Summary: The Lordship of Christ calls us to forsake our rebellion and agendas and submit to God’s will.
“I Believe” A sermon series on the Apostles Creed
“Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:13-18 Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
Scholars claim education is the answer…politicians say that government is the answer… sinners say that self-indulgence is the answer…Satan says there is no answer…Jesus says “I am the answer.”
We exalt the Name above all names! Jesus’ name, means “Savior”. His title, “Christ” means “Anointed One” or “Messiah”. Jesus is the Davidic King, the Son of David who came to pay the penalty for our sins and restore the glory of Israel. In Psalm 101 King David refers to a future son as his “Lord”, a messianic prophecy of the coming King of kings. We believe that, although His own people rejected Him, Jesus will return and, as Isaiah predicted, “The government will be upon his shoulders” (9:3). The question isn’t whether Jesus is going to restore the Kingdom to Israel but when He will do it.
We declare in the Apostles Creed that Jesus is “our Lord”. The Greek word for “Lord” used in the NT (kurios) was used to signify divinity (though sometimes it was a respectful form of address). The title refers to one having "legitimate authority," one with power and the ability to rule. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagent, LXX, pre-dating Christ), this title became the preferred term for "Yahweh," and “Jehovah”, Names of God. The Romans also used Lord to indicate the divinity of their emperor, and the first-century historian Josephus tells us that his fellow Jews refused to use this title to describe the emperor because only God Himself was kurios, Lord. Roman subjects were expected to formally declare their allegiance by stating “Caesar is Lord”, something Jews and Christians would not do.
Sculptors in ancient Rome put detachable heads on their heroic statues because of frequently changing public loyalties. You could have the hero of the month! We come under Jesus’ Lordship by surrendering to His authority alone. We don’t serve several masters. Becoming a follower of Jesus is like getting married; we swear exclusive allegiance, undivided loyalty and lifelong faithfulness. By saying “yes” to a spouse, and by trusting in Jesus, we’re saying “no” to everyone else.
The early Christians took over the usage of this title “Lord” and applied it to Jesus, from the earliest days of the church. We see this in Scripture and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers (e.g. the Didache, written in the 2nd Century AD). And they worshipped Jesus as Lord. People normally went to the Temple to be forgiven; but Jesus embodies what the Temple stood for. He is the place and means by which God is present, with us. He is both Priest and Sacrifice. Jesus is unique; He is called in John 3:16 the Father’s “only-begotten Son.” We are children of God by faith; Jesus is set apart in a singular, eternal relationship to the Father and is of the same essence as the Father. To know what God is like we need look no further; to see Jesus is to see the Father. Jesus isn’t merely the clearest
expression of the divine nature; He is God Himself.
According to the Jewish Mishna, an ancient commentary on the Mosaic Law, a Rabbi by the name of Hananiah ben Teradion observes, “Where two sit together and the words of the Law are spoken between them, the presence and glory of God rests between them.” Compare that to Jesus’ claim, “Where two or three gather in My Name, there am I in their midst” (Mt 18:20). This glory of God had a human face. John describes Jesus as “The Word made flesh” (ch 1); He is God speaking to us.
The Apostle Paul lays out the Way of salvation in Romans 10. He urges, “If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (vs 9). In I Corinthians, he explains, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (12:2). And Peter instructs us to "sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord" (I Pet. 3:15).
If Jesus is Lord of my life, what does that mean? People want Jesus as their Savior, they want to be rescued from sin’s eternal consequences, but part of the package is receiving Him as Lord of our lives. This means submitting to the Lordship of Christ, turning over the reins of our lives, repenting of our sins, changing our plans--unconditional surrender. Turning to Jesus does not mean we become perfect; it means we have a new Master, new priorities, a new direction, and a new destination. It means there is a change in how we live--Jesus has made a difference in our lives. Genuine faith is verified by living for Jesus. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). When we come to Jesus, we’re admitting that we’re sick and tired of living our own way.