Summary: In our study in the Apostles’ Creed we come to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord. In this sermon we learn what it means to affirm Jesus Christ as "our Lord."
As we continue our series in The Apostles’ Creed I would like to examine today what it means to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord. Please listen as I recite the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The preacher had just finished his message. It was a powerful message. Many in the congregation were moved by his message about Christ. He had explained who Christ was, why he had come to earth, and why he died. Everyone sat quietly, expectantly. After a pregnant pause, the preacher invited people to respond to his message.
“First,” he said, “If you are not a Christian, but you want to become a Christian tonight, I want you to raise your hand now.”
After a few moments and similar statements, the preacher thanked the people who raised their hands, and then asked them to pray the “sinner’s prayer” with him.
As soon as he finished the “sinner’s prayer,” the preacher then said, “Now, many of you are Christians, but you have never made Christ Lord of your life. You believe you are saved, but you have never made Christ Lord of your life. I want you to raise your hand now.”
After a few more moments and similar statements, the preacher thanked those people who raised their hands, and then asked them to pray the “lordship prayer” with him.
This scenario unfortunately is the theology of a large segment of American evangelicalism. Salvation is viewed as a two-step process: first, you accept Christ as Savior, and then, subsequently, you make him Lord of your life.
Opponents to this view are branded as believing in “lordship salvation.” This term was coined by those who believe that Jesus’ lordship is a false addition to the gospel.
But, “lordship salvation” (a term that I do not personally like) is simply the biblical and historic doctrine of salvation.
In 1988 Pastor John MacArthur wrote a book titled The Gospel According to Jesus. John MacArthur, with his characteristic courage, dared to tackle the issue of “lordship salvation” that many evangelical churches would have preferred left untouched.
Lordship salvation, defined by one who labels it a heresy, is “the view that for salvation a person must trust Jesus Christ as his Savior from sin and must also commit himself to Christ as Lord of his life, submitting to His sovereign authority.”
It is astonishing that anyone would characterize that truth as unbiblical or heretical. The implication is that acknowledging Christ’s lordship is a human work. That is a mistaken notion, but it is backed by volumes of literature that speaks of people “making Christ Lord of their lives.”
Now, right at the outset of this message, we need to note that we do not “make” Christ Lord. He is Lord! Anyone who supposedly receives Jesus as Savior but does not receive him as Lord is in reality guilty of rejecting him. Christ cannot be split. One cannot receive Christ as Savior but not as Lord.
The two clearest statements regarding salvation in all of Scripture both emphasize Jesus’ lordship.
The first text is found in the book of Acts. Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi. There was a mighty earthquake, and all the doors of the prison flew open. The jailor thought that the prisoners had escaped, but after realizing that they were still there, he fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He asked them what he should do to be saved. Paul and Silas replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31, emphasis added).
The other text is found in Romans, where Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “That 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” (Romans 10:9, emphasis added).
Peter’s sermon at Pentecost concluded with this declaration: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36, emphasis added).
No promise of salvation is ever extended to those who refuse to bow to Christ’s Lordship. Thus there is no salvation except “lordship salvation.”