This scripture contains a wonderful promise about one of the most important of all things. It speaks about salvation from sin though the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this is a scripture which is also very often abused. It is highly mis-used by ignorant people who claim to be “soul-winners.” Now there is nothing wrong with this scripture, and there is nothing wrong with being a soul-winner. But there is something very wrong with abusing, twisting and wresting scriptures from their context. This scripture is abused when it is taught that prayer or mere confession delivers people from their sins. AND it is abused when the Lordship of Christ is omitted.
I would like, once again, to exalt our Saviour among us. Christ said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” This lifting up, of course, began at the cross. But it continues whenever the saints of God glorify His Name and properly teach His doctrine. I don’t have any illusions of greatly stirring your MINDS this morning, because it’s unlikely that I’ll say anything that moderately educated Christians don’t already know. But I do hope that the Holy Spirit will stir your HEARTS just a little bit.
Who is this Lord Jesus Christ?
We begin with the fact that He is the Lord of CREATION.
Christ Jesus is the Lord of creation by His intrinsic – self-possessed and natural – creative power. “In the beginning was the Word (the Lord Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “Though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
This world was created directly by God the Son, and He did so with special plans and purposes. No Christian should be so foolish as to believe in anything less than the Lord’s direct creation of all things. And the more we know about the hypothesis of evolution, the more we ought to realize how damning it is. As young person, I had more than the usual interest in the creation/evolution debate. I was converted by the Creator not long before heading off to university with a Biology scholarship. And although I haven’t kept up with the evolution of evolution over the last few years, I was thoroughly enmeshed in it for a long period of time. The Darwinian theories in all their varieties devolve into the deification of another god, who is no god. Some make it appear that man is the supreme being, having arisen to the top like cream over milk. And others make nature itself god, creating and destroying life according to her whim – “mother nature.” These two idols cannot co-exist with the Divine Son of God. If we can’t see that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, then we are eternally doomed.
Evolution further condemns souls, because it rips out the heart of the scriptures, denying revelation after revelation. Moses taught that Elohim created all things out of no things, and if Moses was mistaken, then he can’t be trusted when he writes about other subjects. Since Jesus concurred with Moses and Genesis, then He is either correct, in error or a liar. And if Paul agreed with both Christ and Moses, but they are all wrong, then there isn’t a single corner of the Bible which we can trust and believe. Furthermore, if evolution be true, then those chapters of the Book of Genesis which reveal how man became sinful are not telling us the truth. If there is no sin, then there is no need of Christ, no need of salvation, no need of the revelation of God. If evolution is true, then there is no reason to believe that there is a Heaven or an eternity. Evolution lays right at the heart of the Satanic rebellion against God.
Not only is Christ lord over creation through His creation of creation, but because He maintains and sustains it. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” The word “consist” means “stands together” or “all things are united” in the power of Christ. The Book of Hebrews says that through His Son, God “made the worlds,” and that Son is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power…” If it were not for the sustaining grace and power of Christ, creation wouldn’t just explode or implode, it would simply cease to exist without even a speck of dust to mark its former presence.
Furthermore, Jesus Christ is the Lord of creation as proven by His absolute control of its every nuance. You can’t stop the wind from blowing, but Jesus did. I can probably kill a tree, but I can’t make it wither and die in a single day, the way that Christ did. We can’t make an army of hungry people full with only a few skinny fish, or dew drops on the desert sand. Collectively the minds of men are reducing the numbers of terrible diseases, through millions of man-hours of research, but Jesus commanded disease to be gone, and they were instantly gone. And despite the hopefulness of foolish men, DEATH will be conquered by only One – Christ Jesus.
Christ is the Lord of creation. What should that do to us? It should drop us to our knees in adoration and worship. But rarely does it ever do that. When Elijah was fleeing from the wrath of Jezebel, he took refuge in a cave on Mount Sinai. From there he saw the power of the Creator, and it humbled him. Job knew the truth about the Lord, for several months experiencing the power and severity of God. When his faith turned to sight – when his theology turned to reality, he said: Lord, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Isaiah went through the opposite sort of thing, but with same result. He had been serving the Lord for years and then one day he saw the Lord in all His fulness and glory, And that prophet confessed: ” Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
What should seeing the Lord of Creation do to us? It should fill us with praise and adoration. In the days of Nehemiah, the Creator was revealed to the spiritually astute. “Then the Levites … said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” We should praise God for His creation itself, enjoying it as a gift. We should praise God for not destroying that creation in the days of Noah, and for not destroying Noah and us in the process. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” In seeing and meditating on the Lord of creation it should bring us to our knees in prayer. The One who created all this out of nothing and Who sustains it my nothing but His will, is certainly larger than any of the minor problems that afflict our lives.
These are some of the things which should take place in the light of the Lord of Creation, but it rarely happens. Over in Hawaii, the Lord is currently flexing His little finger, and a volcano is erupting. In Louisiana a few years ago, He blinked His eye and a hurricane nearly whipped away New Orleans. Are the people of this nation bowing before the God of such things? The heart of man is so wicked that even when God proves His Lordship over Creation, blind man is too preoccupied with his sin to notice and properly respond.
Second, the Son of God is also Lord over His CHURCHES and those within them.
A few minutes ago we read from Colossians 1. Refreshing your minds, I’ll read verses 15-19 once again – Christ “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”
Notice how the scriptures tie Christ the Creator to – Christ the Head of the Church. And notice, too, that this scripture doesn’t refer to Christ as “Messiah” or “the Son of God.” Jesus Christ didn’t directly call Himself “Lord,” “God” or “divine: or deity.” The key word in that last sentence is “directly.” Christ was all these things and more, but He refrained from directly using these terms about Himself. On the other hand He called Himself “Lord” so often that I’m not going to take the time to prove it to you. Over time the disciples came to the realization that Jesus really was the Lord – Jehovah. One of the last of them was Thomas, who eventually burst out with the words: “My Lord and my God.” He was not swearing; he was declaring. He wasn’t cursing, he was rehearsing the facts. By Acts 10:36 the disciples and the first churches were declaring that “Christ is Lord of all.” He is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” In fact the disciples came to use the word properly – “Christ is LORD as Jehovah is LORD.” And as such He is Lord of His churches and His people.
The Saviour never intended for His people to be loners or mavericks. Christ died for His church in the sense that He died for individual souls – whom He then commands to be baptized and to join one of his churches. A Scriptural church is an organized assembly of people for whom Jesus died.
And as the Lord is over the church and its members, this should mark a special relationship between them. For example, when Christ broke the heart and stubborn will of Saul of Tarsus, his first words were: “Lord, what would thou have me to do?” And Jesus’ response was essentially: “Go into town and after your baptism join the assembly of Christians there.” Christ Jesus spoke to him as his Lord and gave him some simple orders, followed by more orders. At the same time, the Lord of the church in Damascus approached one of the members of that church: Perhaps Ananias, was the pastor of the church. The Lord commanded Ananias to do something which his heart didn’t really want to do: To meet the former persecutor of his church and baptize him as a child of God.
Clearly, Jesus is Lord of His church and His saints. When the Lord speaks to us through His word, He does so as our Sovereign, our King, and our God. It’s not my intention to outline all of the Lord’s divine directives to us. You already know many of them. But let me ask just one thing: what are those commands of Christ, which you are not obeying? What directives has He given us, which you know to be good and of God, but which you are ignoring? Are there areas of disobedience in your life? All that we have to do is stop for a moment, permitting the question to sink in, and the Lord of your soul will bring up one or more areas of disobedience. Why did they come to your mind? Why wasn’t your heart just left blank at that moment? Isn’t the answer: Because there is a God who truly IS Lord over your heart. Yes, from time to time, I need to run down a list of things which the Lord wants from all of us. But once that has been established, the Lord does the rest – because He really is the Lord.
Of course, it goes without saying, that Christ Jesus is the Lord of SALVATION.
And that is one of the lessons from the scripture with which we began this morning. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Verse 13 adds, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
There are lots of religious and theological terms which are bandied about these days. And many of them mean different things to different people. The term “Calvinist” has been defined and redefined until it has to be explained every time it’s used. And it is thought that to believe in a “Baptist Bride” means that only Baptists are going to Heaven. But that is an assumption made by just about everyone except the one who is a “Baptist Brider.” Similarly, to say that someone believes in “Lordship salvation” is just as confusing. So much so that it’s impossible to assume that you know what the next person thinks when he says it. All we can really do is avoid it, or reiterate our own definition in every conversation where we use the term.
I believe in Lordship salvation in the sense of this entire message this morning. Jesus Christ is Lord; He is the Lord of creation; He is the Head of His church; He is the King of kings. When Paul said, “Lord, what would thou have me to do,” it expressed his obedience to Jehovah. Would it surprise you to learn that the four words “the Lord Jesus Christ” are found together 82 times? And I have no idea how often the disciples referred to Jesus Christ simply as “Lord,” but it was often. And what do the following verses from the Book of Acts mean when they speak of our Lord? “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In addition to identifying Him, don’t they imply that the Saviour is Lord, to the glory of God the Father? “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which 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.”
What should happen to every soul that is converted to Christ… What should happen in every spirit that is made alive in Christ…. That soul and spirit should come to the realization that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Christ. And that Christ is the eternal Son of God; and that the Son of God is Lord of all. One of the divine purposes of our salvation is to bring us to the point of confessing that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Saviour, without having to face being cast into the burning fiery furnace of Hell. And the professing Christian who refuses to obey Jesus Christ as Lord, is probably not a true child of God at all. He doesn’t possess a regenerated heart; he is not a new creature in Christ.
This does not mean that I believe that every true Christian will be a perfectly obedient subject of his Lord. There has not be a week during my Christian life, through which I lived as a perfect servant of Christ. In fact there may never have been a complete day when my every thought and every deed was totally devoid of self. But there has never been a day since my conversion in which I have not believed or confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. There has not been a day that Christ has not been the eternal Son of God in my theology and in my heart. There has not been a moment when I doubted that He was King of kings and Lord of Lords. When I called upon the name of Christ in repentance and faith, it was from the Lord of Heaven and earth that I sought grace and salvation. And this is to what, I think that Paul was referring in this scripture.
Is Jesus Christ your Saviour this morning and for all eternity? Is your Saviour the Lord of Heaven and Earth? Is He your acknowledged King, head of His church and Lord of your life? Do you believe that Christ will judge the quick and the dead, because to Him the Father has bestowed all authority and judgment? Is your faith, love, and trust, humbly placed in Him? If so, then you have apparently done what Paul was exhorting you to do here in this scripture. But if these things are not true in your heart, then you stand on the brink of the Lake of Fire. Which is it for you this morning?