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A Friend of the King: A Sermon Inspired by the Need for Meaning in the Post MJ Era

Updated on June 28, 2009
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Glendon and his wife have led church ministries, conducted empowerment seminars, and travelled to faraway places on business and vacation.

The following sermon was preached at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Georges Valley, Manchester, Jamaica, on Sabbath, June 27, 2009 by Elder Glendon Caballero. In first main point and the conclusion the preacher has made liberal use of material from Mark Finley's series on prophecy.

A Friend of the King

I Thess. 5: 4-6

Moon walking American icon who took 70s and 80s by storm. His rise and fall have mesmerised fans and critics the world over. His unique style of dress, his energetic dance moves, his increasingly high pitched female affected voice, or was it for real, combined to make this entertainer an enigma, a living riddle to so to many of us. Love him or despise him, he was popular, and there was a point in time when you enjoyed singing or listening to his many songs. Beat it. Man in the Mirror. He even participated in the charitable project “We are the world”.

No doubt it felt like this too shortly after August 16, 1977. News then too: The King is dead. Which king? Elvis Presley King of rock and roll, dead at 42 from several factors according to Wikipedia: health problems, drug addiction, and other factors.

The king is dead? Which king? Bob Marley king of Reggae dead at age 36 on May 11. 1981. He was described by one critic as: "man who worshipped a dead dictator and stoned out of his head half the time".

The king is dead? Which king? James Brown, King of Funk and godfather of soul, died December 25, 2006, at ripe age of 73, and his family placed him in a temperature controlled room at his estate for a time, was later removed to an undisclosed location while family tried to settle legal issue; James Brown was not buried until March 10, 2007.

The king is dead. Which king? Michael Jackson, king of pop, died in Los Angeles, California Thursday June 25, 2009, age 50, possibly cardiac involvement as a result of possible over-medicating on drugs. The Associated Press: “The 50-year-old musical superstar died Thursday, just as he was preparing for what would be a series of 50 concerts starting July 13 at London's famed 02 arena. Jackson had been spending hours and hours toiling with a team of dancers for a performance he and his fans hoped would restore his tarnished legacy to its proper place in pop.”

His own voice: “The final curtain call.” Irony.

The king is dead! Final medical statements await toxicology reports.

Kings! Kings! Kings! Many of them pitiful drug addicts.

We conservative Christians look with ridicule at the worshiping fans of these celebrities.

We need to understand that every one is made with a God shaped hole inside their mind and if we do not allow Yahweh Elohim, Almighty God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob to fill our hearts with loving presence, we are going to worship these kings of popular culture, creatures. For the heart longs for someone, something to love, to adore, to worship. Something, someone, larger than life, beyond our fragile existence. So we create kings of men and women who ride the highways of media and enjoy our money because we spend it on them, buying their songs, watching their movies, wearing their endorsed merchandise. For in so doing we feel good. Drinking same soda water used by Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, or same Digicel telephone used by Usain Bolt, or wearing all this chain and stuff like your pop icon Michael Jackson. King of pop.

And my job today is not to come here and heap a lot of righteous indignation at pop culture, for as said earlier his life and work has affected all of us alive today.

Sabbath is a time to celebrate life. Creator of life. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. For in six days Lord created heaven and earth. Rested. Blessed. Set it apart. Holy. When we come here today we remember holy day points us to Holy God. Living God.



King of universe. King of earth. King of church. King of life. King of my life I crown thee now.

King of love. King of light. King of grace.

King of glory.

King of You. King of Me.

King of kings.

Somebody name of Edward Perronet was inspired in year 1779 to pen this great hymn:

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

All hail the power of Jesus' name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Ye seed of Israel's chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Let every kindred, every tribe on this terrestrial ball
To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all.
O that with yonder sacred throng we at His feet may fall!
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all.
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all.

Today I have come on business for that King! His name is King Jesus.

I have just come by here to remind you that the kingdom of God is at hand.

Text 1 Thess. 5:1-11

To be a Christian in any age is to live a life of hope, of inward joy, but also to suffer persecution. The Christians of the first century when Paul wrote this epistle to Thessalonica faced extreme hardships. The Life Application Bible reminds us in its introduction to the book that: “many of them met early deaths at the hands of those who hated Christ and all allied with him. Whether at the hands of zealous Jews (like Paul before his conversion), angry Greeks, or ruthless Roman authorities, persecution included stonings, beatings, crucifixions, torture, and death. To be a follower of Christ meant to give up everything”

Before we can understand what’s going on in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 we must know what was going on in Thessalonica.

The church there was very young. Paul was hounded out of one Macedonia city after another so he felt that he had failed to nurture new converts in faith. But Timothy came with good news and some concerns that he Paul now addresses. The new church was holding up under persecution but certain Jews had slandered Paul as well.

J Hampton Keathley III writing in BIBLE.ORG SITE a paper entitled Birth and Growth of a Church:

The purpose and burden of the Apostle in writing to the Thessalonians can be summarized as follows:

1. To express his thankfulness for what God was doing in the lives of the Thessalonians (1:2-3),

2. To defend himself against a campaign to slander his ministry (2:1-12),

3. To encourage them to stand fast against persecution and pressure to revert to their former pagan life-styles (3:2-3; 4:1-12),

4. To answer a doctrinal question pertaining to the fate of Christians who had died (4:1-13),

5. To answer questions regarding the “Day of the Lord” (5:1-11),

6. And to deal with certain problems that had developed in their corporate life as a church (5:12-13; 19-20).

When you read this epistle know that Paul is writing to Christians who needed to mature in the faith. Listen to Paul giving fatherly advice in 1Thess 4:1-12.

(It’s a lovely short epistle; you can chose to read it early as I did in the Follow the Bible year project for 2009).

KEATHLEY says two themes stand out when we look at First and Second Thessalonians:

The first theme is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a subject found at the close of every chapter. Concerning Christ’s return there is a two-fold emphasis of both a confident expectation along with the call to live in readiness in the light of His imminent coming.

The second theme revolves around the ministry of the local church and its life in the world. In this the Apostle balances the prophetic with the practical. As in other places, the doctrine of the return of Christ for the church is a truth that should transform how we live as individuals and as a corporate body of God’s people.

John 15:9-17

“I have called you friends.”

What a friend to have in Jesus.

Are you a friend of the king? Do you desire to find in King Jesus a Friend and a Saviour? There are three points I want you to consider today:

I. Firstly, loyal friends of the kingdom prepare for the King whose coming in glory is near at hand.

I Thess. 5:1-4

A. It will come like a thief in the night.

a. Sudden, frightening, unexpected. Remember Belshazzar, the Day of the Lord came upon him at the very moment when least expected it.

When Old Testament refers to Day of the Lord usually talking about Day of Judgment against God’s enemies and deliverance for His people. Day to be feared if you are not on the side of the king. Paul’s letter to Thessalonica assumes that he had taught them of this before and this letter was a reminder. “You very well know that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night".

B. Like labour pains on a pregnant woman.

a. Because I’m not a woman I had to research this one.

i. Wife: Yes it is.

Net doctor site: During a natural birth, the muscles in the uterus (womb) contract and it's this contraction that's felt as labour pains. Labour is a painful experience, but breathing techniques learned in antenatal classes can make early labour less stressful.

The contractions cause the baby's head to be pressed down through the pelvis and against the inside of the cervix. This causes the cervix to stretch open (dilate) allowing the baby's head to pass through (descend) into the vagina and onwards into the outside world.

ii. Ladies here. Is it sudden? You’re in the middle of a task and suddenly the pains start. Once the labour pains come there is no escape. Something is coming. So it is when the Day of the Lord comes. The day of King.

C. But to you friends of kingdom it will not surprise you like a thief.

a. You know the signs:

“The burden of Christ's preaching was, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel." Thus the gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies. The "time" which He declared to be fulfilled was the period made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel…

The time of Christ's coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out. It was the privilege of the Jewish people to understand these prophecies, and to recognize their fulfilment in the mission of Jesus. Christ urged upon His disciples the importance of prophetic study. Referring to the prophecy given to Daniel in regard to their time, He said, "Whoso readeth, let him understand." Matt. 24:15. After His resurrection He explained to the disciples in "all the prophets" "the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. The Saviour had spoken through all the prophets. "The Spirit of Christ which was in them" "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1 Peter 1:11…

"The Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants and prophets." While "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God," "those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." Amos 3:7; Deut. 29:29. God has given these things to us, and His blessing will attend the reverent, prayerful study of the prophetic scriptures. {DA 234.3}

As the message of Christ's first advent announced the kingdom of His grace, so the message of His second advent announces the kingdom of His glory. And the second message, like the first, is based on the prophecies…

We have reached the period foretold in these scriptures. The time of the end is come, the visions of the prophets are unsealed, and their solemn warnings point us to our Lord's coming in glory as near at hand.” {DA235 EG WHITE

Do you know the signs?

Signs in the world of religion.

Jesus said:

"For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:5 emphasis supplied).

"For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders" (Revelation 21:4, 5).

MARK FINLEY says: One thing is for certain-these false christs will not come with a sign around their necks saying, "We are false christs and false prophets." They will simply lead, and those who are looking for a leader will follow.

False religions have increased phenomenally in our generation. Books on the occult and astrology are selling in the multimillions throughout America. Universities offer students classes in ESP, psychic phenomena, and the occult. Many young people who were raised in Christianity have cast aside the truths of their youth and are being drawn to spiritualism and the occult. Cults are recruiting those who are searching.

In March, 1997, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult produced a farewell video and then took their own lives.

Signs in the world of politics.

Jesus continued:

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. . . . For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:6, 7).

How many wars can you remember? World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli Wars, the war in Bosnia, the Gulf War, Kosovo, southern and northern Ireland, all over Africa from Rwanda and Somalia to the Sudan, the Congo. The list goes on and on.

Seen how British Parliament recently, spending scandal. Jamaica one after the other. Glass house can’t throw stone.

Signs in the world of nature.

Jesus turns His attention to the natural world: "There will be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places" (Matthew 24:7).

Do we see famines today?

Experts estimate that for more than a billion people in the world today, about a sixth of the world's population, chronic hunger is an ever-present part of daily life. Ten thousand people a day, or more than 3.5 million people per year, die of starvation.

Food Security a major global issue for all:

Pestilences. Dread diseases. Scary ones like H1N1. Pervasive ones like HIV/Aids.

Facts and Figures on HIV/AIDS from website BREAD FOR THE WORLD

  • The spreading HIV/AIDS epidemic has quickly become a major obstacle in the fight against hunger and poverty in developing countries.
  • Since the epidemic began, 25 million people have died from AIDS, which has caused more than 15 million children to lose at least one parent. For its analysis, UNICEF uses a term that illustrates the gravity of the situation; child-headed households, or minors orphaned by HIV/AIDS who are raising their siblings.
  • Approximately 39.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the world. Of this figure, 63 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 14

Add earthquakes and storms and floods to list of natural signs.

Signs in the world of social life.

Jesus plainly predicted: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark" (Matthew 24:7).

And what was life like in Noah's day? Moral values fell through the basement, marriage vows were broken, divorce was common, the social and moral fabric of society in Noah's day disintegrated. Standards that were once the norm, God's standards, were no longer accepted.

What about today? How is the moral fabric of society in the 21st century? I don't have to tell you-you know. Living together outside of marriage is commonplace. There isn't even a stigma attached to it in most social circles. It's almost expected.

Andrew Holness in a 2006 budget contribution quoted in Observer: Of 45,000 children born into the Jamaica Society each year, 83 per cent of them are born to single women. It is worth noting that approximately 20 per cent of all births each year are to teenage mothers 19 years and younger. While 46.7 per cent of all births are to mothers 24 years and younger.

Homosexual marriages. Miss California is to be commended for taking a stand which rested on the word of God. She has suffered for it, but somewhere in her past somebody taught her the Word of God.

Signs in world of Knowledge

"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4).

In the medical world, delicate surgeries are performed today that weren't even dreamed of a decade ago. Astronomers know more about what's above us, geologists know more about what's beneath us, biologists know more about what's within us. They just haven’t figured out how to be happy without King Jesus.

Think of transportation. Book a seat on space shuttle as space tourist.

Not to mention the world of computers. Someone said that a musical greeting card has more processing power than all the allied forces in WW2.

II. Second main point is that Paul is telling the Thessalonians that friends of the King are children of light.

i. 1 Thess. 5: 5 children of light and day. As opposed to those who are unconverted, who not friends of king who of night and drunkenness.

ii. Let’s talk about light

1. Word used here is photos from which we get English word photo. Means to give light.

2. God people are light of world. What a responsibility?

a. Seen.

b. Light is healing.

c. Light shows way.

d. Light helps others to see truth.

III. Third and final point is that friends of the King will watch and be sober.

a. Can’t fall asleep in this evil age. Hold the fort for King is coming.

b. Look out and look up. Be alert. Protective of children.

c. Not just sit down. Active life of witnessing. Mission to lost. Many opportunities every day to share love of Jesus.

d. Sober. So many things to make you not sober; music, games, temptations, bad company nicely called negative peer pressure.

Appeal to church:

The Bible predicts a powerful worldwide spiritual revival before the coming of Jesus:

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).

The aged John, writing from a barren, rocky Patmos adds:

"Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue and people" (Revelation 14:6).

This is a remarkable prediction. Before the coming of Jesus, unprecedented doors of opportunity for the proclamation of the gospel will open around the world.

From the islands of the sea to the massive metropolitan cities, God is on the move. Prophecy is being fulfilled. The prophetic signs of Jesus' soon return are being fulfilled all around us. Church Friends of King take your stand for King now.

Appeal to Visitors: Is there anything in your life which would keep you from being ready for His soon return? Jesus longs to save you. He longs to have you live together with Him forever.

This is no ordinary time.

Kings of rock and roll, of soul, of reggae, of pop have all made their exit from stage. One King remains who hold keys of hell and death, was dead and is alive forevermore.

Talking about Man from Galilee.

King of my life I crown thee now

Thine shall the glory be

Lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow

Lead me to Calvary

Meet him at altar of grace.



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