222

He Is King of Kings

Full Text

Refrain:
He is King of kings, he is Lord of lords,
Jesus Christ, the first and last;
no one works like him.
Oh, he is King of kings, he is Lord of lords,
Jesus Christ, the first and last;
no one works like him.

Leader*:
I know that my Redeemer lives.
All:
No one works like him.

Leader*:
And by his love sweet blessings gives.

All:
No one works like him. [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”
 
Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”
 

It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).

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He Is King of Kings

Call to Worship

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
Then every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth
and on the sea, and all that is in them, sang,
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power
for ever and ever!” Amen.
—from Revelation 5:12-13, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus Christ has come into heaven and is at God’s right hand—
with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to him.
Since we have a great high priest who has gone into heaven—
Jesus, the Son of God—let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
Let us praise his holy name!
Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength
be to our God forevermore!
Alleluia, Amen!
Alleluia!
—based on Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 5:10, 12
[Reformed Worship 23:41]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord God,
the words “Jesus is King” come easily to our lips,
yet we often fail to grasp the significance of what they mean for us.
In this service, help us worship you in spirit and truth,
and give us a vision for how we may live in homage to you
every day of our lives, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
—Psalm 24:7-8, 10, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony
before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame
until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which he will bring about at the right time—
he who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no one has ever seen or can see;
to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
—1 Timothy 6:13-16, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O God of all power and majesty,
you created the heavens and stretched them out.
You formed the earth and all that comes from it.
You give the breath of life to all who walk on the face of the earth.
Jesus, you conquered sin and death and now reign victorious.
You are Lord; glory is due your name.
The former things have come to pass;
we now await the new things you will bring through the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice to be gathered in your name.
Alleluia! Accept our praises and petitions. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 39:28]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord God, heavenly King,
we offer these our gifts
as a sign of love, devotion, and praise.
Through these, as through our praises,
we acknowledge that you are our Lord.
In your name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
222

He Is King of Kings

Tune Information

Name
HE IS KING
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
irregular
222

He Is King of Kings

Hymn Story/Background

This African American spiritual is one of many collected by Joseph (Joe) T. Jones in Great Day: Negro Spirituals as Sung and Directed by J. T. Jones (1961).  Like all African American spirituals, “He Is King of Kings” has no known author or composer, but J. T. Jones arranged and then Melva W. Costen adapted it for inclusion in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal.  Of the three stanzas with refrain in that hymnal, Lift Up Your Hearts included only the refrain and one stanza.  
— Emily Brink

Composer Information

Melva W. Costen (b. 1933), a native of South Carolina, retired as Helmar Emil Nielsen Professor of Worship and Music, choral director, and chair of the church music degree program at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She subsequently became the Visiting Professor of Liturgical Studies at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. She remains active in the Civil Rights Movement and as a teacher and consultant in area of church music, liturgy, and curriculum development. (2006)
— Cokesbury Contributor Bio (http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/bookstore.aspx?contributorid=144388)

Joseph T. Jones (1902-1983) was the son of Rev. A.A. and Mary M. Jones, both former slaves, who went on to begin a school in McConnellsville, South Carolina. His father was pastor of the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church. Joseph, “Joe,” Jones entered Johnson  C. Smith University (formerly Biddle University) and became heavily involved in music. After graduation (1927), a friend recommended him for a position as a Sunday school missionary, headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee. He traveled extensively in the South, organizing Sunday schools, sometimes in isolated places, and providing opportunitites for religious growth to children and adults. In 1947, Jones was promoted to supervisor of Sunday school missionary work in the Southeast and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Jones attended all General Assemblies of the church from 1927 until his retirement in 1973, except for one when Joe and Ione’s second child was born two weeks earlier than expected. Joe Jones frequently sang and led singing on his travels. He was urged to collect the spirituals he sang and did so in Great Day: Negro Spirituals as Sung and Directed by J.T. Jones (1961). Jones died after an eight-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
— The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion, 1993
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.



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