Come, Stay, & Go: Part I

THE NECESSITY OF THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

  “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”   -Luke 9:23-26    As Christians, we often place great emphasis on the Great Commission and rightfully so as evangelism holds a high priority in the Kingdom of God. However, before we look at the command to go, we would be wise to acknowledge two prior commands of Christ: the command to come and the command to stay.  We will never properly go, if we don’t first obey Jesus’ commands to come and to stay.  Here in Luke’s gospel we see the command to come, or to follow.  Indeed, if we are to accurately represent Jesus Christ, He must be Lord.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans profess to be Christians.  Amazingly, the claims of revival are varied and numerous.  Reports of mass conversions are common place in our day.  Yet, our nation continues in its moral free fall.  Never, at least in my life time, has there been more hatred expressed for Jesus Christ and His Word than today.  In the best of churches evidence of spiritual compromise is abundant.  From the pulpit to the pew, it appears a truce has been made with sin, the world, and the devil.  Sadly there is often a great discrepancy between our profession and our experience.  I’ve come to understand that much of the church’s problems can be traced to the quality of its beginnings (many are simply not born of God). Unfortunately, there is a need to reacquaint ourselves with what is meant in the Bible by the term salvation. Today, men are rarely made to see they must surrender all to partake in the life of Jesus.  Few seem to understand that Jesus cannot be Savior if He is not submitted to as Lord.  He must be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.   But what is meant by Lordship?   The Greek word translated “Lord” in the New Testament means   supreme in authority, controller; master, to rule, to have dominion over, exercise lordship over.  The Bible declares that the early church preached…   2 Cor. 4:5  …not ourselves (themselves), but Christ Jesus the Lord…   We must understand, this preaching of Christ as Lord was more than mere words, but a demonstration of truth.  They preached Him as Lord because He was their Lord.  We can never encourage others to submit to Jesus if we ourselves reject His sovereign rule in our lives.  In this article I will briefly show what is implied by the Lordship of Christ.  

LORDSHIP DEMANDS WE BE GOVERNED BY THE WORD OF GOD

  John 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.   Above all, those who make Jesus Lord esteem God’s Word.  The Bible is God’s marvelous Book.  Contained therein are all things that pertain to life and godliness.   Matthew 4:4  …man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.   Rich in instruction, profound in wisdom, infinite in spiritual judgment and insight, the Word of God is truly a…   Psalm 119:105  …lamp unto [our] feet, and a light unto [our] path.   And those who have made Jesus Lord honor, reverence, and declare God’s Word. Sadly, we live in an hour when the Word of God is deprecated in the eyes of many professing Christians. The worldly-wise sages of our times have replaced sound Scriptural teaching with light antidotes and psyscho-babble.  Oh, that they would believe the Psalmist who wrote.   Psalm 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.   Hence, Lordship is very practical and measurable, obey the Book.   Psalm 119:9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.   Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.   God’s Word contains the revelation of Jesus Christ and He is the answer to everything.   Psalm 119:38  Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.   Psalm 119:128  Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.   Proverbs 30:5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.   Men who refuse, ignore, or otherwise disesteem God’s Word have not made Jesus their Lord.  The application for the open-air preacher:  our evangelism will be motivated, founded, and authorized by God’s Word.   2 Tim. 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.   Incidentally, the term Savior is only used 24 times in the N.T. referring to Jesus, while the term Lord, is used 555 times. Accordingly, Christ as Lord and the Word of God as the only objective standard for faith and practice should be our emphasis.  

LORDSHIP DICTATES THAT WE BE LED BY THE SPIRIT

  Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.   Those who have made Jesus Lord are sensitive to God’s Spirit.   Ephes. 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.    The Lordship of Christ is practically realized in the life of the believer by submission to the indwelling Spirit.  When men fail to be led by the Spirit it reveals they have no genuine burden to follow Jesus.  For to be led is equivalent to following. To be led, above everything, requires conscious desire. If we desire to be led we will be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit.   1 Thes. 5:19  Quench not the Spirit.  
“What is the meaning of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  It is nothing less and nothing other than the Holy Spirit taking His place as absolute Lord.  The anointing carries with it the absolute lordship of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit as Lord.  That means that all other lordships have been deposed and set aside; the lordship of our own lives; the lordship of our own minds, our own wills, our own desires; the lordship of others.  The lordship of every interest and every influence is regarded as having given place to the undivided and unreserved lordship of the Holy Spirit, and the anointing can never be known, enjoyed, unless that has taken place.”   -T. Austin Sparks
  Now, many mistake being led by the Spirit as something mystical, super-spiritual, and difficult to attain, but not so.  If anyone can communicate, if anyone is able to make His mind known, it is God’s Spirit.  In the wilderness, the children of Israel were provided a cloud by day and a fire by night.  This is typical of the believer being led by the Spirit.   Exodus 13:22  He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.   This O.T. example signifies many things, but primarily for our study, I want you to see that God’s method of leading was unmistakable.  The leadership of God was not obscure, ambiguous, or confusing but readily apparent to all that were interested. All they had to do was see and follow.  So it is with us. If Jesus is our Lord, we are eager to be instructed       directly by the ministry of God’s Spirit.    John 16:13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  

LORDSHIP REQUIRES WE RESPOND TO THE LIGHT

  1 John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.   Those who have made Jesus Lord are truth seekers and truth lovers.  Men who have made Jesus Lord are careful to discern His voice.   John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…   Even when fresh revelation or previously unknown truth is presented, the true Christian is eager to submit. Likewise, Lordship demands an appreciation for Biblical correction and reproof.   Proverbs 6:23  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life…   True saints, no matter how young, realize they are called to be soldiers, not merely spiritual consumers/parasites. They recognize the need for God’s Spirit to confront, mold, shape, and discipline them into the vessel God intends.  Hence, when men reject spiritual correction or balk at spiritual light it is a sure sign that Jesus is not their Lord.  

LORDSHIP INVOLVES FAITHFULNESS TO THE WAY 

  Luke 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.   Those who have made Jesus Lord are followers of their Master.  Like their Lord, they will have enemies, they will be persecuted for righteousness sake.  They will understand the spiritual implications of separation and will rejoice to be a partaker in the sufferings of Christ.  They will be mocked, misunderstood, and ridiculed.  They will gladly embrace all those despised elements that distinguish the narrow way of holiness from the broad road of sinning religion.  When this is absent, as it is in the lives of so many church-goers, it reveals that Christ has not yet been crowned Lord.   Let us examine ourselves.  Let us ask ourselves the hard questions.  Is Jesus indeed our Lord?   Romans 14:8-9  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  
“People have asked me if our present generation would gladly accept Jesus if He came at this time, instead of 2,000 years ago. I have to believe that history does repeat itself! In our own day, many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thorough spiritual housecleaning within their own lives.   When Jesus came, many realized that it would mean probable financial loss for them to step out and follow Christ. Also, many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day knew that following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed.  Beyond that, there was an almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind; that it is the pure in heart who will see God!  I am afraid that humanity’s choice would still be the same today. People are still more in love with money and pride and pleasure than they are with God and His salvation!”  -A.W. Tozer
    "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." -Luke 9:23“…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” -Luke 9:23
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