perhaps there were many Christians who, in the face of persecution, felt they were alone in world. Yet God the Holy Spirit, through the pen of John, assures them that they are part of a large group, a kingdom of believers. Here they are also called "priests". In the Old Testament, the priests served day and night in the temple. They offered the sacrifices to the Lord. They prayed to the Lord on behalf of the people. Through the forgiving blood of Jesus believers are his priests. They are able to go directly to the throne of God with their prayers. They offer their sacrifices of praise as they live lives that give all honor to the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Do you ever feel that you are alone? Do you ever feel like the whole world is against you? The fact is that far too often we sinfully grumble and complain, thinking that we have to go through our life all by ourselves. But, as we repent of the sin of doubting our Lord's loving presence, we know that this sin is one that Christ forgiveness for as well. And the Good News for you and me to hear today is that we are never alone. Because of the blood of Jesus we are part of the great Kingdom of all believers. Because of Jesus, you and I are Saints Triumphant. Our Living and Ascended Lord assures you and me that he is in heaven, watching over us each and every day. Because of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for you and me we have direct access to the throne of our God, and can be certain that he hears and answers each one of our prayers. Through Jesus Christ we live lives that offer all praise and glory to the One who won our forgiveness. As we read in chapter 2 of Peter's first letter, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Each year, at the end of December, as we turn our calendars from one year to the next, we look back on all the blessings of the past year and look forward to the blessings of a new year to come. So this morning as we close out another Church year, we look back at this past year. We give thanks to the Lord for all his blessings during the past year to us as a congregation and as individuals. We look forward to another year of his grace and blessing upon us. As we look back and look ahead, we offer all our thanks and praise to the King of kings. Who is this King we worship? He is Jesus Christ who loves us; who freed us from our sins and made us to serve him. "To him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen."

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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