Sunday's Sermon

 

"Our Lord Jesus Christ"

 by Wayne L. Derber, Pastor

November 10, 2019 - Pentecost 22 - C

Sermon text: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

“…our Lord Jesus Christ…”

This is how the Apostle Paul described him.

Listen to Paul’s words again from our second Bible reading for today:

      “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,

            who loved us and through grace gave us

                        eternal comfort and good hope,

            comfort your hearts and strengthen them

                  in every good work and word.”

 

So, we are given love…

            eternal comfort…

                  and good hope.

From whom?

Paul tells us: “our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Let’s consider today

            the meaning of just these four words: “Our Lord Jesus Christ”

      and even more importantly

            the relationship that these words describe.

 

We use the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” so often

      we almost might think that this is his full name –

            Lord is his first name…

                  Jesus his middle…

                        and Christ his last.

Of course, this is not the case.

Each of these names means something very specific about him

            and our relationship with him.

 

First, let’s consider the word “Jesus.”

Today we consider Jesus to be a rather unique name.

But back in Bible times it was a fairly common one.

Jesus is a Jewish name

            which is derived from the Hebrew name “Joshua.”

It is a name which means: “God saves.”

This is a good and appropriate name

            because this is what Jesus did.

About 2000 years ago, Mary and Joseph had a baby.

However, they knew that it was not really their baby…

            it was God’s baby.

The baby had been conceived by the Holy Spirit.

 

Mary and Joseph named their baby Jesus.

This is what the angel had told them to do.

Surely they must have realized the significance of this name.

Somehow in their son

      God is some way would be saving his people.

 

It was as the angel explained to Joseph in a dream:

            “…you shall call his name Jesus,

                  for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).         

Yes, this baby would be Jesus – “God saves.”

 

Jesus was a baby, then a boy, and then a man.

He grew up in Nazareth, in the home of lowly peasants.

His father was a carpenter.

Jesus did some wonderful things in his life,

            but the gospels are clear that he was human.

Jesus sometimes got hungry…

      sometimes felt lonely…

            sometimes cried…

                  sometimes felt happy…

                        sometimes hurt…

                              and sometimes was thirsty.

Jesus was very much human…

            just like you and me.

He had the same needs and wants as we do.

He felt the same pains.

He experienced the same sorrows.

He was human, after all…

            flesh and blood, just like you and me.

 

Jesus was about thirty years old,

                  when he began his public ministry.                                                 

He gathered some disciples…

      taught the people about God…

            healed those who were sick…

                  cast out demons…

                        forgave the sinners…

                              scolded the self-righteous…

                                    welcomed the outcast…

                                          helped the lame…

                                                and fed the hungry.

But most importantly, Jesus died on a cross

            to save all humanity from their sins.

After all, his name was Jesus…

            a name that means “God saves.”

 

The second word for us to consider today is the word “Christ.”

It is a word that literally means: “the Anointed One, the Messiah.”

 

For centuries, the Jews had hoped and prayed for a Messiah.

They had hoped that God would send someone

            who would lead the people with kindness and justice.

When most of the Jewish people thought about the Messiah to come,

            they thought that he would be like King David.

 

King David had been Israel’s greatest and most beloved king.

He had united the people…

      led the people in defeating their enemies…

            ushered in a reign of peace and prosperity…

                  brought back many people to the Lord…

                        and worked for justice throughout Israel.

The people believed that God selected their kings.

God anointed their kings.

 

During many centuries of turmoil and suffering,

      many people hoped that God would send a Messiah…

            another king like David.

One day God did send the Christ… the Messiah…

                  the anointed one.

But he was no earthly king

            with a political government and reign.

Jesus was a king who would bring in

            not the kingdom of Israel,

                  but the kingdom of God.

To call Jesus “the Christ” is to call him “God’s anointed one”…

                        the long awaited Messiah.

 

He is not only Jesus… a good, kind, and loving person…

      but he is also the Christ.

He was filled with the Holy Spirit.

He was both human and God.

Jesus was, after all, the Christ… the Messiah…

            God’s anointed one.

 

Third, we call him “Lord.”

Lord is not a word that we use very often in the English language

            apart from referring to Jesus.

About the only remnant we have of the word “lord” nowadays

            is in reference to “landlord.”

 

A landlord is one who owns the land…the property.

A tenant is one who rents the property from the landlord.

But it is the landlord who is the superior one in this relationship.

The landlord owns the property…

            decides what is done with the property…

                  and receives rent for use of the property.

The word “landlord” is close to describing what the word “lord”

            really means.

 

It is close to the relationship that

            an employee has with an employer…

            or an athlete with a coach…

            or a child with a parent…

            or a private with an officer…

            or a student with a teacher.

It is clear that it is a relationship of a person

            to someone who is their superior.

 

Of course, any relationship can be abusive and destructive,

      but we have in mind here

            a good and healthy relationship

                  to someone who is in a superior position to us.

Perhaps one of the best examples of understanding

                  what a “lord” is

      is to think of the relationship

            between a servant and a master.

 

To call Jesus our Lord

      is very much like a servant calling a person his master.

We, of course, are not too eager to be servants.

We would much rather be masters…

            much rather be the ones in charge…

                  much rather have things done our way.

We want to do as Frank Sinatra once sang: “I did it my way.”

 

But as Christians, we are not the master.

We are rather the servants.

Jesus and he alone is the Lord… the Master.

He alone is the one that we are to serve.

 

Dr. Graham Scroggie, a gifted preacher of some years ago,

      once preached on the Lordship of Christ

            at a huge convention hall in England.

A great speaker, he spoke powerfully.

After the crowd had left,

            he saw a young college student seated alone.

He went to her, asking if he could help.

“Oh, Dr. Scroggie,” she blurted out,

      “your message was so compelling,

            but I am afraid to truly make Christ Lord,

                  afraid of what he will ask of me!”

Wisely, Graham Scroggie turned his worn Bible

      to the story of Peter at Joppa (Acts 10),

            where God had taught him

                  about his racial and cultural discrimination.

Three times God brought down a sheet filled

            with animals unclean to the Jews

                  and said,

      “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

Three times Peter responded, “No, Lord.”

Tenderly, Dr. Scroggie said,

      “You know it is possible to say ‘No,’

                  and it is possible to say ‘Lord,’

            but it is not really possible to say, ‘No, Lord.’

      I’m going to leave my Bible with you and this pen

            and go into another room and pray for you,

                  and I want you to cross out

                        either the word ‘No’ or the word ‘Lord.’”

He did so,

      and when in prayer he felt that the matter had been settled,

            he slipped back into the auditorium.

The young woman was weeping quietly,

      and peering over her shoulder

            he saw the word ‘No’ crossed out.

Softly she was saying, “He’s Lord, He’s Lord, He’s Lord.”

Such is the stuff of holy obedience”  (Richard Foster, page 95, Freedom of Simplicity).

 

When Jesus is our Lord, then he is our master.

We are seeking to do his will…

            listening carefully to his words…

                  trusting the promises he offers…

                        and following him with our whole life.

 

“What would Jesus do?” is a popular saying.

This is exactly what people who have Jesus as the Lord of their life

            seek to answer day in and day out.

If Jesus is the Lord of our lives,

      then in congregational activities we are seeking to do

            what Jesus would do.

If Jesus is the Lord of our lives,

      then in our daily labors

            we are seeking to do what Jesus would do.

If Jesus is the Lord of our lives,

      then in our relationships with other people

            we are seeking to do what Jesus would do.

 

Jesus once told a parable about servants

            obediently carrying out the work of their master.

The parable ends with the servants saying:

      “We are unworthy servants;

            we have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10).

Such is the attitude of all for whom Jesus is the Lord… the Master…

            of their lives.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

A fourth word of this phrase is the word “our…”

            “…our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

A personal relationship with Jesus is everything.

It is quite one thing to know in our mind

            all the facts and actions and sayings of Jesus.

It is quite another thing to have Jesus be ours.

 

All this church stuff, all this trying to be religious,

      all of this means absolutely nothing… absolutely nothing

            unless we have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Nothing else matters

            unless he is our Lord…

                  unless he is our Jesus…

                        unless he is our Christ.

 

And to make it even more personal, each one of us

                  should be able to say:

      “He is my Lord.”

      “He is my Jesus.”

      “He is my Christ.”

 

I hope that all of us here today can say:

            “He is our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,

            who loved us and through grace gave us

                        eternal comfort and good hope,

            comfort your hearts and strengthen them

                  in every good work and word.”

 

Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ wants to love us…

            wants to give us comfort…

                  wants to give us hope.

But first, he must be for us…

            our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Amen.