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Author Topic: The Lordship Of Christ
Carol Swenson
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Good comments!

A couple of inspiring movies that focus on the Lordship of Christ, available from Christian Cinema.com: Facing The Giants and Flywheel

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http://www.christiancinema.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1976

Movies' trailers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zciqppDGzGo

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Found in Him
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Great post and comments!

Jesus is Lord! It feels great to even type that with my fingers [Wink]

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~To Him That is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy...to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.~ Jude 24

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Betty Louise
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I think the terminology most people use of making God, Lord of their life while not being the correct wording is in itself not so bad. I think what the person is thinking is putting God first.
Often we quibble over terms when it really is not necessary to attack each other over terms.
Paul talked about crucifying self daily. People read that and think of it as making Jesus, Lord of their lives. Do we lay down self desires for what God wants in our lives? Jesus is Lord whether we believe or not. But do we serve Him? That is the question.
Betty

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Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

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Michael Harrison
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The author is very correct! It is by submission that one is saved. But in fact, it is by submission that Christ is made LORD of one's life. It is not as though one 'makes' Jesus Lord, which HE already is. But Jesus will not force any man into recognition of the fact. Each man must 'submit' that Jesus be LORD of his own life - thereby making Him LORD, a very scriptural calling, whether directly stated or not.
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Carol Swenson
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 - The Lordship Of Christ


A magazine article inveighing against lordship salvation began with the question “Must a person make Christ Lord as a condition for salvation?” No less than ten times in the brief two-page piece the author spoke of “making Christ Lord” of one’s life. That terminology has become so familiar in our generation that some Christians are tempted to think of it as biblical. It is not.

Scripture never speaks of anyone “making” Christ Lord, except God himself, who “has made Him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). He is Lord of all (Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:11), and the biblical mandate is not to “make” Christ Lord, but rather to bow to his lordship. Those who reject his lordship or give mere lip service to his sovereignty are not saved (cf. 1 Cor. 12:3; Luke 6:46–49). We observed from Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:22 that many who verbally or intellectually admit the lordship of Christ will be turned away from heaven because they do not do the will of the Father in heaven.

All who believe the Word of God will agree that Jesus is Lord. He is ever and always Lord, whether or not anyone acknowledges his lordship or surrenders to his authority.

Nevertheless, some contemporary evangelical writers have questioned the place of Christ’s lordship in the gospel message. While not denying that Christ is Lord, they suggest that it is a truth best kept out of the good news we proclaim to unbelievers. The article I referred to earlier says this:

It is imperative to trust Christ as personal Savior and be born again. But this is only the first decision. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord is made by believers [sic].… The decision to trust Christ as Savior and then make Him Lord are two separate, distinct decisions [sic]. The first is made by nonbelievers, the second only by believers. The two decisions may be close or distant in time. But salvation must always precede lordship. It is possible, but miserable, to be saved without ever making Christ Lord of your life.

Does that sound like the gospel according to Jesus? It certainly is not. We have seen that Jesus frequently made his lordship the central issue with unbelievers. Everything he said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, for example, demanded recognition of his lordship. And in Matthew 7:21–22 and Luke 6:46–49 he challenged the bogus profession of those who called him Lord but did not really know him, and he made it clear that obedience to divine authority is a prerequisite of entry into the kingdom. Clearly, his lordship is an integral part of the message of salvation.

Scripture reveals a number of eternal attributes encompassed in the name Lord. Salvation has no meaning or efficacy apart from them.

Jesus Is God

To say that Jesus is Lord is first of all to acknowledge that he is Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Col. 1:16–17). This is a profound declaration of truth. There is little question that the Bible teaches that Jesus is God. Only cultists and unbelievers dispute this truth. Scripture declares him to be God (John 1:1; cf. v. 14). God the Father addresses him as God (Heb. 1:8). He displays the attributes of deity—he is omnipresent (Matt. 18:20), omnipotent (Phil. 3:21), and unchanging (Heb. 13:8). He forgives sins (Matt. 9:2–7), receives worship (Matt. 28:17), and has absolute authority over all things (v. 18). Christ encompasses the fullness of God in human flesh (Col. 2:9). He is one with the Father. In John 10:30 he said plainly, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus’ critics clearly understood he was claiming to be God on this (v. 33) and many other occasions (e.g., John 5:18; 8:58–59; Mark 14:61–64).

We are seeing God in action when we read of the works of Christ. When we hear his words as recorded in the New Testament, we are hearing the words of God. When we hear Christ express emotion, we are listening to the heart of God. And when he gives a directive, it is the commandment of God. There is nothing he does not know, nothing he cannot do, and no way he can fail. Jesus is God in the fullest possible sense.

Jesus Is Sovereign

As God, Jesus is our sovereign Lord. He claimed, for example, to be Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8), meaning that his authority as Lawgiver superseded even the authority of the law. In John 5:17 Jesus defended his right to violate the Pharisees’ man-made Sabbath laws: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” He thus claimed equal authority with God, and the Jewish leaders were so incensed at him for it that they tried to kill him (5:18). When Jesus encountered opposition like that, he never engaged obstinate unbelievers in dialogue. He did not bother to try to argue theology with them. He simply appealed again to his own inherent authority as God (vv. 19–47; cf. John 10:22–42).

The fact that the Jewish leaders could not kill Jesus before his time was further proof of his sovereignty: “I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17–18). The influence of Jesus’ authority extends to every person. In fact, all judgment has been committed to him: “For not even the Father judges anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Notice the reason for this: “in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (v. 23, emphasis added). Likewise, those who dishonor the Son by rejecting his right to be sovereign also dishonor the Father.

In the final judgment, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11–12). That does not mean, of course, that all will be saved, but that even those who die in unbelief will be forced to confess the lordship of Jesus. His sovereignty is limitless. Marc Mueller has expressed the breadth of Jesus’ sovereignty with these words: “He is the Almighty God, the Matchless Cosmic Sovereign, who as Creator and Redeemer (Jn. 1:9–13) has the right and power to demand compliance and submission to His imperial, veracious authority.”

Jesus Is Savior

Although he is sovereign God, Jesus took on himself the limitations of human flesh and dwelt personally among sinful men and women (John 1:14). While on earth, he experienced all the sorrows and tribulations of humanity—except that he never sinned (Heb. 4:15). He walked on earth, showed his love, demonstrated his power, and revealed in his behavior the righteousness of God. Yet his demeanor was that of a servant. Scripture says he “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7–8).

In other words, though he is sovereign Lord of all, he surrendered everything, even to the point where he willingly died the most painful, humiliating death known to humankind. He did it on our behalf. Though he was sinless, and therefore not worthy of death (cf. Rom. 6:23), he suffered the guilt of our sin: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

The death of Christ for us was the ultimate sacrifice. It paid the penalty of our sin in full, and opened the way for us to have peace with God. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.… Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Even in death Christ was Lord. His resurrection was proof of that. Paul writes that Christ “was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Philippians 2:9–11 describes the Father’s response to Jesus’ humility and death: “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Therefore, when we invite people to receive Christ as Savior, we ask them to embrace One who is Lord and was declared to be so by God the Father, who also demands that every knee bow to his sovereignty. Salvation belongs to those who receive him (John 1:12), but they must receive him for all that he is—“the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).

Jesus Is Lord

Jesus is Lord. Consistently Scripture affirms the lordship of Christ in every way. He is Lord in judgment. He is Lord over the Sabbath. He is Lord over all (Acts 10:36). He is called Lord (kurios in the Greek text) no less than 747 times in the New Testament. The book of Acts alone refers to him as Lord 92 times, while calling him Savior only twice. Clearly in the early church’s preaching, the lordship of Christ was the heart of the Christian message.

The centrality of Jesus’ lordship to the gospel message is clear from the way Scripture presents the terms of salvation. Those who dichotomize between believing in Christ as Savior and yielding to him as Lord have a difficult time with many of the biblical invitations to faith, such as Acts 2:21: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”; or Acts 2:36: “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified”; or Acts 16:31: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved”; and particularly Romans 10:9–10: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved”.

All those passages indisputably include the lordship of Christ as part of the gospel according to Jesus. We have seen that Jesus’ lordship includes the ideas of dominion, authority, sovereignty, and the right to govern. If those ideas are implicit in the phrase “confess … Jesus as Lord” (Rom. 10:9), then it is clear that people who come to Christ for salvation must do so in obedience to him—that is, with a willingness to surrender to him as Lord.

Not surprisingly, the opponents of lordship salvation have made Romans 10 a focus of their attack. Much has been written in recent years attempting to explain how one can confess Jesus as Lord yet continue to rebel against his authority. Some take the position that the term Lord, when used by Scripture in connection with the gospel, does not mean “sovereign master,” but rather “deity.” Charles Ryrie is the most articulate of those who have used this argument. He writes:

To be sure, Lord does [often] mean Master, but in the New Testament it also means God (Acts 3:22), owner (Luke 19:33), sir (John 4:11), man-made idols (I Cor. 8:5), and even one’s husband (I Peter 3:6).

In I Corinthians 12:3 Paul said, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord [literally, Lord Jesus], but by the Holy Ghost.” Lord in this sense must mean Jehovah-God for the simple reason that unsaved people can and do say Lord, meaning Sir, in reference to Christ, before they even have the Spirit of God.

Why is Lord Jesus (meaning God-Man) such a significant statement that it can only be said by the Spirit of God guiding a person? It is because this is the essence of our salvation since it focuses on the uniqueness of the Savior. Almost all “saviours” claim mastery over the lives of their followers.… But what religion, other than Christianity, has a savior who claimed to be both God and man in the same person? If Lord in the phrase means Master, then the claim to uniqueness is absent. If Lord in the phrase means Jehovah-God, then Jesus is unique, and this is the very heart of the message of salvation in Christianity.

This same emphasis is seen in Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus … thou shalt be saved.” It is the confession of Jesus as God and thus faith in the God-Man that saves from sin.

In other words, Dr. Ryrie claims those who argue that “Lord” means “sovereign master” divest the call to faith of its significance with regard to the deity of Christ.

But that is a straw argument. It is not necessary to eliminate the concept of deity from the word Lord to understand that it means “master.” Ryrie is most certainly correct to say that “Lord” means God. But if anything, that only strengthens the view that absolute rulership is inherent in the word. Certainly when Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28), he was using “Lord” as more than an expression of deity. He was not saying, “My God and my God”; he was affirming that Jesus is both God and Master. What kind of god would he be if he were not sovereign?

Look, for example, at the context of Romans 10:9. Verse 12 uses the phrase “Lord of all” to describe the Savior. It means he is Lord over all, Jews and Gentiles, believers and nonbelievers alike. Any interpretation that attempts to rid the term of its meaning of sovereign dominion makes no sense at all. Reading that truth into verse 9 results in an even stronger statement: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord [of all] … you shall be saved.”

Certainly the word Lord includes the idea of deity in every context where Scripture calls Jesus “Lord” in connection with the gospel message. That Christ is God is a fundamental component of the gospel message. No one who denies the deity of Christ could be saved (cf. 1 John 4:2–3). But inherent in the idea of deity is authority, dominion, and the right to command. A person living in rebellion against Christ’s authority does not acknowledge him as Lord in any sense (cf. Titus 1:16).

The signature of saving faith is surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. The definitive test of whether a person belongs to Christ is a willingness to bow to his divine authority. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 Paul made it clear that “no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

That does not mean that it is impossible for unsaved people to utter the words “Jesus is Lord,” for obviously they can and do. Jesus himself pointed out the paradox of those who called him Lord but did not really believe it (Luke 6:46). Even the demons know and admit who he is (cf. James 2:19). Mark 1:24 records that as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a demon-possessed man stood and cried out, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Mark 3:11 says that “whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him, they would fall down before Him and cry out, saying, ‘You are the Son of God.’ ” One demon inside a man possessed by legions of unclean spirits called out, “What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Mark 5:7).

First Corinthians 12:3 cannot refer to just saying the words “Jesus is Lord.” It must mean more. It includes acknowledging him as Lord by obeying Him, by surrendering one’s will to his lordship, by affirming him with one’s deeds as well as one’s words (cf. Titus 1:16).

This in no way establishes a gospel of human works. Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who enables a person to confess Jesus as Lord: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” Surrender to Jesus as Lord is no more a meritorious human work than believing he is Savior. Neither act is a good deed done to earn favor with God. Both are the sovereign work of God in the heart of everyone who believes. And one is impossible without the other. Jesus could not be Savior if he were not Lord. Furthermore, if he were not Lord, he could not be King or Messiah or our great High Priest. Apart from his lordship, every aspect of his saving work is impossible.

When we come to Jesus for salvation, we come to the One who is Lord over all. Any message that omits this truth cannot be called the gospel. It is a defective message that presents a savior who is not Lord, a redeemer who does not demonstrate authority over sin, a weakened, sickly messiah who cannot command those he rescues.

The gospel according to Jesus is nothing like that. It represents Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and demands that those who would receive him take him for who he is. In the words of Puritan John Flavel, “The gospel offer of Christ includes all his offices, and gospel faith just so receives him; to submit to him, as well as to be redeemed by him; to imitate him in the holiness of his life, as well as to reap the purchases and fruits of his death. It must be an entire receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

A. W. Tozer wrote in the same vein, “To urge men and women to believe in a divided Christ is bad teaching for no one can receive half of Christ, or a third of Christ, or a quarter of the Person of Christ! We are not saved by believing in an office nor in a work.”

He is Lord, and those who refuse him as Lord cannot use him as Savior. Everyone who receives him must surrender to his authority, for to say we receive Christ when in fact we reject his right to reign over us is utter absurdity. It is a futile attempt to hold onto sin with one hand and take Jesus with the other. What kind of salvation is it if we are left in bondage to sin?


(John MacArthur The Gospel According To Jesus)

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