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20 NOVEMBER 1988

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Genesis 8:20-21
1 Samuel 8:4-9
Psalm 96:10
John 18:33-37
Romans 10:17-18
Revelation 1:4-8

Preparation Verse: (Psalm 96:10)

Say among the nations, β€œThe Lord reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”

Ever since man was created, God has been the true Monarch over His creation.

God even gave His authority as King of the earth to man, so that he might reign over it with the same love and compassion in which God created it.

But man all too soon lost that authority to the craftiness of the devil, and mankind fell from the grace of God.

But God did not leave man in that lost state. He gave each and every person a way out, so that they could decide for themselves.

Some listened, but most did not; and as time went on, the state of man became worse and worse until there was almost no one who followed God.

Thus God flooded the earth to destroy the evilness, so that some might have a chance of returning to God.

And for a while the people seemed to listened, but then began drifting away from Him and His authority, beginning with Noah's sacrifice (Genesis 8:20-21).

20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

21 And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.

There was no need to kill any animal, or of a sacrifice; there never was, and there never would be.

God wanted obedience!

But because of the evilness in the human heart, sin and corruption kept manifesting itself more and more over time.

So this time God chose for Himself a particular man, Abraham, from whom He would build a nation that would follow God.

And the nation of Israel did follow God for a time; but it, too, would often drift away and follow after the ways of the world.

One such time was during the time of the Judges, when Israel followed God much in the same way that a roller coaster always remains at the top.

The last of these judges was Samuel. He was dedicated to the Lord before his birth and was called by God when he was still a young boy.

Samuel grew strong in the Lord, and during the time of his leadership, Israel, for the most part, followed God; but some did not, including the sons of Samuel. Thus the people began to rebel.

This brings us back to our Old Testament lesson for this morning, 1 Samuel 8:4-9. Let's take another look at it in light of what we have been discussing.

4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah;

5. and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."

Right here we should pause and reflect on what is being said, and also possibly read a little between the lines.

First of all, Samuel's sons are not following the ways of Samuel, which is the way of God. We are not told why, but the fact that both of his sons have turned away is an indication of possibly something being wrong with the way in which they were brought up.

This should be a warning to all of us as well.

Secondly, we see that the people want to be like all of the nations around them. They want to have a king appointed for them.

There is also something interesting about this request. They trust Samuel to appoint the king for them, but they don't trust God enough to let Him continue to rule over them.

God continually had been telling Israel to follow His ways and to turn away from the ways of the people of the nations. He even dispossessed some of them and gave their land to Israel.

Yet, they are still seeking after some of the ways of these people, and there is a good possibility that the reason that these nations went astray is because their leaders led them astray; and Israel is failing to recognize this.

Don't you think that there is a parallel to our way of living today?

And thirdly, the people may be looking for a man to lead them into battle. This is also a curious phenomenon.

The reason that they are still fighting with the nations around them is because they have turned away from God.

If they would turn back to God, He would bring an end to their wars.

We don't need other people to solve our problems; we need God! Then perhaps God will bring in a few people to help with the problem; but we must learn to turn to God first.

How did Samuel feel about all of this?

6. But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

Samuel isn't turning to some other person and asking, "What am I to do about this situation?" Samuel is turning to God for the answer, as we all should in times of concern.

7. And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

Beloved, do you hear what we are being told here?

When we seek worldly answers instead of going to God, we are actually rejecting Him.

We have been given the Answer Book, but we all too often fail to read it, or we follow the evil ways described in the Bible, and falsely try to justify them as being the ways that God wants us to be.

Those of us who read our Bibles daily get many of our questions answered, and through prayer we get the rest answered.

I also find it quite curious that those who don't read their Bibles, or read it very little, are the same ones who say that it won't help.

This is very logical, for not taking a bath will also not get us clean, and not eating will not satisfy our hunger, and not drinking water will not quench our thirst; and if we keep turning away from God, we won't find Him or His comfort in times of need.

Thus God continues to answer Samuel and us.

8. "Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day – in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods – so they are doing to you also.

9. ''Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the kings who will reign over them."

And we know from history that the kingdoms of Israel fell, and Israel was led away into captivity.

But do we realize that when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, and fail to follow Him and seek his advice, we are rejecting Him as King of our lives?

And, by definition of the word, if we have not accepted Jesus Christ as King of our lives, to reign over us, we are also rejecting Him as Lord.

Hear what Scripture is telling us!

Let's also go back and listen again to that conversation between Jesus and Pilate, as recorded in John 18:33-37.

33. Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

34. Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?"

Jesus wants Pilate to think about what he is asking and the reason for his asking it.

Is he asking it because he is seeking to know from his heart, or is he seeking to know for he fears a rival kingdom to Rome, or is he asking because someone else has told him?

Note how Pilate answers Jesus' question:

35. Pilate answered, "1 am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?"

Pilate's answer seems to indicate that he is only interested in a possible rival kingdom, but at the same time he also seems to recognize that Jesus is not just an ordinary man.

And in this light, Jesus answers him.

36. Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."

37. Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. "

Pilate isn't really hearing His voice, and neither did the Jews who delivered Him up to Pilate. They may have heard some words, but their true meaning was not heard, for the truth was not in them.

Over the years, many people died so that we might hear Jesus' voice through the printed word of the Bible, and that He is indeed Lord and King; but on the whole, most fail to hear His voice.

To truly understand the Kingship of Christ, we also need to have faith.

But if we do not hear, our faith is greatly hindered.

Note what we are told in Romans 10:17-18.

17. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;
"Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world."

We have heard God's word preached and taught, and we have access to many Bibles; but most people never take advantage of this great gift.

Even in our churches, most people don't truly read their Bible, and read it consistently, daily; thus they don't fully hear His voice, and thus they lack in faith.

The King of all glory has given us His Word, but it does us no good if we don't receive it.

Thus He told John to write to the seven example churches, in which we, in this church, are also represented, in the following passage from Revelation 1:4-8.

4. John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne;

5. and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood,

6. and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Have you heard His voice?

If you have, God has given you His grace. He has given you a blessing you don't deserve.

He has given you the blessing reserved for the truly holy and righteous, which you know you are not, and He has given it to you while you are still in your sin.

And with this blessing will come the peace that will surpass all understanding; for when we accept this blessing we also will have the assurance of our forgiveness and everlasting life.

As we know, no one other than a ruler of the land can pardon a convicted person; but we have been pardoned by the ruler of all rulers, the King of kings, for He Himself paid the price of our sins by shedding His own blood upon the cross.

And even more, He has elevated us to be priests in His kingdom of which we also are members; that is, if we have heard His voice.

7. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.

Yes, everyone in the entire world will one day come to recognize Jesus Christ for who He is, and those who rejected Him will mourn.

But all who have heard His voice and repented will rejoice, for they will be seeing their King coming in all His glory.

8. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

And all those who have heard his voice will say, Amen!