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Jesus is Lord: What does it mean?

Sunday English Service - 23 DEC 18


For the last two weeks, we have been talking about basic truths about Jesus, about who He is, what He's doing, what He's done. For the last two weeks, we spoke about how Jesus is our Savior. Very basic truth. Everybody knows that. But what does that mean? What does that involve? Of course, Jesus is our Savior is a very vast truth, possibly we cannot cover it in two weeks. But we saw where that begins. Jesus saves us from sin. That's where Jesus’s saving activity begins. And it goes all the way up to Jesus saving us in the end from the wrath of God itself, which will be manifest on judgment day. So, Jesus saves us from now until eternity. That's what we saw the last couple of weeks. I want to continue this focus on Jesus being the Christmas season the goal is let us exalt Christ during the Christmas season, who He is, what He does for us.

And so, today we want to talk to you about how Jesus is Lord. If you notice, these are the two basic things any Christian will say about Jesus. Usually they'll say what? He’s my Lord and Savior. Isn’t that how we refer to Jesus first? We’ll ask others also, “Have you made Him your Lord and Savior?” So, this is something very basic that all Christians are already aware of, Jesus is their Savior, Jesus is their Lord. Anybody who believes in Jesus believes in that. But we're asking what does that mean? It's basic, fine, but do we really appreciate what it is, what it means, what it involves, what its implications are? Are we really living in light of it? Is our life matching up to it? Jesus is Lord is a basic confession of the Christian church. In fact, every Christian, how does a person believe in Jesus? How do they first come to faith in Christ? Think about your own self, think about any believer. Anybody who calls himself a follower of Christ, a believer of Jesus, how do they begin to believe in Jesus? How do they begin their walk with Jesus? They confess Jesus as Lord with their mouth. Isn't that what the Bible says? Romans 10:9 to 10. If you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, Jesus that is, and if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you shall be saved.

Let's turn to Romans 10 suppose you are not aware of it. This line, this short line, what line? Jesus is Lord, is a line that is repeated by every believer of Jesus. We call Jesus, “Lord Jesus”, we say, “He’s my Lord,” and we also confess, saying, “Jesus is Lord.” That is how we become a believer. If you look in Romans 10:9 and 10, Paul says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. How will you be saved? How can a person be saved? Very simple. Paul says, simply confess with your mouth what? Three words. Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Believe that He lives today. He rose again, after dying on the cross for us He rose again. He's alive today. Just believe that. It's so easy to come to faith in Jesus, to start your walk with Jesus, to commit your life to Jesus. All you got to do is open your mouth and say, “Jesus is Lord of my life. And Lord, I believe that Jesus is alive today. He died for me and He rose again for me.” So simple. And Paul says, “This is how anybody gets saved.” This is how all of us got saved. Perhaps you may not have thought much about it, but this is how you got saved. Somebody told you to open your mouth and say, “I believe in Jesus. I believe Jesus is Lord.” That's what you said.

Question is, do we realize what it means? Do we realize what it involves? We don't realize immediately, we realize only as we go along. It's like somebody joining the military, they don't realize what all is involved in that. They join the military then only they say, “Oh my goodness, all this is...” and that's fine. That's no problem. So, perhaps some of us may not have realized fully what is involved in this and that's the purpose of this message so that you can today become aware of that and realize what is involved in saying, Jesus is Lord meaningfully, what that entails. And perhaps you do realize what it involves but you need another reminder today. Preaching is about reminding oftentimes, teaching itself is about repeating. Teaching is repetition. They say good teaching involves repetition. And so, perhaps some of us need a reminder, perhaps some of us need to hear it for the first time, whatever it is, believe this teaching will benefit you because we're talking about something that is at the very heart of Christianity. We spoke last two weeks about how Jesus saves us, today I'm going to talk about how Jesus is our Lord and what it means when we confess Jesus as our Lord, and the implications of that, and is our life matching with that. And how we can more and more give that place to Jesus in our lives.

Let's begin. Before I begin let me also say that the way we are going to do this, the way I'm going to explain to you what Jesus is Lord means today, is basically this, we're going to go back to 2,000 years ago and ask the question, what did ‘Jesus is Lord’ mean when the first Christians said it? We are not the first Christians. By the way, this confession, Jesus is Lord is not latest confession. This is a 2,000-year-old confession and it's been said for 2,000 years. Where did it begin? It began 2,000 years ago in that place in the middle eastern region there. Going from Jerusalem into Samaria and to all the ends of the earth there. The Roman Empire in those days. We're going to go back to that world where the first Christians opened their mouth and said, “Jesus is Lord,” and see what it meant to them. Because only if you see what it meant to them you can understand what it means to you. Otherwise, no point. We all say Jesus is Lord but we will have only a limited understanding today. We need to see what it meant to them, then only we can understand it and apply it in our life today.

Let's begin. What does it mean Jesus is Lord? Here's what it means. Number one, it means this, Jesus is the Master of my life, I am not. The ‘I'm not’ is very important. Let me say it again. When you say Jesus is Lord, what it means is this, Jesus is my Master, I'm not. Why do I say it means that? Because 2,000 years ago when people started calling Jesus as Lord... this word Lord today it's a little bit of an outdated word. I mean, it's an old word if you think of it. But that day it was not an old word, it was a very meaningful word. And this word was commonly used and it had a very common basic meaning. The meaning was master or owner. Owner of what? It could be anything from property to cattle, to also importantly, slaves. Master of slaves. If you consider the situation, which human being will call another human being as lord? 2,000 years ago, in the Roman world there, who are the human beings who are calling other humans as lords? It’s not like today, that's a different world. So, people are calling other people lord. Now, who are these people and who are the ones calling them? You will see that oftentimes it is the slaves calling their own masters as lord. Slaves used to call their own masters with the same title lord in English, the original Greek word there is kurios.

Now, let me talk a little bit about slavery because without that background we cannot understand this. You see, slavery as soon as I say that now we all cringe. We think, “Oh, what a horrible thing.” But I'm not saying slavery is a good thing neither does the Bible say slavery is a good thing. But keep in mind, the New Testament was written in a world where slavery was everywhere. It's not like today where slavery is nowhere or it's hidden. It is there today actually, it is happening in certain places, hidden. Not in plain sight. It's hidden and it's very horrible. Even today, there are people kidnapping children and doing all kinds of... using them for various purposes and enslaving them. So, it's happening today but in that world the difference was it happened everywhere and was happening in plain sight. In fact, they say 35% to 40% of the people living in those days, in the Roman region, were slaves. Think about that. More than one third of the population is who? Slaves. Which means they have a master. Now, go back to that world. Forget about your world for a few minutes. They're calling their own masters as lord. It means master, owner. This is the kind of world in which the New Testament was written. So, you cannot understand the word lord without understanding that there is a counterpart to it, slave. It’s like lightning and thunder, they both go together. When lightning comes you know thunder is going to come. If there is a lord 2,000 years ago in the Roman world, then there is also a slave. That's the way it is. They go together.

Now, you may say, “Well, I agree Jesus is Lord but I'm no slave.” Well, let's go to Ephesians chapter 6. No need to be afraid. We're going somewhere. You know that the New Testament teaches Jesus is Lord everywhere? Yeah. But let me point out these verses here. Ephesians 6 from 5 onwards. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling. He's writing to them because there are a lot of slaves in that world, in that culture and obviously they have become believers in Jesus. So, he writes to them and he says, slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ. Verse 6. Not by the way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Now, this is a very unfortunate translation, it says, servants of Christ. Actually, what it means is slaves of Christ. Now, let me remind you this is only a translation. What you have in your hand is only a translation. The New Testament was originally written not in English but in Greek, and the where it says servants of Christ in your Bible, the original says very plainly slaves of Christ. It’s the same word used in the beginning of verse 5 where our Bibles have translated it as slaves. My ESV at least.

But then when it comes to us and Christ, what did they do? They said, “Not slaves of Christ but servants, let's go to a more dignified word. Let's not call ourselves slaves but servants.” Why did they do that lot? Many times, in the New Testament, the word for slave in the Greek, doulos, it means slave. It has been translated as servant. In Tamil it says... So, there it looks even higher. Slave is the actual meaning but translators have said servant, why? Because in today's world, slavery has such a negative picture. The moment we say slavery we immediately think negative, there is nothing positive about it. So, this is what people conclude, that perhaps the translators did not want to unnecessarily put off people reading the Bible, believers who are buying the Bible and reading the Bible, unnecessarily again and again, if you keep calling them a slave, they'll get upset. So what? Let's make it into servant. Let's dignify the word a little more and say servant of Christ. But the meaning is slave.

Now, when it comes to the Bible, I don't know about you the first goal I don't think is, I should not get upset. Our first goal should not be, “Oh, I don't want to get upset.” No, no, our first goal is what? What did God say? Who cares whether I get upset or not? That is secondary. Even if I get upset so what? God has the right to say what He wants to say. I better listen. This is the word of God. So, if it says slave then it says slave, I better listen to Him. So, my friend I want to point out that these verses... let me go to Philippians 1:1. Your translation says servant but the real meaning is slave. Go look it up, do some study. Philippians 1:1. Paul begins the letter he says, Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus. What he actually means is slaves of Christ. Slaves, this is how he begins the letter. First thing he says about him is, “We are slaves of Christ Jesus.” Go to Romans 1:1. This is not one place, two places, this is everywhere throughout, but it's been covered up with the word servant. It's been covered up because of all the negative connotations of slavery in today's world. And not only in today's world, slavery it has been viewed negatively for the last 300 years and rightfully so. We're not saying slavery is good thing, New Testament is condoning it. No, no, not at all. Please continue to listen. What we are saying is because in the last 400 years it has gained this negative, solely negative, exclusively negative reputation that the New Testament translators in various languages, not only English, have hesitated to say slave, because it comes again and again, they don't want to put off people here. Paul says in Romans 1:1, what does he say? Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. Actually, what he's trying to say is, Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle. First thing before he says he's an apostle he says, “I'm a slave of Christ.”

Actually, Paul says it with much pride. That's what I'm trying to say today. Today, to be a slave is the most dishonorable thing, shameful thing. Nobody keeps slaves anymore and if somebody is known to have a slave, they’ll be thought of the lowest possible sense, as some uncivilized bunch of people. But in those days, it was very common, like I mentioned, and a slave’s worth was determined by the greatness of his master. How great a slave depends on how great your master is. So, Paul is saying, with much pride actually, “I am a slave of Christ Jesus. My master is Christ Jesus, and I'm a slave of Him.” James 1:1, I don't have to read it. But you know, James is Jesus's brother according to the flesh, his own brother, the Lord's own brother. James 1:1 he says, I'm a slave of God and of Christ Jesus, who was his brother actually, earthly relation.

Why am I saying this? All these people, they call themselves slaves in this way... Look at 1 Corinthians 7:21, this one verse, and then I'll start to explain it a little more. I want you to see this is everywhere, not in some corner. Problem is, it's been translated servant. Were you a slave? This time they translated it as slave, why? He's actually talking to slaves. Not all believers, he's talking to slaves. Among believers there are slaves and free men. And he’s saying, “Were you a slave when you were called? Do not be worried about it. If you can gain your freedom, go ahead, avail yourself of the opportunity.” That's what he says. Look at that. See, you see, the New Testament does not condone slavery and say, “Just remain a slave all your life.” No, no, Paul says, “If you are a slave, don't be concerned or worried about it but if it's possible to gain freedom go ahead and get the freedom.” Continue. Verse 22. For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. He’s saying, “If you are a slave, when you got saved, you are still free in the Lord. As a Christian, you are still free. Even though you're a slave in the eyes of the world, you're still a freedman of the Lord.” Next. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. And then he’s saying, “If you were free man when you got saved, if you were free when you got saved, then consider yourself a slave of Christ.” Do you know what he's doing? He's lifting up the slave and putting down the free person. He’s saying, “If you are a slave, don't worry, if you get your freedom, get it, but don't worry, anyway you are free in Christ. If you are free, consider yourself a slave of Christ.” He's kind of trying to balance them out. He’s saying, “Don’t either of you think too highly of yourself or something like that. We are all free in Christ, but at the same time we are slaves of Christ.” That's the understanding you see.

The New Testament right here you can see that both sides of the coin. To one group he’s saying, “You're free,” another group he’s saying, “You're a slave in Christ. You're a slave to Christ. You consider yourself free in Christ.” Can you see that? So, what I'm trying to say is the New Testament paints different pictures of our relationship to Jesus. Listen to this. The New Testament paints different pictures of our relationship to Jesus so that we may understand that relationship in the fullest, clearest possible sense. It doesn't say we are only slaves, in another place it says we are the bride of Christ. A bride is not a slave. Bride is a very endearing picture. The relationship between a bride and bridegroom is taken and applied to Jesus and the church. And the New Testament says we are bride. Why? To signify that close union we have with Jesus. The union between husband and wife is the closest possible union on this earth, they are one flesh the Bible says. The union between Jesus and a believer, the church, the group of believers is the closest possible union. Paul says we are one spirit. Jesus and us are one spirit.

So, what we're trying to say is the Bible says we are like the bride and He's like the bridegroom. In another place it says we are like sheep and he's like Shepherd. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. So that picture is a little different. We are the sheep in that picture. With each picture, the Bible is trying to convey some very important truths about the relationship we have with Jesus. When it says, Jesus is our Shepherd, we are the sheep, what is it trying to say? It's trying to say, just like sheep totally dependent on the shepherd, for everything we are totally dependent on Jesus. And just like the shepherd must do everything for the sheep, Jesus does everything for us. Just as a husband and wife are one flesh in this world, Jesus and us are one spirit in this world. Different pictures can mean different truths and like that one of the pictures is what Jesus is Lord and we are slaves. You don't have to get scared of the picture.

Reason we get scared is because today slavery is all negative. Why is it all negative? The masters today are the worst masters. And the slaves today are in the worst possible condition. That's why we think of slavery as a bad thing. Why do we think of it as a bad thing? Because the masters in today's slavery are the worst masters. Think about it. Is there any good master in the world of slavery today? No. They’re some of the worst people. Very horrible people, no mercy, no kindness, no decency even. They kidnap children and they do all kinds of nonsense. There’re all kinds of nonsense happening in the world. Not in plain sight but it's happening. Organized, they're doing it. Sometimes powerful people are behind it, but they're very bad people, they’re the worst masters. Those are the people that are masters today. And so, when we think of slavery, we think of them and look at the condition of slaves today, the children in child slavery or different kinds of slavery. Look at their condition, it’s very poor. They don't have basic needs being met, they can't have enough food, nothing is proper for them. Living conditions are very poor. They squeeze the work out of them, give them nothing, no pay. Sometimes they keep them tied up and all that. This is happening today. The condition of the slaves are the worst, the character of the masters is the worst.

But in that day, in Paul's day, it was not like that. There were some masters who were bad, but not all masters. There were some very good masters also. And some of the slaves were in a poor condition but some of the slaves were in a very good condition. There were slaves who are like the chief assistant to the king, for example. There were slaves who were doctors, for example. This is the Roman world, my friend. Try to understand it from their context. There were slaves who were in very high position sometimes, well-educated, it's a different world, different kind of slavery, the Roman slavery. Not only that, think about our Master, Jesus is our Master. He is better than the best earthly master, is He not? Jesus is better than the best earthly master. He has a very different way of doing things, doesn’t He, Jesus? He doesn't force anything on us. Usually, in the slavery thing masters will force the slave to do everything. But our Master, Jesus, what did He do? He said, “I will become like you, take the form of a slave.” Philippians 2:6, which says servant but again it is slave.

Jesus took the form of a slave and came down into this earth. That's what Christmas is about, and lived for us, died for us. It all began with what? Taking the form of a slave. Means He humbled Himself. He came under subjection to all the earthly laws and everything in subjection to God and everything and lived a life as a man in obedience to all the laws of God, and did everything in humble obedience, submission. Took the form of a slave. This is the style of Jesus. He will never force anything on people. He will never force anything. This is the kind of master who bends down to wash the disciples’ feet. He washes the feet of the disciples. Which master will do that in the ancient world? Nobody, no teacher would ever wash the feet of the student, only the student has to wash the feet of the rabbi. In the Jewish world, it was considered the most dishonorable thing to do for a higher person to wash a lower person's feet.

In today's world, if you want an analogy, it is something like... people today think of cleaning the garbage or cleaning the bathroom or something like that. In our culture sometimes, people think that is a lower kind of job. Cleaning out, taking out the garbage, cleaning out the garbage or cleaning the bathroom. We think somebody else has to do that. Most people won't do that, so on and so forth. That was the kind of status given to washing of the feet in Jesus's day. And He bends down, washes all their feet and then looks at them and says in John 13, “If I being your Master wash your feet, then shouldn't you do to one another?” The whole point is you... Jesus has a different style. He will never force anybody to do what He wants, but He will still get them to do what He wants. He will pull them to His side through other tactics. He will literally attract them by His love, by His kindness, by His mercy, by His compassion. Before we did anything for Him, what did He do? He came for us, He suffered and died for us on the cross. And then He says, “Now, come follow Me.”

Will you follow a person like that? Yeah, you'll be ready to do anything. As people, we’re ready to give their lives for Jesus because He had that kind of effect. Without forcing anybody to do anything, He still got people to lay down their lives for Him. He has a different style of leadership. He's a different kind of master. You can’t compare anyone to Jesus. And Jesus is our Master. You tell me if there is anything negative about that. There is absolutely nothing negative about that. In fact, you better be glad Jesus is your Master. And if you're a believer, whether you know it or not, or like it or not, Jesus is your Master. And I said, you better be glad Jesus is your Master, because another person was your master before that. Do you know that? The devil was your master before that, before you came to Jesus. This is what the Bible teaches, my friend. We cannot live in the same illusionary world that all the people in the world live.

People in the world think they're free. The Bible says nobody's really free. They're all a slave to someone or something. The question is, who or what? The Bible says, every single person on this earth is a slave to someone or something. Some people are slaves to sin. Some people are slaves to all kinds of habits. Some people are slaves to other people's opinion. Some people are slaves. And you can say that everyone is under the power of sin, and everyone is under the control of the evil one, the devil, whether they know it or not. Jesus is the One who redeemed us from that slavery and brought us under His wing. In fact, the Bible puts it like that. 1 Corinthians 6, how did we become His slave? 1 Corinthians 6 verse 19 and 20. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. Look at that statement. You are not your own, what does that mean? That means you're not the owner of your own life. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Before this, he says in verse 13, the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. He says your body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body. And then he says in verse 19, you are not your own. You were bought with a price. Verse 20. So glorify God in your body. What is he saying? Your own body doesn't belong to you. That’s what he’s saying. Your body belongs to the Lord who bought you with a price, so glorify God in your own body.

This is so alien to the way the world thinks. The world with their focus on freedom and individualism, the way they think is what? “I'm my own person. I can do what I want. I can choose what I want. I can go my way it's my way or no way.” This is the way of the world, my friend. The Christian never speaks like that. It's not my way, it’s His way. It's not even my own body, my body belongs to the Lord. That's what Paul is saying, your body belongs to the Lord. You were bought with a price. The concept there, the background is of a slave market. In those days they had slave markets. You could go buy slaves in that market. And a slave can come out under one master to another master. The idea Paul has in mind is we were all slaves of the devil. And Jesus came to that slave market where we had no future, no hope, under the lordship of the devil. And He bought us with a price. What was the price? His own blood, His own life was the price He bought us and He said, I take you out from that master, now you belong to Me. That's how we became His slaves. When we got saved, whether we know it or not, we came under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He became our Master and we became something like His slave. There is nothing negative about it. Is your life any worse off after you got saved? Is there anybody who wants to say, “After I started following Jesus only, even everything went downhill”? I don't think anybody will. Nobody will. In fact, there are crores of people to say, “When I started following Jesus only something good happen to me. I received meaning and purpose in life and I got fulfillment, peace and joy and happiness. I have a future because I'm following Jesus.”

But following Jesus is coming under His Lordship whether we know it or realize it or not we are under it already. The question is how much do we submit? What we are saying is, this is not a negative picture, it’s a very wholly positive picture. We were nothings and nobodies under the rule, and the domain of the devil, Jesus bought us with a price and that's how He made us His slave. I'm glad I'm His slave. I hope you are glad you are His slave. The alternative is you would have been a slave of the devil. I don't think anybody will pick that. You were bought with a price, wholly positive image. Our Master is the best possible master and He gives us the best possible conditions. He gives us more than we can ask or think or even imagine. Think about a master like that. There is no master like that. There is nobody to compare with Him. This is what the New Testament wants to teach. The New Testament wants to teach certain things with this. What is it trying to say? That Jesus is our Owner. Through this idea of Jesus is Lord and I am His slave, what is it trying to teach? That Jesus owns me. Somebody say, Jesus owns me. Now that's a little extreme, isn't it? It's not Jesus leads me. Yeah, that all is under this. Jesus owns me. That's what you say. When you say Jesus is Lord, you are saying, Jesus is my owner. He owns me. I don't belong to myself. I don't call the shots in my life. He's the owner. That is the meaning my friend.

Another thing, he’s trying to teach through this concept of Jesus is Lord and I am His slave is what? That Jesus has every right, as our owner, He has every right to tell us how to live our life. As our owner, Jesus has every right to tell us how to live our lives. In fact, as a slave, we don't have any rights. I know it's a little bit extreme but that's the point of the teaching. That's the whole point. The question is, how much do we... see, God will never force us. Like I said again, God does not force us. If we don't want to give in, He won't force us. But He would like us to give in and He's constantly trying to pull us to give in more and more. And we can always give in more to His Lordship. Do you believe that? We can always submit more to His Lordship, to His rule and reign in our life. There are always areas that we can hand over to Him. You see, when we say Jesus is Lord, we are saying, “Lord, I relinquish my rights over to you. I don't have any rights over my own life.” It's a bit extreme.

No human being will do that ordinarily. That's why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:3 nobody can say Jesus is Lord without the help of the Holy Spirit. Go read it, 1 Corinthians 12:3. So, you think anybody can open their mouth and say Jesus is Lord meaningfully? “No,” Paul says. If it is done meaningfully it can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit because it is a very powerful statement. It is saying, “I relinquish all the rights of my own life, my own future. I give it over into Your hands. You tell me and I will obey.” Something very serious. The thing is, in slavery the slave doesn't have rights, slave has only privileges, the rights belong to the master. Are you willing to accept that kind of a mental framework in following Jesus? That's what Jesus wants us to do. He wants us to not just say, “Lord I'll do some things what you say.” No, no. “I relinquish my very right to make decisions, to call the shots to do everything, anything in my life. You tell me what to do and I will follow.”

Jesus is Lord means Jesus is the master, I am not. Number two. Jesus is Lord means what? Jesus is Lord means Jesus is supreme, nobody else. Now, let me put it like this, Jesus is Lord means, Jesus is Lord and no one else is lord. Or you can say like this, Jesus alone is Lord. You see when the church 2,000 years ago was making this confession, when the first believers were opening their mouth and saying Jesus is Lord, it was not an ordinary thing. They were literally saying, “Jesus alone is Lord.” That's the sense they were saying it with. That's the way they took it. Just around the time of Jesus, think about it again, Roman world, go back 2,000 years ago it's a different world, my friend. No democracy, it's under the Roman Emperor. The empire of Rome came out of the control of the Senate and so on, and became the folk, all the power went to that one man, the Emperor Caesar.

And at the beginning the emperors were a little more level-headed. They thought of themselves as the sort of the first in the entire Empire. They thought of the Emperor as the first. But slowly, the pride got to their head. I mean they just went berserk with pride and they thought of themselves not only as first but as everything, they are everything, to the extent what they did is they took that word lord, by the time Jesus is leaving and especially when Jesus ascends to heaven, at that time, around that time and little bit after that, the emperors take that word lord and they say, “I am Lord.” They apply it to themselves to the point where some of these emperors like Caligula, Nero, very horrible guys, some of them were, if you go read. They say, “You have to confess saying...” They're telling the whole empire, “Everybody has to confess saying, ‘Caesar is lord.’” The Roman Emperor Caesar, everybody has to say Caesar is lord. It became like that in the first century AD. They brought a kind of a condition where you have to worship the Emperor, you have to confess, open your mouth and say, Caesar is lord, and then burn incense to the Emperor’s statue or something like that. It became like that.

That is when the early church began. That’s when the first disciples are starting to believe in Jesus. And what are they confessing? Jesus is Lord. Everywhere people are saying, Jesus is Lord. These fellows are saying, “No, no, no. Caesar is lord.” It started becoming an issue because these Christians began to be very vocal about it. “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord,” they'll go on saying it. So, some of these emperors got irritated, said, “Call those fellows up, tell them they also have to confess Caesar is lord.” And so, the tribunals were set up all over the country and these Christians would be brought up in front of these courts, tribunals and they'll say, “Just confess that Caesar is lord. And they'll have emperor’s statue somewhere there.” They’ll say, “Nothing. You don't have to do anything. Continue being a Christian. Just confess that Caesar is lord, burn incense to the emperor’s statue, we’ll let you go be a Christian.” They thought it’s very simple. The Roman guys never understood it. They said, “Okay, you have your gods we have our gods. Now we are taking Emperor also as a god. So what? No problem. You continue your way, remember just say this also.”

The Christian is saying, “No, no. I cannot say that.” Why? He's saying, “Why can't you say that? You go ahead and say Jesus is Lord, but say this also, “Jesus is Lord plus Caesar is lord.” Believer is saying, “No, I cannot.” So many people died because of that one line, Jesus is Lord. We think it's an ordinary line. The way they said it and meant it is Jesus is Lord and no one else is lord. It’s a little extreme, isn't it? So many people, there are so many, go read the story of the martyrs, where they told them to say Caesar is lord, these Christians will open and loudly say, purposely, “Jesus is Lord.” They’ll be beaten something like that. They'll say, “We are willing to honor the emperor, that we are willing to do because Jesus Himself said, ‘Give what is due to Caesar to Caesar.’” He said, “Pay the tax. Caesar is charging a tax, pay the tax. Honor the Emperor.” New Testament teaches to pray for our leaders, honor the leaders that have been put in place in the world and so on. So, these Christians were ready to honor the emperor. What they were not ready to do is put anyone else in the same status as Jesus. For them to put anyone else's name or title and say that person is lord is not possible. They were willing to die for it, my friend.

There’s a great martyr named Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and he was brought up like this. By the time he was more than 85 years old. Great leader, done great things for the church and they went and caught him. He welcomed the people who came to arrest him very well and very hospitable towards them. They were all shocked. “This man we have come to arrest him, he’s taking care of us.” He’s an old man, he’s a bishop. They take him and they say... they take pity on him they have compassion. They say, “You’re old, we don’t want to do anything to you.” They brought him in front of a lot of people, maybe a stadium or something like that. Said, “We don't want to harm you or anything. Nothing. We have a small thing. You just say, ‘Caesar is lord.’ Just burn some incense to this Emperor's statue. After all, Emperor is also a god like your God or something like that. Just do this and we'll send you away. Go on, continue doing what you're doing. You’re old man, we don't want to do anything.” This is what he said, Polycarp, his words are very famous, he said, “86 years have I served my Jesus and He has never once let me down. How can I let Him down now?” He says these words. For him to open his mouth and say somebody else is lord is letting down Jesus. And they chopped his head off for that. They killed him. An old man just simply because he would not say someone else is lord.

My friend, Jesus is Lord had that kind of meaning in that day where no one else takes the place of Jesus. He’s supreme. Nobody can be compared with Him. Yeah, we can honor everybody else but nobody takes the place of Jesus. Yeah, we can do anything. They wondered, the Romans never understood it, “What is wrong with these crazy Christians?” They thought. Talking [pasty 00:44:38], they’ll say, “Just do this.” Those fellows will not do. They'll say, “Caesar is a person you can see. He is sitting in Rome on the throne. You're talking about some Jesus being Lord and He's not even here. Show me this Jesus. Where is this Jesus?” But for the Christian, the Roman Emperor he can see more than that, the Jesus He cannot see with his eyes is more real. And His Lordship and His rule and reign and His superiority is more real for the believer. He said, “No. Yeah, I can’t see Jesus but I still confess and believe that He is Lord.”

Jesus is Lord and no one else. Number three. What does it mean to confess Jesus as our Lord? What did it mean to the early Christians who did it? Number one, it meant Jesus is our Master. Number two it meant, Jesus is supreme, or there is no one like Him. He is Lord and nobody else is lord. Number three. It means Jesus is God. That's as simple as we can put it. Jesus is God. This I think is the highest of all. It's not just saying, He is the master my life. And it's not just saying there is no one like Him on this earth. It is saying He is God overall. I've seen people on TV and I'll challenge and say, show us where your New Testament says that Jesus is God. Show. Where does it say?” Then they say, “Come and debate with us? Where does the New Testament say Jesus is God? People always saying you're worshipping Jesus as God, where does the New Testament say, Jesus is God?” Jesus is Lord means Jesus is God. That's what it means. I'll try to explain that to you.

Again, you need to go back 2,000 years to that world to understand and appreciate this. And this time we go not to the Roman world. The Roman world was the big world. The Rome ruled the world at the time, their Empire controlled everything. But within that large Empire was a small Jewish world. It is into that Jewish world that Jesus came. Where was He born? Bethlehem, it’s a Jewish town. Where did He grow up? Nazareth. Who was His mother? A Jew. What was He by race, Jesus, on this earth? He was a Jew. He was not a Tamilian or He was not some other thing. Yes, He’s for all people, today He is the Savior of the world but I'm talking about His earthly life was lived as a Jew. Where did He do His ministry? Mainly in the Jewish region. Sometimes He went out but not much out. Only the apostles took the gospel out like the Apostle Paul. He stayed within that little Jewish world. Where did He die? Just outside Jerusalem. Where did He rise again? Right there. And where did He appear? Right there. And to whom did He appear? Many Jews. Who were His 12 disciples, apostles? They were all Jews. Who wrote the New Testament? Jews. You can see where this is going. The Apostle Paul was a Jew. This is all Jewish world within that broader Roman world. And who were the first Christians? Think about this. Who were the first believers? Jews. Jews were the first believers. Who were the first people to open their mouth and say, “Jesus is Lord”? It was again, Jews. What did it mean to them when they said it? That's the question.

To understand that you got to go a little bit further their history. We went 2,000 years back, now let's go a little bit further and try to trace their history quickly like a story. I want to go into unnecessary details. The Jews they're a great race. They pride themselves on being the only people to whom God, the one true living God revealed Himself in a special way. Their forefather is Abraham, selected by God for blessing. Moses who in the burning bush saw a revelation of God like nobody else saw. Their God is who? Their God is the one who delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, split the Red Sea open, did all kinds of wonders, gave manna in the wilderness, water from a rock, brought them to promised land, brought the walls of Jericho down. The history of their God is too great. Their God is only our God. But I'm putting myself in there, I’m trying to point out their [experience 00:49:44].

They viewed themselves as very special. Think about it. You're surrounded by a lot of different peoples worshiping all kinds of gods and all that but they thought they were very special because God has revealed Himself to them specially and so on and so forth. If you ask a Jew, what is your God's name? Do you know what will come to his mind? If I look and say to you, if I say to you this morning, “What is our God's name?” What will you say? Probably say, “I heard people say Jesus,” Without much thought, automatically the reply came, Jesus. If you look at a Jew 2,000 years ago, and say, “What is your God's name?” What would they say? Let me show you the name before saying it. If you look at a Jew 2,000 years ago, and say, “What is your God's name?” This is their God's name in their language. See what it looks like. The reason I'm not even saying what it is, is they believed it was so holy that you should not say the name. If you say, “What is your God's name?” They won't say the name. Why? They believed you should not even pronounce the name of God. They took the commandment which says, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain,” and they applied it in this way. They said, “If you even pronounce the name of God, it is taking it in vain. So, let's not pronounce it.” But this word comes in the Old Testament more than 6,000 times. This name. If you say it you know what it’ll sound like, probably Yahweh.

Later on, that only became Jehovah. People changed the pronunciation and made it into Jehovah. But the original pronunciation they say is Yahweh. But they stopped pronouncing it. They would see the word again and again in their Bible, but they won't say Yahweh. What will they say? They will say another word. Do you know what that word is? Adonai. That word means Lord. So, they'll see God's personal name in the Old Testament. This is God's personal name, my friend, just like God's personal name is Jesus you can say in the New Testament. In the Old Testament His personal name is Yahweh. They'll see this word, they won't say His name, instead they'll say, Lord, Lord, Lord, Adonai, Adonai, Adonai.

For centuries, this has been the practice of the Jews. Then comes Alexander the Great. We’re coming back from their history, a few hundred years before Christ, and he conquers the world. And he makes Greek into the number one language. The first time in the world that there is a universal language is because of Alexander the great. Greek becomes the main universal language. What happens? Just like English is today, Greek was that day. And so, the Hebrews went ahead and translated their old testament into Greek, because Greek became, in some ways more important than Hebrew. Just like today, a lot of Tamilians know English better than Tamil. Same way. In those days, some Hebrews began to be more accustomed with their Greek Bible than their Hebrew Bible. So, in the Hebrew Bible, what is the name for Yahweh? What does it say? This is what it says in the Greek Bible, Greek Old Testament I’m talking about, kurios. What does it mean? It means Lord. Basically, they followed that same tradition. Don't say His name, instead say, Lord. Don't say Yahweh instead say Lord. More than 6,000 times this word comes in the Old Testament again and again referring to Yahweh or the God of the people of Israel, the God who brought them out of Egypt, that Israelite God is called as Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord, again in the Old Testament. Then comes Jesus.

When Jesus comes, dies and rises again, up to this point nobody is put on the same pedestal as Yahweh. The Jews looked at a lot of people and thought they were messiahs because they'll do a lot of good things, show great promise, they’ll think maybe he's the Messiah. So, they would refer to people as messiahs. They would even refer to people as saviors. The name Jesus itself was common in those days, Joshua meant savior, the saving one. They’ll see somebody and they'll refer to them as Joshua or Jesus, thinking maybe he will save. They will refer to people as Messiah, Savior, all these things, but they will never refer to someone with the Old Testament name for God. No, no, that is reserved only for Yahweh. That is reserved only for the one who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Nobody else can be compared to Him. Suddenly Jesus comes, He lives, He dies, He rises again, ascends to heaven. Suddenly one group within the Jewish world starts saying Jesus is kurios. You know what that means? Any Jew in that world would have known because he knows his Greek Bible and he’s seen this word 6,000 times in his Bible over and over. It refers to Yahweh. It refers to the God of Israel. These people are saying what nobody else has dared to say. They're saying, Jesus is that God, the God of Israel, the one true living God, the one who split open the Red Sea, Jesus is Him. That's what they're saying.

Think about it, my friend. This is the confession, Jesus is Lord is not an ordinary word. Lord is ordinary today but when they said it, Lord means Yahweh. Basically, they were saying Jesus is Yahweh. That's what it meant. And that's why I say that means Jesus is God Himself. Every time this title is used for Jesus, almost every time in the New Testament, it means what? God. The Israelite God, the God of Israel. That's what it means. So, don't believe when people say, “Where does your New Testament say Jesus is God?” It says it too many times. The thing is the deity or divinity of Jesus in the New Testament is never argued, it is assumed. They don't care to argue for it because it is assumed as real. You don't have to argue for it.

This is what it meant to say Jesus is Lord. You go to Romans 10:13, I'll show it to you. I told you like a story but then let me just show a couple of verses so that you can see I'm not just concocting some story here. Romans 10. We know the famous verse, if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord you will be saved. That's verse 9. Romans 10 verse 9. Just keep reading down verse 13. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” That's an Old Testament verse, right out of the book of Joel, Joel 2:32. Paul picks up an Old Testament verse which says, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. There, who is the Lord talking about? It’s talking about Yahweh. It’s talking about the God of Israel. He pulls that and puts it here and he says, “You confess Jesus as Lord, you will be saved.” Why? Because the Bible says, Old Testament says, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord. Who is he thinking of as Lord now, Paul? Jesus. You see that? He's taken some words that refers to Yahweh and he’s saying, it is talking about Jesus. Jesus has come now you call upon the name of Jesus. In the Old Testament, they had this idea, call upon the name of Yahweh.

Call unto Me on the day of trouble, and I will answer you. You know what that becomes in the New Testament? Pray in the name of Jesus. Directly they transfer it to Jesus in the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 1:2, again Paul says that same statement. He says, I'm writing to all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. Go to another very important verse, Philippians 2 verse 9 to 11. Everybody knows this verse. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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 the Father. We know this verse, but do you know it's right out of the Old Testament actually? Paul is using an Old Testament verse and then bringing in Jesus with that. The Old Testament verse is Isaiah 45:23. Paul was an expert in the Old Testament. He knew it from front to back, everything. Isaiah 45 verse 23 Look what it says there. It's talking about Yahweh, the God of Israel. It says, Isaiah 45. To me, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Paul takes that in Philippians 2 he says, “At the name of Jesus,” there it says, “To me,” here Paul says, “At the name of Jesus.” Whatever is given to Yahweh, the honor and the respect and the worship and the adoration, everything is given to Jesus. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth, under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Yahweh, the God of Israel, the one true living God.

Jesus Christ is Lord means Jesus Christ is God Himself. That’s the meaning. Paul says, after saying all this, the climax is, if you confess this only it brings glory to the Father. What brings glory to the Father? Glorifying Jesus brings glory to the Father. The Father likes it when you glorify Jesus. Let me say, my friend, you can never glorify Jesus too much. Some people think, “Oh, is it possible to exalt Jesus too much? Will the Father get upset?” Never. The way He’s designed it is, the more you glorify Jesus, the more you glorify the Father. He says, “All this is the glory of the Father. Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the one true living God, to the glory of God the Father.”

What does Jesus is Lord mean? Number one, it means He's the Master. Jesus is the Master of your life. Jesus is my Master. Number two, it means Jesus is Lord and no one else is Lord. There's nobody like Him. Not just controlling my life, but there's nobody like Him on the face of this earth. There is nobody you can compare with Him. Rulers, emperors, great people, but no one can stand with Him. He's in a class of His own. And thirdly, Jesus is Lord means not only is there no one like Him in this world, He is God. He is God overall. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus is Lord. Shall we all say that? Jesus is Lord. Let's say it again. Jesus is Lord. My friend, it's a very powerful statement and I hope you can experience some of that power in your life as you confess and exalt Jesus during this time, Christmas time.

Remember, He’s not just a baby. He is the baby in front of whom Three Wise Men traveled hundreds of miles and then fell down at His feet and worshiped Him. In front of which baby do you see people falling at their feet, prostrate on the ground, worshipping a little baby? They will only cuddle a baby. But this baby, they fell down prostrate and worshiped because He is God overall. He is Yahweh Himself who took on human flesh. The Word became flesh and came into the world, dwelt among us, did a great work for us. And now He’s seated on the throne ruling and reigning and one day He will return. And that day every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that it is this Jesus who was the Messiah and who is God Himself.

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