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06.06.10 Jesus is Lord; So What? Romans 10:1-15 Sermon Summary

by on June 10, 2010

What does the basis Christian belief that “Jesus is Lord” really mean? According to Paul’s very brief summary, to confess Jesus is Lord means also to believe God resurrected him from the dead. Though this statement is quite simple, it is embedded in the larger context of our having a right relationship with God. Having that right relationship depends on Jesus being Lord and on belief in the resurrection. But what does this really mean?

Summary Points

  • A right relationship with God is exemplified by Jesus and given to us by the Spirit in his resurrection.
  • Jesus is Lord means we pledge our allegiance to him alone, acknowledge the church as his, care for others and creation, and live in the confidence of our deliverance.
  • Jesus is Lord means God is with us, for us, and triune.
  • The Lord’s Supper proclaims that Jesus is Lord.

1. The Bible uses the word “righteousness” to refer to a right relationship with God. And Paul contrasts the righteousness that we strive for with the righteousness that comes as a gift from God. The gift from God must, as all gifts must, be received, and Paul says the righteousness that comes as a gift from God is received by faith. In other words, we might not feel righteous, we may not act righteously, but our relationship with God is right because we believe we have received it as such from God.

For Paul, God’s gift of righteousness is revealed in Jesus Christ. How Jesus lived reveals what the righteous life looks like. His trust in God, his forgiveness of others, his self-sacrificing love—all these things exemplify what a righteous life looks like.

Jesus eventually was killed for the righteous life he lived. But God would not allow such a perfect example of righteousness to remain dead. That life was so valuable it had to be preserved. So God resurrected Jesus from the dead. So for Paul, Jesus is Lord because his life is the example of righteousness, and through our belief in his resurrection, his life continues through us.

2. That “Jesus is Lord” says several things about us. (1) We don’t offer allegiance to anyone or anything else. I have pastor friends who refuse to sign statements of faith in their churches or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance “to the flag . . .” because Jesus, not the church and not the state, is Lord.

(2) That Jesus is Lord means the church doesn’t belong to us. It isn’t my church; it isn’t our church—the church belongs to Christ as Lord. I find great comfort in this when I find something I don’t like about church or when I am criticized for my leadership in the church. It isn’t my problem; it’s Christ’s.

(3) We who follow Christ as Lord care for others, even at our own expense. If Jesus is Lord, he isn’t just our Lord, he is Lord of all, and so we care for them because they belong to him. (4) We also care for creation, because Jesus is Lord not only over people, but of the whole world. (5) And if Jesus is Lord, then we know we can trust God as his disciples, for as God vindicated Jesus the Lord, so God will vindicate all who follow him as such.

So we can live our lives confessing Jesus is Lord with confidence in our deliverance through difficult times even as we care for others and the world.

3. That “Jesus is Lord” also says something about God. (1) It says that God is with us, not distant. If Jesus is Lord, then God is not a philosophical abstraction, but a presence that was concrete in Jesus and is now spiritual. (2) Because Jesus is Lord, we know that God is not against us, but rather for us. God has created and called us to live after the manner of Christ. And God does not abandon us to struggle and failure in this calling, but rather gives us the example in Jesus and power in his resurrection.

Most importantly, that Jesus is Lord reveals that (3) God is triune. God is the Father who was present in the Son, present with us still in the power of the Spirit by which the Son was resurrected and is recognized as Lord.

The confession “Jesus is Lord” is important today because we need what “Jesus is Lord” says about God and about us. That Jesus is Lord gives meaning, purpose, and hope to our lives. We need this, and the whole world needs it. This is why we all need to confess, not just once but throughout our lives, and not just with our lips but throughout our lives, that “Jesus is Lord.”

4. Paul says that at the Lord’s Table we “proclaim the Lord’s death, until he comes again.” Communion is a confession of “Jesus is Lord.” Why? Here at the Table, Jesus takes elements of the created order, bread and wine, and consecrates them to sacred use. He is Lord of creation. Here at the Table we remember his death—the faith and faithfulness he displayed. And here at the Table we remember these things until he comes again, and he comes again as we believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, and so invite and follow the Spirit in our lives.

Questions for Further Reflection

  • In what ways have you tried to have a right relationship with God based on your own efforts and not received it from God as a gift?
  • What difference does receiving righteousness from God make in the way you live your life? How do you say “thanks” for the gift God has given you?
  • Review the list of things “Jesus is Lord” says about you. In what areas can you improve as a disciple of Christ?
  • Whom do you know who would benefit from knowing what “Jesus is Lord” says about them, our world, and God? Are you willing to share this good news with them?
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