Deuteronomy 11:18-21and Ephesians 1:1-23
(Quoted Scripture is New International Version)
“I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind, I try to keep you safely in between the lines, I try to put you in the box that I’ve designed, I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye. When did I forget you’ve always been the king of the world? I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world. How could I make you so small, when you’re the one who holds it all. When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?” –(Written by Becca Mizell / Natalie Grant / Samuel Mizell, sung by Natalie Grant.)
Today in Christian churches around the world we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. We celebrate Jesus Christ as our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend. We celebrate the King of the World!
The Apostle Paul, having experienced Jesus Christ as his Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend; writes many letters (epistles) to churches throughout the region, sharing his experience with Jesus and the power given to believers to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. He writes to affirm what they are doing and to encourage them.
In the passage this morning, Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (vv. 15-16.)
His great thanksgiving quickly turns into a prayer of intercession for the church. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (v.17)
I speak often about this personal relationship with Jesus. It is my belief that God came to us in human form that He: our Maker, our Defender, might become our Redeemer and our Friend. How do we humans build relationships? We spend time with one another, we look one another in the eye, we speak, we listen, we touch. Isn’t this what Jesus did?
When we seek to build a loving relationship with another human being, there is give and take. When we build a loving relationship with Jesus, there is also give and take. We give Jesus our heart and He takes our life and transforms it into a life which is used for good, a life which helps to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
God, in Jesus is our Friend – Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:13-15, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay for our sins. Can there be a greater love than this? Can there be a better friend than this?
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” (UMH #526) What a privilege to have a loving relationship with Jesus, and to call Jesus our friend!
Paul continues to write to the church, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (vv. 18-21)
God is the maker of all things – In Genesis we read that God created the world and all that is in it in six days. One of the theories scientists have of the creation of the universe is called the big bang theory. But the big bang theory doesn’t fit. The universe isn’t scattered randomly, it is created by a being of order and design. In the May 22, 2004 issue of New Scientist, there appeared an open letter to the scientific community written primarily by secular scientists who challenge the big bang theory. These scientists pointed out that there are many reasons to challenge the legitimacy of this theory, and hundreds of scientists and professors at various institutions have signed this statement challenging the big bang theory.
Genesis 1 is the story of creation. It is what Jews and Christians believe, and it is important for us to teach this story to our children and grandchildren as the truth. God is the maker of the universe, the being of order and design.
God is our defender – After God saved him from his enemies and from the hand of murderous King Saul, King David wrote in Psalm 18, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” (vv.1-3)
In 2 Kings 6 we read of the prophet Elisha and his servant faced with the city surrounded by an army of Arameans. Elisha said to his servant, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around.” (vv.16-17)
When I am struggling with the temptations of Satan, I envision those big, strong angel armies of God, defending my heart, and my faith in Jesus Christ my Savior.
God is our Redeemer – John 3:16-17 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Romans 3:23-24 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Paul writes that he prays for the church to receive the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of knowledge, and the spirit of revelation which will reveal to them the personality and power of God. Paul prays that the church will receive the spirit of understanding so they will come to know God, His majesty and greatness, to know the full measure of the power and love of God. As we become more aware of the power of God: the power of God’s love, the power of God’s grace to transform life for the better, the power of God to take that which is broken and make it whole, the power of God to take that which is dead and bring it to life; we begin to understand God as our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.
See the little girl kneeling in prayer on the front of your bulletin? When we begin to understand the sovereign majesty of God and just how much He loves us, and that we are Christ’s body, the church; we understand we have a responsibility to teach the children about God.
Deuteronomy 11:18a,19 God tells us, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
First we have to believe that Jesus is the king of the world; our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend. Then as believers, we have the responsibility to teach the children, to make disciples for Jesus for the transformation of the world.
Chris Owan from Tucson, Arizona is a Christian father. He shares his story on page 58 of the July 2017 Guideposts. He and his two sons went camping in the White Mountains of Arizona for a guys-only time. It gets cold in the mountains and it had been raining off and on all weekend. On the second night they realized they didn’t have enough firewood for the night much less the rest of the camping trip. His son Cory said, “Can’t go to the store. It’s closed for the night. Can’t gather anything from the forest. It’s too damp.”
Chris said they thought of going to other campers, but how much would any of them have to spare? Chris said to his boys, “We’d better start praying.” The three of them bowed their heads. “God, please help us find some wood.” Cory added, “In abundance.”
Before they could say “Amen,” a pickup rumbled up. An elderly Navajo man got out. “Do you folks need any dry firewood?” he asked. His truck was full of it. He gave them enough wood, practically for free, to last the rest of the camping trip.
“Funny thing is,” he said, “I don’t know why I even drove down this old road. I guess I just knew you needed the wood.” *
Jesus is God. He is the king of the world, He provides what we need, if we bow our hearts to our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
Believe it, write it on your heart and teach it to the children.
Pastor Rosemary DeHut
References: Guideposts, Volume 72 – Issue 5, page 58.