October 28, 2018 Jesus is Lord

Jesus is Lord

 

Scripture reading: Romans 10:9-13; Phil 2:9-11

 

[Introduction] According to Romans 10, the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” not only saves us, but is the source of riches to the one who calls upon Him as Lord. He bestows riches upon those who need salvation and upon those who are already in relationship with Him when we invoke Him as Lord. This being so, it is important to know what the confession means. It is not a phrase that, if simply repeated, magically brings good things. Rather, there is meaning behind it and we must actualize the meaning in our lives. Sadly, there are many who claim the name of Christ and have spoken the phrase, “Jesus is Lord,” and may even believe it in their minds, but who do not practice the reality of it. Unless we know the reality of Christ’s Lordship over ourselves we neither have salvation nor will we experience the riches.

 

There were two confessions that were made by the early church that every follower of the Lord knew and confessed to both believer and unbeliever. They were “Jesus is the Christ (or Messiah)” and “Jesus is Lord.”  That Jesus is the Messiah was a concern of those who had Jewish heritage. The church soon became predominantly Gentile in constituency and so the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” became the single most important confession of the early church.

 

The early church was concerned that new converts understood the basics of the faith and so they practiced reciting creeds. I am not referring to the famous Apostle’s Creed or Nicean Creed. Those are good, and we should know them, but they came later. I am referring to creeds that were in use from right after the resurrection – with just a very few years after. These creeds have been preserved in the New Testament because they are even older than the New Testament. In fact, the two passages of Scripture that we read this morning have been identified by scholars as pre-NT creeds. Many Bibles set these verses off with different margins in order to identify these creeds.

 

Both creeds, as we have read, contain the confession, “Jesus is Lord.” It is the earliest and most important belief of Christ’s blood-bought church. It remains so. Let us live and die by these three words! If we are, we must know their full meaning.

 

It means four things.

 

[II.] He is the exalted Lord over all of creation. We see this in the creed which Paul recites in his letter to the Philippians.

 

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

  10      so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

  11      and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.[1]

 

There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In the present age there is a minority who recognize Him as Lord. There are even fewer who submit to Him as Lord. Those who love Him rejoice in His Lordship and gladly follow Him. One day all will give Him the honor and respect he deserves, even His enemies. They will do it out of duty and not willingly nor joyfully. Oh! That is a terrifying position to be in! Having to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, knowing that you rejected him as Lord on earth.

 

The blessed words, “Jesus is Lord,” mean that he is Lord over all and over everyone! He was exalted to this position by God the Father.

 

[III.] Secondly, the words, “Jesus is Lord,” mean that he is God. This truth is more difficult to see. Yet, it is a certainty. It is the biblical witness. In our Romans passage we read in verse 13:

 

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [2] This statement follows the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” and is to be understood that the way one calls is by saying “Jesus is Lord.”[3]

 

The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is quoting the Old Testament here:

 

30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.[4]

 

Notice that the word, “LORD,” is in all capital letters. Most modern translations follow this practice in order to let the reader know that this is a translation of the name of God, Yahweh. Everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. But Paul applies this verse to Jesus! Jesus possesses the very name of God!

 

6 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. [5]

 

When Paul asks, “Who has understood the mind of the Lord…?” he is quoting the OT again. He follows immediately with, “But we have the mind of Christ.” He is plainly identifying the mind of the Lord with the mind of Christ,

 

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?

(Isaiah 40:13; NIV)

 

Again, Paul is applying the name of Yahweh to Christ.

 

Let us look again at Philippians 2:10-11:

 

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [6]

 

Paul is again quoting from the OT. He only adds the words, “at the name of Jesus.”

 

“Turn to me and be saved,

all the ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.

23    By myself I have sworn;

from my mouth has gone out in righteousness

a word that shall not return:

       ‘To me every knee shall bow,

every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ [7]

 

In Isaiah, it is Yahweh speaking. He says, To me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear allegiance. Paul applies this to Jesus!

 

Implicit in the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” is his deity!

 

[IV.] Thirdly, the confession vows submission to Christ as Lord for the person confessing. It is one thing to acknowledge Christ as Lord in a general way, to admit that he is Lord of all the earth. Acknowledging this is at least truthful, but it does not save. Even the demons believe he is Lord universally. When a disciple of the Lord confesses that Jesus is Lord he or she means that they come under his Lordship for themselves. They abandon personal autonomy (self-rule) and joyfully submit themselves to a good and kind Master, Christ!

 

Because of a false gospel that promotes simply assenting to the merits of Christ’s work on the cross, multitudes in the modern era have made a profession of faith without having Jesus as their Lord in reality.

 

Jesus asks this question:

 

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?[8]

 

Jesus implies that to call him Lord but to disobey him reveals that there is no reality behind the confession.

 

We must ever remember the sobering words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount:

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ [9]

 

It is not enough to call him Lord. He must be our Lord in our daily living. He must be our Lord in the small decisions and the big decisions. May we not be as those who live autonomously – simply making decisions based upon our comfort or happiness. We must seek the face of the Lord in his word. For it is through the pages of Scripture that he reveals his will for us.

 

Thirdly, then, the words, “Jesus is Lord,” mean that he is my Lord and I joyfully live that way.

 

[V.] Lastly, it means that I trust him. The Christian life is not one in which I have all these aspects of my life – my job, my family, my personal interests – and now I am just adding Jesus to the mix. No! The Christian life is one in which Jesus takes the central place in my life whereas, before, I was on the throne of my life. Now all aspects of my life serve Him!

 

It is a lifelong process, yet our hearts are there now. We trust Jesus in how he delivers us from sin and how he is transforming us from selfish individuals to those who love and care for Christ and his church.

 

C.S. Lewis had a good observation about the process of our transformation:

 

I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted him to do, and we should be obliged if he would leave us alone. But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what he intended us to be when he made us...

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on. You knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.

But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of -- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.

You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage, but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.

 

If we are that house, it is not always a pleasant experience to have a wall torn down and tiles torn up. But when he is done the house is much more beautiful!

 

[VI. Conclusion] Have you made the confession, “Jesus is Lord?” If you have not, it is the most important confession you will ever make. You will eventually bow and make that confession. If you wait until his return to the earth it will be too late. Make it now while you are able.

 

If you have made the confession already, have you embraced all that it entails? Have you recognized that it includes his:

 

  • Exaltation and lordship over all people?
  • That it proclaims his divinity?
  • His lordship over your life?
  • That it calls for your trust in the work that he is doing in you?

 

Let us proclaim together, “Jesus is Lord!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Php 2:9–11). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 10:13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] Or, by crying out, “O Lord Jesus,” as Stephen did in Acts 7:59, which is another form of “Jesus is Lord.”

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Joe 2:30–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 2:16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 2:10–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 45:22–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 6:46). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 7:21–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.