We Are All About God’s Grace for God’s People

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Matthew 25:34 – “Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…”

Matthew’s gospel lifts up much of Jesus’ teaching of the kingdom of heaven (what Mark and Luke call the “kingdom of God” in their gospels). This kingdom is unlike any other kingdom because it’s King is unlike any other king. The most important sections of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus unpacks what this kingdom is like or will be like (key words!) are found in some of his powerful teaching parables: 13:1-52; 18:21-35; 21:28-46; 22:1-14; and 25:1-46. These parables lift up key themes about the kingdom of heaven. At the risk of oversimplifying the themes, here are some: (1) God is more gracious than we could ever imagine; (2) God is more demanding than we would ever prefer; (3) God will judge and sort out those who believe in, love, and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior from those who don’t; (4) Those who believe in, love, and follow Jesus will do what Jesus did out of thankfulness for the undeserved mercy they themselves have received from God.

This is why the kingdom of heaven is not to be confused with kingdoms of this world because this kingdom is not a kingdom of power that dominates but a kingdom of power that serves, suffers, is merciful, and sacrifices out of obedience towards, in imitation of, and adoration for our King, Jesus. This is a kingdom of weakness that displays the Lord’s power; a kingdom of fools for Christ, a “fool” of a king to the eyes of the world (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Or as Paul says elsewhere (2 Corinthians 13:3-4) – “He [Christ] is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.”

This weekend we lift up this paradoxical kingdom and King and are again led to be asked: Will this King be our king? Will Jesus be my King and will I live under him in his kingdom of mercy? Jesus already is King of kings and Lord of lords, seated at the right hand of the Father where he rules and reigns eternally. And one day all knees will bow to him: Either in thankful, reverent submission because of his sacrificial love which purchased our redemption or out of an eternal fear because of the reality of hell after a life of willful disobedience and unbelief. The choice then (if indeed it is a choice at all) is whether we will have this King and kingdom on God’s terms or if we’ll insist on having our own kingdom and make ourselves as self-proclaimed kings/queens. Christ our King and his kingdom may not be very attractive now, but will be the most beautiful thing ever witnessed. The “kingdoms” of this age are attractive now, but their temporary beauty will whither, fade, decay, and die.

May Christ be our King and his kingdom be our gift, now and always. As Jesus himself says elsewhere: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Chris

Tuesday, November 21st – 1 PM Ladies’ JOY Book Club
Wednesday, November 22nd – 9 AM Quilting
Thursday, November 23rd – Office Closed
Saturday, November 25th – 5 PM Worship: Service of the Word
Sunday, November 26th – Christ the King Sunday
9 AM Coffee Fellowship Time (Library)
10:30 AM Worship w/ Holy Communion
*Confirmation Students leading worship; Sunday School Students will be singing!

World Hunger Project

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Weekend Worship is at
5 p.m. on Saturdays
10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
Communion is celebrated at every service and a staffed nursery is available during the 10:30 worship

Youth Faith Formation
(Sunday School)
Every Sunday from
9:00 – 10:15 am

Christ the King Lutheran Church
1230 N. 18th St.
Escanaba, Michigan
Phone: 906-786-7400