SERMONS FROM PREVIOUS WORSHIP SERVICES

Maundy Thursday, 1st April A.D. 2021;

Service of Readings and Music, Palm Sunday to Pentecost

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory ?

 

David the King wrote this Psalm to welcome the return of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

 

The Ark represented the earthly throne of the invisible God. It had been kept in the tabernacle, the sacred tent, designed by God and built while the children of Israel travelled from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.

 

But during one of the many military skirmishes it had been captured by the Philistines. After many trials and much time it was now entering Jerusalem to great acclaim.

 

The gates in the Psalm are the gates of the city of Jerusalem. But David is expressing the immensity of God by saying that the gates are too small for Him to enter. Symbolically the tops have to be removed.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory ?

 

This is the first gate.

 

The Ark has arrived but David is embarrassed: David lives in a palace, but God is consigned to a tent.

A light bulb moment: David will build a temple: a house for God. Of course, David knows that the whole earth is too small to house God, but it is the symbolism of the thing.

 

God’s response is amazing. He says, through the prophet Nathan, how touched he is that David wants to build him a house, but he has been quite happy with the tent, but in response he will build David an eternal house, that is, descendants, instead. We know that Jesus, our Saviour, will be the final eternal King, the son of David.

 

In the mean time, however, David’s earthly son. Solomon, will build the Temple.

The gates of the first earthly temple are the second gate entered by the King of glory. 

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory ?

 

 We read when Solomon dedicates the temple and the Ark enters, that the glory of the lord comes down and fills the temple.

 

Skip about  1000 years, and the King of Glory, Jesus, enters Jerusalem in triumph on what we now refer to as Palm Sunday.

Again, the gates of the city receive their King, the third gate.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in.

 

Jesus goes to the Temple. No longer Solomon’s temple which was destroyed by the Babylonians, but the second temple rebuilt by Nehemiah and added to by Herod.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in.

 

But the King of glory is not pleased. The house of God, the house of prayer, has been turn into a market run by scoundrels.

 Jesus cleanses the temple and teaches in it daily. He has entered the fourth gate, the gate of the temple.

 

But Jesus has come to Jerusalem to volunteer to die. And so as a sinless man, not deserving death, he lays down his life and enters the place of the dead.

 

This gate is symbolic and more eternal than the previous four earthly gates: the fifth gate of death has opened itself to receive the king of glory.

 

That was on Preparation Day, what we now call Friday ; it was the 13th day of the month of Nissan. Then came the Sabbath, the day of rest, and after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, the King of glory was raised from the dead and the gates opened in reverse. 

 

 

Jesus was raised; he was dead, and is alive now for ever more: what had been the fifth gate into the place of the dead has now become the sixth gate into life.

 

As Charles Wesley writes: Christ hath burst the gates of hell

 

 

The seventh gate is also symbolic: After forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in.

 

The gates of heaven were opened for Jesus to enter as King of Glory and they remain opened for us who believe in Him.

 

There is one more gate: a metaphoric gate.

It is the smallest gate and the hardest for Jesus to enter. It is the gate to our heart and we have the power to keep it shut.

Jesus is dictating a letter to his servant John, to send to the church at Laodicea. 

He writes: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.

 

We are all invited to the heavenly banquet, but we must accept the invitation through faith and demonstrate the genuineness of our faith by doing what Jesus asks of us.

 

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up O eternal Doors and the King of Glory will come in.

 

Have we invited the king of glory into our lives and do we ant him to remain with us.