Sermon delivered at Grace Presbyterian Church, November 5, 2000

Who Shall be King?
Reforming the World -- Sermon #5
by Pastor Bob Burridge 2000
1 Chronicles 29:11-12

When those aliens finally land and say, "Take me to your leader." -- where do we take them? Its not always clear who's in charge.

Would an alien want to talk to the Secretary General of the United Nations? the President of the United States? the Director of NASA? Chairman Greenspan? Or would he rather speak with someone like Larry King? Tim Russert? or Shawn Hannity? Or maybe Jay Lenno or David Letterman. He might even like to talk with your Pastor!

When I was a skinny little blond kid growing up in the 50's in South Buffalo, I'd probably have brought the alien home to meet my parents or maybe my grandfather.

But if he came up to me while we were playing baseball in the street (we didn't have a park near by), I'd think he wanted to talk with the kid who owned the baseball and bat we were using. We didn't have a coach or an organized league. The team captain was either the owner of the equipment or the most dominant and demanding.

We didn't have a rule book either. But we did have rules. They evolved with circumstances. We all knew that first base was an oak tree by the curb, second was a special flat rock we'd lay in the middle of the street, and third was a telephone poll. Home plate was a garbage can cover.

But with all our understood rules, the ultimate authority in our street league was our parents. No matter who was winning the game, or what inning we were in, when mom called us home for lunch or dinner ... we went. And when the guy who owned the bat or ball was called, the game ended.

At school we knew the teachers were in charge and over them the principal. But the real authority even at school was our parents. They'd be called if there was a discipline problem. And back then the parents didn't call the ACLU or a lawyer to threaten the school. They made sure you weren't a problem again.

When we grew up and got jobs we learned about bosses: managers, supervisors and foremen. And at school we learned about governments: local, state and federal.

As we grow up we learn that every leader
answers to others who are over him.

The domineering kid on the street, or the one who brought the baseball and bat, answered to his parents, his teachers, the local police officers and his church leaders. Civil leaders, even our president, must honor his parents for the role God has given them, the laws of the land, and the oversight of his church in spiritual matters. All citizens must submit to their civil leaders. Elders of the church must honor their parents, civil leaders, and fellow elders. Bosses at work must honor the laws of the land, as well as leaders in their church and family.

Over each of these is the King of kings, the Lord of lords. God made them and is the granter of ever earthly authority. We may lead only within the boundaries divinely set for us.

Our fallen human nature doesn't like to admit it, but ...

The fact of God's sovereign rule over all things is beyond dispute.

He is over all creation as its Lord. Among the earliest statements of the Bible, Job said to the LORD in Job 42:2,

I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.

David said to the LORD in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12

  1. ... Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.
  2. Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone.

This is one of the most clear and central teachings of the Bible:

Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth

Isaiah 14:27 For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? ...

In Isaiah 46 God says ...

  1. ... 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
  2. Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11

also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will

This is why God is often called King of kings, and Lord of lords. There were some powerful world leaders in ancient times who ruled over empires of nations. They were called a kings of kings. Ezra 7:12 speaks of Artaxerxes as king of kings In Ezekiel 26:7 God calls Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings In Daniel 2:37, Daniel says to the Nebuchadnezzar, "You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory;..."

But over these world empire leaders, God is ultimately King of kings. In Daniel 2:47 King Nebuchadnezzar finally confessed to Daniel saying, "Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings ..." In 1 Timothy 6:15 Paul writes to Timothy about the Lordship of Jesus Christ saying, "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords."

The name given to our God in the Book of the Revelation 19:16, is King of kings, and Lord of lords. In Revelation 17:14 it says of Jesus, "... the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, ..."

God's Sovereign rule even over earth's most powerful human leaders is undeniable:

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, But the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.

Proverbs 21:1says, The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Today we don't have many kings. So we might say that God is Leader of all world leaders. Arafat, BinLeden, President Clinton, Speaker Hastert, and Prime Minister Barak all have no power but what God allows them to have.

In Romans 13 Paul, in the time of the corrupt Roman Empire, spells out the duties and authority of governments:

  1. Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
  2. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Twice in verse 4 he calls government a minister of God. Therefore, all human leaders, at every level, are to serve as representatives of God's rule over all things.

We live in a nation that enjoys a privilege that's been rare in human history. Our government is a form of Republican-Democracy. That term has nothing to do with the Republican and Democrat parties. Its the way our Constitution makes things work. Its a balance between Federal and State Governments. Its where laws are made and administered by leaders freely chosen by the people. This type of free election is a very special and unique duty.

But our duty is NOT to elect people who will benefit us over other groups in our nation. The American way is not to get a majority that can legally gouge everyone else. Our laws are not to apply specially to certain races or levels of income. This is why we have a constitution designed to be very hard to change. It makes it illegal to pass laws that favor certain groups at the expense of others. If we have leaders and judges that don't respect that foundation, our protections will fade.

Samuel Rutherford used a Latin expression, Lex Rex, which means "the Law is King" This was the key that made the United States of America so special. Either the king is the law. Which means that what the rulers want becomes law. Or the law is king. That is, regardless of what individuals want, there are limits to what they can do. Our constitution was crafted to limit the work of government. It allows our local communities, families, businesses and churches to enjoy a safe freedom.

But the ultimate set of laws which ought be king is the word of God. To the degree that our own laws agree with God's laws, our nation will be blessed. We need to vote for those who will preserve the rule of law.

Its up to us to recognize the leaders God has equipped to rule over us.

Which ones show the evidence that God would be most pleased with them as leaders. Remember the principle God gave Israel in Deuteronomy 17

  1. When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,'
  2. you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, ...

Sadly, when Israel got into the land, their greed and zeal for power chose wicked Saul. They came to regret their choice and suffer for the greedy and pagan man they put into power. But it was too late, once they had vested him with authority over them.

God chose David to replace him. He wasn't a perfect human either. David sinned in ways that shock us. But when confronted with his sin, we see why God chose him to be king, he confessed, repented and humbled himself before God.

Good leaders show us how to deal with past faults honorably,
as well as lead us toward what's right in God's eyes,
because God's law is King.

We need to try to discover who would most please God if he was elected.

First, we need to know the policies and views of each candidate, at every level of office. That becomes hard if they keep changing their position to appeal to public opinions. In the past 4 studies we outlined some current issues where God has spoken in his word.

There are moral issues that have to do directly with things God forbids:

There are economic and legal issues:

There are defense issues:

A leader's views must be within the boundaries set by God's word and our constitution. We saw in an earlier study that in Deuteronomy 17 God says that every leader should have for himself a copy of God's law (verse 18). The next verse says ...

  1. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,

Second, we need to pay attention to the character of the person. We need to know that what they promise is really what they believe and will do. Some, when elected, have revealed that their true leanings are not what they campaigned for.

Third, we need to see that the leader can accomplish what he promises. He must be able to work with a diverse electorate and congress. This is why winning primaries and elections is so important. If a leader can't rally people behind him, he will be ineffective in getting things done.

The question for the responsible voter is to decide which candidate will best move our nation toward the principles that God says are right and good

And after the election ....

We have a continuing duty toward our leaders,
because we love the King of kings.

In obedience to God and in honor of the authority he has entrusted to those who lead us ...

The ultimate governing power of our country will not change as we vote this week. God will still be King over us all, regardless of who is elected to office.

But the blessing of our nation will reflect the godliness of those we choose as leaders. Believers should never become discouraged knowing that God is always Sovereign. We look to our own duties and do all we can to continue to serve the King of kings.

Its good to remember King David's words preserved in 1 Chronicles 29:11-12

  1. ... Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.
  2. Both riches and honor come from Thee, and Thou dost rule over all, and in Thy hand is power and might; and it lies in Thy hand to make great, and to strengthen everyone.

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