The Lordship of Jesus Christ

Title: The Lordship of Jesus Christ

Bible Book: Romans 14 : 8-9

Author: Roger D. Willmore

Subject: Lordship; Jesus, Lordship of



If I asked you to name the singular, most important truth in the Christian life, what would you say? Many good answers could be given in response to this question. However, there is no doubt that the most important truth in relation to the Christian experience is the truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Lordship was at the very heart of Jesus' redemptive work on the cross. Paul makes this point clear in Romans 14:8-9: "For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living." Our understanding of salvation is incomplete until we understand that Jesus came from Heaven to earth, contracted Himself to the measure of a virgin's womb, was born in Bethlehem, lived a perfect life and died on a cross an atoning sacrificial death, was buried in a tomb and was raised victoriously, and ascended into Heaven to occupy His throne in glory where "God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name." Where the Lordship of Jesus Christ is a settled issue in the Christian's life, all other issues are settled. As a pastor, it is my privilege and responsibility to teach the members of my congregation what the Bible says about serving God, witnessing and soul winning, stewardship of time, talent and treasure, faithfulness to God's work, missions and many other aspects of Christian responsibility. However, I contend that if the Christian has settled the Lordship issue, then all other issues in his or her life are also settled. When Jesus is Lord of a person's life, he will fulfill his duties, obligations and responsibilities with joy.

Dr. S.M. Zwemer, in his book, The Solitary Throne, makes a serious and sobering statement about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Zwemer says, "Unless Jesus is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all." This is a challenge to every Christian to bring each area of his or her life under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. In our lives there should be no rivalry for His throne. The Lordship of Jesus has both future and present relevance in our lives. Notice the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:9-11: "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." This passage has both future and present application. There is coming a day when every person who has ever lived will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But for the Christian, that great confession should be an everyday reality. A Christianshould live moment by moment in faithful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Through the years as I have attempted to know more about the Lordship of Christ and at the same time yield more fully to His Lordship, I discovered that I would, in presenting this glorious subject to others, make an appeal to people that was incorrect and potentially misleading. There was a time when I would conclude my sermon by making an appeal to my hearers to "make" Jesus Lord of his or her life. I am sure the Lord knew the intent of my heart, but I am not as sure that the same is true of those who heard my appeal. We do not "make" Jesus Lord - He is Lord!

Today, when I preach on the Lordship of Christ or any other Biblical truth, my appeal to those in the audience is not to "make" Jesus Lord; I now appeal to them to surrender their lives to the sovereign rule and ownership of the Lord Jesus Christ. I must say again, no one "makes" Jesus Lord. He is Lord whether we acknowledge it or not. The central message of the Bible is that "Jesus Christ is Lord". I must state once again that the most important truth in relation to the Christian experience is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If this is true, and I do believe that it is, should it not compel us to make the preaching of this message a matter of priority and urgency? Could it be that the source of defeat, discouragement and despair in the lives of some Christians is due, in a large part, to the fact that they are attempting to live the Christian life in their own strength and power? They have not yet discovered the truth taught by Paul in Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It is important to recognize that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior it involves and implies a recognition of His Lordship, for the Savior who saved us when we received Him by faith at the time of our conversion is the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot and do not receive Him as Savior only. We receive Him as Lord and Savior. However, for some the yielding to Jesus as Lord is subsequent to their conversion. It may be a few months later or, for some, many years later. This characterizes my own experience. I did not willfully reject the Lordship of Christ; I simply did not know about His Lordship. He was presented to me as Savior at the time of my conversion. I was introduced to Him as Lord several years later. However, let us note that this is not intended to be the Biblical pattern. My testimony and the testimony of others with a similar experience is a reflection on our failure to adequately communicate the "whole council of God." There should be no dichotomy in our presentation of Christ to others. He is both Lord and Savior.

I. What It Means To Say That Jesus Christ Is Lord

I come now to the first aspect of the Lordship of Jesus Christ that I want to address. What Does It Mean To Say That Jesus Christ Is Lord? For Jesus to be Lord of your life means that He is the Ruler, the Boss, the Master of your whole life. He cannot be Lord of a part - He must be given control of the entire life - the whole life. When we think about the whole life of a person, we must think of various parts that go to make up a whole person. In I Thessalonians 5:23, Paul wrote, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Here Paul makes it plain that the whole person is made up of spirit, soul, and body. A person has an inner, private, unseen to the natural eye aspect of life. On the other hand, a person has an outer, visible, and public life that is seen and heard by those with whom he comes in contact day by day. Jesus desires to be Lord of the seen and the unseen, the visible and the invisible, the private aspects of our life and the public aspects of our life. He wants to be Lord of our spiritual life and of our physical life. The inner sanctuary, the spirit and soul, contains the mind, the emotion and the will. It is in our spirit and soul that we think, feel, choose, decide, dream and plan. Battles are fought and won or lost on the battleground of our private life. Is Jesus Lord over this area of your life? The writer of Proverbs said, "For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is." (Proverbs 23:7). In Proverbs 4:23, he wrote, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." We should never underestimate the importance of our private life. Although more attention is often given to the physical body, our true spiritual health is determined by the spirit and soul - not the body. The physical, public life is an expression of what is going on in the inside. The outward life expresses the inner life. This aspect of life involves our eyes, our ears, our lips, our hands, our feet, our entire body. Our public life is expressed by what we see, what we say, what we hear, where we go and what we do. I trust you are beginning to see why it is so important that Jesus is Lord over our public life. To be more specific, we need to see the public life in the context of home life, the workplace, the classroom, and the neighborhood. We need to see it in its relationship with friends, family, work colleagues, neighbors, and classmates. We need to see it in its attitude toward possessions, obligations and responsibilities, and the use of time and resources. If we accept the view of S.M. Zwemer and agree with him that "If Jesus is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all," then there are many areas of life that must come under His Lordship. Is Jesus Lord of your thoughts? Is Jesus Lord of your emotions? Is Jesus Lord of your speech, of your relationships, of your possessions? Is Jesus Christ Lord of your whole life?

II. What It Involves To Say That Jesus Christ Is Lord

Secondly, we will consider What It Involves To Say That Jesus Christ Is Lord. At this stage of our consideration of this glorious subject, the question is probably being asked, "What is involved in crowning Jesus Lord of one's life?" "What must a person do in order for Jesus Christ to be Lord of his or her life?" The easy answer to these questions is simply: "Yield your life to Him." This involves taking your hands off the controls of your life and allowing Him to be in control.

A. Surrender

However, such an important question requires more than a simply answer. For Jesus to become Lord of a person's life involves absolute and total surrender. I can think of no better example of total surrender than Dr. F.B. Meyer. F.B. Meyer was a noted and eloquent Baptist preacher. He pastored Christ Church in the heart of London in the last century. In the midst of a successful ministry, F.B. Meyer confessed that something was lacking in his life and ministry. In W.Y. Fullerton's biography of

F.B. Meyer, Dr. J.H. Jowett recounts the following story: "Dr. Meyer has told us that his early Christian life was marred and his ministry paralyzed just because he had kept back one thing from the bunch of keys he had given to the Lord. Every key saved one! The key of one room was kept for personal use, and the Lord shut out. And the effect of the incomplete consecration was found in lack of power, lack of assurance, lack of joy and peace. The joy of the Lord begins when we hand over the last key. We sit with Christ on His throne as soon as we have surrendered our crowns, and made Him sole and only ruler of our life and its possessions. We discover that F.B. Meyer experienced the Lordship of Jesus Christ when he handed over the last remaining key. He had kept back one key to one room in his life and it brought great defeat. Remember, if He is not Lord of all (of every room), then He is not Lord at all. Have you yielded every key to every room in your life? Does He have the key to every room in your private life? Does He have the key to every room in your physical - public life? Is there a room marked private - keep out? If so, you must be willing to surrender that key to the Lord.

B. Ownership

There is a second element to yielding our lives to the Lord. In addition to absolute surrender, there must also be an Acknowledgement Of His Ownership. In I Corinthians 6:19,20, Paul addressed the subject of ownership. He wrote, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's." We are not our own... we were bought at a price. We belong to Jesus. We are His purchased possession. When a person yields to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, he or she acknowledges His ownership and gives up his or her personal rights. Yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ also involves Total And Unreserved Obedience. If He is the Lord of your life, you are going to do what He tells you to do.

C. Obedience

If I were asked what I consider to be the most important word in the Christian vocabulary, I would have to say Obedience. We move forward in our spiritual growth in direct proportion to our obedience to the revealed truth of God's Word. I like to read the account of Elijah's response to God in I Kings 17 and 18. We are told that the Word of the Lord came to Elijah and Elijah did what God told him to do. Several times in these two chapters God spoke and Elijah obeyed. And as a result of his obedience, Elijah was used in a powerful way to exalt God's name. His response to God's Word was always immediate and exact. He did precisely what God told him to do as soon as God told him to do it. We should remember at this time that delayed obedience is the same as disobedience. Lordship involves obedience. Jesus raised an important question in Luke 6:46: "But why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say?" Are you doing what the Lord has instructed you to do? Are you doing it immediately and exactly? Are you obeying God?

In his book, The Way of Holiness, Dr. Stephen Olford recounts a wonderful story about an incident in the life of his friend and mentor, Dr. Graham Scroggie. "Dr. Scroggie was speaking at the Keswick convention in England on one occasion when he was approached by a young woman who had been greatly stirred by his message on the Lordship of Christ. Walking up to him at the close of the service, she said, 'I want Jesus to be Lord of my life, but I am afraid God will send me overseas as a missionary, and I don't want to go.'" Opening the Bible to Acts 10:14, Dr. Scroggie explained the utter absurdity of Peter's answer. You will remember that God had given Peter a vision of a sheet in which were all manner of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, 'Rise Peter, kill and eat.' But Peter answered, 'Not so, Lord.' (See Acts 10:12-14.) "The doctor went on to explain, 'A slave never dictates to a master. Therefore, to say 'Not so, Lord.' was impertinent! 'Now,' advised Dr. Scroggie, 'I want you to cross out the two words 'not so' and leave the word 'Lord'; or else cross out the word 'Lord' and leave 'not so'. Handing her his pencil he quietly walked away. For some time she struggled. Then he returned. Looking over her shoulder, he saw a tearstained page. The words 'not so' were crossed out. With a glad light in her eyes, she repeated affirmatively, 'Lord!' 'Lord!' 'Lord!' No longer would she dictate. She was now His disciple, and He was her Lord and Master." What a powerful story! Is your obedience up to date?

D. Willing Service

Finally, the Lordship of Jesus Christ involves Willing Service. There must be a time in your life when you, like the prophet Isaiah, are willing to say, "Here am I Lord, send me." A number of years ago my wife enjoyed attending an annual Bible conference in Asheville, North Carolina, sponsored then by Columbia Bible College. It was there that I was introduced to the three A's of Christian service: Anywhere, Anytime, and Any cost. The Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives involves our willingness to go where He sends us, when He send us, regardless of the cost. Is Jesus the Lord of this area in your life? Can you honestly say, "Anywhere Lord! Anytime Lord! Any cost Lord!"? We have looked at only a few aspects of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer: Surrender to Christ, Christ's ownership of our lives, yielding in total obedience and faithful service. This is not an exhaustive list of aspects of the Lordship of Christ, but I trust enough has been said to encourage and inspire you to seek a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ and to crown Him Lord of all. As a pastor, I am concerned that there is not enough emphasis on the Lordship of Christ in our preaching and teaching today.


The Christian life is a wonderful life. Christ has made every provision for His children to live full and abundant lives, but there is a cost involved. Such a life does not come cheaply or easily. The life Christ has for His children requires that we die daily to self and surrender daily, and indeed moment by moment, to Jesus. There can be no rivals to the throne of our life. It is to be occupied by Jesus alone. I am forever spoiled. Soon after I became a Christian and at the time that I was dealing with God's call upon my life to be preacher, I was introduced to Dr. Stephen F. Olford. That was more than thirty years ago, and throughout these years I have listened to Dr. Olford preach. I have studied at his institute in Memphis, I have read his books, I have worked on his staff and I have watched his life. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is the theme of his life and ministry. How Dr. Olford came to know Jesus Christ as absolute Lord of his life is a thrilling testimony. I am sure it will bless and challenge you. The following portions of Dr. Olford's testimony are taken from My Most Memorable Encounter With God, published by Tyndale house, 1977: (P.150 ff). "My restoration from a period of backsliding was a memorable crisis. In fact, this return to the Lord consummated in my call to the ministry. At this time I was back in England, studying to be an engineer. But God made it abundantly clear that His plan for my life was to serve Him as a preacher - anywhere, at anytime, and at any cost." Following his theological training, Dr. Olford spent seven years as a scripture reader (chaplain) during World War II. Then came a time that he became increasingly aware of a deep inner dissatisfaction. Something was missing. His soul hungered and thirsted for the presence of God and the power of His Spirit. Dr. Olford continues, "This led to action. Clearing my calendar for a period of two weeks, I decided to retreat to some quite place to read and wait upon the Lord. I made arrangements to stay at a little cottage in Porthcawl, on the south coast of Wales. I took with me two suitcases of books, including works of Calvin and Owen on the Holy Spirit...I also scheduled a study on such portions of scripture as John 14-16, the Acts of the Apostles, Romans 8, I and II Corinthians, Galatians and Ephesians. Morning, noon and night I read, meditated and prayed. Gradually confusions were clarified and convictions were crystallized...As I examined the text (Ephesians 5:18) within its context and compared Scripture with Scripture, I was struck with the sheer simplicity of it all. First, there was the initial acceptance of the Spirit's control - 'Be filled in the Spirit and with the Spirit.'... While the Holy Spirit is both contrasted and compared to wine, He is essentially a Person, and to be filled with Him is to be under His control. This led me to II Corinthians 3:17, where Paul tells us that 'the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty'; or 'Where the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty.' I had always accepted the deity of the Spirit, but I had never acknowledged His Lordship. I knew Jesus was Lord, and had owned that Lordship in an objective sense, but now I saw that the Lordship of Christ could only be real to me as the Holy Spirit was made Lord In me. This was the crisis point in my search for freedom and fullness in my Christian life. Without reading further, I dropped to my knees and yielded everything to the reign and rule of the indwelling Spirit...I knew, there and then, that

I was set free!" What a clear and powerful testimony! I wish time and space would permit me to share Dr. Olford's testimony in its entirety. It is my prayer that this selected portion of his testimony will enable you to understand more clearly how Jesus Christ becomes Lord of a person's life in a very real and practical way.

I want to close this message with words written by E.H. Swinstead: "Lord of every thought and action, Lord to send and Lord to stay; Lord in speaking, writing, giving, Lord in all things to obey; Now and evermore to be."


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