SERMON IN PRINT: Your King of Glory is Coming

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

An Advent sermon on Psalm 24 from Pastor Jon Zabell

December, 2021

Psalm 24


1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it;

2 for he founded it on the seas

and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?

Who may stand in his holy place?

4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not trust in an idol

or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord

and vindication from God their Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,

who seek your face, God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, you gates;

be lifted up, you ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

8 Who is this King of glory?

The Lord strong and mighty,

the Lord mighty in battle.

9 Lift up your heads, you gates;

lift them up, you ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

10 Who is he, this King of glory?

The Lord Almighty—

he is the King of glory.


Christmas is coming! There are so many good things attached to Christmas that just about anyone can find things to be excited about. The songs, the cookies, the decorations, the gifts, the celebrations. Not everyone is excited about everything attached to Christmas, but everyone can be excited about at least one thing, and if it’s none of the things I’ve already mentioned, then it has to be the message of Christmas, God’s message, the message of our newborn Savior and King. And so the theme of this year’s midweek Advent services is this: Your King is Coming!


Tonight’s psalm is a psalm of King David, Psalm 24. If there is an earthly king in Israel’s history most likely to be voted “most glorious,” it would most likely be King David. But his psalm has nothing to do with the glory of his own kingdom. Under the Spirit’s inspiration, King David wrote a psalm of praise for the much more glorious king to come. The King who would come into our world and make everything right, the King who still comes to us in his Word, the King who will come to us again on the Last Day. Tonight’s psalm invites you and me to give all honor and praise to our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the King of glory!


There is other glory to be found in our world, of course. There have been many glorious leaders throughout history. Read a biography on Winston Churchill, for example. Not a perfect man by any means, but the way he held firm and led under extreme pressure during WWII has won the admiration of countless people. His leadership is inspiring, something to be emulated, and it’s not a stretch to call that kind of leadership glorious. Great wealth can be a glorious thing. Something to be marveled at: the means at someone’s disposal for building beautiful things, for serving in beautiful ways. Great accomplishments can be glorious: the athlete who perseveres against all odds and wins the victory. The scientist who studies with dogged determination and makes a discovery that helps his fellow man. Our world is full of glorious things.


But who is the source of all this glory? Who created the world and its wealth? Who raised up every great leader and gave him talents? Who provided the opportunity for amazing scientific discoveries? As glorious as anyone or anything in this world may truly be, the glory of our coming King surpasses them all.

The psalmist King David asks,


3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?

Who may stand in his holy place?


In other words, who can actually approach God’s presence in his tabernacle high up on the mountain? Who may stand before God in worship? Who may stand in his presence in heaven? The answer?


4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not trust in an idol

or swear by a false god.


Is this you? Are your hands clean? Think of all the things your hands have done that are out of line with what God has said he wants you to do with your hands. When our hands get dirt on them from work we can just wash them. Sin? That’s not so easily cleansed. How about your heart? Have you steered clear of false gods? In other words, are you loyal? We certainly sound like we’re loyal. We speak our allegiance to the Lord quite regularly. Do we follow through? Or are we like the apostle Peter who talked big and then caved under pressure and denied Jesus? The truth? None of us has clean hands or a pure heart.


So who are we to think we may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who are we to think we should get to be with him? He shouldn’t let us near his Word. He should post an angel guard at church with flaming swords to keep us away. We have no business being with him. He is the all-glorious King, who rules all. We don’t deserve a place with him.


But this all-glorious King is also the King who set his glory aside. Without lessening in his glory one bit, the King of Glory chose to be born in a backwater province of the Roman empire to a couple at the low end of the poverty level. He chose to suffer and be rejected and hated. He chose to let whatever moments of apparent glory he experienced here be short-lived. His miracles were often followed by times of intense persecution. The adoring fans who praised him as he rode that donkey into Jerusalem had abandoned him by the time the week was out.


Then came his cross, where he looked anything but glorious. Yet this was the height of his glorious work! Think of the glory of the cross! Are your hands stained by sin? He let his hands be pierced instead. Have you been something less than perfectly loyal? His loyalty never flagged. Jesus the King of glory, the LORD strong and mighty was mighty in his battle against sin, and he is victorious. And your all-glorious King has shared his glory with you.


What greater glory could you ask for? Each of us has our own version of what a glorious life in this world would look like. Do you want glory? Consider the glory that leaves all other glory in the dust. The one who made you, who saved you, who fills your heart with joy, has claimed you as his own for all eternity.


For you and me, too, this glory is hidden. It’s hidden beneath chronic illness. It’s hidden beneath family conflict. It’s hidden beneath the failures we’ve experienced, the loss, the disappointment. But hidden doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Nor does it mean that God doesn’t want you to find it. The glory he’s shared with you, he hides it in our world, so that you find it in his Word.

In all of our trouble, he wants us to seek his face. Listen:


5 They will receive blessing from the Lord

and vindication from God their Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,

who seek your face, God of Jacob.


Seek the God of Jacob. Seek the God who showed grace to Jacob when he sinned. Seek him in his Word, wherever his Word may be - in your Bible, in your Baptism, in the encouragement of your fellow believers. Seek God and he will show grace to you, too.


You will receive blessing - his promise of good things in all you do. You will receive vindication - the assurance that no matter what you’re going through you are without blame, without guilt before God, because Jesus has carried that all to the cross for you.


With glory hidden he came into our world at Christmas, one sacrifice for a world of sinners, for you and me. With glory hidden he comes into our hearts through Word and Sacraments, his Word like medicine for weary, guilt-burdened souls. With glory revealed he will come into our world again and bring us and all believers to heaven. Then we will see the glory that’s not hidden. There will be no chronic illness, no family conflict, no failure, no loss, no disappointment. Just the pure, unfiltered glory of being with our glorious Lord and King for all eternity.


So in these days before we celebrate Christmas, heed the encouragement of the psalmist King David: lift up your heads, you mighty gates that the king of glory may come in! A second time he says it, like an echo: Lift up, your heads, you mighty gates! Let the gates of Jerusalem swing wide! Let us and all the people of God welcome the King of glory. Let us love his Word and cling to it with all our hearts. Let us long for the day when he comes again. And let our praise and honor for him be revealed in everything we do. Our king is worth it. He is the king of glory!


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Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®

Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM

Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Devotion Copyright 2021 St. Paul Lutheran Church (WELS), Green Bay, Wisconsin


Artwork by Ian M. Welch. Copyright 2012 Ian M. Welch. All Rights Reserved. paramentics.com




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