“You call me Master and Lord, and you say well; for so I am.”
According to the first chapter of the book of Genesis, man was created to rule. In Genesis 1:26, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion…over all the earth.’” So man was made to rule the world. Yet it is equally true that man was made to serve. In the very beginning he was placed in the garden to cultivate it and guard it for God, and as he did so, he was told that he himself would also reap benefits for his effort. Man was made responsible to God for every detail of his life.
Every man, consciously or unconsciously, is mastered by someone outside of himself. Some are under the tyranny of Satan; others are under the loving Lordship of Jesus Christ. But whether it be Satan or Christ, every man has a lord. He takes his orders from one of the two. Immediately we meet a difficulty. The slave of Satan scoffs at the idea that he is anybody’s slave; he claims an unconditional “freedom” in his life. He is like the Jews who said to Jesus, “We were never in bondage to any man,” conveniently forgetting their long national bondages to foreign nations in the past. While blinded by sin and Satan (II Corinthians 4:3-4), the lost man thinks of himself as “free”. In reality, he is the pawn of personal selfishness and the slave of Satan. In contrast, a Christian happily admits his desire to be the “bondservant” of Jesus Christ. He readily testifies that Jesus Christ is Lord of his life, and only laments his own poor adjustment to His Lordship. In this study, it is my purpose and intention to assert that the only rightful lord for any man’s life is Jesus Christ.
There was no theological textbook or statement of beliefs in the New Testament church. If the early Christians had a creed at all, it was stated in just two words, words that were like two sudden thrilling notes of a trumpet. The two words were kurios Iasous—translated “Jesus is Lord.” The early Christians thought this to be the only creed that was necessary. It is the idea of the Lordship of Christ that I want to explore today.
The FACT of Christ’s Lordship
Let’s begin with the fact that Jesus is Lord. The fact that Jesus Christ is Lord is the central affirmation of the New Testament. It is the first and most revolutionary fact that confronts any reader of the New Testament. William Butler Yeats once wrote, “Genius is the art of learning to live with the major issues of life.” Whether men recognize it or not, the major issue of life is the issue of the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ.
A few samplings from the pages of the New Testament should give sufficient evidence of Christ’s Lordship. In II Corinthians 4:5, the Apostle Paul summed up the message of the Christian Gospel in these words: “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” In Romans 14:9, we find these words: “To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” So the purpose behind the total redemptive work of Christ was that He might be Lord. Then, in Acts 16:31, in announcing the way of salvation, the Apostle Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Each of these verses, and many more, give evidence to the fact that the Lordship of Christ is the first fact of the New Testament.
It is important to note that the word “Savior” occurs only twenty-four times in the New Testament, while one commentator who researched the occurrences said that the word “Lord” is found some 600 times. Slightly more than 150 of these occurrences of the word “Lord” refer to God, while more than 300 of them refer to Jesus Christ, and the word is used as a human term of respect several times. Look at just one book as an example—the book of Acts. The term “Lord” is used of Jesus 108 times, while the