Today we continue on in our sermon series on the Apostles Creed and we dive into the second section. And when I say section I mean that whole second part of the creed that talks about Jesus. Now I could preach a whole sermon series just on this one part of the creed. However, I have one week and so I want us to focus on one word that I feel embodies and defines everything else we believe Jesus did, and that is Lord.
Namely the line at the beginning of this section,
“…in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”
As I said I chose this piece of this section to guide our discussion because it is the statement of faith in Christ, and it embodies the rest of the statements that are made about Jesus in the context of the rest of the Creed.
So, therefore, our question becomes, what does it mean to proclaim that Jesus Christ is our Lord?
If we are to acknowledge that all the actions named in the rest of the creed pertaining to Jesus qualifies him to be defined as our Lord, and by acknowledgment God incarnate, what does that mean?
Greg Boyd a Pastor and Theologian in Minnesota says,
“According to Wester’s Dictionary, a “lord” is one who “has power and authority over others.” I don’t think the Greek concept of “lord” (kyrios
) as applied to Jesus Christ is very far from this. So, when a person confesses that “Jesus is Lord, ” they are confessing that Jesus “has power and authority” or them. And for a person to confess that someone “has power and authority” over them means they submit to them.” (http://reknew.org/2014/07/christ-is-lord-what-does-it-mean/
This word Lord being attributed directly to power and authority over others gives us a picture of the relationship we are called to have with Christ, and by our understanding the way we have a relationship with things of this world too.
In our passage today Paul uses this word Kyrios when he says, “because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Paul uses this term Lord because it is part of the Jewish tradition. Kyrios was the preferred translation of the Yahweh, the Hebrew word we talked about last week when the Hebrew Scriptures were being translated into Greek in the 3rd Century BC. As part of that tradition which Paul grew up in he knew that this word attributed Christ as part of who God is, and in that gave Christ the power and authority over our lives.
This term Lord signifies not just a confession, but an act of commitment too. As I have said it is not enough to just confess, but Paul tells us we must also believe in our heart as well. But what does that phrase mean? Because I think when you look at our contemporary church we have failed to do this in many ways. We think if we speak confession with our lips we can do what we want, or sometimes even what society demands of us and be fine in terms of our eternal salvation.
However, we hear Jesus speak in Matthew 7 saying,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 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 deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Even Jesus notes it takes more than just a confession. Therefore, to truly believe in our hearts means that we live it. It means that when we say Jesus Christ is our Lord we pledge our whole self to him. We pledge our allegiance to him and to the Kingdom that he speaks of…the Kingdom of God that is now and is to come. The problem is we try and say, “well I can give this to Christ and then give this somewhere else.” Most of us can say we don’t put things before Christ and proclaim Christ is Lord, but do we truly seek to give Christ that full belief of our hearts? Or do we allow other things to creep in?
I know I have been and am often guilty of this much like I am sure many of us have been as well. Because we proclaim Jesus is Lord means we pledge allegiance to Christ. When we say the Apostles Creed that is what we are doing…we are pledging allegiance, and to pledge allegiance to another body or another person is against the relationship Christ calls us to be in with him. Paul is not merely wanting us to say the words needed for salvation but is calling us to live a life worthy of salvation. That means that we cannot simply just say the words of this creed and in our minds mouth words we don’t actually believe, but we must say these words and have them mean something when we walk out of those doors. And we will get this wrong sometimes, but we have to recognize our wrongs and work on getting better.
Boyd ends his commentary on this thought saying,
“To confess Christ as Lord isn’t a pledge that one will at all times be perfectly submitted to Christ. But it is a pledge of commitment that one will seek to cultivate a life of submission to Christ. And if this pledge isn’t present, the confession is devoid of meaning.” (http://reknew.org/2014/07/christ-is-lord-what-does-it-mean/
We must not only confess, but back up our confession and live according to that confession. As you consider this section of the creed, as you declare Jesus Christ as your Lord, and not just God’s only Son but also part of God imagine what that looks like to live out that belief. Do your actions, do your loyalties, do your allegiances call to Christ, or do you place these values on things that are not of Christ or God.
So confess and believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord.