(From: Christ’s Famous Titles)
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
Beloved, Jesus Christ is a threefold king:
First, His enemies King.
Secondly, His saints King.
Thirdly, His Father’s King.
The first, he rules over.
The second, he rules in.
The third, he rules for.
I shall begin with the first, and take them in order.
First, Christ is his ENEMIES King. That is, he is King over his enemies. Christ is a King above all kings, and over all kings, and therefore the Scripture calls HIM, “King of kings!” as you have it in 1 Timothy 6:15. Christ is a King above all kings; for if he were not a King above all kings—he could not be a King over all kings. Two Scriptures prove that Jesus is a King above all kings. God the Father says, Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. Psalm 89:27. Now, who is the first-born? Why, it is Jesus Christ; as he is elsewhere called, “the first-born of every creature.” “Now,” says God, I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth: higher in glory, higher in power, higher in majesty!” So in Revelation 1:5—there Christ is called, “the prince of the kings of the earth.”
Alas! alas! what are all the mighty men, the great, the honorable men of the earth—compared to Jesus Christ! They are but like a little bubble on the water; for if all the nations, in comparison to God, be but as the drop of the bucket, or the dust of the balance, as the prophet speaks in Isaiah 40:15— Oh how little then must be the kings of the earth!
Nay, beloved, Christ Jesus is not only above the kings of the earth, and higher than kings—but he is higher than the angels. Yes, he is the head of angels; and therefore all the angels in heaven are commanded to worship him! Col. 2:12, “He is the head of all principalities and powers,” which includes angels. And in Hebrews 1:6. “Let all the angels of God worship him.” God will have the angels worship Christ—as well as men.
Oh, sirs, Christ is a King, before whom kings of the earth cast down their crowns!
Again, as he is a King above all kings—so he is a King over all kings too. Jesus Christ is an universal King. He is the King over all kingdoms, over all nations, over all governments, over all powers, over all people! Daniel 7:14, And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.’ You here see that Christ is not only King of saints—but King of nations too! Therefore you find in Psalm 2:8, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” The very heathen are given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.
As the Lord Jesus Christ has all the kingdoms of the earth given to him—so likewise he has all power given to him. If this were otherwise, he would have no ability to rule his kingdoms. Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Oh, here is a text that should revive the hearts of saints! So that it is he who binds kings in chains, and princes in fetters of iron! It is he who allows no man to do them wrong; yes, he reproves kings for their sakes, and breaks mighty kings in pieces for the saints’ sake! And therefore it is he who over-rules kings, and overcomes the kings of the earth that make war with the saints!
Revelation 17:14, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them” and why? “for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings” This is the first, Jesus Christ is his enemies King, that is, he is a King above their kings, and over their kings. As Jesus Christ is his enemies King—so he is his saints King.
Secondly, Christ is his SAINTS King. I will give you two Scriptures to prove it: Revelation 15:3. There Jesus Christ is called the saints’ King, “O King of saints.” So also in Matthew 21:5, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” So that by these two Scriptures, you see Jesus Christ is King of saints.
Now, beloved, I beseech you here to listen carefully. Jesus Christ you see, is King of the wicked, and of the godly; but as for the wicked, he rules over them by his power and might; but the saints, he rules in them by his Spirit and graces. Now to this the Scripture witnesses, that Jesus Christ rules in the saints, and is the King of the saints; and therefore it tells them, Col. 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory,” and elsewhere, “Know you not that Christ is in you.” So in Psalm 24:7, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.”
Oh this is Christ’s spiritual kingdom, and here he rules in the hearts of his people, here he rules over their consciences, over their wills, over their affections, over their judgments and understandings; and therefore he is called the King of saints. It is true, other kings may bear rule over the estates of men; but as for the soul—that only belongs to Christ! Therefore believers are said to be all glorious within. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within,” Psalm 45:13. The King of glory rules there, and dwells there! God dwells in the highest heavens—and in the humble hearts. Christ is not only the King of nations—but King of saints; the one he rules over, the other he rules in.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is his FATHER’S King. So his Father calls him in Psalm 2:6, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Well may he be our King—when he is God’s King. But you may say, How is Christ the Father’s King? Because he rules for his Father. There is a twofold kingdom of God committed to Jesus Christ:
First, A spiritual kingdom, by which he rules in the hearts of his people, and so is King of saints.
Secondly, A providential kingdom, by which he rules the affairs of this world, and so he is King of nations. Now, beloved, the Scripture says, “That the Father has put all things in Christ’s hands.” And the apostle tells us, “God has put all things under his feet.” The Father judges no man—but has committed all judgment to the Son, and he has appointed him over his own house. Now, as Christ has all, so he does all, and rules all for his Father; and therefore the Father calls him his servant. Isaiah 41:2, “Behold my servant.” He rules for his Father, and does his Father’s will. So that, beloved, in these respects, Christ is a King.
Now I shall lay down some things wherein the Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings of the earth.
First, Jesus is a King, who, in a spiritual sense, makes all his subjects kings. “He has made us kings and priests to our God!” Revelation 5:10. He has a crown of glory for every subject. Oh, what a glorious King is this!
Oh, sirs, it is better to be a poor member of Christ—than the head of a nation! Oh, how infinitely happy are all Christ’s subjects! They are all kings, all heirs, all favorites, all sons! The true believer is the only happy man. Alas! where is there such a king to be found—who makes all his subjects kings? There are many kings that undo their subjects—but Christ makes his subjects kings! There are many kings who make their subjects beggars—but Christ makes his subjects kings! There are many kings who put their subjects to death—but Christ died that his subjects might live! There are many kings who give their subjects titles—but Christ gives all his subjects heaven!
Sirs, in a word, this is the greatest nobility, to be the servant of the great God; he is nobly descended, who is born from above. Oh, how many lords has that man—who has not Christ for his Lord! every sin is his lord, and every lust lords it over him. Now where Jesus Christ comes to be King, he makes them kings to his Father, and kings over their lusts. Now, beloved, here is the excellence and happiness of our King—he makes us all kings, and gives all crowns of glory!
Secondly, Jesus Christ is the most just and RIGHTEOUS King. He reigns in righteousness, he brings peace by righteousness. He makes us righteous, and therefore he is called, “The LORD our righteousness,” Jeremiah 23:6. Now, beloved, other kings often deal unjustly, they bear the sword to execute wrath upon the innocent, and strengthen the hands of evildoers! They justify the wicked—and condemn the godly! They break oaths, and falsify their treaties! Many times they oppress their subjects, and wrong their people! And therefore the Scripture says, “when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn!” Proverbs 29:2.
But now, beloved, Jesus Christ, as he is a righteous King—so he rules in righteousness, and you shall have nothing but righteous dealing from him; mind this text of Scripture, which infinitely speaks out Christ’s righteous dealing with poor souls, in Revelation 15:3. “just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Mark who is just and true here. Why, it is the King of saints! “Just and true are your ways, O King of saints.” Justice and truth well befits the King of saints.
In Proverbs 3:17 it is said, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace” speaking of wisdom, which is meant of Christ. Oh, what a golden King is here! What a glorious King is here! He is just and true, and all His ways are pleasantness, and all His paths are peace. Oh, sirs, this is the excellency of Christ, He oppresses nobody, He wrongs nobody! He infinitely excels all the kings of the earth in righteousness, for all His ways are just and true.
Thirdly, Christ is a King who lives forever, and reigns FOREVER! Other kings they are but of yesterday, they are soon dead and gone. What is become of all those great and mighty kings that we read of? Why, they are gone like a tale—like a dream! But it is not so with the King of saints—he is King forever, he reigns forever! And therefore the apostle calls him the immortal and eternal King, because he lives forever. 1 Timothy 1:17. So in Hebrews 7:25, speaking of Christ, “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Now, beloved, here is the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ—he lives forever! Other kings die, and their subjects may do what they will—but Jesus lives forever!
Fourthly, Jesus Christ is a King that has a perfect KNOWLEDGE of all His subjects! Oh, sirs, earthly kings and princes do not know all their subjects; nay, they know very few. Alas! they do not know a quarter of them! They are not acquainted with all the wrongs, and needs, and miseries, that their poor subjects lie under.
The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings—in that He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects! He knows them all by name. He knows—all their thoughts, all their needs, all their ways, all their conditions. So say I to you, sirs, Your King knows—all your necessities, all your sufferings, all your troubles, all your fears!
Yes, and “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. Oh, this is a sweet Scripture! Oh, poor souls, Christ knows everything about you! This is our great happiness, that we have a King who knows us so well. Oh, here is the excellency of our King!