Intro: Are you perplexed by the historical ending of the N.T. scriptures. Although we can deduce some further events from the epistles, and interpret Revelation to speak about future events, the N.T. book of history, the book of Acts, ends rather abruptly. Paul is imprisoned in Rome… would he be released? How does his life end? How does the gospel reach the rest of the world? We might want to know more. But I want us to notice what the last verses of Acts reveals about the future of the NT church…
- Acts 28:30-31 – Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Luke’s description of the 2 years of Paul’s imprisonment were a synopsis of his life as an apostle. He preached the Kingdom of God, and he preached the Lord Jesus Christ. We can conclude that the church would continue to preach the Kingdom of God (Jesus on the throne) and things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. What does that involve?
In our discussion of our theme, To Live is Christ, we have considered the NT description of the Christian as a “slave of Christ”. The Greek word doulos, as you may remember, presents a compelling picture of us. We are called to be slaves in absolute submission to the will of our Master, Jesus Christ.
I want to consider today, the other side of the slave-master relationship. How does the Bible describe the Master in this image? He is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the center of gospel preaching. But what are we saying about Jesus when we refer to Him as the Lord Jesus Christ?
I. Jesus is Lord –Do you agree? Been attending a Bible class at Seven Lakes Community for a few weeks. The teacher ends the class the same way each time. We join hands and sing this familiar refrain together. Sing this with me.
• You’re my Lord, You’re My Lord. You have risen from the dead and You’re My Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
• I do not always agree with what is said in the class, but I certainly agree with this, and enjoy singing it out loud.
A. 1 Cor 12:3 – Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. The apostle says that the truth that Jesus is Lord is from the Holy Spirit. That truth has been revealed from God. If someone rejects it (says Jesus is accursed), they are not speaking the words of the Spirit of God. Paul wrote in Rom 5:1– Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. The Greek word for Lord is kyrios (koo’-ree-os). The word means supreme ruler or controller. (Strongs) Thayer’s Lexicon says this about the word: “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord; used… universally, of the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner.
1. Kyrios appears almost 750 times in the NT. It is the other side of doulos, or slave. Every slave (doulos) and a master (kyrios). If we confess that He is Lord, then we confess that we are His slaves.
C. By the time the NT was written, the term Lord (Kyrios) was already a well-known title for God. In fact, the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, used in Jesus’ day) used Kyrios to translate 2 different Hebrew names for God – Adonai(aw-done-a ) and Yahweh. (yah-way).
1. The Hebrew word adonai means master (sometimes used as a polite greeting) and corresponds to the Hebrew word ebed, meaning slave. When used of God it denotes His sovereign power over His people.
2. But Septuagint also uses Kyrios to translate the word Yahweh – the covenant name for God. Out of respect, and to prevent taking God’s name in vain, The Jews refused to speak the personal name Yahweh. They used adonai instead. You might notice in your translation that the word, Lord is often italicized. This indicates that the original Hebrew word in that passage was Yahweh (YHWH).
3. The NT writers (apostles) were very familiar with the dual function of the word kyrios, as both a word meaning master (adonai), and as a designation of Jehovah, the true God (Yahweh). They readily applied the word Lord (Kyrios) to Jesus – He was God (divine) and He was their Master.
D. Two other words in the NT correspond to Lord, as descriptions of Jesus.
1. Eph 5:23– For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. The Greek word here is kephale (kef-al-ay’), which is used both literally and figuratively in the scriptures. It can describe a literal head of a person or animal. But is used metaphorically to denote authority. Jesus is the head of the church in the sense that He is the supreme authority and leads His church, or body. So in Ephesians 1 it describes Jesus as the head Who has “all things under His feet” (Eph. 1:22). Every part (member) of the body is under His authority and must answer to Him alone. In Romans times the head of a household possessed absolute power over the members of the house, both free and slave.
2. Another word closely linked to Lord is despotes (des-pot’-ace), from which we get the English word despot. It means an absolute ruler or master. It is also used in the Roman world to describe the physical master who owned the slave. The term referred to an owner or possessor of people or property within a house – thus the NT use of the term oiko-despotes – the master of the house. Jesus is the master of the house in Matt 10:24-25 – “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant (doulos – slave) above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
a. Consider its appearance with kyrios (Lord) to describe Jesus in Jude 1:4 – For certain men, who were designated for this judgment long ago, have come in by stealth; they are ungodly, turning the grace of our God into promiscuity and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
II. “Lord of Lords” – 1 Tim. 6:14-15 – 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus is not just the Lord, He is the Lord of Lords. He has no Lord above Him.
A. All Authority… Following Jesus’ resurrection, in the preface to calling the apostles to preach the gospel to the whole world, Jesus told them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” (Mt. 28:18). Men have no privilege or prerogative here. Jesus alone call the shots and gives the orders. What does that mean to us?
B. Why do you call Me Lord, Lord…? Jesus addressed this question in Luke 6:46 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? The words Lord, Lord necessarily implied the necessity of obedience in all things. If Jesus was kyrios, then they were the doulos.
1. Paul teaches us that as the slaves of God we are
a. to be always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58);
b. trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord (Eph. 5:10);
c. seeking to understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17).
d. We must do everything in the name of (by the authority of) the Lord (Kyrios) 3:17
e. We must be willing to abstain from wickedness… and be sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 219-22)
f. It means for the slaves of Christ, to live is Christ – 1 Cor 8:4 – yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
g. Matt 7:21-23 – 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
III. The Honor of the Slave. Is there any honor in being a slave? We might be challenged to think of any. But we are not slaves of just any Master. Our Kyrios is the Creator and God of the universe; He is without fault; perfect in love and compassion; matchless in power and goodness. He is the most honorable of all. He is our honor.
A. The Roman slave’s happiness or honor was dependent on the character and position of his Master. The NT slaves derived his status from the social standing of their masters. To be a slave of an important or influential citizen was in itself an esteemed position. This can be seen in the tombstone inscriptions of Roman slaves. It was common for these stones to mention the master’s title or position, even to the exclusion of the mention of their own family. To be a slave of the Emperor was a place of greater privilege and honor even allowed to marry regular citizens.
1. How much more of an honor to be called a slave of Christ. We derive our status from our Master. The Christian should not be ashamed to be called the slave of Christ. Paul told the disciples to boast only in the Lord. 1 Cor 1:26-31– 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Conclusion: There is no better example of the inherent implication of the Lordship of Jesus than Romans 14:7-9 – For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Paul was not being mysterious here. His words were well understood by the Roman Christians in the context of the Master-Slave reality of their day. They knew what the language depicted and implied.
As Christians they had been bought with a price and although they were once slaves of sin, they were now slaves of righteousness. They belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ. For the slave of Christ – to live is Christ.
As we said at the beginning- the gospel message is rooted in the Lord, Jesus Christ – When the earth quaked and loosed the chains on the hands and feet of Paul and Silas, the jailor was so sure his prisoner had escaped he tried to take his own life. But Paul called out and told him all the prisoners were still there…
- Acts 16:29-34 – Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
Are you a slave of Christ? This is what you must do to be saved – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ – repent of your sins – Be baptized, as the jailer was, for the forgiveness of your sins.