Alfred Place Baptist Church

10:12-13 Calling on the Name of the Lord

Romans 10: 12 & 13 “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Today I want to explain to you why “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” You can see by this triple repetition of the word ‘Lord’ in these verses how important active faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ is to our salvation. The apostle has already said in verse nine, “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.” That confession may be heard coming from Jewish lips or from Gentile lips, but both are under divine obligation to confess this same Lord, that he is Jesus of Nazareth. It is a sin not to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is his grace and his love that is the source of the blessings of the abundant life that come to everyone who calls on him. Whether Jew or Gentile is acknowledging him as their Lord, there can be just one blessed response to that confession of faith; “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (v.13).

Now, as Donald Macleod has pointed out in a chapter on the Deity of Christ in A Faith to Live by (Christian Focus), there is a widespread impression that the word ‘Lord’ (kurios) is a much weaker title. But this is not so. When we say that Jesus Christ is Lord we are making a statement of unsurpassable significance. In the Latin culture of Imperial Rome the highest title Caesar could claim was ‘Lord.’ It was a divine title. The same was true in Greek culture: a kurios was a divine being. ‘There are many “gods” and many “lords”,’ as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 8:5. But what really matters is that in Jewish theology the designation ‘Lord’ had the very highest import. When the Greeks wanted to translate the Hebrew Scriptures in what is called the Septuagint they came up against the distinctively Jewish name for God: Jehovah. How should they translate? Their solution was to render it by Kurios (Lord). The English versions have done the same thing. (There are, in fact, two Hebrew words translated Lord: Jehovah and Adonai. Our English Bibles distinguish very precisely between them by consistently printing the word for Jehovah in large block capitals: LORD. The distinction is very clear in Psalm 8:1).

The importance of all this is that when the apostles referred to Jesus as ‘Lord’ they were using a Roman title of divine significance, a Greek title of divine significance and an Aramaic title of divine significance (Mar). Above all, they were ascribing to Jesus the word used by Greek-speaking Jews as equivalent to Jehovah. When we say that Jesus Christ is Lord we are saying exactly that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. This may startle us by its very novelty. But it is the truth, and there is nothing more remarkable in the whole history of human psychology than that monotheistic Jews of the first century, men like Paul and James, should ascribe to a human being the title Kurios, and that they should go on to apply to Jesus of Nazareth Old Testament verses which in their original context referred to Jehovah, the God of Israel. Let us never forget this simple fact. When we say, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord,’ we are saying, ‘Jesus Christ is Jehovah.’ When we sing, ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ we are singing, ‘Jehovah-Jesus is my shepherd.’ When we ask, “Who is he in yonder stall at whose feet the shepherds fall?” We reply in the same hymn, “Tis Jehovah, o wondrous story. It’s Jehovah in the womb, it’s Jehovah in the stable; it’s Jehovah on the cross.” Let me open up this theme.

JESUS OF NAZARETH WAS CALLED ‘LORD’ BY THE VERY EARLIEST CHRISTIANS.

Some professors about 100 years ago claimed that the early disciples didn’t call him ‘Lord.’ This was a later development, they said, through the influence of Greek and Roman thinking. But what do we find in the Bible?

i] In the first preaching at Pentecost they called him ‘Lord’ and thereafter through the book of Acts they referred to him as the ‘Lord Jesus.’ In Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 think of the climax, the very last words of the apostle’s sermon, this triumphant declaration, “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36): “Jesus [is] Lord and Christ.” That was the climax of the first Christian proclamation. Then a little later in the incident recorded in Acts five, the judgment of God falling on those liars and thieves, Ananias and his wife Saphira, is described, and how did unbelievers respond? “You’ll never find me going to a group like that.” No. We are told, “more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:14). Or again a little later, when Philip preached to the people of Samaria, many believed and were “baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16). His Lordship was non-negotiable for Samaritans as they began the Christian way. Then the arch enemy of the Christian faith, Saul of Tarsus, was confronted with the risen glorified Jesus on the road to Damascus. When the brightness of this magnificent divine person blinded him he fell to the ground and all he could do was cry out to him, “Who are you, Lord?” (Acts 9:5). So those are four examples from the first year of Christian preaching. The Lordship of Jesus Christ was immediately present before there was any world wide church, or any contact with the Roman or Greek world. Though their memories were still very vivid of Jesus’ humiliating crucifixion, condemned to that death by Israel’s chief priests, yet right from Pentecost they declared him ‘Lord’ and they bowed to him as such.

ii] Secondly, I find the attitude of James to the Lord Jesus very interesting (and here I am again indebted to Donald Macleod). The one letter that James wrote was the earliest (possibly the very first) of the New Testament documents. It is very like the Sermon on the Mount in its style. It dates from the fifties, just twenty years after the cross and resurrection. James was a man rooted in the Aramaic-speaking Jewish community. James was a prominent figure and he commanded the respect even of non-Christians. His maturity and righteousness earned him the title ‘James the Just.’ James was a leader in the early church. In Acts fifteen he is clearly the head of the Jerusalem church. Here is a man (and this is most fascinating of all) who was our Lord Jesus’ half brother, a son of Mary. Surely it is very impressive, in the light of all this, to note his references to Jesus as Lord, that’s the way, in the opening words of James’ epistle, that he refers to his half brother: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” No sibling rivalry here, but rather the deepest love and respect. He puts Jesus up very high, in the most exalted of all positions alongside the living God; “I am a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus.” Yet here he is, calling his brother ‘Jehovah’: “the Lord Jesus Christ”. There is scarcely anything in the New Testament more glorious than that: that James, of all people, who had shared the same home, the same table and probably the same bed as Jesus, who had seen him from the inside, who had lived with him, who was so committedly monotheistic and Jewish, that he should call his own brother ‘Jehovah’!

Then see how the second chapter of his epistle begins; “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism” or in the A.V. “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” There is so much happening here! For one thing, here is an apostle facing a very elementary problem, the problem of snobbery in the church of God. When certain people walked into a meeting, everyone made a great fuss and told others to get up and give their seats to these important people. “Now,” James said, “You can’t do that. You are really saying that if Jesus had been in your church (dressed in the garb of a poor carpenter) you’d have told him to get up and give his seat to Lord So-and-So. Do you have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ? You can’t have faith in this poor Galilean peasant and also be a snob. It’s as simple as that.”

Then there is an even more remarkable thing in James’ use of the word ‘glory’ in this verse at the beginning of chapter 2. Its use here embarrasses all translations and all commentators because what James says is, literally: “Don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory, with partiality.” The Authorised Version gives us a parenthesis “the Lord of glory”, but the word ‘Lord’ is no part of the original text. The New International Version, too, has faltered, It simply says, ‘our glorious Lord Jesus Christ’. By turning the noun into an adjective it has evacuated the word of all its force, because James is doing a remarkable thing here. He is calling Jesus the Glory, the Doxa, the Shekinah.

Again, that was a great Old Testament concept. It was part of the church’s Messianic hope. God had said, “I will be the glory in the midst” (Zech. 2:5). The church had been told to pray “that his glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85:9). What does John say in John 1:14? “We beheld his glory as he dwelt among us!” He speaks of the glory dwelling, reminding us of the glory that dwelt between the cherubim. We remember that when Solomon dedicated the temple, the glory of the Lord filled it, and this glory came to be called the Shekinah, from the Hebrew verb for to dwell. The Shekinah was the Glory. The Shekinah was God manifested; and here at the beginning of chapter 2 James is calling Jesus the Glory. He is not simply glorious. Nor does he merely possess glory. He is the Glory of God. As a testimony to the deity of Christ this is fully equal to the opening statement of John’s Gospel

Even then he hasn’t finished. This same attribution of lordship to Jesus occurs yet again in James 5:7: “Be patient, therefore, until the coming of the Lord.” James is the archetypal exponent of the Christianity that first existed among the multitude of the earliest Jewish converts, these men and women steeped in monotheism who believed passionately in the cry, “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord.” There is only one God, and yet from the time of James, their leader in Jerusalem insisted that Jesus is the Lord. They affirmed his divinity and looked forward to the Lord Jesus coming again.

iii] Thirdly, there is the phrase Maranatha, which occurs in 1 Corinthians 16:22. I suppose it’s the earliest piece of Christian liturgy. Maybe a parting greeting after a meeting was over – “Even so come Lord Jesus” Maranatha! It is an Aramaic word like the words Abba and talitha cumi (to Jairus’ daughter) and ephphatha (spoken to the deaf man given his hearing by our Lord and meaning ‘Be opened’). Those phrases give hints of the early origins of Christianity and the kitchen language and the disciples’ language used around Galilee especially, the language that Jesus spoke at home in Nazareth and with his fishermen disciples. So there is this word Maranatha. Please realise that Jesus in the Aramaic language is being called ‘Mar’ which means ‘Lord.’ The exact meaning of the words are either maran atha (‘Our Lord is coming!’) or marana tha (‘Our Lord, come!’). It is probably the latter as a prayerful longing, and in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, you find that same prayer in Greek, “Even so come, Lord!” If Jesus had only been a healer and a teacher you wouldn’t find men calling to a mere Rabbi so soon after his death, “Come!” So I have given you three examples of how the very earliest Christians, in one case within 50 days of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, were referring to him as ‘Lord!’ We don’t find that 60 or100 years later, when his companions had died, and legends were developing about him, that finally Jesus was upgraded and deified and was then being called the Lord. From the very beginning he was Lord.

DURING JESUS’ OWN LIFE HE WAS REFERRED TO AS LORD.

I am claiming that Jesus understood himself as Lord and agreed with people who called him Lord. The gospel writers were inspired to call him Lord. For example Luke uses that title in his narrative at four points. The earliest occurrence is in the words of Elizabeth to Mary: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). It occurs again in the words of a messenger from heaven, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). Again the apostle Peter referred to him as Lord for the first time lying on top of the fish which poured out of breaking nets and filled his boat to overflowing. Then and there, from such an undignified position, Peter cried to Christ, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Lk.5:8). Peter was prostrate before Christ, overwhelmed with a sense of his creatureliness and sin and the magnificent power of this Jesus who had caused hundreds of fish in the sea’s depths to swim together into the net. Who are you dealing with here? Peter was experiencing a close encounter with God. Then finally in the last chapter of Luke we find that the disciples used the title ‘Lord’ to describe the one who has risen from the dead. How do you speak of such a person? “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Simon” (Lk.24:34). Those are the four references to Jesus as Lord in Luke’s gospel.

Now neither Matthew nor Mark use this title at all, and that absence would be an accurate reflection of the situation during the life of Jesus. It was never a common-place title to speak of him and to him as ‘Lord!’ certainly not during his lifetime. It would just be at those rare times. What a contrast then – it’s quite remarkable in fact – that in the book of Acts and in the epistles the title ‘Lord’ is given to Jesus simply everywhere. What can be the reason for this? It is obvious. It is the resurrection. That accounts for this change from the rare to the commonplace. That event on the third day didn’t change the status of Christ – he was Lord before he rose from the dead – but it certainly it did change the disciples’ perception of him. They knew that by the resurrection from the dead God had made their Jesus Lord and Messiah. So doubting Thomas falls before the risen Christ and calls him “My Lord and my God.” So the title ‘Son of Man’, that had abounded on the lips of Jesus during his ministry in Galilee, never occurs in the early church neither in Acts nor in the letters. But the title ‘Lord’ abounds in the early church, and yet is seldom found on the lips of the Saviour.

But let’s be careful. You cannot say that Jesus never referred to himself as ‘Lord.’ You remember how he once said, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Mk. 2:28). What a bold claim. Jehovah in the Old Testament referred to the Sabbath as “my Sabbath” (Isa. 56:4). Now Jesus Christ, early on in his ministry, claimed the Sabbath as his, and that he had the right to tell men how it should be observed. Again you find this reference to his lordship on the lips of Jesus in the words, “Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven . . . On that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name?” (Matt. 7:21&22). Who is this Lord here? He is the Judge of the whole human race, and he is seen as presiding at the Great Assize, determining the eternal destinies of the whole of mankind, and his name is of such eminence that the people appearing before him have invoked it (successfully) in the performance of miracles. The authority of this Lord is ultimate, and his word is final: “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of evil!’”

Again Jesus takes the title of Lord and refers it to himself on one occasion when he was speaking to the Pharisees. He is putting to them a very specific question, “Whose son is Christ?” (Matt.22:41) and they reply, “The Son of David!” and Jesus, by way of rejoinder, quotes Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said to my Lord” in the original the titles are these, ‘Jehovah said to Adonai.’ Christ focuses on the precise meaning of Adonai, My Lord: “If David calls the Messiah his Lord, how can he be his Son?” So I have sought to demonstrate to you that it was from the very beginning that the title ‘Lord’ was applied to Christ by the Christian community. They didn’t invent this title a century later in some very daring and provocative way to upgrade him to help their evangelism. Rather the title ‘Lord’ was encouraged by the usage of Jesus Christ himself.

AFTER THE RESURRECTION THE TITLE ‘LORD’ BECAME THE MOST COMMON OF ALL TITLES GIVEN TO OUR SAVIOUR.

It is essential, according to our text, for a credible confession of faith that Jesus Christ is for you your Lord. It is here before us in the word that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but they alone. So what is involved in this title ‘Lord’? At least four great ideas.

i] First, Christ’s Lordship means ownership, particularly the ownership of slaves. By saying he is your Lord then you are acknowledging that you are Jesus Christ’s servant or his slave. This idea is reinforced by this fact that occasionally the apostles didn’t use the word ‘kurios’ (i.e. Lord) but in fact they use another similar word ‘despotes,’ from which we get our word ‘despot. They were underlining Jesus’ absolute dominion, a rule over men without any restraints; that rule was non-negotiable. We find this title, for example, in 2 Peter 2:1: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord (despotes) who bought them.” It also occurs in the fourth verse of Jude “Admission has been gained by ungodly persons who deny our only despotes and kurios, Jesus Christ.” You also remember this that there is in the New Testament a frequent description of a mere Christian, including even the apostles, that he was a slave (doulos) of Christ. In serving their fellowmen they were deacons, in other words, servants, (diakonoi): but in serving Christ, they were a doulos, a slave. And there was no difference between serving the Lord Jesus and serving God: James our Lord’s half brother tells us that he was the doulos of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jas. 1:1). This kind of language would have been impossible unless Christ had a status which was actually commensurate with God’s.

What is the consequence of this relationship to Jesus Christ as your Lord and you being his slaves? You owe unconditional obligation to Christ. You are to forsake all and follow him, even though this means leaving your dead unburied, forsaking houses and lands, abandoning fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and, at last, taking up your cross and laying down your life (Mark 8:34; 10:29; Matt. 10:37; Luke 9:60). His merest wish takes precedence over every other commitment.

You might be thinking now, “Well this is not much of a life! Am I to be his dogs-body with no rights of my own, no possessions of my own, no relationships that are sacred, no time of my own, a mere slave to do his bidding night and day? Is this what calling on the name of the Lord results in in practice? Complete submission to Jesus as Lord?” And I would say to you to think of him. Consider what the Son of God did when he became a servant for you. Had he no rights? Was he not the Word who was in the beginning with God and who was God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God? Yet this Lord himself came in the form of a servant (doulos), and he was among us as one who served (diakonos). Indeed, service was precisely what he came for, and what an extraordinary service it was. As a servant he laid down his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Let us follow the example of the servant, Jesus Christ. Let us look at his extraordinary life thinking of you, loving you, dying for you, and then and say, “Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all” as a slave of this wonderful Master. What a privilege to be a servant of such a Lord!

You remember that in the Old Testament masters could free their slaves, but a slave might so love his master that leaving him would be unacceptable heartbreak. “I will stay on for ever as your slave,” he would protest. “Don’t send me away.” So there would be a ceremony at his master’s front door. The slave would stand next to the door post and his master would take an awl, a tool with a pointed nail attached to it, and he would press the man’s head against the post and thrust the awl through the lobe of his ear and attach it for a moment to his home. “You are now my servant for ever,” he would say. So we are the slaves of Christ, freely and lovingly, our delight to do our Master’s will, whatever, whenever, wherever. Jesus Christ is our Lord.

But that is only one side of our status; I don’t want to present a one-sided of this discipleship. These Christians are not exclusively servants, they are also lords. As sons of God and heirs of God all things are theirs (1 Cor. 3:21), and to them the very angels minister (Heb. 1:14). This is already true in the present and will be even more wonderfully true in the future. One day, man in Christ will find the destiny that was planned for him way back in the Garden of Eden, the cultural mandate, replenishing and fulfilling the new heavens and earth as Lord of Creation.

ii] Christ’s Lordship over us means receiving his truth, obeying and teaching it as the Word of God. It’s interesting to notice one significant difference in the two accounts of the Transfiguration in Matthew’s gospel and Mark’s. In Matthew the disciples call this glorious person ‘Lord’ (Matt. 17:4), but in Mark’s account they call him ‘Rabbi’ (Mk. 9:5). You are this Lord’s disciple and so this Lord is your teacher; you hear him and you do what he teaches. For you he can say nothing wrong. There is no journey he can send you on, no hard saying he doesn’t wish you to receive. When he speaks of hell then he speaks to you as your Lord and Teacher. How is he Jesus generally addressed in the gospels of Matthew and Mark? How would you think people thought of him and reacted to him? It was as ‘Rabbi’, ‘Teacher’! I am pointing out to you that these two words ‘Lord’ and ‘Teacher’ are clearly interchangeable. Well, let me qualify a little that because it seems that Matthew was a somewhat cautious about writing of unregenerate men and women calling Jesus their ‘Lord’ before they had bowed before him. There is a fascinating example of this in the Upper Room and the Passover feast. Matthew tells us that all the 11 disciples called him ‘Lord,’ but that Judas called him ‘Teacher’ (Matt. 26:22, 25). Quite deliberately Matthew makes that distinction. He is downgrading Judas’ relationship with Jesus.

Here is the principal they are maintaining, that to address Jesus as Lord was less fitting in the mouths of certain people. That is my only quibble about identifying the two titles ‘Lord’ and ‘Rabbi’ and claiming that they were virtually the same. But they are very, very similar. There was a close association between the authority of Jesus the Lord and the words that Jesus the Teacher spoke. The teacher was an authority-figure. The root meaning of ‘rabbi’ was the Aramaic word ‘rab’ and that meant ‘the great one.’ He was great because of the authority invested in him, great because he could tell people what they were to believe and what they were to reject, great because he told them what was true and what was erroneous, what was good doctrine and what was heresy. The rabbi lifted up his voice with strength. It’s in the way of all his teaching that we disciples are to walk. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed to the teaching of Jesus. It is his word that is a light to our feet and a lamp to our way

iii] Christ’s Lordship means he is the Sovereignty of God. If you have any difficulty with the divine decrees of election and predestination and even of preterition then you may be helped by Christologizing them. Jesus is the Lord of election; he chooses his people – the same one who chose Peter and Andrew and James and John and told them to come and follow him, the one who told them, “You did not choose me but I chose you.” He is the one who passes by Pharaoh. There cannot be any un-Christlike aspects to his choices and actions. Christ is the Lord of foreordination, and the calling Lord, and the Lord of reprobation. All those acts of his fully reflect his character as holy wisdom, power and love. He is also at the heart of God’s providence; he works all things after the counsel of his will. It was Jesus who drew Lydia to attend the prayer meeting of women at Philippi; Jesus was the Lord who opened her heart; it was Jesus who drew her to understand and receive what Paul was saying. It was Jesus who moved her to profess faith and be baptized. It is this same Jesus who begins a good work in us and then he goes on and on working in us until the day of Christ. It is the love of this Lord that will never let us go, so that neither things present nor things to come can separate us from his love.

It is the Lord Christ who is at the heart of the judgment likewise. We shall stand not only at the judgment-seat of God but at the judgment-seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). That he involves himself in judging is a pledge that the whole process will be fair and good. What Christ represents and incarnates this very moment and through our lives has sovereignty, dominion and power. God’s love in him is not fragile, or vulnerable, or indecisive. It is in a position of dominance. He can move heaven and earth for a man’s salvation. Every demon is at the end of the Lord’s chain, and if the evil spirit gets too near one of Christ’s little ones he will yank that chain. The great words of William Cowper bear their highest sense as applied to the enthroned Lamb:

Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

That is the comfort of a church charged with this impossible task: “Go into all the world! I am with you! I have all the authority!” (Matt. 28:18 ff.). It is the comfort, too, of his people as they face an arduous future. How glorious that the opening chapters of the book of Revelation begin with a vision of “a throne and him that sits on it” (Rev. 4:2). Only after we have fortified our hearts with that vision of the sovereignty of Jesus are we then asked to contemplate the plagues and the pestilences, the famines and the battles, the Serpent, the Beast and the Scarlet Woman. Christ is the sovereign Lord, head over all things for the church and head of the church.

iv] Christ’s Lordship will be fully displayed when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. What lies in the future of every man, woman and child in the world? Where are we heading? To an unavoidable display of the glory of this Lord. That is what we confess when we say that he is Lord. We are longing for that day; “Thy kingdom come in all its fulness” we pray. Now we see not all things put under his feet, but in that great day we shall view his cosmic Lordship over heaven and earth and hell. Christ came as King, and we see unmistakable evidences of his Lordship even when he was in his state of humiliation – his power over creation – the winds and waves obeying him; his lordship over disease every sick person who was brought to him was healed, his authority over the devil, and his power over death itself. Yet at that time, while on earth, his lordship was also hidden. It was a restrained and veiled lordship, although still capable of mighty acts.

Since the resurrection it has been untrammelled and hyper-exalted. Today he has bound Satan (Heb. 2:14; Rev. 20:2) and so the nations of the earth once in the kingdom of darkness hear his glorious gospel and multitudes of Gentiles are translated into the kingdom of light. Today he sends forth the Holy Spirit in the mission of the Paraclete (John 16:7). Today his disciples perform greater miracles than he did himself (John 14:12). They go where he never went, and they preach to larger congregation than he ever taught. Their converts number in their trillions. Today we are seeing part of the perfecting of the Saviour: “being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Heb. 5:9). Today he is fully equipped as Mediator: he is equipped with compassion, victory, power, authority and, above all, a perfect and accepted sacrifice. Today he has authority over all flesh and so he may give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him (John 17:2). That is our Lord.

v] Christ’s lordship is the lordship of the deity. I end where I began. That is what “Jesus Christ is Lord” ultimately means. You are confessing that Jesus Christ is the only God there is. All that we know of the early Christians tells us that their attitudes to Jesus was that to them he was God, in the most plain and obvious sense. They saw themselves as his slaves, unconditionally bound by his will. They took their very identity from the fact that it was his name they called upon in worship (1 Cor.1:2). They sang their psalms, hymns and spiritual songs specifically to him (Eph. 5:19). They prayed to him (2 Cor. 12:8). They even expected the praises of heaven to be directed to him (Rev. 1:6; 5:9; 5:12; 7:10; 15:3).

So when I ask you to become a Christian I am asking you to give to Jesus Christ all the honour due to the God of the Bible – the Creator of Genesis one, and the law giver of Exodus 20, and the Lord so passionately prayed to and praised in the book of Psalms. What honour we must give to him for God has highly exalted him, yes, but how the Lord Jesus has enriched for us this word ‘Lord.’ How wonderful that it is Jesus who is Lord, but how wonderful that the Lord of glory is one with Jesus . . . the Jesus-hood of the Lord! “He will come,” said the prophets, and he will save his people from their sins. That was part of the clear vision of the Old Testament. But that his coming should be in the form of a man, the seed of the woman, the son of Abraham and the line of David and this Jesus! That was something else. That the living Creator should take our nature, share our experiences and bear our sins! What a monumental redefinition of the Lord. And even more remarkable that he invites us to become his followers, that he wants us earnestly to be joined to his disciples. No wonder that the church should be lost in wonder, love and praise. How can we stay away any longer rejecting this Jesus as our Lord and God.

3rd March 2013 GEOFF THOMAS

*Donald Macleod has a book entitled Jesus is Lord (Christian Focus) and one essay in that book with the same title, and I have taken it up in this sermon and I’ve made it a bit more preachy, I hope. It did my soul good and I hope it did my hearers good too. I also have taken from his chapter on “The Deity of Christ” from his superb book, A Faith to Live By. I am wholly indebted to him for the insights and matter of this message.