PASTOR DON'S CHRISTIAN ED NOTES
Jesus Christ, His Only Son, our Lord
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Sunday October 26, 2008 -

“We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen”

Today we come to the final words of this important phrase - “....Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord....”

1) WE BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD

It is difficult to open up the Old Testament without seeing the number of times the word “LORD” (spelled out in capital letters) is used to designate God. That’s because when the Old Testament Scriptures were translated from Hebrew to Greek, the word kyrios or LORD was used to replace the Hebrews word Yahweh or Jehovah.

Now, there are times in the New Testament when the word “Lord” is used as little more than a term of endearment or respect. But something very special and unique happens as the early church begins to describe Jesus the Christ. You find repeated references to Jesus Christ the Lord. In other words, Jesus is Lord, not just in the sense that the master was lord over the slave (as many people were called “Lord” in both Old and New Testaments).. Rather, Jesus Christ is repeatedly called, not only Lord, but the Lord. He is Lord in a sense that no one else is.

In other words, what you see in the New Testament is the adopting of the term that was exclusively used for Jehovah God - Yahweh - in the Old Testament and the application of that same name to Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 1:3 - “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 2:6 - “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him....”

Philippians 2:9-10 - “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth....”

I don’t want to wear you out with references but this last one from Philippians is especially important because in it Paul distinctly borrows the words of the Prophet Isaiah where God Himself specifically says the people will bow before Him. And Paul feels perfectly free to take those words spoken by Almighty God and apply them to Jesus Christ. That’s because Jesus is, in fact, the Lord, God Almighty.

But the creed doesn’t just say Jesus is the Lord. It says He is our Lord - “We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord...” So the creed does more than make a great theological claim about Jesus Christ. In reciting the creed we are acknowledging His right to rulership over our lives. These words of confession are personal. If at any point we do not flesh out our obedience to Christ then he is not our Lord but someone else’s Lord.

In fact, Jesus constantly pointed out the horrible possibility of knowing the doctrine of His Lordship without experiencing its reality in our lives. The doctrinal correctness of recognizing Christ’s divinity, while vitally important, was hardly enough to grant access to the kingdom of God. Here are some of the clearest words on this subject in the entire New Testament:

Matthew 7:21-23 - “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' [23] And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

Antioch was the place where followers of Jesus were first called Christians. It was a hub for missionary enterprise for the early church. Today there are fewer than 600 Christians in Antioch. The name of Jesus is barely a memory. If people won’t honor Jesus as Lord He will move on and find people who will. Jesus’ point couldn’t be clearer - we need to seriously buy into the Lordship of Jesus in our lives and in our church.

What does it mean to know God? In Jesus’ stern words in Matthew we discover people can do mighty delivering works in His own name and yet still be unknown in any redeeming sense. That’s an amazing statement from Jesus. And the Pharisees raise another difficult issue in what it means to know God. They thought they did knww God. They read the Scriptures. They prayed. They fasted and went to church. They talked a great deal about God. They spent much of their time processing the law and the sacrifices.

But Jesus told them flat out on more than one occasion that they didn’t know God. In spite of all their religious expertise they weren’t in touch with God. I think that describes the problem of many people today. Jesus would say they don’t know God.

And, in Christian theology, this is exactly where Jesus Christ, God the Son, comes in. He is the only way anyone can know God. He is the only way to God. He is the only source of saving truth about God. And He brings the life of God into the human heart. That’s how important Jesus is to this lost and dying world.