The religious world, including Christians, are so divided it is hard to focus on unity. Yet, if we are to be true to the Lord and his word we must work to have unity among the followers of Jesus. When Paul said in Ephesians 4:1-6 that we are to “Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” the word translated “Endeavor” comes from a horse racing term. It means to extend every muscle, to stretch one self out as far as they can. It is the picture of a horse giving it’s last surge of energy and extending it’s nose to get across the finish line ahead of the other horses. The point is obvious that we must really give our all to having unity among Christ-followers.
But unity of the Spirit has to be built on a solid foundation. If we all united on the wrong ideas and wrong worship and service, it wouldn’t make it any less wrong. Paul laid down seven foundations on which that unity must be based. “There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith and one baptism, one God and father of all who is above all, in all and through all.” We’ve looked at the one body, one Spirit and one hope. Today let’s focus on the “One Lord.”
The word translated “Lord” means master, ruler or the one in charge. It was used as a term of respect at times, almost like “Sir” or “Mr.”. But it was usually used of a ruler, such as the king. Since Jesus came to set up His kingdom among men it is natural that he would be called, “Lord” and “King.” Even at his birth the angel of the Lord told the shepherds in the field that he was bringing them good news of great joy which would be to all people. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ, the Lord.” In Micah 5:2 when the prophet foretold the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem he said that from Bethlehem would go forth the one who would be ruler of his people.
For a person to be in the kingdom of Christ demands that they submit to Jesus Christ as the king of their life, the Lord and Master over them. It seems to me that we often try to turn the tables on the Lord and want to be the Masters ourselves and have Jesus as our servant doing everything we ask him to do. Prayer is too often seen as a customer service line where the worker has been instructed that the “Customer is always right.” But, if Jesus is Lord, our place is to serve him. Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 23 that they were not to call another person, rabbi, teacher, master or Lord. He is the Lord and their isn’t another.
Peter said in his sermon on Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2:36, “This same Jesus you have crucified has been made both Lord and Christ.” In Romans 10:9-10 Paul said, “If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised him from the dead we shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Think of some of the implications of Jesus being the one Lord. It means he is the single source of authority. In Matthew 28:18 he said, “All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth.” It is an affirmation of this point that Paul makes in Colossians 1:18, “He is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning the firstborn from the dead that in all things he might have the preeminence.” We may have all kinds of discussions about people having authority in the church, but the real authority all belongs to Jesus Christ. While Peter will describe elders as being under-shepherds in I Peter 5:1-5 to the chief Shepherd, Jesus, there is never a time when anyone, elder, preacher, bishop or pastor who is ever referred to as “Under-lords.” As a matter of fact Peter even says that elder aren’t to “Lord it over God’s heritage.”
When elders work in the area assigned to them by God it is always in areas of opinion, liberty and freedom. They aren’t in the law making business. Their decisions aren’t passed down to the congregation as laws for them to follow. Instead they are challenged to live in a way that is an example to the believers. The only authority any man can have in the church is that of a godly life that people willingly follow. Sometimes we act as if an eldership can determine what the correct interpretation is of some Scripture and give the declaration of how it is to be followed in a congregation. But the Bible teaches that all believers are priest of God with their own right to study and learn God’s will and determine what they understand the Scriptures to say. One may interpret Scripture wrongly, but everyone is to be an interpreter of Scripture. Peter said some who were unlearned and unstable twisted Scripture to their own destruction. We should prayerfully study asking God to help us see what it really means instead of trying to put our own stamp on a Scripture and thinking one opinion on the matter is as good as another. Ultimately we will be judged by what Scripture really says and means, no matter what our understanding may be.
Another implication of the Lordship of Jesus is if he is our Lord, our place is to submit to him and do what he says. Jesus asked, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) In the sermon on the mount recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7 he said, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of God but he that does the will of my father in heaven. For many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name, in your name cast out demons and in your name done many wonderful works? Then I will profess to them, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23) The commands and teachings of Jesus aren’t a potluck at which I can go down the line and choose which foods I will eat. The whole of God’s word is truth and if he is Lord we will submit to all of his teachings.
If Jesus is the one lord, then we will not allow anyone else to take on the place of lordship. In the book of 3rd John we are introduced to a man named Diotrephes who loved to have first place in that church. When John sent some people there, he threw them out. John’s message to his friend Gaius was to not follow such an evil person but follow Demetrius who was a good man.
The right response upon learning that Jesus is Lord is that given by 3,000 people on Pentecost when they heard Peter say Jesus had been made both Lord and Christ. They were cut to the heart and cried out to the apostles, “What shall we do?” When we learn what the Lord wants from us, our place is to do it not to try to find a loophole that allows us to escape.
If Jesus reigns as Lord and king in your life, there is no room on the throne for you to get on with him. But there is plenty of room for servants who submit to His lead.