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Elevenses sermon

Christ the King 21st November 2010

Col 1:15-20

A Joke

We have come full circle. The baby born in a manger is now king of all creation. The one whom shepherds adored and wise men worshipped is Lord of all creation, above all things and before all things.

Paul gets quite excited in these verses, and so he should. He is probably adapting a hymn of praise that was in common circulation in the church already and was he wants the readers, then and now, to see the breadth of Christ from the cosmic to the individual.

Gentle Jesus meek and mild is in fact the image of the invisible God. Do you ever watch Secret Millionaire on the TV? In it a wealthy person goes under cover in a deprived area and looks for projects that can be helped. The millionaire becomes as one of them – poverty stricken, unemployed, living on benefit, so that he can see life from a different viewpoint and be accepted as ordinary by others. In end the millionaire, having learnt valuable lessons himself, reveals his identity and offers salvation for the group or project by giving away money.

How much more with Jesus in whom all things in heaven and on earth were created. Concealed in human form, unrecognised by most, but with his identity glimpsed by a few, Jesus identifies with us in absolute totality, becomes as we are with all the earthly limitations that we experience. His self revelation as Son of God through the cross and resurrection left people amazed. He brought salvation not just for a few good causes but for the whole of humanity; he brought redemption to all of the earth, the whole of creation, all of the cosmos. He did not leave us with just a good memory, a few pounds to keep us going, but committed himself to an ongoing relationship with us, an eternal relationship with us, and as a sign and seal of his commitment gave us the Holy Spirit.

The baby in the manger is revealed as the secret millionaire, no, far more than that, the Son of God.

We need to make a response to that. Our response will not affect who Christ is or what he has achieved. Paul is not asking for discussion on the supremacy of Christ, but we do have the individual freedom to acknowledge Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. This is an ongoing process as we get to know Jesus. It begins with a recognition that we need salvation, of Jesus making a claim on our lives, of us acknowledging we are sinners and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with God through the cross of Christ. It requires a deliberate act, a prayer, that offers ourselves to God. This is irrespective of how long and how often you go to church, there comes a moment when we need to respond. Salvation is ours for the asking. The question is, ‘have you asked for that free gift from God?’ If not why not?

Salvation is assured but the process continues because Jesus is our Lord as well as our Saviour. Jesus claims rightful sovereignty over our lives, but often we are resistant to allow him to have his rightful place. There will be things in all of us, no matter how long we have followed Christ, where we continue to battle, where we want our own way, where we quench the Holy Spirit, ignore God’s prompting, continue to deliberately go against God’s commands. There is no point denying it, as it is true of everyone. But little by little, and with the help of the Holy Spirit who leads us in to all truth, we can allow the Lordship of Christ to have more and more sway in our lives. We can commit ourselves to that journey. What is it in your life that God wants you to give over to the Lordship of Christ – an attitude, habit, relationship, possession? It is unlikely to be easy otherwise you would have done it already, but in order to grow in Christ we need to take the next step.

In our prayers we will have an opportunity to consider what we need to do, and to offer ourselves as fully as we can to the service of Christ and to the extension of his Kingdom here on earth.

Christ the King made peace with God through the blood of the cross, through obedience to his Father’s will. The effect was to reconcile to God all things, whether on earth or in heaven. Our response is one of praise and worship as we acknowledge the Kingship of Christ, dedicating our lives to his service.

We start next week a new church year with Advent, the looking forward to the coming of Jesus, as a baby and as Lord and King. As insiders we see the story from a different point of view; we know who the baby is and rejoice with the angels; we know how the story progresses and marvel that Jesus was willing to go through so much; we know the triumph of the cross; we know the story never ends but, through God’s grace includes even me.