Christ the King Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Christ the King

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Christ the King Sunday focuses our worship on the cosmic character of Christ's reign over the world. It is a proclamation to all that everything in creation and culture must submit to Christ and an invitation to actively and joyfully submit to his rule.

In Scripture

A just ruler in 2 Samuel 23:1–7 “The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly,ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,gleaming from the rain on the grassy land. Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?” (2 Sam. 23:2–5).

God the king in Psalm 2 “He who sits in the heavens laughs;the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have begotten you’” (Ps. 2:4–7).

The King of glory in Psalm 24 “Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory” (Ps. 24:7–10).

The LORD is king “The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. He has established the world; it shall never be moved; your throne is established from of old;you are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,more majestic than the waves of the sea,majestic on high is the LORD! Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house,O LORD, forevermore” (Ps. 93:1-5).

The great King above all gods in Psalm 95 “O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Ps. 95:1–3).

God's glorious reign in Psalm 97 “The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps. 97:1).

The mighty king in Psalm 99 “The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!” (Ps. 99:1–5).

God's good kingdom in Psalm 100 “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Ps. 100:1–5).

God the Priest-King in Psalm 110 “The LORD says to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’ The LORD sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes” (Ps. 110:1–2).

Jeremiah 23:1–6 “The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness’” (Jer. 23:5–6).

Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14 “As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire ... To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 7:9, 14)

Luke 1:68–79 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty Savior for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68–69).

John 18:33–37 “Pilate asked [Jesus], ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’" (John 18:37).

1 Corinthians 15:20–28 “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:24–25).

Ephesians 1:15–23 “God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20–23).

Colossians 1:10–20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:15–18).

1 Timothy 6:11–16 “In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:13–16).

1 Peter 3:21–22 “And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him” (1 Pet. 3:21–22).

Revelation 1:4–8 “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, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:4–6).

Revelation 5 “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, ‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Rev. 5:13).

Revelation 19:1–6 “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’” (Rev. 19:4).

Points to Ponder

Leading into Advent The day is celebrated widely in some traditions and is normally scheduled on the last Sunday before Advent. It therefore serves as a transitional Sunday leading directly into Advent, the Christmas cycle, and the new Christian year. The day fits well with the eschatological emphasis and anticipation of Christ’s second coming highlighted during Advent. It also helps worshipers, who are already thinking about Christmas, to remember that Christmas is about much more than a baby in a manger—it is about a sovereign Christ who came to be the “Prince of Peace.”

Lordship of Christ Whether or not this day is celebrated annually, the theme of Christ’s lordship is central to the New Testament and to the faithful practice of Christian worship. The texts in this section are appropriate for any service focusing on the lordship of Christ.

Liturgical colors Gold or some purple may also be appropriate to represent royalty. Symbols of royalty may be used, especially when combined with a cross.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.