One way to understand how you are to live for Christ as you look to the future is by looking back and thinking about what you heard, learned, accepted and embraced when you first became a Christian.
Like the fact that you received Jesus as Lord.
There’s a sense in which the central message of the Bible is that God is Lord. The term itself is used over 7000 times. We go to the Old Testament, and throughout we continually find God saying, “Look I, YHWH, am Lord.”
In fact, the basic confession of the Old Testament is found in Deuteronomy 6:4,5, you’ve probably heard of it, it’s called the Shema. It’s one of a couple Bible verses a devout Jew would recite twice daily.
You know what it says?
“Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Who is your God? He is the Lord.
Turn to the New Testament and as one author explains, “the confession Jesus is Lord summarizes the message of the New Testament.”
Acts 2:36, Peter’s coming to the end of the very first sermon recorded after Jesus died and rose again, and you know what his punch line is?
“Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him [Jesus] both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Paul sums up what it means to become a Christian like this; Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved…”
1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
All of history, in fact, is leading up to a point where every single person is going to see that Jesus is Lord.
Paul explains in Philippians 2:9-11 that God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and “that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
So obviously when we received Jesus as Lord, this is an idea that has special significance.
Way back at the beginning of our Christian life we said we believed Jesus is God. That’s what a person is saying when he calls Jesus Lord.
It is interesting, you don’t read very often in the New Testament – Jesus is God. But we do find all the time – Jesus is Lord. The term Lord is actually the most common title for Jesus. Paul alone uses it over 230 times to describe him and that’s probably because when you read Jesus is Lord, you are actually reading a stronger affirmation of his deity than if you just read Jesus is God.
The Greek word for God is Theos. We don’t read in the New Testament very often Jesus is Theos – I think just four times or something like that. But over and over we read Jesus is Kupios – Jesus is Lord. That’s because Theos – it’s the Greek equivalent to the generic Hebrew word for God – elohim. But kupios is most often used in the New Testament as the Greek equivalent to a very specific Hebrew word for God – the name by which the one true God chose to reveal Himself – YHWH.
The name by which God describes himself in the Old Testament is YHWH. That’s a Hebrew word. In the Greek-speaking world, instead of the Hebrew word YHWH, the writers of Scripture used the Greek word for Lord. When we read Jesus is Lord, you know what you are reading, “Jesus is YHWH.”
This Jesus that you meet in the New Testament, this Jesus that the apostles proclaimed, He’s the same Lord you read about in the Old Testament.
When confessed Jesus as Lord, you know what we were saying? We were saying as someone has written that “Jesus shares the name and the nature, the holiness, the authority, power, majesty and eternity of the one and only true God.”
Which is huge.
And it obviously has got to have implications for the way a person lives his life. That’s the point.
If you need an explanation of what it looks like to live for Christ, you only needed to think about what you embraced when you called Him Lord.
If you have received Jesus as Lord, you will seek to live your life out submitting to His authority.
You can’t just say that He is Lord and then have Him somewhere on the side of your life – theologically or practically.
I’m talking about the way a person thinks.
That their thoughts belong to Jesus. Knowing that He has a right to tell them the way He wants them to think, and that they need to do everything they can to think the way He wants them to think.
I’m talking about the way a person makes priorities.
Believing that when it comes to the priorities in life, Jesus gets to say what should be their priorities and what should not.
I’m talking about the way a person talks.
Accepting that their words don’t belong to them. That they need to speak the way their master wants them to. In their families, before they say whatever it is that they want to say do their spouse, they first of all submit to the Lord.
I’m talking about the way a person makes decisions.
Actively seeking to figure out what Jesus wants them to do by studying His Word and talking to godly believers and praying. Not just being willing to do what Jesus says until is actually difficult, until it requires sacrifice – but realizing they need to do what He says not just when it is easy, but also when it is difficult.
As you think about how to live for Christ in the future, make sure the way you are living is lining up with the basic truths you said you believed about Christ in the past. As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him!