The Seven Enemies of the Cross

Title: The Seven Enemies of the Cross

Bible Book: Philippians 3 : 18

Author: Charles Massegee

Subject: Cross; False Doctrine; Soul Winning



The seven enemies of the cross have gone unnoticed as well as unchallenged for many years.  Enemies of the cross are enemies of soul winning. Enemies of the cross are enemies of the church. Enemies of the cross are enemies of God and His divine plan for mankind. All seven of these enemies are being used by the devil to confuse the lost and sidetrack the saved. 

We cannot get victory over an enemy that is not first identified. I believe you will find these seven enemies very Biblical, logically sound, and on the front lines of the Christian battle field today. They are issues we need to first acknowledge as our enemy and then equip ourselves to deal with them accordingly. 

I. The World’s Idea of Religion

The first enemy of the cross is the world's idea of religion.  

The devil is a very religious person. In fact, he is the god of religion. He is the god of the flesh. In Matthew chapter 4, all three temptations the devil tried to defeat Jesus with were temptations of the flesh. In Matthew chapter 13, the seven parables illustrating the kingdom of heaven, have to do with the devil and the deception of religion. In Matthew chapter 25, the parable of the ten virgins has to do with the devil and the deception of religion.

Our old carnal, fleshly nature loves to be religious. The flesh loves to try and please God, doing all kind of religious stuff, celebrating holy days, practicing rituals, being ceremonial and obeying rules and regulations. Most religious systems in the world today mix the law and grace, and preach a confusing plan of salvation that actually puts us back in bondage. 

Christianity is the only religion in the world that has a Savior. I have to bit my tongue when I refer to Christianity as a religion because I don't believe it is a religion. The world calls Christianity one of the world's three religions. They are Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All denominations, "faiths", cults and other religions are spin offs from one of these three religions. When Jesus comes again, religion is the first enemy He will destroy. Stay me with now, we are going somewhere. 

According to the dictionary the word religion means:
#1. The service and worship of God.
#2. The commitment or devotion to a religious faith or observance.
#3. A cause, a principle or a system of beliefs.

I must admit that based on these secular definitions of religion, Christianity is a religion. However, if people insist on calling Christianity a religion, to be correct, they must also insist on Christianity being the only true religion. Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me", John 14:6.

However, I would like to separate Christianity from religion as far as this study is concerned. What does God think about religion? What does God have to say about religion? Since God wrote the Bible, the Bible is the only place to find the answer. There are only four times in the entire Bible where the word "religion" is even found: Acts 13:43, Acts 26:5, Gal.1:13-14 and James 1:26-27. In all four of these cases, the word religion is used in a negative sense and has nothing to do with Christ. These references are all in the Old King James Version of the Bible. 

In the New King James Version the word religion is used just three more times: Acts 17:22, Acts 25:19 and Col. 2:23. Again, all three times the word religion is used in a negative sense and has nothing to do with Christ. In fact, in the Old King James Version of the Bible, in these three verses, you might be surprised to know what words were used in the place of religion. The word "superstition" was used two times and the phrase "self-imposed religion" was used the other time. 

What am I saying here? I'm saying that the word "religion" is a negative word and implies self-righteousness every time it is used in the Bible and it’s the enemy of the cross of Christ. 

Religion will send you to hell quicker than anything. Religion is an enemy of the cross. It is an enemy of soul winning. It is an enemy of the church. It is an enemy of God. If we try to practice Christianity as a religion, and not a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it won't work for us. Being religious is not an asset. It's a liability and it is certainly an enemy of the cross. We need to recognize religion as our enemy. It is an enemy we must fight or it will turn us into a self-righteous pious fake. 

The Bible says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places", Ephesians 6:12. In other words our enemy is religion and it offers issues we must deal with every day. We get sidetracked sometimes into wrestling against human adversaries instead of putting on the whole armor of God and wrestling against religion in heavenly places. More wars have been fought over religion than any thing else. More people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other cause. Religion divides more churches than any thing else. Practicing Christianity as a religion creates more cold, dead churches than any thing else. It will destroy your personal relationship with Christ and entice you to be self-righteous, and worse of all, it will deceive you into thinking you are serving God. 

II. Diminishing Respect for Authority of the Pastor

The second enemy of the cross is the diminishing respect for the God given authority of the pastor.

The pastor is God's gift to the church and we need to be very careful what we say about him and how we treat him. He is the ordained, spiritually anointed shepherd of the flock. The pastor should not be a dictator, but he is God's appointed spiritual leader. Please stay with me here, we are going somewhere. 

I believe in business matters, the church should be a pure democracy. In most churches pastors come and go, but the church remains. Even without a pastor the church needs to have a good strong business structure in place. Not just in case the IRS comes calling but it is good stewardship. Different churches have different ideas as to how business matters are to be handled. While God does have some guidelines, He gives the church a great deal of flexibility at this point. Churches can have many different types of administrations and still be within the frame work of God's guidelines. While we still preach the old time gospel and a Christ that never changes, business matters and the over all administration of the church needs to be on the cutting edge of the time in which we live. I believe the church should use every modern means possible to equip themselves physically to better carry out the great commission. A church should be as equipped and as updated in legal matters and bookkeeping as any successful commercial business. There are some pastors who are not the best businessmen in the world. Don't fault him. That's not his calling. However, it can be a tremendous asset in many cases. 

Some pastors are extremely involved in the business matters of the church, while other pastors have very little, if anything, to do with the business matters. The business issues of the church are one thing, but the spiritual issues are something else. While some pastors excel in administration leadership others have absolutely no expertise in this area. Either way his divine call from God is to preach the word and be a spiritual leader. 

In spiritual matters, the pastor is to lead and the people are to follow. It's just that simple. The pastor is to be the shepherd of the sheep. This is his calling, and God holds him responsible. The pastor is free to delegate responsibility, but the buck stops with him. We all want to be popular. Popularity is what people think of us, but character is what God thinks of us. I believe pastors and evangelists who try to be all things to all people in an effort to be popular or to just get along, will become a nervous wreck. Paul said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you", Luke 6:26.

I really feel sorry for many pastors. They have been given great responsibility but very little authority to get it done. I don't know of anything more frustrating than this. If I understand the Bible correctly the two main job descriptions of a minister is prayer and rightly dividing the word of God. Deacons and others in the church should do everything they can to free up the pastor so he can put priority on these two things, prayer and ministry of the word.

This is the main reason God created the office of the deacon. The Bible says, "Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, it is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word", Acts 6:2-4. 

God hand picked the spiritual leaders, the pastors. But it was the people who hand picked the deacons. Then the deacons were appointed by the ministers to service the physical needs, business matters and sometimes the spiritual needs of the church. The deacons have a wonderful and very rewarding ministry. Deacons are appointed and ordained to do any and everything they can do to support their pastor, so their pastor can put priority on prayer and the ministry of the word of God.   

I am a dispensationalist. I believe we are living in the Laodecian church age. Laodecia means "laity led" or, "justice of the people." Laodecia is the seventh and last church mentioned in the Book of Revelation, and I believe it to be the church that best characterizes the church in general during the end time.  Beginning around 1980 there began a very noticeable diminishing of respect for the ministry and it has continued to diminish to this day. 

May I repeat, the name Laodecia means "laity led" or "justice of the people" and suggest that this kind of church had lost their respect for the spiritual leadership of the pastor. When decisions in the church are made by the "justice of the people" and not by the "justice of God", there will always be division. A laity led church is always divided over something. The Laodecian church is a divided church with a power struggle problem. The people refuse to follow the spiritual leadership of the God called pastor. Don't worry about the pastor being right or wrong. God will hold him accountable and deal with him accordingly. Of course, a wise spiritual leader will seek wise council, listen to what the people have to say, and should make decisions that best meet the needs of the people.

I'm a member of a local church. I have voluntarily put myself under the leadership and covering of my pastor and I will follow him no matter what. Just because he may do things differently than the way I would do them does not mean I'm right and he is wrong. Our views on certain subjects may be different, but again, that's not a hill to die on. I would never say anything negative behind my pastor's back.

There are only two things that would cause me to confront him. One is a moral issue and the other; he has gone off the deep end on a major theological matter such as the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, His death on the cross for us, His bodily resurrection, His ascension and His second coming, etc. We do not have to agree on everything to be agreeable and be of one accord. For example, relative to the second coming of Christ, we are not on the planning committee; we are on the preparation committee. I have some very strong views on the second coming of Christ, but I would never let this be a matter of friendship or fellowship with a pastor who believed differently. The main thing is to believe and preach that He is coming and be prayed up, packed up, perked up and ready to be caught up!

I'm obligated to God to follow my pastor's way of dealing with issues even though I might do it differently if God put me in charge. If there is any serious conflict between me and my pastor, or with any other Christian for that matter, I don't have to prayer about it or try to figure out what to do. God has already told me what to do about it.  First, I go to him personally in the spirit of love in a sincere effort to resolve the issue between us. If this does not solve the problem, I'm to take two or three witnesses with me to talk to him. If this does not settle the issue, I'm to bring it before the church, Matthew 18:15-17. As an evangelist, when I go to a church for a revival meeting or a Bible Conference, I'm under the covering of that church and the spiritual leadership of the pastor.

I should never, never, ever, ever gossip about a church problem or speak of a problem to those outside the local church body in such a way that it would sow discord among the brethren. Mark my word! The devil will see to that problems and negative issues will confront the church.  There are many things that from time to time needs to be dealt with within the four walls of the church, but should never be spoken of outside the intimacy of the local church family.

This would be committing one of the seven deadly sins that is an abomination to our Lord, Proverbs 6:16-19. I believe God holds me responsible and accountable to respect the office of the God called pastor and follow his leadership. I must be very careful when I talk about my pastor or any man of God proclaiming the gospel. You may say, "How do you know he is right?" Or, you may say, "How do you know he is wrong?" That's the whole point. I may not know. That's the reason I should keep my mouth shut.

The word blasphemy means "to speak hurtfully of deity" and if I were to speak hurtfully of my pastor I would be blaspheming that which God has called and anointed. According to the word of God, God deals very severely with sheep who blaspheme their shepherd. Lack of respect for our pastor is definitely an enemy of the cross. It would surprise us if we really knew how many people we may have sent to hell because of the way we have talked about our pastor. Even when nothing might be spoken, our negative attitude toward our pastor grieves the Holy Spirit. I don't think there is any question about it, a lack of respect for our pastor or the ministry in general is an enemy of the cross.

III. Misconception About Formal Public Worship

The third enemy of the cross is the misconception some people have about formal public worship.

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:5, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof from such turn away."

When I talk about formal public worship I'm talking about going through the motions of an outlined program that has a form of godliness, but seemingly there is no presents of the power and glory of God. There is nothing wrong with an outlined program, but it needs to be bathed in prayer and flexible enough to change when God shows up with something different in mind.

The first mention of worship in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5. The Bible says, "And Abraham said unto his young men, Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."

What kind of worship is this? Abraham goes to a mountain. He builds an altar. He takes a knife and is prepared to offer his promised son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. It's a good thing Abraham didn't follow the original outlined program of worship. He would have killed his son. God showed up and changed the program. All worship in the Old Testament was individual, private and progressive.

What about the New Testament? The word "worship" is mentioned 35 times in the New Testament and not once does it have anything to do with gathering publicly. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with public worship. Just the contrary! I thank God for the opportunity to worship in a public atmosphere, especially when it is voluntary, uninhibited and individual, according to each person's personality and not forced. 

If the only time we worship is when we come together publicly, something is wrong with our relationship with Christ, if indeed we have a relationship. 

In Matthew 2:2, the wise men came to worship Jesus. The wise men ask, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." Many people today have the idea that the primary purpose of the church coming together is for public worship. Real worship is the by product of what happens when we come together as a congregation.

In the Bible Christians did not gather publicly for worship. Of course they worshiped publicly, but that was not the purpose of the public gathering. Worship is an individual and private matter. Yes! Of course we can worship in a public meeting. But that's not the primary purpose of gathering publicly. Worship should end up being the result of what happens at the public gathering of the body of Christ. During worship you may wish to stand, but don't look down your nose at those who prefer to remain seated. And those of you who wish to worship while seated, don't look up your nose at those who would rather stand to worship.

The thing that happens when the church comes together as a body should be designed to sensitize us to God's presence, not just while we are at church, but designed to sensitize us to His presences every day of the week. If the public worship service causes us to spontaneously have more private worship moments during the week than during the public gathering, then we are on our way to understanding what worship is all about. Stay with me here. We are going somewhere. Here are several reasons we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. 

The Bible says, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching," Hebrews 10:24-25.

In these two verses there are four things that should happen when we come together as a church body. 

#1. We are to assemble together to encourage one another. 
#2. We are to assemble together to stir up the love of God that is in us.
#3. We are to assemble together to inspire each other to have good works.
#4. We are to assemble together to urge one another to be prepared for the Second Coming of Christ. 

Why are we commanded to come together and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together? Stay with me here, we are going somewhere. There are ten more things that should happen in addition to these four I have just mentioned. 

They are found in Acts 2:42-47. This is the first meeting of the church. The Bible says, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (that's the word of God) and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

In these six verses there are ten things that happened when the people came together as a church family.  

#1. They focused on the word of God.
#2. They had fellowship in the breaking of bread. When the term "breaking of bread" is used, it is used in reference to three things. One is to have a meal with believers. Two, is to participate in the Lord's Supper or Communion. And third, "to break bread" is to preach or teach about Jesus Christ, the Bread of life. 
#3. They fellowshipped in prayer.
#4. They witnessed the moving of the Holy Spirit and then went out and shared their experience. 
#5. They found out the needs of others and met those needs.
#6. They persistent in being in agreement.
#7. They were inspired to go out into the community and break bread from house to house with gladness and a good attitude. 
#8. They were motivated to praise God in the community.
#9. They were encouraged to gain favor with the community.
#10.The end result of all of these things was the evangelization of the people. 

The Bible says that people were added to the church daily. 

I realize that all these things may not happen every time we meet as a church. It depends on what the emphases is for the meeting, and even then God may show up with a different emphases. 

As an evangelist I go to all sizes and kinds of churches with many different personalities. Some are extremely traditional in their mode of worship while others are extremely contemporary. Many others are somewhere in between. I personally enjoy both and our ministry is very compatible with both. We should not equate quietness and a lack of enthusiasm with deadness, and we should not equate loudness and extreme enthusiasm with being alive.

I have a growing concern that many churches are getting away from the original purposes for gathering publicly as outlined in Hebrews 10:24-25 and Acts 2:42-47. God uses these things mentioned in these verses to bring us into a position to worship and praise the Lord. Worship cannot be forced. We should never prejudge a service because things are not happening according to our preconceived ideas of worship. 

In Acts 20:7, the Bible says, "Now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." 

There can be no greater honor we can bestow on our Lord than being so passionate about His word that we are consumed by it. Paul preached all night. Many things happened that night that caused them to spontaneously praise and worship the Lord. At midnight a young man went to sleep while setting next to a window. They were three stories up. The young man fell out of the window and was killed. Instead of calling 911 Paul called on the Lord to heal him. They went back upstairs, had a meal and Paul continued breaking the Bread of life until morning. What a night! I would like to have been there. 

At this particular service there was no music, no praise team and no worship leader. Just a long winded preacher breaking the Bread of life all night long. I'm sure some left after a few minutes when they found out there were no praise leader, no music and no "feel good" emotions being expressed. Stay with me here, we are going somewhere. Please don't misunderstand me. I love services with a praise leader and band leading us in exalting our Savior, where we lose ourselves in the presents of the Lord. For the moment I'm caught up to the third heaven and become so intoxicated with the glory of the Lord that I forget all about my worries and cares. I think this is great and I welcome more of it. Emotionally it makes me feel good and I like that too. But this kind of praise and worship can never take the place of the preaching and teaching of the word of God. I've been in some smaller churches that feel like they can't worship unless they have several praise singers, a band and a worship leader. Some of the greatest worship moments of my life have been in the presents of the Lord when only the word of God was taught or preached. There was no singing and no music instruments. I'm not sure I know the difference between preaching and teaching, except you get red in the face and a little louder when you preach.  

What ever you do that brings honor to God is worship. What ever you do that shows reverence to God is worship. What ever you do that expresses extravagant respect and devotion to God is worship. It can be done privately and it can be done publicly. It can be done intellectually and it can be done emotionally. It can be done quietly and it can be done loudly. It can be done in giving, singing, testifying, healing and sharing the word of God. It can be done in so many different ways there is not enough room in my computer to discuss all the ways. At one time I was judgmental of a laughing worship service until I was in one. I feel very strongly that we need to be very careful about judging how other people worship God. 

Worship can be any expression that shows God how much He is worth to us. Real worship in public is difficult for some of us because we are too self-conscience, too inhibited, too distracted by the things going on around us to lose ourselves in His presents. I believe the only way public worship can be real is for it to be private.
I'm reminded of the story of the mother who was boarding an airplane with her three year old son. She was trying to get the little boy to wave good-bye to his daddy, but he was so fascinated by his new surroundings that he was too preoccupied. She even tried to force him by holding his hand up and making a waving motion. But he was too interested in the exciting world of all the gadgets and strangers around him. They finally got seated and all of a sudden things changed! As the small boy looked out the window he saw his daddy. He became excited. He forgot about what was going on around him.  He pressed his face up against the window. He begin to wave his little hands and cry, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! I see Daddy!" 

Some times when we come together to worship we are so preoccupied with the cares of this world and the things going on around us that we can't see beyond our circumstances. We go through the formality of praying, singing, praising the Lord and attempting to partake of the Bread of life as it is being broken. The praise and worship leader even tries a little force as he encourages us to stand, wave our hands, say amen, at least get some kind of response out of us. But then suddenly in the midst of the "acts" of trying to worship, we catch sight of our Father and all of a sudden everything changes. We get a glimpse of our Heavenly Father. We get excited. We forget about the people around us. We gradually become spiritually intoxicated. We are no longer self-conscience. We are no longer inhibited or distracted by the things around us. We are worshiping our Lord. Real worship only happens when we "see" the Father. I really believe that the many misconceptions that some people have about formal public worship is an enemy of the cross. Anything that hinders us from "seeing" the Father is our enemy, at least at that time it is our enemy. It is an enemy of the cross. 

IV. The Idea of the Universal, Invisible Church

The fourth enemy of the cross is the idea of a universal, invisible church.

When I use the term "universal, invisible church" I'm talking about the idea that some people have that you can be a Christian and have no connection with a local body of believers. Some time ago I was on an airplane going to the west coast for a crusade. I sat down by the side of a 300 pound profession football player. I know he was a professional football player because that's what he told me. I ask him what team he played for. He told me he was not on a team yet but he was expecting to be drafted any day and would be playing for a team soon. The question is, "Was he a profession football player?" Well, I guess the answer could be yes and no. Yes, he may have been a profession football player but he was not active. He was not connected to a team and enjoying the rewards of playing. Oh yes, he could go out on a football field somewhere and go through the formality of acting like he was on a team, but I don't believe he would accomplish much or have much joy or satisfaction. He certainly would not be blessed and rewarded for his Lone Ranger football activities.  So it is when we try to act like a Lone Ranger Christian and are not connected to a local body of believers. We may rationalize; grade ourselves on a curve and by generalizing the church, convince ourselves that since we are a member of some universal, invisible church, we have no need of the local church.

The word "church" in the New Testament simply means "the called out assembly". It was "the called out assembly" that was given the great commission, Matthew 28:19-20.

Every church mentioned in the New Testament was a local body of believers. Your hand is not a body. Your foot is not a body. Your eye is not a body. Your ear is not a body. These various members of a body are not a body until they are connected and serving the purpose for which they were created.

Notice what Paul says about the local church being a body of Christ in Ephesians 4:16, "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and knitted together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." There is no way you can get a universal, invisible church out of this Scripture. 

I understand from this verse that the church is a body, a living, functioning, organism, with individual members joined together and making available their individual "gifts" to be used by the Lord to bless others. Members of this body have a vital and living connection with each other and with the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head. The whole body is fitly joined together by the Holy Spirit, growing, and edifying itself in love for one another. 

The idea of a "universal, invisible church" made up of Christians who are not connected and fitly joined together for the purpose of carrying out the great commission is foreign to the Holy Scriptures. I believe this kind of thinking is an enemy of the old rugged cross. If you are a Christian but not connected and fitly joined together with a local body of believers, I encourage you to get connected as soon as possible. It will make a difference in your life. God loves and works through people who are knitted together. Don't led the devil deceive you into thinking that since you consider yourself a Christian and therefore a member of some universal, invisible church, somehow you are exempt from assembling yourself with other Christians. You may be left behind at the rapture and you don't want that to happen. So get connected and knitted together with other Christians. 

V. Misunderstanding of Repentance

The fifth enemy of the cross is the misunderstanding of repentance.

The word "repent" simply means, "To change your mind." The word "repentance" means, "To change your mind, with a desire for Jesus to do something about it".

Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel", Mark 1:15. In other words, repent of your unbelief, and start believing the gospel.

What part does repentance play in salvation? It is the most important part.

We must repent of that which makes us lost. What makes us lost? Our unbelief in the gospel makes us lost. We must repent of our unbelief and start believing the gospel.  The word "believe" in Greek simply means, "To trust in, to rely on, and to depend on".

The heart of the gospel of Christ involves seven fundamental gospel truths that we must believe. They are the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His return to the earth, and the seventh fundamental gospel truth is the judgment of Christ for the saved and lost, to determine our eternal rewards in heaven or in hell. 

Since unbelief is what makes us lost, unbelief is what we need to repent of. When we get our belief system right, right living will follow. If we are loose in our theology, the chances are we will be loose in our living. Repentance is not giving up stuff. Just giving up stuff is self-reformation. Repentance is not what we give up, but what we take in. However, after we take in Jesus, He will clean up our life if we will let Him. The idea that we must clean up our life before God will accept us is an enemy of the cross. An immature Christian is a three year old Christian acting like a three year old Christian. A carnal Christian is a forty year old Christian acting like a three year old Christian. Some of us Christians owe God an apology. 

We have repented of our sin of unbelief and have invited Jesus into our heart, but we have not let Him clean up our life. We are a forty year old Christian still acting like a three year old. We need to do more than just repent of our unbelief. We need to start believing the gospel, trusting in the gospel, relying on the gospel and depending on it as our source of salvation, growth and strength. Real repentance is a change of mind about sin with a desire for Jesus to do something about it. 

VI. The Idea That Lifestyle Evangelism is Enough

The sixth enemy of the cross is the idea that lifestyle evangelism is enough.

Lifestyle evangelism is living for Christ in such a way that the lost will want to become a Christian. This is wonderful, but it's not enough. 

The Bible says, "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?", Romans 10:13-14.

The Bible says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," Romans 10:17. We can measure how much faith we have by how much of the word of God we know. Faith is not believing in God. Faith is believing what God says. But we cannot believe what God says unless we know what He says. 

We are not saved by calling on the Lord. We are saved by believing He will save us when we call on Him. That's why when we get saved we know it. We have to know it. Because the kind of faith that saves us is the kind of faith that makes us know we have it when we get it. If you could be saved and not know it, you could lose it and never miss it. 

Salvation does not come from seeing someone living for Christ. Salvation comes from hearing the word of God and believing it. Lifestyle evangelism does not go far enough. We must share the word of God. Stay with me now, we are going somewhere. We are almost through. There is one more enemy of the cross. 

VII. The Idea of Lordship Salvation

The seventh enemy of the cross is Lordship Salvation.

What are we talking about when we say "Lordship" salvation? We are talking about the false teaching that says a person must make Jesus the Lord of his life in a human sense in order to be saved. Please don't drop out on me now. Stay with me here! We are going somewhere here! 

Salvation is by grace, plus or minus nothing. 

In Romans 5:20, the Bible says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

Making Jesus the Lord of our life in a human sense in order to be saved is just another emphasis on salvation by works. If we have to make Jesus the Lord of our life in order to be saved, then I'm afraid there are very few Christians in our churches. Stay with me now, we are going somewhere. 

The word "Lord" in a divine sense means, "the self existent One". In the human sense the word "lord" means "master" or "overseer" or "the boss" of our life. 

In the spiritual sense we must believe that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is "the self existent One". He has no beginning and He has no ending. 

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty," Revelation 1:8.

Jesus is the invisible God in a body. He used the Virgin Mary to birth for Himself a body. That's why He is referred to as the "Son of man".  This means He is totally man as far as His physical side is concerned. He is also referred to as the "Son of God". This means He is totally God as far as His spiritual side is concerned. 

Yes! Yes! A hundred times yes, to be saved we must believe that Jesus is who He says He is. He is God and we must believe in Him as God and accept Him as our Lord. In the divine sense to accept Jesus as Lord is to accept Him as our God and Savior.  

In the human sense, we also need to make Him the master of our life. He needs to be the overseer, the boss of our life. However, failure to do so does not mean He is not our God and our Savior, or that we have lost our salvation when we do not allow Him to be our master, or the overseer of our life or the boss of our life.  Who among us at one time or another have not failed to allow the Lord to really be our master, our overseer, and the boss of our life? I would like to think when we accept Him as the God of our life we would also accept Him as our master, our overseer, and the boss of our life.

Most of us have to be taught how to make Him our master, the overseer of our life, our boss.  Saying He is the Lord of our life is one thing, but living like it is something else. This kind of Lordship seldom comes with salvation. I cannot speak for you. But speaking for myself: It seems like every time I come to the place in my Christian experience, that I feel like at last, I can not only say He is the Lord of my life, but I'm actually living out His Lordship in my life, God abruptly convicts me and challenges me at this point.

The Lord reveals to me once again, how depraved I am in the flesh and how carnal I still am in so many different ways. He begins to remind me of the many times I have tried to be the master of my own soul, the overseer of my own life and failed to consult Him as my boss when making decisions.  Please pray for me. I desperately want Jesus to be the Lord of my life, not just in words, but in deeds, not just divinely but humanly also. 

Some of us are so spiritual (at least we think we are) that we have become of little human use to the Lord. Our head is so high in the clouds that our feet are off the ground. We run around calling Jesus our Lord when we do not even know what it means for Him to be our Lord. 

Of course, to be really saved, we must accept Him as the Lord and Savior of our life. However, learning to make Him the Lord of our life in a human sense is a life long process. I believe the Apostle Paul was the most mature Christian who ever lived, and yet at the end of his life and ministry, he said, "I do not count myself to have apprehended", Philippians 3:13. In other words he realized he still had room to grow in allowing Jesus to be his Lord.

As far as our "position" in Christ is concerned He is the Lord of our life. He is our master. He is the overseer, the boss of our life. But in "reality" and in "practice" many of us fall short. We sometimes live as disobedience children of God. We don't act like He is the Lord of our life. We fail to make Him the Lord of our life on a daily basis and we should be ashamed of ourselves. Let's repent and let Jesus begin a new work in our life, not just in a divine sense but in a human sense. Most of the real service we do for our Lord is down here in the dirt where things are not always pretty, and we don't always get our way. Often times we not only don't get any credit for what we do, but are criticized for what we do.

As we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Lordship will become more and more of a living reality in our lives. What am I saying here? Can Jesus be our Lord in a divine sense and at the same time not in a human sense? 

There is not a one of us who is strong enough to make Jesus our Lord by sheer will power. We can be born again by the Holy Spirit, we can be baptized in the Holy Spirit, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and even live in the Holy Spirit and yet be immature, and do some dumb things and lust after the flesh and not allow Jesus to be our master, our overseer, the boss of our life. There is no short cut to maturity. There is no short cut to growing up in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.  

Stay with me here. We are going somewhere. The Bible says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit", Galatians 5:25. The key to victory is learning to walk, not setting, not standing, not running or living in the Spirit only, but also walking in the Spirit. In other words, walking in His Lordship.

The Bible says, "Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."  This is one of God's spiritual laws of the Christian life. When we walk in the Spirit, the Bible says, "We shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." There is no option. Just like the physical law of gravity never fails, the spiritual law of "walking in the Spirit" never fails. Walking in His Lordship never fails. 

You can be born again by the Holy Spirit and yet not walk in His Lordship. You can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and yet not walk in His Lordship. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit and yet not walk in His Lordship.  You can even be living in the Holy Spirit and yet not walk in His Lordship and have victory over the flesh. We have nothing to do with these things. They are all acts of God's grace. But God can use these experiences to launch us into the realm of His Lordship. 

There is only one way to have victory. We must learn to walk in the Spirit. The Bible tells us when we learn to walk in the Spirit we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. A word of warning! Even though we have learned to walk in the Spirit, if we lose our focus, if we stop feeding our spirit with the word of God, if we sit down, or begin to run instead of walking, the most mature Christian is subject to being consumed by the flesh. The Bible says, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall", 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is one thing. Learning to walk in the Spirit is something else. It's only when we have learned to walk in the Holy Spirit, will we be able to really know Jesus Christ as our Lord, the master, the overseer, the boss of our life. If you feed on things of the flesh the flesh will consume you. If you feed on things of the Spirit you will gain spiritual strength and be on your way to learning to walk in the Spirit. You will be strong in the area you feed the most.  

It takes no spiritual maturity to be born again. It takes no spiritual maturity to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It takes no spiritual maturity to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It takes no spiritual maturity to live in the Spirit. I must repeat, all of these things are acts of God's grace. 

If you have not already done so, don't you think it's time to commit yourself to the Lordship of Christ and begin learning how to walk?  Walking in the Spirit is not inherited. It does not come with our new birth. Walking in the Spirit is not a destination. It is a life long journey. It is a process of learning and practicing the presence of the Lord in our life. The moment we think we have learned to walk in the Spirit, we have just stumped our toe. The Bible says in James 3:2, "For we all stumble in many things." Most of us know from experience that this is certainly true. Living by faith does not mean we never stumble. It means every time we stumble, we get up and try again. This is the only way we will ever learn to walk. 

I'm not giving anyone an excuse to sin. But most of us will do a lot of stumbling while we are learning to walk in the Spirit and truly learn what it is to make Jesus the Lord of our life. Let's not mix His Lordship with His salvation. Running around calling Jesus your Lord and trying to live for Him by your will power won't get it done. I realize I'm laboring this point. But please, stay with me here! We are going somewhere!

Lordship salvation adds works with grace for salvation. We will never really be saved until we realize that it is all grace, nothing added and nothing taken away. It is grace and grace alone that saves us, keeps us saved and gives us assurance of it.

God's grace is His matchless, wonderful, marvelous, spontaneous act of loving us so much that He stepped down from His judgment throne in heaven, taking upon Himself the appearance of a man, and offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, suffering all the guilt, condemnation and penalty of sin, which justly should be ours, and this not just for his friends, but for His enemies. God's grace truly is amazing!

God's grace is like the sun. God created the sun to give us light and heat on this earth. But only a very small fraction of that light and heat ever reaches us. The rest is out there in space. We should never be concerned that the sun will not have enough light and heat for us. The sun will never fail us. God has a super abundance of light and heat. We have nothing to do with it. All we can do is soak it in and enjoy it.

The same thing is true of God's amazing grace. He has a super abundance of grace. No matter what sin we have committed God's grace is more than sufficient. He has enough grace to save and keep saved once and for all and forever, everyone who has ever been born or who ever will be born and then have enough left over to save and keep saved a billion more universes full of sinners like us, and then there will be an abundance left over. 

He has enough grace to give every Christian victory over every sin, and then there will be an abundance left over. He has enough grace to meet all our needs and cope with all our problems, and still there will be an abundance left over. His grace will take care of all our emergencies and broken promises, and still there will be an abundance left over. Salvation is all of grace with nothing added to it, and if you try to add anything to it you will fall from it, Galatians 5:4.

After we have the assurance that we have really been saved and kept saved by this amazing grace of God, we can then and only then, begin the process of learning to walk in the Spirit and make Jesus the Lord of our life. Commit yourself to His Lordship today and begin learning to walk in the Spirit.

While we are in the process of learning to walk in the Spirit we will be able to say that Jesus is indeed our Lord, not just in word but in deed and in truth, nor just in a divine sense, but also in a human sense. We may still have our heads in the clouds, but our feet will be on the solid Rock.

It is our privilege and joy to make Him our master, the overseer of our life, the boss of our life, not out of obligation, or guilt or payback, but out of our love for Him and our appreciation for His amazing, everlasting, matchless, unlimited grace that He has so freely and richly bestowed upon us. 

Yes! Yes! A hundred times yes. Lordship salvation is the only kind of salvation there is, but it must be based on the grace of God and not a legalistic attitude. It's the misunderstanding of Lordship salvation that some people have that creates a problem. 

Thank God for His wonderful grace

Posted in


Scroll to Top