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We Have Another King - Trinity 2020

June 6, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Lloyd Gross

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Trinity
WE HAVE ANOTHER KING
Acts 17:5-7
by: Rev. Lloyd Gross

Our story today is about Jason. He was not an apostle, or a prophet, or an elder or teacher. He did not go from town to town. He lived and worked in Thessalonika, had friends in Thessalonika, and cheered for the Thessalonian athletes in the games of that day. He was a good citizen, like most of the Thessalonians. But unlike most of his neighbors, Jason was a Christian. He was named for a hero of Pagan mythology, but because of him that name has been baptized, has become part of the Christian canon, and is fairly popular today. Jason was happy that the apostles came to his city. He went out of his way to make them comfortable, to house them, and perhaps find temporary employment for Paul. The devil hated that. Jason was paving the way for the Gospel which the apostles were bringing. So Satan turned on Jason. First he stirred up some of the Jews to harass him, then he found a gang of winos and thugs to beat up the apostles. Jason wasn't even safe in his own house. Eventually they assaulted his house and brought him to the magistrate. What was his crime? He received the apostles into his home. He gave aid and comfort to men who refused to be part of the world's system. They had another King, Jesus of Nazareth. That was why they had to be punished.

Do any of you have graduates in your family this year? In our own time, these young people should take a good look at Jason. In our Baptism we renounced the prince of this world. Jesus calls us, young and old alike, out of the world's system. When you're young it's difficult to see these things clearly. Our King is invisible, while the glamour and glitter of the world are fairly obvious. The tinsel seems to be a reasonable choice. But take a closer look. Behold, there are only two choices. There is Mammon, unbridled materialism, constantly buying and consuming, always craving what your neighbors have. The other choice is to serve Belial, to escape from it all by drugs, psychedelic music, and suicide. But try to serve God. Try to use your mind to glorify Him, to write good, rational poetry, or work for a God-pleasing social situation. Doesn't take long, does it, before the devil has his swat team at your door. We have to be the Jasons of today, even if we're just starting out. Nobody else wants to do it. But we have another King, who is the Light of the World.

Just belonging to the institutional church is no guarantee that you will be spared the clutches of evil. The prince of darkness has his people in the church. Too many church leaders have either forgotten the truth of Christianity or never knew it. There are many denominational leaders all over the world who falsely teach that more of Mammon's goodies will somehow improve mankind. We might think they're optimistic, but they are really dead wrong. One cannot be improved except the Lord's way, and that is to be born again of water and the Spirit. Without that second birth nothing exists but the wrath of God, not obvious today, but to be revealed very soon. Mammon's goodies will all go up in smoke. All of the vanities are reserved for the fire. The prince of this world himself is marked for destruction. But the Jasons of today can rejoice because we have another King, one who turns the world upside-down.

Jesus did not say the arrogant would inherit the earth. That promise was for the meek. It is the poor who are blessed, not those who have what Mammon offers. Jesus says: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. If any activity is worth your while it is purifying your heart. Money has never made anyone happy. Nor has success, nor carnal indulgence, nor the stupidity of drugs. An army of advertisers keeps trying to persuade us to turn to such things. They have plenty of takers, who are all chasing phantoms. Today's Jasons need to purify our hearts from such pursuits, so we are not distracted from the real King.

Look around the world and see the suffering church! Recently, Christians in Pakistan were threatened with government persecution and death if they attacked the false prophet Mohammed, who established a Satanic substitute for Christianity in the Koran. It wasn't so many years ago that the tyrant Ceaucescu put Christians in Rumania in solitary confinement thirty feet underground. We hear of similar persecution in the Peoples' Republic of China. We need to pray for the victims of such persecution, but we might also envy how their choices have been simplified. They can't get money in prison, they have no liberty to indulge the flesh, nor is there worldly glory in a solitary cell. Those people are modern Jasons, who refuse to serve the prince of this world because they have another King. Our King bought us to be His own. The more the devil threatens, the more our King assures us that He will deliver us. During the Reformation, in trying to describe where Jesus went when He ascended, theologians came up with the proverb -the right hand of God is everywhere. The martyrs have discovered first hand that His left hand is equally ubiquitous. He giveth, and He taketh away. It takes both hands to steer us properly. But isn't it comforting to know that both hands are close by?

It is because our King is God Incarnate, the Lord who made atonement for us, the Champion who died and rose again. All three sacred Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are close by us, present with grace and truth. No enemies can ever hide us from the love of God. No government can bury us so deep that God's love cannot comfort and uphold us. We have another King, who once reigned from the cross in the midst of His foes, who reigns now as the Risen Savior, whose blood atones for our sins, who has reconciled us to God. The devil fears Him above all else. The prince of this world will try to destroy the modern apostles, and the modern Jasons who receive the apostles. But don't let them scare you. The prince of this world will have no reason to boast in you, because you have another King. You can commit yourself to this King because He has committed himself to you. Don't be afraid to let everyone know it. Do not say we will be His subjects hereafter. We are His subjects now. Hereafter we will share his crown.