The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)




The elders of the Jewish people (God’s chosen people of days gone past), in their spiritual blindness said to Samuel, "Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations…We will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations…Give us a king that he may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles for us" (1 Sam. 8:4-20).


For five hundred years the Lord had been Israel's King, and there had been no lack of royal favors as long as the nation had been obedient to His laws. His provisions had been amply suffic­ient and His rulership benevolent. But in the sad history of man it has been demonstrated again and again that he always prefers the human to the divine - the material to the spiritual - so now they were asking God to abdicate His throne and turn it over to a weak and fallible man.


No wonder Samuel was grieved! His pleas to them were unavailing and the information he gave as to what it would cost them in taxes and servitude to maintain the retinue of royalty fell upon ears that were deliberately deaf to the truth. Their cry, "Nay, but we will have a king" expressed the willful de­termination of unregenerated hearts; so God and Samuel yielded to their rash importunities and a king was given.


Saul pleased them at first. His gigantic size and bold spirit caught the popular imagination and great were their hopes for the future. But his haughty and disobedient heart led to his rejection by the Lord, and David the shepherd boy, a man after God's own heart, took the crown after Saul's tragic death. His firm and righteous rule placed Israel in the forefront of the nations, and God made an oath that "his seed should endure forever and his throne unto all generations" (Psalms 89:35-37).


David's son, Solomon, raised the nation to the very pinnacle of power and glory; but in his latter years, his idolatry brought a sharp rebuke from God, to­gether with a stern warning of impending doom unless Israel and David's seed walked with God. You see, the promise of the perpetua­tion of David's dynasty was a conditional one: "If thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness…then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom…forever…But if ye shall at all turn from following me…and will not keep my commandments…I will cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them…and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people" (1 Kings 9:4-7).


Among the kings who followed Solomon were some truly good and righteous men; but too often the seed of David followed the wicked inclination of Israel into idolatry. However, these few good kings for many years saved Judah from the captivity that be­fell the northern kingdom until the culminating sins of David's sons finally brought Judah to the vortex of ruin. Of the next to the last king of David's seed, Jehoiachim (Coniah), Jeremiah uttered these solemn prophetic words, "Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David and rul­ing any more in Judah" (Jer. 22:30).


The wicked Zedekiah soon ascended the throne, and against him came the hosts of Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar who reduced Jerusalem to an ash heap, burned the beautiful temple of Solomon and carried Judah captive to dis­tant Babylon. The throne of David was vacant! God had given Israel a king in His anger and had taken him away in His wrath (Hosea 13:11).


But the Lord had not left Israel without hope. Jeremiah sang the praises of a new king in these words, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper…and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:5-6). Israel was to "abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice.” Afterwards, they were to "return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king" (Hosea 3:4-5).


Seventy years of captivity ended and Israel returned to Judea under Ezra, Zerubbabel and Nehemiah. The temple was rebuilt and Jerusalem's walls restored. Although that did not restore David's throne, God's immutable promise to David was not to fail. Hundreds of years later, in the days of the mighty Caesars, the angel Gabriel brought to the startled virgin of Nazareth the never-­to‑be‑forgotten announcement, "Behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:26-33).


Months later the startled shepherds of Bethlehem received the amazing news of the new‑born King. He was not born in a king's palace, among the pomp and glory of royalty; but in a stable and cradled in a manger. The jealous, murderous Herod unsheathed the sword, but God preserved the infant King amidst Egypt's fading splendors, while Herod died hated and detested.


This Prince of the House of David grew to manhood, not in a royal palace, but amidst the rustic scenes of lowly Nazareth; working in a carpenter shop to supply His temporal needs. At the age of thirty, hearing the call of the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan, He left His humble home in Nazareth, and in the presence of the curious multitude, received His baptism while God from heaven acknowledged His royal Son. Anointed by the Holy Spirit, He began the PREPARATORY work of organizing His kingdom. Calling to His aid twelve apostles to be His ambassadors, He set forth in that memorable Sermon on the Mount the righteous principles that shall ever guide His people in holiness and peace (Matthew 5-7).


The proud and haughty Sanhedrim, pledged to the literal res­toration of David's throne (as many Jews and Gentiles today blindly seek), watched with jealous eyes, His every move. When His well meaning friends sought to take Him by force and make Him a king, He declined the proffered crown. His was not to be a kingdom of this world (John 18:36). Going everywhere doing good, His popularity among the common people grew with amazing rapid­ity while the emissaries of Satan (the Jewish leaders) plotted His destruction.


The in­evitable clash between these two forces brought forth from His di­vine lips the most scathing denunciation of all time, and He pro­nounced the verdict of heaven against the chosen people: "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21:43). The moody Caiaphas decreed that this “one man should die" for the decaying nation; and so His doom was sealed (John 11:49-50). Brought to trial and accused of sedition, the weak and wavering Pilate gave the world's unanimous verdict, "I find in him no fault at all" (John 18:38). But political pressure taking precedence over jus­tice brought forth the sentence of death. So Israel crucified their One and only King! He died with this royal inscription over His head, "JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS" (John 19:19).


With crushed spirits His disheartened disciples laid Him in a borrowed tomb; while the weeping women, having no hope, pre­pared sweet spices for His permanent burial. Three days later the powers of Satan were shaken when death was conquered and the entombed King broke the bars of the grave and came forth trium­phantly from the dead. The fear‑shaken disciples could scarcely believe the electrifying news of the exultant women as they obeyed the angel’s command, "He is risen" (Matt. 28:5-7). Through death He was the ultimate conqueror, NOT the conquered, and His abashed enemies hid themselves behind a veil of false­hood.


For forty days the risen King lived and walked among His disciples, instructing them in things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Finally from the summit of Mt. Olive He ascended from earth amidst the clouds of heaven to receive the royal crown and a seat upon the throne of glory (Acts 1:9-11). The angelic host escorting Him on His coronation parade to heaven, greeted the angels at heaven's gate with these stentorian words, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in" (Ps. 24:7, 9). The gates are opened and the new Sovereign, clothed with the radiance and glory of God, is brought before the "Ancient of days…and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his king­dom that which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14). The dia­dem of power is placed upon his brow and angels, principalities and powers are made subject unto Him as God the Father issues this decree, "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Ps. 110:1).


Today Christ sits upon David's throne, which is God's throne, in the highest heavens. There He rules with a rod of love His NEW chosen people – Christians - the saved and redeemed from every nation under heaven. While "all authority is given unto him in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18), He shares with His disci­ples the rulership and glory of His kingdom. Listen to this royal decree, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21). This cannot refer to rulership after the judg­ment, for His rulership ends then; but to rulership now in His kingdom, for "He hath made us unto our God to be kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10).



We now have come to the most important thought of this lesson. Christians are kings - Kings with Christ! You may look upon yourself as a small and very insignificant person; but according to the royal decree of Christ, you are a King! The church's greatest shame today is that many, far too many, look upon themselves as nobodies ‑ just peons. But if you have been saved by the blood of Christ you are a king. We will now list our royal advantages:


We Are of Royal Birth


We are born, "NOT of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). Truthfully we sing "I'm the child of a king." Paul said, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17). God is my Father and Christ, the great Monarch of heaven, is my Brother. All the ad­vantages of royalty are ours if we will avail ourselves of that which our Father has provided. Thousands of people miss the best in life, in the church, because they do not understand the ex­alted dignity and honor of their relationship to God. We are princes of the royal blood. Let our conduct, our thinking, and our planning be that of kings.


We Have Royal Garments


Ancient kings were clothed with purple and fine linen. Their expensive, expertly tailored clothes set them apart from the multitudes. A Christian has no business wearing the soiled garment of unrighteousness (Eph. 5:3; 1 John 1:9; 5:17). Let us be clothed like kings! Apart from Christ, our righteousness is but "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6); but when He clothes us with the gar­ments of salvation, and covers us with the robe of righteousness (Isa. 61:10), we can walk in dignity in the courts of kings. Each day as we grow in grace we will heed Paul's command, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). To be "clothed with humil­ity" (1 Pet. 5:5), shows our kinship with Him who was meek and lowly in heart. It is said that "clothes make the man." That certainly is true spiritually. A king clothed with soiled tattered garments commands no respect from his subjects; but a Christian clothed with purity and holiness is respected by even the emissaries of Satan.


We Are Given Royal Food


The prodigal son in his degra­dation fed himself with the husks the swine did eat (Luke 15:16). Coarse, un­palatable food! But God's children may each day eat "royal dain­ties" (Gen. 49:20) from the Father's bounteous table. Upon that royal table are found the richest viands from the storehouse of the King. The milk and meat He provides contain all the vitamins necessary for spiritual health and strength. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (1 Pet. 2:3-4). "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). We should say with the saint of old, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). Most Christians starve in the midst of plenty. The Manna that gives eternal life is treated with indifference by those who claim to love it best. A neglected Bible is Satan's greatest joy. It is true spiritually as well as phy­sically that a man is what he eats; and unless you eat daily of the royal food at the royal table, you will bear little resemblance to the King.


We Exercise Royal Rulership


We do the work of kings! We rule by divine right, and the domain of that rulership is in our hearts. Solomon said, "He that ruleth his spirit (is better) than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32). Most people are slaves. They permit Satan largely to dominate their lives. It is he who says, "Thou shalt and thou shalt not." Every Christian should draw up a Dec­laration of Independence from Satan's power. In it we should resolve that with God's help we will make something grand and sublime of the NEW life God gave us - that we "no longer should live the rest of (our) time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (l Peter 4:2).


How few there are who fully realize the unseen power of Satan ov­er their lives, preventing them from rising to heights of real power and usefulness in the kingdom of God. We fritter and fiddle away precious hours and days in frivolous time‑consuming things that benefit no one but Satan; thereby we rob God and ourselves of a heritage of usefulness and power. We must not be like the dumb driven cat­tle; we must be heroes with something attempted, something done that befits the life of a king.


A greater king than Paul never wore the crown of real Christian rulership. Of himself he said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:27). He controlled self that he might live for Christ; and in so doing he was a real king. Again, he said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). No weakling was Paul, for he had a real mission in life and he made each day count. May we heed the divine admonition, "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11).

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