Who is Jesus Christ to you? He raised the question, “Whom do men say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13; 22:41-42; Mark 12:35-37). Then He made the question personal. “Whom do you say that I am?”
He is the Lord. That was how the disciples spoke to Him hundreds of times in Scripture. They never addressed Him as Jesus. It would have been unthinkable. They called Him Master, not only in the sense of teacher (rabbi, didaskalos), but also in the sense of commander (epis-tates, despotes). They were slow in coming to the realization of His deity, even when He made clear statements (John 14:8-11; John 8:24, 58) or pointed to such verses as Psalm 110:1 (Matthew 22:41-45). He let them know that He was the controller of the eternal destiny of every man (Matthew 7:21-22). Despite limitations of their understanding, they confessed that Jesus was Lord and they followed Him even when others turned away (John 6:66-67).
The word “Lord” is used in three senses: position, ownership and rule. The prophet saw “the Lord high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). The verse is applied in the New Testament to Christ (John 12:41). That is His position as the enthroned one. Paul writes, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (1 Corinthians 10:26). That is His ownership of all that is on this planet. Peter responded to the Lord’s command to again launch out to the sea. He said, “Master, we have toiled all night and taken nothing. Nevertheless, at Thy word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5). That is His rule.
His Position as Lord
1. Proclaimed. “Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), said Peter to the Roman officer who came to know the way to God. The Jesus who had been crucified was more than an anointed Deliverer. He is “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). He is Creator of all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Angels and authorities are subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22). He reigns “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21). He is the blessed “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). All will fall down before the throne of God to worship Him (Revelation 4:10-11; 5:12-14).
2. Rejected. It is a remarkable thing that the omnipotent Creator would permit rebellion under any circumstances. This remains one of the mysteries of the counsels of God. Rebellion began first in the spirit world with Satan desiring to be equal with God (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-17). It spread to other angelic beings (2 Peter 2:4). It was brought to earth among men (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). It brought a sad admission from God. “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2). Dissatisfaction with God-appointed leaders was seen by Him as rejection of the One who gave them (1 Samuel 8:7). When God sent His Son, they also rejected Him (Isaiah 53:3) and killed the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15).
3. Acknowledged. The ultimate purpose and glory of God is not dependent on man’s submission to God any more than the existence of the atom depends upon our belief in it. The segment that rejects Him is small in a vast universe. The winds and the waves obeyed Him on earth (Matthew 8:27). The demons were subject to His word (Mark 1:27). Legions of angels stand ready to act at His command (Matthew 26:53). Millions of human beings have freely submitted to His authority in response to His loving sacrifice on the cross. His enemies will be brought to praise Him (Psalm 76:10). The hosts of hell will some day join those in heavenly places in bowing the knee to Jesus Christ, confessing Him as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). Jesus said, “You call Me Master and Lord, and you say well, for so I am” (John 13:13).
His Ownership As Lord
1. Stated. Everything is owned by God (Psalm 50:10-12), His right by creation. The Lord lamented that even the ox and ass knew their owner, but His people did not know to whom they belonged (Isaiah 1:3). As the clay in the potter’s hand, they were His to do with as He pleased (Jeremiah 18:6). Furthermore, men belong to God by redemption through the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18). He died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). He bought the false teachers who rejected Him (2 Peter 2:1).
2. Accepted. One becomes a child of God by choice through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). Henceforth the believer is not His own but is bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). He has recognized that he is not capable of being his own master, any more than he is capable of saving himself. He confesses Jesus as Lord, just as Thomas did (John 20:28). There is no Biblical support for any such concept as “I accepted Jesus as my Savior but not as my Lord.” The expression “Lord Jesus Christ” or “Jesus Christ our Lord” occurs many more times than “Jesus our Savior.” To accept Jesus is to accept the Lord. One may not see all the implications of the Lordship of Christ when saved. One may sadly fail to carry out his Master’s will. One may stumble and fall. But a true believer would not refuse His Lordship at the point of coming to Him, or deliberately separate it from His Savior-hood.
3. Evidenced. The Master questioned why people call Him “Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say” (Luke 6:46). It is not real in His eyes. To cry “Lord, Lord” in eternity, with proof of great works will not gain admission, if one refuses to do God’s will. He will reply, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-27). Refusal to obey God’s word on the part of one who claims to be a believer is the mark of a liar (1 John 2:3-4). The child of God confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and shows by his life that the confession is a true one.
His Rule as Lord
What must we do? Many have accepted Jesus as Lord in word only. Others have called themselves Christians without even this formality. There has always been resistance to His reign (Luke 19:14, 27). Society has developed the concept of the autonomous man, self-directing and
independent of outside control. It has gained ground in influential places in the form of a movement called selfism or “me-ism.” People are told, “You are supreme and what you think or feel is what matters. What is important is feeling good about yourself.” Such concepts as self-realization, self-discovery, self-love, self-development, self-enjoyment and self-image are paraded and packaged under many forms.
Scripture teaches that we are called to God’s will, not self-will; God’s government, not self-government; discovering God, not discovering self; loving God, not loving self; God as center, not self as center. The Scripture model is not “Me first,” but “God first, others next and me last.” Many persons today are like the Greek mythological character Narcissus. He fell in love with his own reflection in water and wasted away because he could not fulfill his love of self. Moral collapse in the end time is characterized by men who are “lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:2). Today there is greater worship of the creature than of the Creator (Romans 1:25).
The necessity of receiving Christ as Lord must be translated into life and practice. To progress in Christian life there must be realization that we have given up self-ownership. The Macedonians “gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5). After reckoning ourselves as being dead to sin (Romans 6:11), we are to yield ourselves to God (Romans 6:13). We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to Him (Romans 12:1-2), that we might experience the transformation of life that belongs to the one whom God rules. The knowledge of His supremacy should bring us to the spiritual purpose “that He Himself might come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18 NASB). We must say in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10). These are the areas where His control should be evidenced:
1. Priorities. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Christ will not be second in anything and yet work effectively in our lives.
2. Body. We are bought with a price and that purchase includes the very body in which we live (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It is His temple.
3. Possessions. He is Lord of all He has given us (1 Chronicles 29:14). We are the managers or stewards (1 Corinthians 4:2). Possessions, talents and time belong to Him, all on loan to us.
4. Relationships. He commands us to love one another as He loved us (John 15:12). It is the mark of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus (John 13:35). The love is sacrificial, not sentimental. We need to care for others, as He did. We remember that He was morally separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26), yet He ate with them (Luke 15:2). Both love and holiness must govern our dealings with others. The Scripture forbids “friendship with the world” (James 4:4) or what it represents (1 John 2:15-16). We also must have proper order in home relationships (Ephesians 5:22-25; 6:1-2).
5. Business, Home And School Affairs. Whether employee or employer, we are called to be honorable and just (Ephesians 6:5, 9; James 5:4). We are to do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
6. Speech And Thought Life. He should be Lord of tongue and mind. He is willing to speak through us, if we let Him (Matthew 10:20). We are to be swift to hear but slow to speak (James 1:19). We are not to speak ill of others (James 4:11). He looks within our thoughts and detects defilement (Matthew 15:19-20).
7. Hopes And Ambitions. What will stand the test of His eternal evaluation (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)? We are to “seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). What earthly things are eternally important?
The following checklist may help us to focus on areas where we need to improve:
Does every day begin with a fresh commitment of my body to Him?
Does every other interest take second place to His interests?
Does every decision consider Him first?
Does every commitment line up with my commitment to Him?
Does every relationship have His approval?
Does every activity enable Him to be present?
Does every area of my life come under His rule?
There can be no proper growth in a believer until there is a stepping out of self, until self-enthronement is succeeded by Christ-enthronement. Defective consecration or incomplete devotion to God lies at the root of the sickness in many lives of believers and in many churches. The Lord says, “My son, give Me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26). This is the governing center of our being. Here Christ must rule as Lord. It is the key issue in Christian direction, indispensable to the abundant life.
Long ago there was a suggestion by man’s greatest enemy that God was depriving us of the best by placing His will ahead of ours (Genesis 3:5). Generations have paid a terrible price because someone listened to this slander against the One who loves us with an eternal love. Our future depends upon believing that submission to God’s will, to the Lordship of Christ, to the reign of the Eternal One, is essential to our eternal good.
The Lordship Of Christ
1. What do you learn about the position of Jesus Christ in the following verses (Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 4:10-11; 5:12-13)?
2. List persons or things that have acknowledged or will acknowledge the Lordship of Christ:
Matthew 8:27 Romans 14:9
Matthew 26:53 Philippians 2:10-11
3. How was the Lord received when He came to the earth (John 1:10-12)?
What was the basic objection of the citizens of Luke 19:14, 27, and how does this apply to those who reject Christ today?
4. What is the significance of the confession of Thomas in John 20:28?
What must a person acknowledge in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-10)?
In your opinion, is it sufficient for salvation to accept Jesus as Savior, but reject Him as Lord? Explain.
5. Is it possible to say Jesus is Lord and still not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; 13:25-27; 1 John 2:3-4)? Explain.
6. Paraphrase (rewrite in your own words) Romans 12:1-2.
In this passage, what actions are required for practical Lordship?
7. In the left column below construct a profile of a person who practices the Lordship of Christ. In the right column indicate the actions of those who do not practice Lordship.
Colossians 2:6 Ephesians 2:1-2
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Colossians 4:6 Colossians 3:8-9
Colossians 3:23-24 Colossians 3:22
Colossians 3:18-21 Colossians 3:18-2
8. How would you respond to someone who says he is a Christian but whose life does not show any evidence of practical submission to the Lordship of Christ?
9. Revelation 3:20 speaks of Christ knocking at the “door” of our heart. What is the first step in making Christ the Lord of your life? What “rooms” in your “house” have you yet to open up to Christ in a practical way? Explain. What action do you intend to take?
10. In your own words explain what personal lordship means to you.