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Saturday, January 26, 2013
Unity # 23: Their Lord
Unity # 23: Their LoRd:
Theme Song: Stronger
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AUDIO of This Letter:
You are the Lord. You have highly exalted Your Son and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, may my beloved and I, just as we have obeyed to some degree in Your grace prior to this day, work out our salvation with fear and trembling; for it is You who works in us, both to will and to work for Your good pleasure. Please renew my mind by Your Spirit that I may remember what Your Spirit has taught me in the recent days. Grant us the desires of our hearts according to Your will, not our will, but Yours be done. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the Flesh.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
In last week’s letter we discussed the one way that all true believers walk in. Though they may stumble and stray, the Shepherd’s loving discipline keeps them on this narrow path until the end that they may receive the promise of eternal Life. This week’s letter is about the Nature of God as the Lord, or Kyrios (κύριος) in the Greek and Jehovah in the Old Testament. The Greek word for Lord is defined as he to whom a person belongs about which he has power of deciding, the master, the one who has control of a person, and the title of honor expressive of respect and reverence. God spoke to Moses saying that He is the Lord; He had appeared to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by His Name, Lord, He now made Himself known to Moses (Ex 6:2-3). King David prophesied that the Lord said to his Lord, “Sit at My right Hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus who was crucified (Acts 2:34-36).
As we continue, may God help us to understand what it means that Christ is our Lord, for I feel that many, even among us, do not understand what it means that Christ is our Lord, and yet the great fathers of the faith, have known and lived with Christ as their Lord. Their great faith was not an act of their own human will, but an act of the all-powerful control of God over their souls. As Stephen was stoned he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Acts 7:59). As Paul was halted by Divinity on the road to Damascus he said, “Who are You, Lord?” to which Christ answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Peter said, “We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are” (Acts 15:11). Paul and Silas told the Jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Paul said in the latter part of his life “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) and he told his fellow believers “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). Paul commanded the Romans to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom 13:14). Dear saints, the Truth that Christ is our Lord can be viewed as having two components. The first component is our response of reverence and obedience to Christ as our Lord. Because He is our Lord, we ought to revere Him and to submit to Him in everything as our Master. God tells us that there is no agreement between the temple of God and idols. For we are the temple of the living God. God Almighty tells us that He will dwell in us and walk among us. He will be our God, and we shall be His people. He commands us to come out from their midst and be separate and to not touch what is unclean. He will welcome us. He will be a Father to us, and we shall be sons and daughters to Him. (2 Cor 6:16-18) In the first component, we obey these commands out of reverence for God. We are His bondservant and there is for us but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. The first component of the Truth that Christ is our Lord is that we strive to obey Him because He is the most venerable Master to us. The second component is the power, faithfulness, and love of the Lord by which He controls absolutely everything in our lives. The willing obedience and reverence which characterize the first component are actually implanted and worked in us by our Lord. Because He is the Lord, He has the power and authority to cause us to obey and honor Him as Lord. The control of the Lord gave us the initial faith and regeneration of our souls. In the exercise of His will, He brought us forth by the Word of Truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures (Jam 1:18). For we have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Pet 1:23-25). Our Lord has power to transform us and to cause us to obey Him. He gathered us out from the evil in the world and brought us into His Kingdom. He sprinkled the clean Water of His Word on us and we have been cleansed of all our filthiness and idols. He has given us a new heart and a new spirit. He has removed the heart of stone from our flesh and given us a heart of flesh. He has put His Spirit within us and causes us to walk in His statutes, and we will be careful to observe His ordinances. (Ez 36:24-27) The Lord’s Word spreads rapidly and is glorified, and we are rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect us from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning the saints, that they will follow Christ’s commands. The Lord directs our hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess 3:1-5) For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor 5:14-15). The Lord causes us to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, so that He may establish our hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints. (1 Thess 3:12-13). Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal Covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equips us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20-21) Indeed Christ was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we live with Him because of the power of God directed towards us. For we are confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-6) The Lord Jesus Christ confirms us to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1:7-9). The God of peace sanctifies us entirely and makes our spirit, soul, and body to be persevered complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls us, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thess 5:23-24) As the doxology of Jude says, “24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude” Dear saints, this second component is the power and authority of our Lord to effect obedience, love, fruit, and progressive sanctification in all believers. By this Nature of our Lord, no one can snatch us from the Father’s Hand. No created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:39).
The omnipotent Lord refuses to leave any of His children in a life a continual unrepentant sin. For we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in us, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in us. (Rom 8:9-11). When we believe in the Gospel of our salvation, we believe in Christ as the Savior, the Messiah, the One who saves us from our sins and from the wrath of God. And yet many have not believed in Christ as the Lord, the One who will surely keep them firm in faith until the end, the One who will induce the bearing of fruit, the One who will sanctify us, the One who will give us the heart to know and obey Him, the One who will direct our hearts to love one another, the One who will cause us to obey His commands… We know that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Rom 10:9). To confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord is not only to proclaim that He is our Master and the One whom we Honor, but it is to declare our inner belief that He will control our lives, confirm our standing, and grant us the perseverance of the saints. Remember the story of the Centurion who told Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the Word and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave “Do this” and he does it.” When Jesus heard the centurion, He marveled at him, and said that in all Israel he had not found someone with such great faith. (Luke 7:6-10) Jesus clearly taught on the cost of discipleship. This discipleship is not an option for the believer, but a reality in every saved person’s post-regenerate life. He said that if anyone comes to Him, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be His disciple. And whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Him cannot be His disciple. For which one of us, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule his inability to finish building the tower. Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand. Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of us can be His disciples if we do not give up all our own possessions. You see, dear saints, justification is a gift of grace, based on the finished work of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. And yet, Jesus gave us the call of discipleship involving giving up everything and standing firm in faith until the end in order to be saved. So, today you may say that you believe in the grace of God by which you will be spared on the Day of Judgment. But how do we deal with the standards of discipleship? How can any of us muster the strength and purpose to abide by such seemingly impossible standards? Shall we put them aside, and consider them beneficial options which are not a part of every true believer’s life? By no means! For to do so would be to deny Jesus as Lord. When we trust in Christ as Lord, we are trusting that the One who calls us is faithful to bring to pass our perseverance and progressive sanctification. To believe in Christ as Savior is to believe that our sins are forgiven in His Name. And to believe in Him as Lord is to trust that He will fulfill all terms of discipleship within us. We may oft be brought to despair at our failings, but may we continue to trust in Him as Lord, the One who will rescue us from everything that hinders our ongoing faith and conformance into the Image of Christ. For we were continually straying like sheep, but now we have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Pet 3:25). We must test ourselves to see if we are in the faith and to examine ourselves. If we truly are children of God, because Christ is our Lord, we will recognize that Jesus Christ is in us. We will not fail this test, if indeed we are truly regenerated unto salvation. Now we pray to God that we will do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that we may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the Truth, but only for the Truth. (2 Cor 13:5-8)
Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). This grace and peace are from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:3) We have the spirit of faith; we believe therefore we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with all the saints. For all things are for our sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:13-18)
Dear saints, I believe that the Holy Spirit is teaching the Bride of Christ though-out the world about the promises of the New Covenant: justification, progressive sanctification, and soon our final glorification, all of which are granted to every believer by grace through the work of Christ. The heresy of the modern day church is a false doctrine which teaches that not all believers are increasingly conformed to the Image of Christ, that not all Christians continue to bear fruit, and that not all Christians respond positively to the Father’s discipline. Based on the Scriptures we have discussed in this letter and many others, this heresy denies that Jesus is Lord. The heresy says that the believer has power to choose to live a Godly life, but that it is possible for him to remain in a state of complete unrepentant rebellious sin with no growth in holiness until death and still be saved on the Day of Judgment. This heresy denies that Christ is Lord and thus states that He does not have power and desire to effect obedience and love in His Bride. Upon further examination of the Scriptures, You will find that this heresy slanders the character of our God, treats as unholy the blood of the Covenant, tramples underfoot the Son of God, and insults the Spirit of grace. For no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit and no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed” (1 Cor 12:3). Paul told Timothy that if anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicious, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that Godliness is a means of gain. (1 Tim 6:3-5) False prophets have arisen among the modern day churches who secretly introduce this destructive heresy, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the Way of Truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit some among us with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet 2:1-3) Dear saints, regardless of which church you attend, examine carefully the recently written doctrinal documents of your church, and see if this doctrine has been secretly introduced. May the Spirit of our anointing give you true discernment. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit”, and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire”. (2 Pet 2:20-22) Dear saints, sheep do not return to their vomit or wallow in the mire. Those who do so were never sheep to begin with, but rather dogs or sows. We must follow Christ’s example, and observe those such as the apostle Paul who walk according to the pattern of Truth. For many walk, of whom Paul often told us, and told us even weeping, as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their appetite, and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Phil 3:17-21)
To confess that Jesus is Lord is to proclaim that He, in His own power and by His own righteous Arm to the glory of His Name, will justify, progressively sanctify, refine, discipline, produce fruit within, transform with ever-increasing glory, conform to the Image of Christ, and eternally glorify each person of His Bride. To deny any portion of these Scriptural Truths of the Nature of our Lord is to deny that He is Lord in His fullness. Furthermore, when the regenerate hear of this sovereignty of our Lord’s Covenant, they will not become lax unto carnality but will see that His divine power has given them everything pertaining to life and Godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. The Lord and Savior has granted His children His precious and magnificent promises so that by them they may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Those who are regenerate respond to their true belief in Christ as Lord and Savior by, applying all diligence, in their faith supplying, moral excellence, in their moral excellence, knowledge, and in their knowledge, self-control, and in their self-control, perseverance, and in their perseverance, Godliness, and in their Godliness, brotherly kindness, and in their brotherly kindness, love. These qualities are granted in increasing measure to the saints that they may be rendered neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who lack these qualities are blind or short-sighted, having forgotten their purification from former sins. That is, if one does not have these qualities, he is not believing the Gospel, at least temporarily. Because Christ is the Lord of His children, they cannot continue in such a state of disbelief and will be drawn back irresistibly and repeatedly to the throne of grace. Those who do continue in such a state of disbelief without repentance until death are damned. Therefore, dear saints, we must be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing us; for as long as we practice these things, we will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to us. (2 Peter 1:1-11) The zeal, pursuit, and devotion of the souls of the regenerate in response to their belief in the sovereignty of the Lord’s Covenant shows that they truly are the children of God.
Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. (Eph 6:24)
The Impossibility of the Christian Life Sermon by Paul Washer 66 min
Gospel, Grace, Glory Conference 2013 Messages (including Washer and Baucham)
The Embracing of Both Devotions by Preethi
Love in Christ,