Jesus is (4) Lord

why do you call me LordWords mean things.

To call Jesus “Lord” is more than a sign of respect. It is to acknowledge His authority over us.

If our drives and impulses say one thing and Christ says another, we follow Him, not our desires.

If His word expresses truth about sexuality or marriage or some other social issue, we must bow to that truth, not adopt a different view just because it will make us more popular or appear more “enlightened” to the world.

So far in this series of posts on who Jesus is, we’ve studied his core nature as both God and human, and we’ve studied his role as Savior. Today we will ask: What gives Jesus the right to tell us how to live?

1. Jesus received all authority from the Father

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matt. 28:18). He has authority over all the universe, and that authority came from the Father, given out of love. (John 5:26-27)

There is none higher. This person who died for us has every ounce of authority that exists in all creation and in Heaven above. He has authority over the elements (Mark 4:35-41) and evil spirits (Mark 1:27). And one day, every man and woman who ever lived will acknowledge Him as Lord.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

It is critical that we understand and believe this. To be saved, according to Paul, we don’t believe in Christ and confess him as savioror God(though both are true and necessary beliefs); rather, Paul writes that you must “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.” (Romans 10:9)

And if He is Lord, then He gets to tell us what to do. Not the other way around. Authority over all existence includes authority over our lives.

2. If we do not obey Jesus, what does it say of our love for God?

Jesus also says that our obedience, or lack of it, says something about how much we love Him. While He could force us to do His will, he does not. He gives us a choice to follow Him or not, and that choice says a great deal about the way we feel about Jesus.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. . . Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. (John 14:15, 21, 24)

It also says a lot about how we love our fellow man: “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.” (1 John 5:2)

3. What is our Lord’s command?

All the law is His command, but He summed it up for us: Love one another:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. . . This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:12, 17)

Of course there may be an individual calling that applies only to you or to me. Some people are called to be a pastor or to perform a certain service, and if Jesus so commands, that is what we must do. But the general command to love applies to all. While it seems difficult sometimes, Bible says it shouldn’t be (not with God’s help): “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

4. What is the result of obeying the Lord?

Obeying Jesus as Lord is a privilege, not a chore. It’s the only way we will know true joy and abundant life here on earth. The Bible lists several specific benefits to obeying the Lord:

            a. Our joy will be complete

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:10-11)

            b. We will have a firm foundation for living

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” (Luke 6:47-48)

            c. We will be blessed

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:15-17)

~~~

Is Jesus Lord? Is He truly the authority for your life?

Then do what He says.

~~~

More in this series:
Jesus is (1) the Son of God
Jesus is (2) the Son of Man
Jesus is (3) our Savior

Jesus is (3) our Savior

i have come that they may have lifeMy friend Jim Rives asked it this way: “If God asked you why he should let you into Heaven to live with him for all eternity, what would you say?” (In other words: What do you rely on for your salvation?)

Would you point to your good deeds?

Church membership?

Checks written?

Being born to parents who are Christian?

Or would you point to the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?

The Bible says that there is only one correct answer, and that only faith in Jesus saves a sinful man or woman hope for eternity. That isn’t a popular truth these days. “Tolerance” has morphed from being respectful of different viewpoints to a requirement that we must accept all viewpoints as equally valid. To suggest that there is only one correct eternal response is (in the view of the world) naked bigotry.

But God could not have been clearer. It was Jesus himself who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Why should that be? Is God being arbitrary, or making it deliberately difficult to be saved? On the contrary. He is providing what we could not provide for ourselves, and the plain truth is that Jesus is the only person qualified to be our Savior.

1. We are lost

Actually, the Bible says we can gain eternal life if we keep the law:

Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. (Lev. 18:5)

That sounds easy enough: Don’t lie, kill, steal, or sleep around. I can do that!

But I can’t do it perfectly. I shade the truth a little bit here. I snap at someone there. I start making my own plans and play the role of god. No matter how hard I try to keep the law, I end up sinning. I can’t keep it perfectly.

No one can:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)

And God, who is perfectly Holy, demands perfection and cannot tolerate sin. He cannot let sin go unpunished and still be God. Therefore, sin has consequences, and rather dire ones at that:

For the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23)

In fact, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22)

So here’s the dilemma men face: God gave us His law and said we have to follow it exactly to get to Heaven. But it is impossible for me to follow the law exactly, and there must be a death as punishment for my sins.

It is not God’s fault that I am in that situation. It’s mine and mine alone. I’m the one who sinned. And my debt to God is more than I can pay. It’s like owing the bank $100 trillion dollars. It simply cannot be paid . . . by me.

Or by you. It is impossible.

2. Jesus is our Salvation

And that’s where Jesus comes in.

God loved us too much to let us stay in that condition, so he sent Jesus to die in our place:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Pet. 3:18)

He took the sins of the world on his shoulders. The punishment that should have been ours was taken by Jesus on the cross. The resurrection is evidence that God deemed Jesus’ sacrifice sufficient.

That’s why Jesus can be our savior, and why no one else can. No one else in all of history has done a thing to pay your sin debt.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

It’s popular thinking now that there are lots of ways to God, lots of valid religions. But Mohammed, Bhudda, Ghandi, L. Ron Hubbard – those guys may have had a good idea here and there, and they may have been moral people, but they didn’t pay for your sins.

They have done nothing to solve our sin problem. And they’re dead. Their graves are occupied. Jesus is simply the only one in all the universe with the qualifications to be our Savior.

3. We Must Only Believe

So now that we know Jesus gives us the opportunity to get to God, how do we connect the dots? What must we do to be saved? We must only believe:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16, 18)

As Paul writes, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9)

That’s it. It is truly a matter of trust. All we have to do is believe that we need a savior, that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and accept his gift of grace.

Maybe that sounds too easy for some people. Many can’t let go of the idea that we have to be “good enough.” To DO something. BE something. But that’s not the deal.

And if you think about it, if you say you have to do anything on top of what Jesus did, then you’re saying that what he did wasn’t enough. That he wasn’t a good enough sacrifice, or that he didn’t suffer enough to pay the penalty for everyone.

No, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is a gift of grace, that that it is only our faith and not our works that makes it ours:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph. 2:4-9).

So we have nothing to brag about in being saved. We didn’t deserve it, and we didn’t earn it. It has nothing to do with anything we have done. Because Christ died for us, and for that reason only, we have the “righteousness of God.”

So how would you answer God’s question? Who are you trusting in for your salvation?

Jesus, and only Jesus, is our Savior.

~~~

Other posts in this series:

Jesus is (1) the Son of God

Jesus is (2) the Son of Man

 

Jesus is (2) the Son of Man

hand4

Somehow, some way, Jesus is fully God and fully human. As we saw last week, Jesus gave up none of his deity when he became flesh. We must have faith in that divinity to be saved. But it is also critical to believe that the crucified and resurrected … [Continue reading]

Jesus is (1) The Son of God

we have seen his glory

Jesus has been called many things. His followers called him Prophet, Rabbi, Master, Lord, Savior, and Son of God. Those opposed to him have called him criminal, blasphemer, demon-possessed, deceiver, troublemaker, insane, and imposter. But he’s … [Continue reading]

Five things to remember when it seems like the world is going down the tubes

rend your heart and not your garments

A lot of people are saying that our country is falling apart. That our world is falling apart. We complain about immigration, the crime rate, the economy, and instability in the Middle East. We look at social issues such as abortion, marriage, … [Continue reading]

The Fatherhood of God

Our father who art in heaven

Fatherhood is not irrelevant. Study after study shows that a child has a much better chance in life if he or she has good relationship with his or her father. Dads represent strength, protection, provision, and discipline, all wrapped up in … [Continue reading]

Prone to wander: How easy it is to drift away from God

We must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard

I’ve learned something about myself. It isn’t pretty. What I learned is how quickly and easily I can drift away from God, to relegate Him to a lower priority. All it took (this time) was a busy period at work. Our team has been in trial and … [Continue reading]

Does God Really Love Me?

For God so loved the world

When there are seven billion people alive – billion – does God care, or even know, who I am? I can buy that he loves humanity as a group, but does he care about the details of my life? Does he know that my cholesterol edged above 200 for the first … [Continue reading]

How to do a Bible Word Study (detailed method with example: RESTORE)

I'm getting ready for a trial, so this week I'm reposting a prior article guest-written by my brother-in-law, Tommy York. Tommy walks us through the Word Study Method using an example. If you are interested in trying  the word method, but do not … [Continue reading]

With God, All Things are Possible

with God all things are possible

~~~ Why are you worried? Why are you anxious? “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14) That thing you’re dealing with: I’m not saying it isn’t serious. “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong.” … [Continue reading]