Sermon Title: King of Glory
Memory Verse: Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. (Ps. 24:10)
MAIN IDEA: Trust your salvation to the King of glory who is mighty in battle.
NOTE: “Scripture quotations are from the NASB." This manuscript is provided as a courtesy and is not intended for publication. The recorded audio/video message differs from the manuscript. Thanks for understanding.
We fight a Losing Battle
Every person has deep longings and desires. They motivate us to travel long distances, change careers, go on vacations, and buy things. Each of us fights, works, and struggles for ways to satisfy our longings.
Every one of us longs for peace. We want to feel safe and secure. We want to know our loved ones are safe. We don’t want to look over our shoulder all the time. We want to be at peace. So, we lock our windows and doors, install security systems, hire police, and build fences. But, none of these bring peace and security.
Each of us wants the truth. We want to know what is right. But deceit, lies, and deception fill the streets. Corruption severs relationships. Children deceive their parents. Husbands cheat on their wives. Business partners renege on their agreements. In our search for the truth we experiment and study. We build institutions of higher-learning. We commission studies and employ professors. Despite our efforts, the truth remains elusive. Deceit, deception, and falsehood permeate our efforts.
We want justice. Even a child knows enough to say, “That is not fair.” Justice is evasive. Innocent lives are snatched away at the hands of murderers. People are lovers of self, lovers of money, ungrateful, unloving, without self-control, haters of what is good, reckless, lovers of pleasure, brutal, and filled with pride. People assault one another in schools, grocery stores, and even in churches. Jail and prison populations are not decreasing but increasing.
We desire everlasting life. This too escapes us. Medical professionals toil in hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. No matter the number of hospitals and doctors, we still face death. Nobody can stop getting old. We are assaulted by the common cold, cancer, and everything in-between. We desire comfort and health, but sickness and decay touch each of our lives.
Lies. Corruption. School shootings. Greed. Cancer. Broken relationships. We are all casualties. We teach our children that life is filled with disappointment and heartache, and they better get used to it.
What we ultimately want is a world where everyone loves one another and lives by the golden rule, treat others as you would like others to treat you. But, which one of us has any power to make that happen? Who here can make their child tell the truth every time they speak? Who here can make that person at work stop being lazy? Is there a person among us who can stop people from shooting one another?
It is a losing battle.
We have a battle with sin, and we lose. We can teach ourselves how to solve math problems, build super-computers, send rockets to space, but nobody can make a sinful heart into a heart filled with love and holiness. Never mind thinking about fixing another person’s heart, who here claims they can fix their own heart and make it pure? If you can overcome sin, stand up and tell us!
We fight a losing battle with our spiritual enemy, the devil. Satan is not a fairy-tale. He is real. The Bible says that our struggle is against rulers, powers, forces of darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the spiritual realm (Eph. 6:12). Our enemy Satan, and his fallen angels deceive and tempt the human heart. None of us is stronger than the devil. If you are powerful enough to battle Satan and cast him into eternal prison, stand up and tell us!
We face the enemies of sickness, death, and the grave. Nobody here can face the enemy of death and win. Everyone loses the battle against death. If you can overcome sickness and death, stand up and tell us!
The truth is, unless somebody fights the battle for us, we have no hope. We need a champion. We need someone to battle sin, the devil, and death, or else we all perish. Without a champion, our future is a wooden box where we will eventually rot and turn to dust.
If you feel helpless, and you should, listen to Psalm 24. If you know you are unable to escape this present evil age, you need to hear Psalm 24. If you are fighting for your soul and you have no hope, you need to listen to Psalm 24.
King of Creation
- 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains,
the world, and those who dwell in it.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
In the first two lines, the writer, King David, lays a foundation upon which to build the rest of the psalm. The foundation is the same foundation for the Bible. The earth is the Lord’s. Every insect that creeps, every lily which pushes through the soil in the spring, every fish that swims, every king that rules, and every nursing child belongs to the Lord.
Everything is His because He founded it. The Lord is the Creator. The first words written in the Bible say, “In the beginning, God creates the heavens and the earth.” If we fail to grasp this truth, we fail to understand life.
What does this have to do with our battle against our enemies? What does this have to do with our longing for truth, justice, peace, and everlasting life?
The Bible gives us that answer. God is good. God possesses all of these. He is the truth. He is just. His Kingdom is one of peace and everlasting life. God is holy and eternal.
The Bible says, “God sees all that He has made, and declares, it is very good.” What happens? How does it go from being very good to what we have today? We know what happens. Sin happens. Adam and Eve believe the lies of the devil, and they fall into sin. And, because they sin, they die.
Ever since that fateful day, Adam’s descendants are born with a sin nature. We don’t have to teach our children how to sin, they are born knowing how. All of Adam’s descendants have hearts filled with selfishness deceit, greed, adultery, violence, and idolatry. We are born under the influence of their enemy the devil. All of Adam’s descendants suffer the consequence of death.
The earth is the Lord’s. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. God will not allow rebellion and evil to continue. God will not twirl His thumbs while His creation goes to hell. God is good, and God is loving. If there is a way to fix this world, God holds the answer.
King of Salvation
After laying the foundation for the Psalm, the writer poses two questions which say the same thing two different ways.
- 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
In David’s time, the hill of the Lord is Mount Zion. For us, the hill of the Lord is a metaphor for heaven. What a great question! Who may stand before a holy and perfect God? Who is worthy to stand before the Creator? Who may go to heaven?
The answer is given in verse 4.
- 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
and has not sworn deceitfully.
Any person who has never used their hands to sin may stand in God’s holy place. All who have not stolen, or hit a person in anger, or touched a person immorally has clean hands. Are our hands clean enough to stand before a holy God?
What about our heart? Is it pure? Anyone with pride, selfishness, greed, or hate are not welcome on God’s holy hill. If we have coveted our neighbor’s wife, if we have wished ill of someone, or if we have had immoral thoughts, then our heart is not pure. If we have ever told a lie or have been deceitful, our heart is not pure. Can we honestly say our heart is pure?
Have we ever lifted our soul to falsehood? To lift our soul to falsehood is to have an idol. An idol is anything we love more than God. God requires we love Him with all our heart (not half-heartedly), mind (not partial-minded), and strength (not some effort) all the time. God knows if we love Him above all things.
He knows how we love our sports, iPhone, politics, movie stars, food, video games, and our self. God knows how much we value His way of holiness. We may fool other people, but we may not fool God.
If we have clean hands, a pure heart, and love God with our heart, mind, and strength, we may stand on God’s holy hill. Do we pass the test? Can we stand in heaven before God and have Him say, “Welcome”?
No one here may boast of having clean hands or a pure heart.
It’s too bad. Because if we could, verse five tells us what we may receive.
- 5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek Your face—even
Selah is a way of saying, pause. Pause and think about this great truth.
The Creator God offers a blessing to those who seek His face, and God is their salvation. What a joy it must be to receive a blessing from Him who creates the earth and everything in it.
The Bible teaches us that seeking God and His blessing is a worthy pursuit. The blessing God gives is peace, justice, truth, and everlasting life. God offers the solution to the ruin and decay of this world. God can give us the peace and comfort that we long after. Do we desire to seek God’s face? Do we desire to receive blessing and righteousness from God?
Our problem is that we are not worthy to stand before Him. Our hands are not clean, and our heart is not pure. We are guilty of having idols in our life. What we long for the most, is unobtainable.
King of Glory
After pausing and thinking about what it is like to receive a blessing from God, the psalmist tells us to lift our heads.
- 7 Lift up your heads, O gates,
and be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in!
8 Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates,
and lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in!
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.
The psalm uses a metaphor of a walled city. Imagine living in that city. The enemy is in our city, and we are held captive. We are helpless. Our enemies are too strong, and we live in darkness and defeat. We are under siege from within the walls.
Outside the walls of the city, there is a victor. He is the King of glory. He is the Lord strong and mighty. We need to fling open the gates and welcome this mighty victor into our city.
The Apostle Paul in the New Testament tells us the King of Glory is Jesus Christ. Jesus is God the Son. He is God in the form of a man. God does not stand idly by while the earth is going to hell. God becomes a man and steps into our ruined city to save us.
The Bible calls Jesus the Messiah. The Messiah of the Bible is a Savior and King. Jesus comes to save us from our sin and to be our King. Jesus is a mighty conqueror with great power and strength.
We are to open the gates and let Him enter. Why? What proof do we have that the King of glory is mighty in battle? We have no further to look than the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.
Jesus overcomes sin by living a perfect life. He never once sins. The devil tempts Him in the wilderness and Jesus is faithful to love and obey God. During His entire life, Jesus never steals, never lies or deceives, He remains pure in all His relationships, and He is never greedy or selfish. Jesus obeys God’s law perfectly every moment of His life.
He remains holy and without sin even though one of His followers betrays Him. Another follower denies knowing Him. He is called names, mocked, spat upon, and has His beard pulled. He is whipped and beaten. The whole city turns against Him and He does not curse. He does not lift a hand to strike back. Under the stress of incredible pain and torture, He never sins. His only response is to ask God to forgive those who seek to kill Him.
Jesus is tempted not to obey God, but He chooses to obey and sets aside His will, reputation, and personal comfort. He resolves to obey His Father. His obedience is extreme, even to the point of death.
On a hill called Golgotha, outside the city of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ fights an incredible battle of obedience. His death on the cross has purpose. God requires punishment for sin. Jesus gives His life to be the punishment. He pours out His blood as a sacrifice for sin. God places our sin on Jesus, and Jesus nails it to the cross. The Bible says it like this: God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Co. 5:21). Jesus obeys God by being an acceptable offering for sin. Jesus takes the punishment that we deserve for sinning against God’s laws.
Open the gates, let the King of glory come in, because He is victorious over sin.
Jesus also overcomes our enemy the devil. He told His disciples that the devil, the ruler of this world is cast out (John 12:31). The writer of Hebrews says, Jesus renders powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and He frees those who are captivated and held in slavery by the devil (Hebrews 2:14-15). The King of glory is the Lord of hosts. That means He is Lord over all the spiritual armies. Jesus proves He is commander of the demonic hosts by defeating them in battle.
John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, tells us, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The Apostle Paul says that Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them (Colossians 2:15).
Open the gates for the King of glory who defeats the devil!
Last, but not least, Jesus defeats our enemy death. After being dead three days, Jesus overcomes death and walks out of the grave. His disciples saw Him die and they lay Him in a grave. A stone covers the entrance. On the third day, Jesus comes out of the tomb. He is alive! We gather today to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Death is not the master of Jesus. Jesus proves He has victory death.
Selah! Pause and think about this.
This is the good news of today. This is what we celebrate every week when we come together and sing songs and speak of the King of glory. We celebrate forgiveness of sin. We celebrate Jesus’ victory of the devil. We celebrate that Jesus conquers the grave.
There is only celebration if Jesus is our Savior and King. The Bible says to be saved, we are to put our faith in Jesus. It’s as easy as A-B-C.
A-Admit. We need to admit we are sinners needing a Savior. The truth we need to know is that we are guilty. We deserve God’s punishment for breaking God’s laws. We need to admit we are unable to save ourselves.
B-Believe. We need to believe Jesus is God who lives a sinless life. We believe Jesus takes the punishment we deserve for our sin. We believe Jesus punishment is enough. We don’t need to work to make ourselves better. We need to believe that after Jesus dies, He rises from the dead and lives in heaven.
C-Choose. We need to choose to follow Jesus. We need to stop living for ourselves and choose to obey Jesus commands. We read the Bible to get to know God and what He wants for our lives. We choose to go to church and commit ourselves to others (there is no such thing as a lone-ranger Christian, we need one another).
You do not need to come down to the pulpit. You do not need to raise your hand. You can admit, believe, and choose right where you are sitting.
God promises that those who put their faith in Jesus will receive His Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit is a down-payment for God’s promise of blessing. We may know we have eternal life tomorrow because we receive God’s Spirit today.
When we receive Jesus, we are “in Him.” We are in union with Him. His death is our death, and His rising from the grave is our rising from the grave. We are one with Him in all things.
When we receive Jesus, we are new creatures. Again, the Bible says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” We become people with clean hands and a pure heart.
Do we seek peace? Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In Him, we have peace that passes all understanding. He is our strong tower and mighty fortress.
Do we seek truth? God’s word is the truth. Jesus is the truth.
Do we seek to overcome our enemies? Jesus takes away our sin, and nails it to the cross. If God is for us, who may be against us? Nothing may separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Do we seek everlasting life? Whoever believes in Christ receives everlasting life. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Do we seek the blessings of God? All the blessings and promises of God find fulfillment in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Today is the day of salvation. Is Jesus your King? Is Jesus your Savior? If not, will you open the gates of your heart and let Him in? The King of Glory is at the gate.