Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The LORD Reigns

Preached at Community Christian Church
David P. Kautt
Sunday Morning, October 13, 2013

Psalm 93:1 - 5, The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The Lord on high is mightier

Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O Lord, forever.

“The LORD reigns…”  Beloved, for just a moment, I invite you to meditate on those three, simple words, “The LORD reigns.” 

“The LORD reigns…”  My friends, in a time of great turmoil, such as we are encountering at this moment, in a period where the economy is weak, and the government has ‘shut down’, in a day when the political scene is quite unsure and unstable, in a time when there are crises both INTER-nationally and inter-personally, and yes, as a crucial moment we all feel we’re having individually and congregationally, what is it that we need to hear?  What is it that we need to know and remember?  3 words, “The LORD reigns.” 

But what do those words mean?  And, what is their significance for our lives? 

Take a moment or two, with me, will you and let’s think it through, let’s study it out.  What DO those words mean? 

By and large, I think we have at least an elementary grasp of what the word REIGNS signifies.  It has to do with ruling authority.  It implies control, power and a kingdom of some kind or another, right?  At least, to begin with, that’s what the word “reigns” means.  But now, look at the first half of this initial phrase from Psalm 93, verse one, the phrase, “The LORD…”, and put your mind to work in discovering and understanding its meaning. 

First off, notice that the verse does NOT say, “George W. reigns,” or “Barack reigns,” or “the Republicans reign.”  Now, why is that?  What’s the explanation for that?   Well the obvious reason, which, by the way, is at least part of the OVERALL reason, is that this is Book NOT about Obama, or Bush or the Republicans, but about the LORD.  This is God’s Book!  It is all about HIS kingly rule and sovereignty!  But, is there a deeper, more meaningful and powerful reason for why the unnamed psalmist declares that it is the LORD who reigns and is robed in majesty, not ‘King George’?  And that it is God’s throne, not Barack’s or the Republicans, that is established from of old? 

Indeed there is!  “The LORD…”  That word, that name, which is pronounced Yahweh, or Jehovah, “The LORD”, what does this marvelous name of Israel’s covenant God mean and entail?  It declares two powerful truths about our God that are not true, never have been true and never will be true, about Bush, Obama or anyone else, and those truths are these: number one, our God, unlike those high esteemed men, is not dependent on anything or anyone else!  He is SELF-existent!  He is not limited in any way, because He is not linked to anyone or anything in a connection upon which He must rely! 

I don’t know if they realize or not, and I’m not sure, with all the grandeur and head-swelling glory that goes with being in their position, if they acknowledge or not, but Bush, Obama, or any other person, couldn’t take another breath, they couldn’t move another step and neither could we, if it weren’t for Somebody Bigger.  Acts 17:28 – As Paul told the ‘Big Shots’, up-starts, of his day, at Mars Hill in Athens, “In Him we live and move and have our very being!” We are dependent, connected creatures who, ultimately, must rely on Him!  But, not, He on us! 

The LORD reigns!  Beloved, this is why Jesus could go to sleep in the stern of a little fishing boat out on the Sea of Galilee.  Remember the disciples’ bewildered exclamation, “What manner of man is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”  Jesus could sleep, though all the while a furious storm of wind and water was raging, Jesus could lay there so relaxed, so at peace, why?  Because He wasn’t depending on Peter.  And He wasn’t counting on Andrew.  And He wasn’t relying on James and John, even though they were experts. Jesus slept, not because He was counting on men who had no control, but because His life was in the hands of the Self-Existent One who is in control! 

The LORD reigns… The Self-Existent, IN-dependent One is in charge!  Not the Federal Reserve, not the Big Shots on Wall Street, not the International Bankers, but the Lord – He is the King! 

Now, there’s a second fact, an equally important truth about our God, wrapped up in His name, Yahweh, or Jehovah, that we simply must see and know, and that is this: He is eternal!  He is eternal!

For Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, the Republicans, the Democrats, and you and me – they and us all have a D.O.B. (Date of Birth).  And, unless Jesus returns beforehand, one of these days, there will be a second date attached to their and our names.  And that will be the D.O.D. (Date of Death).  But, not for Yahweh!  Not for Jehovah!  Aren’t you glad Psalm 93:1 begins with the words, “The LORD reigns”? 

“Preacher, are you listening to the sermon?  ‘The LORD is in charge!  The ETERNAL One is in control!’  So relax!  Don’t sweat it!  Take a nap!  He’ll take care of it!” 

Beloved, times are tough, for all of us!  There are numerous crises going on right now, internationally, and interpersonally.  And, if that wasn’t enough, there are our own problems, our own challenges congregationally and individually.  What do we need to hear, to see, to know? 

Hold your place there in Psalm 93, and go across to the New Testament book of John.  The Gospel of John, chapters 18, 19 and 20.  Turmoil, do you know it, my loved ones?  Turmoil and tribulation, Jesus wasn’t somehow shielded from it, never affected by it, never faced with it.  No!  Scripture says that He was tempted and test in all points like as we are.  But, once again I ask, how could He, how was it that He was able to face these things, so confidently, so victoriously? 

John 18:1-11 – the arrest of Jesus that dark, lonely night in Gethsemane, what was it that enabled Jesus to walk forward so boldly to meet His enemies?  Oh, Peter, and maybe some of the other disciples had swords!  Yeah, that’s what it was!  No!  Look again!  Verses 2-8 – How could Jesus walk so confidently toward that mob that must have numbered in the hundreds?  It’s because He knew that the great I AM, Yahweh, the Self-Existent and Eternal One, was in charge, and not Judas! 

Or, how about later that night, in the darkness, the spiritual darkness and blindness of those kangaroo courts, those ‘judicial hearings’, headed up by Annas and his son-in-law, Caiphas.  How is it that Jesus was able to stand firm, when folks like Peter seemed to melt under the heat of moment?  Here’s how, Jesus knew that the LORD reigns.  He was certain that Yahweh was in charge, not the Sanhedrin! 

Or, how about Jesus’ 3-fold examination by Pilate, the Roman governor.  Three times Pilate declared Jesus’ innocence, “I find no fault in this Man!” Pilate said.   Three times, and three times Jesus refrained from speaking so as to defend Himself.  Pilate simply couldn’t understand it!  John 19:10 – Why did Jesus remain silent?  Why didn’t He respond to the Jews’ trumped up charges against Him?  Pilate, a little frustrated, I think, asked Jesus, “Are You not speaking to me?  Do You not realize that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”  Who was in charge early that Good Friday morning, in the Praetorium, that palace of this wicked Roman governor?  I mean, this was Pilate’s bailiwick, right?  Surely, he was the in control of all of this, wasn’t He?  Look again, my friends.  Who WAS in charge that day?  Listen to Jesus’ reply to Pilate, “Pilate, you would have no power at all against Me if it had not been given you, if it had not been given you, from above!” 

The LORD reigns, yes, the LORD reigns for Jesus.  At this crucial moment in His life that fact was a confidence-builder, that truth, that the LORD reigns, was a courage-imputer for Jesus.  Is it for you?  Is it for me? 

One more glimpse into the dark night of Jesus’ soul, that moment when the strength and severity of this incredible time of testing all came to a head for Jesus. 

Luke 23:44 – 46, “Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

“The LORD reigns…”  For us, who’ve never been to Calvary, who’ve never stumbled under the weight of our cross, who’ve never been jeered at by those we came to save, who’ve never been separated from our Father for three dark, lonely hours, nor burdened by the weight of the sins and guilt of all humankind.  Those three words, “the LORD reigns,” for us, they are somewhat academic, somewhat stale, maybe even sterile.  But not for Jesus!  No!  For at that most crucial of crucial moments, at the very point when He was ready to breathe His last breath, which way did He look?  Beloved, Jesus, all the way through all of this, He knew who was in charge?  “Father,” looking heavenward one last time, He cried out, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!”

But you know something?  Even that is not the end of the story, is it?  The LORD reigns!  Jesus slept in the stern of that tiny fishing boat, out on the stormy waves of the Galilean Sea, because He knew who was in charge!  And, through all 16-18-20 of those final difficult hours of His life, He faced all of them with incredible courage, why?  Because He kept on committing Himself to the One who judges justly, to the One who REALLY WAS in charge! 

But, now, where does all of this lead?  Where does it all eventually end up? 

1 Corinthians 15 – You know what that chapter is called, don’t you?  1 Corinthians 15 – It is called the ‘Resurrection Chapter’. 

1 Corinthians 15:20-27, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.”

Several years ago I made a trip to the cemetery with a dear Christian sister by the name of Ruby Bounds.  At the age of 92, her body having been ravaged by the effects of illness and disease and advanced age, who was in charge that day at Ridgeview Cemetery?  Beloved, if Ruby Bounds had been in Adam and in Adam ONLY, sin and death and even Satan would have been in charge that day!  But, listen, that burial plot, that grave site, because Ruby was in Christ, was not the site of a terrible defeat.  Rather, that grave is the location of a grand and glorious victory just ahead!  Yes, my friends, the LORD reigns!  Our crucified AND risen redeemer, lives and reigns, and because He lives and reigns, that burial plot is soon to be resurrection ground!  Hallelujah! 

“The LORD reigns…”  My loved ones, there’s so much more I want us to see, to hear and to know from those three powerful words.  But, one question for all of us; the Lord reigns.  The LORD is king.  But is He YOUR King?  Is He in charge of your life?  Is He seated on the throne of your heart? 

“The LORD reigns.”  Biblical truths like that are meant to comfort God’s people in times of trouble like we’re facing right now.  But, they are not words, not truths that are meant to make us comfortable to the point that we forget that the King of kings is to be our King, too! 

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