JESUS IS LORD
Dr. Chuck DeVane, Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
November 24, 2019
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
— Colossians 1:15-20, ESV
I am too old to listen to rap music. I do not have any social media accounts with which to track the latest celebrities. Therefore, when the news hit that Kanye West had become a Christian, I did not realize that this could be the biggest conversation story since Saul of Tarsus.
West has held several alter egos in his past, not the least of which is Yeezus, with which he pictured himself as some sort of messiah and put forth the song, “I am a God.” Blasphemy in the record quickly gives way to lyrics about women and sex that move from the gratuitous to the grotesque. Fortunately for Kanye, the Kardashians and the Lord stand willing to forgive.
Judging from his latest album, there is hope that Mr. West is sincere in his commitment to Christ. The title is “Jesus is King,” a good assertion, but admittedly one that Pontius Pilate made just before he crucified Jesus. The last track on the album is a better profession of faith, “Jesus is Lord.” Anyone can say Jesus is King, or Jesus is Cool, or Jesus is my Homeboy, and use Christ for some misappropriated approbation. But only a real Christian can claim “Jesus is Lord,” mean it, and live like it.
Jesus is the One True God
The first lesson the Bible teaches about God concerns His relationship to all of creation. “In the beginning, God created …” (ref. Genesis 1:1). This Christological statement by Paul in Colossians identifies the Son of God as the builder and the architect. Jesus is the origin (“before all things”) the prototype (“firstborn”) to which all things must fit and serve, and the actual maker of “all things [that] were created through Him and for Him.” Jesus is the Creator. Jesus is the one, true, and living God.
Seeing Christ as Creator throws some people a curve. We tend to think of God the Father in that role, or perhaps attribute the powers that be to the power of God the Holy Spirit. Trinitarian theology, which is foundational to Christianity, affirms that what the One did, all Three have done, for God is Three in One. But one day, every human being will see the One who made them and there will not be three thrones. The One to whom one day we will see with our own eyes and all give account will be the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul writes twice in the book of Colossians, “In Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (ref. also 2:9). God the Father is Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is, well, Spirit. God the Son has a physical body, the “icon” of God and the image from which we have been created. You will see Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, when you die or when He returns to earth, and you will see Him as either your condemning Judge or your eternal Savior.
If Kanye had met Christ face to face a few years ago, I suspect he would have been in big trouble, like most people. Most people have created their own god to cater to them and give them glory. In reality, God has created man to honor and obey Him and give God glory. Kanye’s past posited a god who created all things for Kanye to enjoy, including women to abuse, money to waste, and language to pollute. Now, if Kanye is serious, he realizes that there is a true and living God who made things for His glory and the eternal good of those who come to Him in sincere repentance and faith, and His name is Jesus, not Yeezus.
If Jesus is Lord means Jesus is God, and it does, then are you trying to fit a fictional god into your plans, or are you diligently seeking to find the true and living God and obey His plan for your life?
Jesus is the One True Leader
Jesus Christ is Lord in you if you acknowledge Him as the one, true, and living God, and you submit to Him as the undisputed, one, true leader of your life. If you are selfish, you live your life for yourself. If you are a slave, you live your life for someone else. If you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you live for the Lord, and Jesus Christ is Lord.
Such Lordship works its way out corporately and personally, for salvation is both a corporate and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As Roman Catholics rightly say, there is no salvation apart from the church. And as the Protestant Reformation proclaimed, there is no salvation apart from personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul presses here in Colossians that to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord is to accept that “He is the head of the body, the church.” Though Jesus is God and Lord over all, He makes no claim in the New Testament to be the head of any state, corporation, or college football team. It is the church He loves as a bride, the church he purchased with His own blood, and the church to which He assigned Himself — not the pope nor the queen of England nor the president of the Southern Baptist Convention nor the pastor of this local congregation — the top spot. If Christ so loves and leads the local assembly of believers gathered for worship and scattered for witness, what should your relationship to the church be like?
Here is where we must really pray for Kanye. Before, when he was anti-Christ, he was totally separated from the church. He will be tempted now to stay away from a true, biblical church, or perhaps the temptation will be to create his own church and ordain himself pastor, deacon, and leader.
But to say Jesus is Lord is to say that He is the Leader. He has ordained churches to be local assemblies of believers, with requirements for ordained pastors and deacons. He has commanded Christians not to forsake these assemblies. He has given us orders for regular public worship. Those who know and love Jesus must be engaged with the bride, the church, too, and love the church like the Lord Jesus Christ loves the church.
And it is not just church life where Jesus must lead, it is all of life. “In everything He [is] preeminent.” Christ commands first place in your church life, your home life, your work life, your recreational life, your food life, your drink life, your music life, your sports life, your every area of life. If Christ is not first and honored in it, then get out of it. If He is first place, then take your place in every area of life where Jesus Christ is Lord!
Jesus is the One True Savior
There is one more thing that Paul presents in this passage as a requirement to receive the benefits of naming and knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. It is the thing that makes Christ the true center of Christianity. It is the way in which we come to Him as Lord and Leader. It is what distinguishes true Christians from non-Christians. It is the cross of Christ.
I have noticed through the years that a lot of celebrities, especially music celebrities, like to wear crosses, from Jay-Z, aka J-Hov, to Kanye’s Yeezus, to a lady born with the name Louise who prefers to call herself Madonna. I really do not know why, since very few celebrities really believe or promote the historic and biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead, they deny there are such things as sins, they deny the need of substitutionary salvation, and want to believe heaven is a universal birthright or see hell as an eternal ride on an all night party bus. Yet, they wear crosses.
Wearing a cross has no bearing on whether or not one is a Christian. But, “making peace by the blood of the cross” most certainly does. Christ and His cross are “the way, the truth, and the life” and there is no other way to be saved.
Something strange happened shortly after the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Creator, created us. We sinned and rebelled against Him. Theologically and personally speaking, sin separates us from God, creating estrangement and even enmity. This is unfair to God, of course, who deserves and demands to be the Creator Who is also the Leader and Lord. So God, in a grand plan made before creation and before creatures sinned against Him, constructed the cross.
It is not a cross, like one you can wear in your ear or around your neck. It is the cross, erected about two thousand years ago on a hill just outside the city of Jerusalem. It is the cross where Jesus bled, the cross where Jesus died, the cross from which He was taken and buried in a borrowed tomb, only to rise again on the third day. It is the cross from which our Creator and Lord offers peace to you, in the form of forgiveness of sins and eternal life, a life that begins when you accept Him as Lord, and a life that will enter high gear then you see Him, face to face. But it all depends upon what you do with the cross.
Kanye wore crosses in his previous life, even depicted a cross upside down in his promotional materials. That was before, but this is now. I hope and pray Kanye has bowed before the cross and made his peace with God and that he will wear the cross, not necessarily on his body, but in his heart forever.
Wherever, and in whomever, Jesus Christ is truly believed and followed, there you fill find the one true God. There you will find the only true leadership that can take you all the way to Heaven. There you will find the cross and complete salvation. There you will know that Jesus Christ is Lord!
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Dr. Charles F. "Chuck" DeVane, Jr., is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His weekly sermon article, "The Gospel Truth," has been published in newspapers in Arkansas and Georgia. Dr. DeVane is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in the pastorate for over 20 years. Contact Pastor Chuck at PastorChuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org