Chapter 2 of  Saving Faith

Jesus Is Lord1

by Bernie Koerselman



 Table of Contents

It was a rough day.  The crowd seized and attacked them.  The magistrates ordered them stripped.  Bleeding from a severe flogging, they were thrown into prison.  The jailer, warned to guard them carefully, put them in an inner cell and fastened their feet in stocks.

These men should have been scared and depressed.  Instead, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns of praise to God.

Then the earthquake struck.  It shook the foundations of the prison, the doors flew open and the chains binding the prisoners came loose.

The jailer knew his life was over when he saw the prison doors open.  A breach of duty meant death.  The only alternative, to save his family the embarrassment and horror of his trial and execution, was to take his own life.

"Don't harm yourself!" Paul shouted, "We are all here!"

The jailer found lights and rushed to Paul and Silas.  He brought them out of the prison and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household," they replied.  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.2

 

Salvation Is Found in the Lord

The common heresy in the American and western church would have us falsely believe that salvation is obtained by believing in Jesus as Savior.  Scripture teaches that salvation is obtained by believing in Jesus as Lord.3

Paul and Silas responded directly to the jailer's question.  "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."  They made it simple and clear.

When writing to the Roman church, Paul made the way of salvation equally clear:

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.4
To "confess with our mouth" does not mean we are only to say Jesus is Lord.  Rather, we're to speak out freely to all who will listen as a result of the deep conviction within us.5

We are to confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord.  Note the tense of the verb.  It is present tense.  He is now, today, my Lord.

Likewise, our personal confession isn't sufficient if we confess that Jesus once was our Lord.  The requirement is that Jesus is our Lord.

We live in the present.  The verb tense remains in the present.  If we would be saved, Jesus must become, be, and continue to be, our personal Lord.
 

Receive Salvation through Our Lord

Paul made clear that salvation is in Jesus as Lord.  He said, "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.6  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."7

Paul said, "We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord."8  Peter exhorted: "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord."9  Paul taught the purpose for Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection:  "For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."10
 

Receive Christ Jesus As Lord

No Scripture speaks of "receiving" Jesus as Savior, but Paul acknowledged that the Colossian church "received" Christ Jesus as Lord.11  Notice carefully.  The brothers12 didn't receive Jesus as the Christ.  No, they received Christ Jesus as Lord!13

The distinction is important.  The Christ, who embodies the fulfillment of all prophecy, must be received as Lord – the supreme ruler, the head of all.  There is but one Lord – Jesus Christ.14  There is no power or authority higher than the Lord of lords, the King of kings.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all."15

God exalted Christ Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.16  Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.17

Scripture teaches that salvation is in the Son of God, in the Lord Jesus, and in the Christ.  Is there a contradiction?  Of course not.  The Son of God is Jesus Christ our Lord.18  See how perfectly the Scripture fits together.

Christ Jesus must be received as Lord by all who would be saved.  Let's state that more personally.  You and I must receive Christ Jesus as our personal Lord in order to have eternal life!
 

Call on the Name of the Lord and Be Saved

The disciples met together in Jerusalem after Christ's ascension. Their fear following the crucifixion had been replaced with joy after Jesus' resurrection when they were reunited with him.  Before he ascended into heaven, he instructed them: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."19

Then it happened.  First they heard the sound of a violent wind.  The first thought was of an unexpected storm, but the sound was inside the room.  They saw tongues of fire enter the room, separate and come to rest on each of them.  They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages.

Outside, the sound was heard in much of Jerusalem.  People came running to see the cause.  They found the believers speaking in foreign tongues.

Many Jews from other countries were in the city.  To their amazement they heard the disciples speaking in their native languages.  Some thought they were drunk, but Peter explained this was not so, but the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, in which God said, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people."20

Then Peter, in the words of the prophet, explained to the assembled people, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."21  Peter explained to the crowd about Jesus, his ministry, the miracles, his death, and his resurrection.  He concluded: "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

The crowd heard and understood.  They were cut to the heart that they had killed their Messiah – the Christ.  They understood the power and authority given by God to his Son, the Lord Jesus.  About three thousand became believers and were baptized that day.

Paul used the same words to instruct the Romans:  "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."22

 

Who Is the Lord?

Up to the time that Jesus displayed his power and authority, the Greek term Kurios (translated Lord) was used in the New Testament as a title of courtesy and authority, even as applied to Jesus.  That was understandable as the people who spoke to him often didn't know to whom they were speaking.

That changed, following some of his amazing miracles, as people recognized he had extraordinary power and authority.  After Christ's resurrection, the title Kurios was used (with two exceptions)23 by New Testament writers to refer only to God and the Lord Jesus.

Some teach that the term Lord refers to God the Father and not to Jesus, or, if to Jesus, to Jesus as God.  Not so!  Paul carefully dispelled either possibility:

Even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.24
In Paul's writings, God means God the Father; Lord means only Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Paul debunked another part of the heresy in those verses.  Its proponents sometimes claim the term Lord was a mere title of courtesy, that many with power and authority were called Lord.  Paul stated there are many "lords."  There are many people who have power and authority, but there is only one Lord – one who has all authority in heaven and on earth.25
 

Jesus Claimed to Be Lord

The early Christians were well aware of the teachings about Jesus.  They knew he had told his disciples, "You call me `Teacher' and `Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am."  They knew that when Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he told his disciples: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."27

By that declaration, Jesus gave the early Christian church (and us) the ultimate definition of Lord.  That description applied uniquely to him.  Only one person can have all authority.28

Jesus told the Apostle John, "I am the Alpha and the Omega,29 who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."30
 

There Is Only One Lord – Jesus Christ

In the days of the early church, Caesar decreed that everyone in the Roman empire would greet each other with the salutation, "Caesar is Lord."

In a story handed down about a first century family of Christians, some Roman soldiers met the father and demanded he greet them with, "Caesar is Lord."

He refused, saying, "Jesus is Lord."

When the father continued to refuse, he and his family were taken to the lions' arena in Rome and told that unless he proclaimed, "Caesar is Lord," one by one his family would be thrown to the lions.

He was horrified, but shook his head and repeated softly, "Jesus is Lord."

The officials angrily ordered his youngest child, a son, to be thrown to the lions. As the family watched, the boy was torn apart by the lions.  Again the father was commanded to proclaim that Caesar is Lord.

Choking back tears, he responded as before, "Jesus is Lord."

Another child and still another were thrown to the lions.  The officials themselves were appalled.  They had expected the father to compromise his beliefs and say that Caesar was Lord.  They sympathetically told the father that the words weren't important, that even though he didn't believe them, all he had to do was say them and he and the rest of his family would be saved.

With pain and anguish on his face, the man repeated, "I cannot.  Jesus is Lord."

The entire family perished that day.

Their death underscores who the early church knew to be "Lord," namely the Lord Jesus Christ.  Lord was not an honorary title.  To the early church, the fact that Jesus is Lord was worth dying for.  Doubtless they knew that Jesus said he would acknowledge before the angels of God those who acknowledge him, but he would disown before the angels of God those who disown him before men.31

The first-century church was taught by Peter, Paul, and the other apostles.  The father who refused to call Caesar "Lord" may have heard Paul teach, "There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ."32

In Paul's day we know there were many "lords,"33 including Caesar.  The early Christians believed there was but one Lord – Jesus Christ.34
 

God Made Jesus Lord

How did Jesus become Lord? God made him Lord!

When the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles after Jesus ascended, Peter told the crowd, "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."35

It was God who exalted Jesus to the highest place; God gave him the name that is above every name.36  God will receive glory as every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.37

God seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.38
 

Jesus Is Lord

The setting is both splendid and terrifying.  Thrones are set up.  Billions of resurrected souls gather before the judgment seat of Christ.

Jesus appears.  Angels and men alike fall on their faces before his glory.  His face shines like the sun.39

Terror strikes those prostrate people.  Many remember the hundreds and thousands of times they said, "Jesus" or "Christ" or "Jesus Christ," not honoring or recognizing Jesus, but using his name in profanity.

An angel commands that each prostrate soul confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.40  As each confesses that truth, in each heart is the certain knowledge that the confession also seals his doom.  Each knows he didn't acknowledge Jesus as his Lord when he could have.  Now he must confess that Jesus is Lord, but to no avail.  Time has run out.  The opportunity for salvation has passed.

 
God's Word Teaches That Jesus Is Lord
God's Word repeatedly teaches that Jesus is Lord.  The first announcement by the angels of the birth of Jesus told us: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."41

When Peter was sent to Cornelius and his family and friends, he told them that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.42  Our confession of faith must be "Jesus is Lord."43

In the end times, men will make war against the Lord Jesus – the Lamb – but he will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.44

 
Jesus Is Lord and God
Ten of the disciples were together.  Tension was high.  The shutters were closed, the lock on the door checked to be certain it was secure.  They all shared the unspoken question, "Having successfully crucified Jesus, would the Jewish rulers also arrest his disciples?"

Suddenly there were eleven in the room.  Slowly everyone turned to see Jesus standing among them.  Some glanced at the door, but the lock was still secure.  Jesus said, "Peace be with you."

When he saw consternation mixed with joy on their faces, he said: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and feet.  It is I myself!  Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."  He showed them his pierced hands and the spear hole in his side.  He asked for a piece of fish and ate it before them.  He talked with them and explained the Scriptures to them.  Suddenly he was gone.

Thomas wasn't with the disciples when Jesus had come.  When they saw Thomas they said, "We have seen the Lord!"  They told him about the holes in his hands and his side.

Thomas mocked them, thinking they had a delusion.  He said, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."

Exactly a week after the first appearance, Jesus appeared to the eleven.  As before, he came into the locked room and stood among them.  He said, "Peace be with you!"

It was as though there were only two people in the room, the Lord Jesus and Thomas.  Thomas stared at the Lord.  Jesus said to him, "Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe."

Thomas fell to his knees before the Lord.  He exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"

Jesus did not deny that he was God.  Instead he said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."45

 

Scripture Defines Lord

Proponents of the heresy (that seeks to have us believe in the wrong Jesus) claim that the Greek word Kurios46 (translated Lord) simply means Sir or Master or master or owner.  The title Kurios is used in each of those ways in the New Testament, but 618 times it refers to Lord – a person of power and authority.47

In law, one of the most basic rules is to let the document define the meaning of a word.  Scripture defines Lord (Kurios) as the title applies to Jesus.

It doesn't surprise that the Greek word Kurios48 isn't adequate to describe the authority, glory, and power of the Lord Jesus.  There's never been another person on the face of the earth who had the power and authority God gave the Lord Jesus.  Why would the Greeks have a word for something they'd never known?

God used the Greek word that was closest to his meaning; through Scripture he defined how Lord (Kurios) is to be understood when applied to Jesus.
 

God Gave Jesus the Name Above Every Name

Through the writers of the New Testament, God described to the early church and to subsequent generations the sovereign power, authority, and majesty of Jesus as Lord.  He redefined the title "Lord" to make it a name above every other name.

Paul declared:

God exalted Jesus to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.49
Paul testified that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.50  Paul credited creation itself to the Lord Jesus:  "By Jesus all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him."51

"Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  Jesus is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."52  Paul testified that God seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet.53  The Lord Jesus is the head over every power and authority.54  Jesus is at God's right hand, with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.55

It is essential to our faith to know who Jesus is – that he is the sovereign head of all.  Though in the Greek language the title Kurios is closest to describing who Jesus is, he is far above that. He is far above every title that can be given.56  There is no higher or equal authority in heaven or on earth except the Father himself.57
 

God's Final Description of the Lord Jesus

John had the most awesome experience ever given a living man.  In heaven, he was guided by an angel and shown the things that would occur in the future.  Some things he was forbidden to write about, but what he could write he wrote in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.58  He described one of the last scenes he saw:
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  `He will rule them with an iron scepter.'  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.59
Even in heaven, Jesus is known as King and Lord.
 

Jesus As Lord

Do you remember how Jesus was presented to you when you first heard of him?  You may be one who first heard of him on your mother's knee as she read children's Bible stories to you.  That was true for me.

Or, you may be one who had little knowledge of Jesus until you were an adult, but then heard of him through a friend, a church, or a television program.  Can you remember how Jesus was described to you?

 
Preached As Lord
In the early church, Jesus was preached as Lord.60  That may not be how you and I first heard about him.  Many hear of him primarily as Savior, with great emphasis on the fact that he died on the cross so that our sins may be forgiven.

In the early church the emphasis was on Jesus as Lord, on the power and authority that are his as Lord, on how the Lord Jesus Christ works all things out for good for those who love him,61 and on how he is able to help those who are being tempted.62

 
Trust Him As Lord
The early church learned that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, could separate them from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus their Lord.63  Spiritually, they had great assurance.  They knew they were secure in the power of their Lord and that no force or power in heaven or on earth could pry them out of the hand of God.

But we're to trust Jesus in the most practical daily aspects of life.  He knows that making a living, feeding and clothing a family, renting or buying a house are important parts of our daily lives. He observed that most people tend to be anxious about such things.  He admonished us:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
"And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?'  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."64
Jesus gave us a conditional promise.  The condition is that we are to seek God's kingdom and his righteousness first.  If we do that, Jesus promised, our food, clothing, and shelter will be given to us as well as God's kingdom and his righteousness.  Not everyone can expect the promise to come true for them.  Only those who are willing to place God's kingdom first in their lives are the beneficiaries of the Lord's promise.

Likewise, Jesus promised, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."65  Does Jesus give everyone rest?  No, he gives rest to those who come to him.

Can we really trust Jesus to provide such practical things as our daily needs – food, shelter, and clothing?  Can he give us rest in our hectic world?

We can trust the Lord Jesus implicitly because he has all power and all authority in heaven and on earth.66  Because he is Lord of all67 we can trust him to fulfill all his promises to us, knowing that he is fully capable and that there is nothing too difficult for him.

Christians are unique in the world in that they have a Lord who alone has all power and authority.  Only they have a Lord who commands that we cast our anxiety on him because he cares for us.68  He commands us to be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present our requests to God.69

 
Receive Him As Lord
Today's heresy often is stated as an invitation and a promise:  "Receive Jesus as your personal Savior and you will have eternal life."  That's not what the early church taught and there is no such statement in all of Scripture.

What does Scripture say?  While there are no scriptures which tell us to "accept" Jesus in any capacity, there are two scriptures which speak of receiving him, but only one which tells how to receive him.  Have you guessed it?  Of course you have.  We must receive him as Lord!70

 
Live in Jesus As Lord
My concept of Jesus will greatly affect how I live.  If he is my Lord and Master, I'll live each day to reflect that.  Scripture says that is exactly how we are to live:
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him (as Lord), rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.71
What happens when we continue to live in him?  We become rooted and built up in him.  We are strengthened in the faith. We overflow with thankfulness.
 
Focus on Jesus As Lord
You may have heard invitations to receive Jesus into your heart.  Scripture teaches only one wayIn your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.72

Consider what that means.  I believe it means that when we think about Jesus, we should think about him as our Lord.  We should pray to him as our Lord.  Throughout each day, as we face the normal everyday decisions of life, we should weigh our decisions based on obedience to the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ as our Lord.  As Lord, he is to be the center, the focus, the sovereign ruler of our lives.

 
Present Jesus As Lord
You and I are to present Jesus as Lord.  We are always to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have.73  We have this hope within us if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, if in our hearts we have set apart Christ as Lord.  That is the answer we are to share with others.
 

The Apostles Knew Jesus Is Lord

The Apostles saw Jesus exercise supernatural power and authority.  He turned water into wine, healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, calmed storms, walked on water, and fed thousands from a couple of loaves and a few fish.  He did these wonders in the Apostles' presence while they watched.  They saw with their eyes that Jesus had authority over everything. Peter verbalized how all-encompassing the power and authority of Jesus is: "Jesus Christ is Lord of all."74
 

Apostles Preached Jesus As Lord

The ship docked at Miletus and a messenger was sent to fetch the elders of the church of Ephesus.

It was a sad time.  These grown men wept with Paul, knowing he was going to Jerusalem, perhaps to die, perhaps to be imprisoned. Paul said he would never see any of them again.  They knelt and prayed together.  They kissed him and wept with him.

Paul reminded them, "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.75

Previously, Paul told the Corinthian church, "We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake."76

Let's see that again.  What did the early church leaders teach?  They preached Jesus Christ as Lord,77 that all must have faith in our Lord Jesus.  They spoke the word of the Lord.78

 
Results of Preaching Jesus As Lord
I've studied churches wherever I've been, trying to see what was different about one church versus another, why some grew rapidly and others languished.  Could it have anything to do with how Jesus is presented?

What was the result of preaching Jesus as Lord in the early New Testament church?  It grew rapidly even in the face of extreme persecution.  Paul said, "We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord."79  What happened as a result of that preaching?  Many people believed in the Lord.80  Repeatedly the book of Acts recounts that more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.81  Again it recounts, the Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.82

The believers received Jesus as their Lord.83  When Lydia and the members of her household were baptized, she invited the apostles to her home.  Trying to convince them she said, "If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house."84

It is said of Crispus, the synagogue ruler, "His entire household believed in the Lord.85

Always, the emphasis is on believing in Jesus as Lord, confessing him as Lord or receiving him as LordNever are we told in Scripture to believe in Jesus as Savior, to confess him as Savior or to receive him as Savior.

 
Early Church Believed in the Lord Jesus Christ
At Caesarea there was a Gentile, Cornelius, who was a centurion in the Italian Regiment.  He and all his family were devout and God-fearing. He gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

One day he had a vision.  He distinctly saw an angel of God who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"

Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.

"Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God," the angel answered.  "Send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.  He is staying with Simon the tanner."

As Peter was praying on the rooftop of Simon the Tanner in Joppa, he fell into a trance.  He saw heaven open and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.  It held all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.

"Get up, Peter.  Kill and eat," a voice told him.

"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied.  "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

The voice spoke a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

This happened three times.  Then the sheet was taken back to heaven.

At that very moment, Cornelius' servants arrived.  The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them.

Peter went with the servants and entered Cornelius' house, an act forbidden by Jewish regulations.  Peter remembered the vision and knew that what God had made clean he should not call impure.

Many people were gathered in Cornelius' house.  Cornelius urged Peter to tell them everything the Lord had commanded him to tell them.

Peter began by saying, "You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all."86  He then told them about Jesus, his ministry, the miracles, his crucifixion, and his resurrection and about the witnesses who saw him.

Peter told them, "Jesus commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.  All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."87

The Holy Spirit came on those gathered in the house.  They began speaking in tongues and praising God.  Peter ordered that they be baptized.88

When news of this reached Jerusalem, Peter was called before the elders and Apostles to explain why he went to the Gentiles, entered their home, and ate with them in violation of Jewish custom.  Peter explained in detail everything that had happened, and said: "If God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?"89

The story gives us important information.  The church in Jerusalem said of themselves that they believed in the Lord.  Peter also disclosed that the Lord Jesus commanded the apostles to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge.

 

We Say "Lord," But Do We Mean It?

Let's examine again our personal experiences, yours and mine.  If we attend church, we often hear people talk about the Lord.  The pastor often refers to Jesus as Lord.  But in many churches, it seems apparent that the people who say "Lord" don't know the Lord or what the title Lord really means as it applies to Jesus, or what our response must be if Jesus is our Lord.  These failures may be the results of carelessness or from teaching the wrong Jesus – the heresy.

Jesus seemed to anticipate our present situation.  He taught as if he were speaking directly to us:

"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'"90
Jesus was obviously talking to people who claimed to be Christians and who called him Lord.  We can imagine this being fulfilled by people who say, "Lord, Lord" as they pray, or as they talk to others in a religious setting.

Jesus' teaching becomes chilling, however, when he begins to talk about those who many would regard as superreligious.  They will address Jesus at the judgment and remind him that they prophesied in his name, drove out demons, and performed many miracles in his name.

When we hear or read of those who exorcise demons and perform miracles and prophesy, don't we tend to think of them as spiritually gifted people who must be very close to God?

Jesus won't judge us on which gifts of the Spirit we exercised in his name.  Rather, if I claim to believe in him as Lord, he expects me to obey his teachings and commands.  He expects me to do the will of God.  If I don't seek to obey him, at the judgment he'll say to me, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoer!"91  It won't matter how many times I called him Lord.  He sees my heart.  He knows that I didn't receive him as my Lord.92

If the prior paragraph is correct and my response to Jesus as my Lord is to be one of obedience, and if salvation is related to obedience to Jesus as my Lord, shouldn't there be a scripture that states that?  There is.  Hebrews 5:9 states that Jesus is the source of salvation for all who obey him.93
 

They Deny Our Sovereign and Lord

It is hoped that after experiencing in these pages how God has presented his Son as the supreme head, the King of kings and Lord of lords, truly the Sovereign ruler, you are convinced that Jesus not only is Lord, but that he must be my Lord and your Lord in order for us to have salvation.

Notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence that Jesus is Lord, the proponents of the heresy (which this book refutes) refuse to recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  They argue forcefully that salvation is possible without Jesus being Lord of our lives.94  They say it isn't necessary that Jesus be our Lord.

God knew about this heresy and others before it, and warned us about it in Scripture:

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.95
You may say, "I don't know of anyone in our churches who denies Jesus!"

Most don't deny Jesus as a person.  In fact, such people emphasize that Jesus is our Savior and claim that we are saved by believing in him as Savior.  They deny that Jesus is our Master, our only Sovereign and Lord and that we must bow the knee to him and receive him as our Lord.  They falsely proclaim that the title Lord is only a title of courtesy, whereas we saw how God defined the title Lord (Kurios) when it refers to his Son, showing him to have glory, power, majesty and supremacy over all.

 
Heresy from Within the Church
Does it surprise you that such heresy will come from within the church?  Jesus warned: "Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."96

True believers are referred to in Scripture as sheep.  Jesus is our shepherd.  He is the Good Shepherd; we are the sheep of his pasture.  If the wolf came to us as a wolf, we'd run to our shepherd for protection.  But when the wolf comes dressed as a sheep, in sheep's clothing (who looks and acts like one of us – attends our churches, preaches our sermons, and teaches our Sunday School classes), we may not recognize the heresy he proclaims unless we are firmly grounded in Scripture.

What does Scripture teach about those who spread heresy?  If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.97
 

Believe in the Lord Jesus

The Lord Jesus has been revealed in this chapter.98  Scripture painstakingly described him and the power, authority, majesty and glory that's been given to him by the Father.  If we fail to recognize Jesus for who he claimed to be99 – the Lord, with all power and authority in heaven and on earth – it's our fault.100  If we choose not to believe in the Lord Jesus that Scripture has revealed to us, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Is it now more meaningful to you to hear the commands, "Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,"101 or, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,"102 or, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved"?103
 

Another Man's View

I recently received the quarterly devotional, Days of Praise.  It opened directly to May 6, entitled, "Another Jesus." It's on point to our discussion:

Another Jesus

"Jesus" is quite popular among worldly people today, but not the true Jesus.  The popular Jesus may be the baby Jesus in the manger at Christmastime, or the buddy Jesus of Nashville "gospel" music, or the success-counseling Jesus of the positive thinkers.  He may be the romantic Jesus of the Christian crooners, the rhythmic Jesus of Christian rock, or the reforming Jesus of the liberals, but none of these are the Jesus preached by the Apostle Paul, and therefore not the real Jesus who saves men and women from their sins.
Jesus, in reality, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the offended Creator of the universe,104 who had to die as man on the cross to redeem us through His shed blood,105 and who then rose from the dead to be set "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named."106  Finally, it is this Jesus "who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom."107

The Lord Jesus, as He really is, is not the popular Jesus of T-shirts and bumper stickers, politicians and entertainers.  He was "despised and rejected of men,"108 so they "crucified the Lord of glory."109

He is the mighty God, the perfect Man, the only Savior, the eternal King, and Lord of Lords.  God-called teachers will not preach an imaginary Jesus who appeals to the flesh, but rather, the true Christ of creation and salvation.

Henry M. Morris110


 
Footnotes

1. Koerselman; What the Bible Says About a Saving Faith (Phoenix, AZ: Berean, 1992), Chapter 2.
2. Acts 16:16-34.
3. Acts 16:31. Additional scriptures to prove that statement will be cited throughout this chapter.
4. Romans 10:9. The next verse tells what happens when a person commits to Jesus as Lord: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:10). The very next verse also assures salvation for those who trust in the Lord: As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him (the Lord Jesus) will never be put to shame" (Romans 10:1 1).
5. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Macdonald) states that confess, as in Romans 10:9, means to declare openly by way of speaking out freely, such confession the effect of deep conviction of facts. The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible (AMG Publishers, 1984) suggests that "confess" may also mean to assent or to covenant i.e., that I covenant with God that Jesus is my Lord. Or it may be to assent to agree - that Jesus is my Lord.
6. 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
7. Romans 6:23. Paul also said, "Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:21).
8. 2 Corinthians 4:5.
9. 1 Peter3:15.
10. Romans 14:9.
11. Colossians 2:6. A friend objected when I said Scripture did not say we could receive Jesus as Savior and be saved. He pointed to John 1:12: "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Do you see his error? Salvation is to all who receive him, for those who believe in his name. What did the angel say his name is? Christ the Lord! Who is he? He is the Lord Jesus Christ. How must we receive him? Just as Paul said the early church did. We must receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
12. "Brothers" is not unfairly limiting those who received Jesus as Lord, but refers to those to whom the letter was addressed: To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father (Colossians 1 :2).
13. Emphasis on the Christ being Lord is extraordinary. New Testament writers combined the names of Christ and Lord many times in a variety of ways: Lord Christ, 2 times; Lord Jesus Christ, 60; Our Lord Christ, 1; Our Lord Jesus Christ, 35; Christ Jesus Our Lord, 7; Jesus Christ Our Lord, 5; and Christ the Lord, 1. (Some listings are inclusive of others.)
14. 1 Corinthians 8:6.
15. Acts 10:36.
16. Philippians 2:9. This is the definition of Lord as shown in Scripture, one who is over all, without peer, supreme Sovereign.
17. Philippians 2: 10-11.
18. Romans 1:4: ". . . who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."
19. Acts 1 :4-5.
20. Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17).
21. Joel 2:32 (Acts 2:21).
22. Romans 10:13. Paul quoted Joel 2:32: "And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." Peter quoted those same words at Acts 2:21. Remember (from last chapter) that to call on the name of the Lord means to call on all that the title implies, his authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence. What is the name of the Lord? Peter answered in Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins." The next chapter will show that the Christ is the Lord.
23. Acts 10:4 and Revelation 7:14. The exceptions were when Cornelius and John were confronted with angels and addressed them as Lord.
24. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6. Paul emphasized the same truth to the Ephesians: There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6).
25. Matthew 28:18. Jesus disclosed his absolute authority to his disciples just before his ascension.
26. John 13: 13. By affirming that he is Lord, Jesus told his disciples who he is and who he claimed to be: "If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" (John 8:24).
27. Matthew 28:18.
28. 1 Corinthians 15:27.
29. Alpha and Omega means the first and the last.
30. Revelation 1:8.
31. Luke 12:8-9.
32. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6.
33. 1 Corinthians 8:5.
34. Paul taught the Ephesians, "There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).
35. Acts 2:36.
36. Philippians 2:9.
37. Philippians 2:11.
38. Ephesians 1 :20-22.
39. Revelation 1:16.
40. Philippians2: 11.
41. Luke 2:11.
42. Acts 10:36. Paul said the same at Romans 10:12: The same Lord is Lord of all.
43. Romans 10:9. Paul said that no one can truly confess, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). See also Romans 10:12: For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.
44. Revelation 17:14.
45. The story is found in John 20:19-29; in Luke 24:36-43.
46. Kurios signifies a person with power or authority.
47. That number is taken from the New International Version of the Bible. In it, the other meanings of Kurios are correct in context. ( Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, page 698.)
48. One with power and authority.
49. Philippians 2:9-11.
50. Colossians 1:15.
51. Colossians 1:16.
52. Colossians 1:17-18.
53. Ephesians 1 :20-22.
54. Colossians 2:10.
55. 1 Peter 3:22.
56. Ephesians 1:21.
57. 1 Corinthians 15:27.
58. The last book of the Bible commonly known as Revelation.
59. Revelation 19: 11 - 16.
60. 2 Corinthians 4:5.
61. Romans 8:28.
62. Hebrews 2: 18.
63. Romans 8:38-39.
64. Matthew 6:25-34.
65. Matthew 11:28.
66. Matthew 28: 18.
67. Romans 10:12.
68. 1 Peter 5:7.
69. Philippians 4:6.
70. Colossians 2:6. The other scripture that speaks of receiving him is John 1:12: "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." That scripture does not define "him." But we know that the only other scripture that speaks of receiving him, says it must be as Lord. The other part of the verse is for those who believe in his name. What is his name? It is the Lord Jesus Christ - Christ the Lord.
71. Colossians 2:6-7.
72. 1 Peter3:15.
73. 1 Peter 3:15. What is this hope we have? I believe it is that we will one day be resurrected to live forever with God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We can rest in faith on that hope because our faith is in the only one who has all power and all authority, the Lord Jesus. See 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.
74. Acts 10:36.
75. Acts 20:21.
76. 2 Corinthians 4:5.
77. Acts 28:31: Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
78. Acts 16:32. See also Acts 13:12: The proconsul believed because he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. See Acts 13:44: In Antioch, almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. Acts 13:48: The Gentiles were glad and honored the word of the Lord. Acts 13:49: The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
79. 2 Corinthians 4:5.
80. Acts9:42. SeealsoActs5:14,9:42, 11:21, 16:15, 18:8.
81. Acts 5:14.
82. Acts 11:21.
83. Colossians 2:6.
84. Acts 16:15.
85. Acts 18:8.
86. Acts 10:36.
87. Acts 10:42-43.
88. The entire story is found at Acts 10.
89. Acts 11:17. Paul testified that Jesus Christ is Lord of all believers: "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - their Lord and ours" (1 Corinthians 1 :2). Paul included three groups of people who recognized Jesus as their Lord. The first was the church to which he was writing in Corinth. The second are all those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy - all Christians living at that time, and the third all future Christians, all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
90. Matthew 7:21 -23.
91. An important distinction must be made here. The Lord Jesus looks at our hearts. He knows when we commit to obey him, even though we fail from time to time. It is the pledge to obey, the honest, heart commitment to obey that he wants. He knows we are imperfect, but he requires a willing heart.
92. It is a necessary corollary to receiving Jesus as our Lord that we submit to him as Lord and seek to obey him as our Lord as best we can.
93. That is the obedience that comes from faith (Romans 1 :5). Be clear that we are not saved by obedience. Salvation is by faith. Obedience is evidence of a saving faith.
94. Some say there are different levels of the Christian faith, that we have salvation when we believe in Jesus as Savior and believe he died for our sins. Later, those who desire a deeper Christian walk believe in Jesus as their Lord. There is no support for that position in Scripture.
95. Jude 4.
96. Matthew 7:15.
97. 1 Timothy 6:3.
98. There are hundreds of additional references. The Lordship of Jesus is the dominant theme of New Testament writers; Jesus is mentioned as Lord more than by any other title.
99. John 8:24.
100. And we will die in our sins (John 8:24).
101. Romans 10:9.
102. Acts 16:31.
103. Romans 10:13.
104. Colossians 1:16.
105. Colossians 1: 14,20.
106. Ephesians 1:21.
107. 2 Timothy 4:1.
108. Isaiah 53:3.
109. 1 Corinthians 2:8.
110. Dr. Henry Morris is the editor of "Days of Praise," published by Institute for Creation Research, Santee, California 92071, of which he is president. Copied with permission.