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Christ is King

Yesterday was the feast of Christ the King. This is the last Sunday before Advent begins. We celebrate that Christ is the King of the universe and that he will come in glory to judge the living and the dead and set up his everlasting kingdom on earth.

How does the fact that Jesus is King affect how we approach him?

First, we must realize that Jesus is King, independent of us. There is a disease that has infected our brand of Christianity because we are democratic. Often, you’ll hear the language, “I made Jesus my Lord,” or, “Will you let Jesus be the Lord of your life?” Understand something, and it is really important. Jesus is Lord whether you think He is or not. Jesus is King, independent of you. You do not vote him into office. You do not do anything to contribute to His rule. He doesn’t need your approval to be King.

Now, I know why we say this. There is a sense in which we decide to follow Christ or decide not to. However, as Christians, we cannot begin to imagine that our decision in some way validated God’s rule over our lives. According to Christianity, this is the only choice people have: Bow your knee to Jesus, who is King of the universe now, or do it when He comes in glory to judge the living in the dead.

Have you thought of Jesus that way? Have you ever thought of him as the undisputed King of the universe who you simply bow your knee to in submission? Please, join me in repenting of the disease that says that Jesus exercises his rule only with our consent. He doesn’t need it. He is a much stronger King than that.

Second, since Christ is the King, we should approach him reverently. If you were going to a banquet with President Obama or President Bush, you may go get a new outfit, you’d comb your hair nicely, and you would reverently address him as, “Mister President.” And, no matter what your political affiliation may be, this would be the right thing to do, because the office of president is worthy of honor and respect.

With that in mind, I think it is downright arrogant the way we often approach God. I saw a billboard going down the freeway in Southern California. It had this picture on it:

This is quite a strange statement. Think about it. Somehow, in a meeting, the pastoral staff of this church got together and decided that the one thing they wanted to say to people driving by is that they wear faded jeans, a wrinkled shirt, and flip flops to church. That is a strange thing to decide to make the main draw to your church.

Now, I understand the reason for a lot of this. We value authenticity. We want to come before God as we are. I think that this is a wonderful value. However, being authentic doesn’t mean that I wear jeans to a funeral or board shorts to a wedding. There is a difference between being authentic and being brazen, seeming to impose yourself on everyone in a room, demanding them to accept who we are.

I’m not trying to get on a rant about what you wear to church. I don’t really care what you wear to church, and I promise you it doesn’t have even the smallest impact on my worship of the King. What I am worried about is an underlying value that I see in many of our churches. In fact, just yesterday, as we reflected on Christ being the King of the universe, my Pastor and I discussed taking the word, ‘casual’ out of our vocabulary when we refer to worship. I don’t believe that being casual should be a value in worship. When we go to important events or meet important people, we don’t value being casual. That is a silly value. It is antithetical to reverence and, if we want to begin to approach God reverently, we are going to have to stop approaching him casually.

There are a couple practical things I have done to begin to let this truth sink into my heart. First, I kneel at various points in my prayers. I think this has been one of the most powerful ways for God’s Sovereignty to sink into my heart. Try it out. Kneel before the Lord as the King of the universe. Second, I have tried to reverently bow my head every time I hear the name Jesus. Whether it is a praise song, a prayer, or a person using the name of Christ as a curse word, I try to bow slightly, to bodily acknowledge the King. Those are a few of my ways. They may work for you.

Jesus is a lot of things to us. He is a friend, he is a co-heir, he is a brother, he is a servant, and he is a Savior. He is also a King. Bow your hearts and your knees before him today. This is the only appropriate response.

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