Visions of Christ’s kingdom

21 Nov 2021 by Gail Hinton in: Sermons

Welcome: Before we enter the season of Advent, which are the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we have a special day set aside this Sunday to praise and honour the Reign of Christ. Today we will think about Christ the ultimate king and the qualities of the kingdom he rules over and welcomes us into.

Call to worship

The kingdom of God has come near.

All glory to Christ the King.

Hymn Tis 279 The King of glory comes

Prayer of Adoration
Let us pray…

Lord Jesus,
preaching good tidings, proclaiming the kingdom of God,
setting us free from darkness,
and teaching us to be holy,
we adore you.

Lord Jesus,
friend of the outcast and the poor,
feeder of the hungry,
healer of the sick;
we adore you.

Lord Jesus,
denouncing violence,
exposing wickedness
and overcoming evil with good:
we adore you.

Lord Jesus,
gentle and just king,
dying to save us from our sin,
rising to eternal life
and bringing us into the kingdom of heaven
we adore you.

Bible Reading

2 Samuel 23: 1-7

23 Now these are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
    the oracle of the man whom God exalted,
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
    the favourite of the Strong One of Israel:

The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
    his word is upon my tongue.
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?
But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
    for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
to touch them one uses an iron bar
    or the shaft of a spear.
    And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.


Sharing Moment

What are we to make of David’s last words? In these verses from Samuel, David the shepherd boy who became a legendary Israelite king, about three thousand years ago, looks back on his life, first by proclaiming that the spirit of the lord has spoken through him, that the Lord’s words are upon his tongue, and what beautiful words they are. David describes the kingdom of a god fearing king as the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

I have been blessed in my life by being able to work outdoors, mostly in garden centres, one of which was located on several acres in the lush and picturesque Mulgoa valley. I have often seen the sun come out after a rainstorm and turn everything golden and I have seen many times the dew drops glisten on the paddocks and through the gum trees early in the morning. The beauty I have seen and appreciated is beyond this world, it speaks to me of the wonders of God.

In a little while we will hear Jesus, the ultimate and eternal godly king state that his kingdom is not of this world. So this morning I am wondering what glimpses and visions of God’s kingdom you have seen? Where do you see God’s kingdom breaking through into everyday life? What events and images fill you with hope and awe and wonder?

I will give you some time to think this through and it would be great if some of you would share your vision with all of us. I would also like to incorporate those visions in the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving during Communion. In essence you the congregation will be creating that prayer. This is experimental, so no pressure, may God’s Spirit inspire you. The questions are on the screen, so have a moment or two now to think them through.

Prayer of Confession      

As a way for us to now move into the prayer of confession, I would like us to consider the life of king David for just a few moments. David is a heroic figure in biblical history, in the reading we just heard he is described as a man whom God exalted, as the anointed one and as God’s favourite yet he is extremely flawed and often blind to his own tragic and selfish misdeeds and mistakes.

David may have been Israel’s’ idealised version of a king yet in reality he was just another human being prone to doing things that do not reflect the beauty of  God’s kingdom. As flawed human beings let us now come before God with a sense of humility and with a spirit of openness and trust.

Let us pray…
Loving and merciful God,
Like your servant David we mess up,
we can think we are following your ways
but sometimes out own will gets in the way.
Like your servant Paul, when we try to do everything right,
we still find ourselves acting out of self-interest;
it is almost like an instinct,
or a pattern of behaviour we seem to be trapped in.
Create within us new hearts
and place within us the mind of Christ.

In this moment of silence we bring to you gentle king
our personal confessions…

This is a trustworthy promise, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Hear then Christ’s word of grace to us:
‘Your sins are forgiven.’
Thanks be to God.

Hymn Tis547 Be thou my vison

Bible Reading

John 18:33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “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.”


Today’s gospel reading offers us a clear and stark contrast between the kingdom Jesus proclaims and the kingdoms of earthly rulers, whether they be the emperors of old or today’s leaders of government and big business. Nearly every week we hear in the news of yet another scandal in the halls of power, it is almost becoming ridiculous, and we may begin to wonder if there are any honest and decent leaders are out there. As an experiment I went through Friday’s paper and circled in red all the articles about people in power doing the wrong thing. The saying that all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely seems to be a true one. Where are truth and justice to be found in today’s world?

We are blessed to know that the King we adore is nothing like the weak and corrupt leaders of our world. The kingdom that Christ brings into being is completely different and it is often described as the topsy turvy or upside down kingdom, it is a place where the first are last and the least are first, where the wolf lives happily alongside the lamb, where weapons are turned into gardening tools and all people live in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 19:30, Isaiah 11:6, Micah 4:1-4, Romans 14:17).

These glimpses of Christ’s kingdom are scattered throughout the Bible. In today’s reading for example we hear Jesus kingdom is a nonviolent way of being. We hear Jesus explain to Pilate that those who follow him will not rise up in violence to defend him against the accusations of the religious leaders or rally to build up an army against the forces of the Roman emperor Caesar. You may recall that the crowd that witnessed the feeding of the five thousand tried to do this very thing, they came to take Jesus by force and make him into the type of king that the world desires, a mighty warrior king, handy with a sword and eager to gain power, fame, and status, kind of like king David. This may the type of ruler we are often attracted to or observe clawing their mucky way to the top, but it is not the type of ruler that we so desperately need.

The good news and remedy to our concerns for justice and truth is Christ the King. A ruler who is all powerful and all mighty on a cosmic scale, yet he is the one who will govern, act and rule over all creation as an outpouring of love. God in the flesh, the one who came into the world as a vulnerable baby, is the king that will bring the realm of justice, equality, truth, fairness, goodness, respect, and compassion into being.

The ways in which we see the kingdom of God break into our world are inspiring, energising and breathtakingly beautiful, they are to our spiritual growth what rain is to the dry earth, they nourish us and keep us sustained. There is however challenge here too; if we are God’s beloved children and therefore the people of God’s kingdom how are we witnessing to this in our daily lives?  Do people look at us and see that our actions and way of being is different from those who do not yet belong to the Christ’s kingdom?

Here at Carlingford, you have all been thinking and praying about the future of the church in this area and I am so inspired by your love of Jesus and your heart to serve him as the church. During my research for this Sunday’s service I found this beautiful description of the churches mission as a reflection of Christ’s kingdom.

The kingdom of God advances through the preaching of the gospel and the redemption of sinners from the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13). This is the mission of the church—to announce the kingdom in its preaching and to animate its ethics and beauty by its living. While the church is not the sum total of the kingdom, it is the place here and now where sons and daughters of the king gather to prepare for the age to come, even as they invite others to join them. In other words, churches are the local manifestation of the kingdom of God, the people who live in this life with priorities and practices that anticipate the next.[1]

May God bless you in your desire to bring glimpses of Christ’s kingdom into being, to live and breathe the Good News in this place and out into your community.




Communion Hymn Tis 538 Feed us now, Bread of Life


Prayers of Intercession

Offering Prayer

Gracious God,
We offer you our gifts, however we give them,
for the work of your Church
and the welfare of your people everywhere;
acknowledging with gratitude that we could give nothing
if you had not first given to us.
Help us to use all we have
In accordance with your good will
and for the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Sacrament of Holy Communion

The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.


Friends, at this table we all have a place.

This joyful feast is a glimpse,

a preview,

and a taste of the life to come,

the life that awaits us all

in the glorious kingdom of Christ the King.

Narrative of the Institution

Our Lord asks us to remember him as we eat this meal together, for on, night he was betrayed while they were eating together, he took bread.

He gave thanks to God. 

He broke it.

And then he invited them to share it saying,

Take, eat, this is my body given for you. 


After the meal, he took a cup of wine.

Again, he gave thanks to God and then invited all who were gathered to share it.

Saying, “Drink from this, all of you, for the remembrance of me.”


Today we remember our Lord’s command and come to God with our prayers of thanksgiving……


The Lord be with you

And also with you


Lift up your hearts

We lift them to the lord


Let us give thanks to our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise


God of Justice,

you have called us to be the Church in this place,

to give witness to the coming of Christ’s kingdom,

through our words and actions, our priorities, and practices.

We rejoice in the promise of your peaceful kingdom

and in the wonders of your love

made known to us through our lord Jesus Christ.


With hearts full of thanksgiving we join the company of heaven in the great song of praise…..


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!



God of Truth,

we thank you for sending the light of Christ

into the darkness,

to expose all lies and falsehoods.

Like your prophets of old

we too cry out for justice

and we thank you for their faithful witness.


Lord Jesus, gentle and kind king,

we thank you for…..





In a reversal of the way of the world,

you gracious God became one of us,

not as a mighty warrior king

but as a vulnerable baby,

a child who would grow in all

wisdom and understanding,

into a man who would, for our sakes,

go to the cross,

unfairly condemned

and unjustly accused.


We thank you that through Christ’s great sacrifice,

we become children of the peaceful kingdom.

In Christ we are assured a place at this table and in the heavenly

banquet yet to come.




Pour out the Holy Spirit on us

and on these gifts of bread and wine,

That they may be for us the body and the blood of Christ.


Make us one with him,

One with each other

And one in ministry in the world,

Until at last we feast with him in the kingdom.


Through your son, Jesus Christ,

in your holy church.

all honour and glory are yours, Father almighty,

now and forever.





Lord’s Prayer (if not recited earlier in Prayer of Intercession)

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us in the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.


Breaking the Bread


The bread we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.


The cup we take is a sharing in the life of Christ.


The gifts of God for the people of God.



Communion seated and served.


Prayer after Communion


Bountiful God,

at this table you graciously feed us

with the bread of life and the cup of salvation.

may we who have reached out our hands to receive this sacrament

be strengthened in your service;

we who have sung your praises

tell of your glory in our lives;

we who have seen the greatness of your love

see you face to face in your kingdom.

and come to worship you with all your saints for ever.


Closing Hymn: Tis 745 Seek ye first the kingdom of God


Go out into the world in the power of the Spirit;

in all things, at all times,

remember that Christ is with you;

make your life your worship

to the praise and glory of God.


Next Week: 28 November, 2021
Lectionary Readings: Advent 1
Jer 33:14-16, Ps 25:1-10,
1 Thes 3:9-13, Lk 21: 25-26