Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes, Part 1 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #36) #VA5

The Bible says in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Jerry Bridges. He said: “We could not take one step in the pursuit of holiness if God in His grace had not first delivered us from the dominion of sin and brought us into union with His risen Son. Salvation is by grace and sanctification is by grace.”

Our topic today is titled Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes (Part 1) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

The Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 commands us to make disciples. This involves two activities—baptizing and teaching. Baptizing is a single act; teaching is a continuous process. Disciples have to be baptized (an evidence of salvation—therefore, one may say that disciples must first be saved); then they have to be taught over and over to obey (observe all things).

In New Testament times, baptism served as one of the clearest proofs that a person had accepted Christ. Baptism was not entered into casually or routinely as is often the case today. Although it is clear in the New Testament that baptism does not save, to be baptized was to signify in no uncertain terms that one had received Christ and was also associating himself with the Christian group, the church. Of course, there may have been exceptions; that is, there may have been some who were baptized who had not been born again. But normally, a baptized person was a saved person; and a saved person was a baptized person. This is why our Lord’s Great Commission can use “baptism” as equivalent to “salvation.”

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What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 4 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #27) #VA4

The Bible says in John 11:25-26: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

This is the fifth of Jesus’ great “I am” revelations. The Resurrection and the Life of the new Age is present right now because Jesus is the Lord of life. Jesus’ words about life and death are seemingly paradoxical. A believer’s death issues in new life. In fact, the life of a believer is of such a quality that he will never die spiritually. He has eternal life, and the end of physical life is only a sleep for his body until the resurrection unto life. At death the spiritual part of a believer, his soul, goes to be with the Lord.

Today’s quote is from A.W. Pink. He said: “The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Saviour from Hell rather than a Saviour from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 4) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Consider two important sayings of our Lord, spoken one after the other, as recorded in Luke 14:16-33.

The first tells the story of a banquet for which great and elaborate preparation had been made. Many had been invited by the host, and when all the preparations had been completed, a servant was sent to tell those who had been invited that they should now come. But those invited began to make excuses—a real-estate purchase that needed to be seen, oxen that needed to be proved, and a new wife that the husband needed to be with. Remember that the people had been invited ahead of time so that they had ample opportunity to take care of their personal matters during the time the banquet was being prepared.

The host became angry and told his servant to bring in those who were considered inferior. Still the banquet room was not filled, so others were invited from the roads and lanes where the poor and vagrants lived. (This latter group represents Gentiles who were offered salvation after the Jewish people rejected Christ.)

What clear and repeated displays of the host’s grace shine through this parable. He gave three distinct invitations, and a reminder to the first group of guests. So actually four invitations were issued. In spite of rejection, the host continued to invite people to his banquet. No strings were attached, except to come. No price needed to be paid. No conditions were involved, except to come. Indeed, the host told his servant to compel or persuade people to come. He wanted others to enjoy what he had prepared and to enjoy it without cost to them (though at great cost to himself).

But there was a warning that the gracious invitation would not be renewed, so that those who gave excuses would have no further opportunity.

The teaching that follows stands in sharp contrast. Whereas the story of the banquet says “come” and “free,” the next says “stop” and “costly.” What is free? The invitation to enter the Father’s kingdom. What is costly? A certain kind of discipleship.

What kind of discipleship? In this account, discipleship that involved attaching oneself to the Lord, leaving family and possessions to be with Him wherever He went. Discipleship that would involve standing against great opposition.

So the Lord warned the multitudes who were attracted to Him too hastily but halfheartedly that it cost something to be His disciple. It cost: (1) supreme loyalty to Him even above family, (2) willingness to die for Him, and (3) literally forsaking everything (not just being willing to do so) to be able to accompany Jesus from place to place. The word forsake means “to say farewell.” One would have to do that at least for the time that he left home to follow Christ. And apparently some had given up possessions and employment in order to hear and learn from our Lord as He and they traveled from place to place.

To emphasize how carefully such a decision should be made, the Lord gave two illustrations: (1) the man who began to build and could not finish because he failed to plan wisely, and (2) the king who carefully considered the strength of his enemy before deciding whether to fight or sue for peace. Likewise, the decision to follow (and this meant literally to go from place to place with the Lord) was not to be made lightly, halfheartedly, or hastily.

The contrast between these two sayings of our Lord could scarcely be more vivid.

Come to the banquet. It’s free.

Don’t rush into discipleship. It’s costly.

Today the Lord Jesus, the God-man, offers His feast of salvation freely, and He can do so because He is God who became man. The same Lord Jesus, through many New Testament writers, asks those who have believed to submit to His mastery over their lives. Some do to a great extent. Some do to a lesser extent. No one does it fully and always. But He was, is, and always will be Lord whether He is acknowledged as the God-man Savior or whether He is acknowledged as Master of the believer’s life. He is Lord.

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #26) #VA3

The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

What all will confess is that Jesus Christ is Lord. This, the earliest Christian creed, meant that Jesus Christ is Yahweh-God. One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be — very God of very God. Unfortunately, for many it will be too late for the salvation of their souls. The exalted place the Savior now occupies and the universal bowing in the future in acknowledgement of His lordship is all to the glory of God the Father.

Today’s quote is from Horatius Bonar. He said: “The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting-point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, ‘Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee.’ It says at once, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.’”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

JESUS AS LORD OF MY LIFE

Is Jesus not also to be Lord of my life? Of course He should be, sometimes is, and sometimes is partly so.

The cliché “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all” is simply that—a cliché and not a biblical or theological truth. He can be Lord of aspects of my life while I withhold other areas of my life from His control. Peter illustrated that as clearly as anyone that day on the rooftop when the Lord asked him to kill and eat unclean animals. He said, “By no means, Lord.” At that point was Christ Lord of all of Peter? Certainly not. Then must we conclude that He was not Lord at all in relation to Peter’s life? I think not.

Dedication is a call to believers. On occasion an individual may face and even settle both the question of salvation and dedication at the same time. Paul apparently did, for on the road to Damascus when he realized that Jesus was alive, he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” The reply, “Go on into Damascus,” of course had nothing to do with salvation but with obedience to the one who had become Paul’s Savior.

Actually, it seems that many believers do not settle the matter of the personal, subjective lordship of Christ over the years of their lives until after they have been born again. The New Testament appeals for surrender or dedication are addressed to believers. Romans 12:1 says, “I urge you, brethren, … to present your bodies.” Earlier in the same letter, Paul asked those who had been baptized into Christ (obviously only believers could be described that way) to present themselves to God. Those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (believers) are exhorted to glorify God in their bodies. James too urges his brothers to submit to God.

These calls to dedication would be meaningless if it were true that one had to receive Christ as Lord of his life as a part of the requirement for being saved. Saved people need to be dedicated, but dedication is not a requirement for being saved. Neither is willingness to be dedicated an issue in salvation.

SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT

Let me ask a few questions that may put these matters of Christ’s lordship in better focus.

1. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord God?

2. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord/Master of my life?

3. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without being willing to place my life under His control?

4. Can a dedicated Christian take back part or all of his commitment?

5. If so, does he (or she) lose salvation?

We have already addressed some of these questions; others will be answered later.

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #25) #VA2

The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

In keeping with Christ’s exaltation and high name… every knee will one day bow and acknowledge Him for who He really is. Paul stressed the same truth in his letter to the Romans. Both instances reflect Isaiah’s prophecy of the singular greatness of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The extent of Christ’s sovereign authority is delineated in the three- fold phrase, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. No intelligent being — whether angels and saints in heaven; people living on the earth; or Satan, demons, and the unsaved in hell — in all of God’s universe will escape. All will bow either willingly or they will be made to do so.

Today’s quote is from Neil T. Anderson. He said: “The inner change, justification, is effected at the moment of salvation. The outer change in the believer’s daily walk, sanctification, continues throughout life. But the progressive work of sanctification is only fully effective when the radical, inner transformation of justification is realized and appropriated by faith.”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

But what is the meaning of Lord in Romans 10:9-10?

There Paul writes: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Do these verses mean that one must confess Jesus as Master of his life in order to be saved? Unquestionably, Lord means “sovereign,” but is Paul saying in the passage that in order to be saved a person must receive Christ as the sovereign of the years of his life on earth? One writer says that “the saviourhood of Christ is actually contingent on obedience to His Lordship.” If contingent means “dependent on” (as the dictionary indicates), then the statement seems to mean that Christ’s being my Savior depends on my obedience to His lordship or mastery over my life.

Another writer, under the heading “Leading Others to Christ,” writes,

Third, there is something for you to do to be saved.
(1) You must repent … Acts 3:19
(2) You must put your faith in Jesus … Eph. 2:8
(3) You must surrender to Jesus as your Lord (boss) … Romans 10:9.

Does Lord mean “boss” or “master of one’s personal life” in the passage? Not according to Everett Harrison, who writes:

“Jesus is Lord” was the earliest declaration of faith fashioned by the church. This great truth was recognized first by God in raising his Son from the dead—an act then acknowledged by the church and one day to be acknowledged by all…. Paul’s statement in Romans 10:9-10 is misunderstood when it is made to support the claim that one cannot be saved unless he makes Jesus the Lord of his life by a personal commitment. Such a commitment is most important; however, in this passage, Paul is speaking of the objective lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved. Intimately connected as it was with the resurrection, which in turn validated the saving death; it proclaimed something that was true no matter whether or not a single soul believed it and built his life on it.

Notice Harrison’s careful distinction between “objective lordship” and, by implication, “subjective lordship.” The former labels Christ by virtue of who He is, and is true whether or not anyone ever acknowledges it. The latter relates to that lordship or master relation Christ may have to the believer, and is true only when someone acknowledges it to be so for him or her.

William G. T. Shedd, a well-known American Calvinistic theologian, in commenting on the word Lord in Romans 10:9, says:

The word kurios is the Septuagint rendering of Jehovah, and any Jew who publicly confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was “Lord,” would be understood to ascribe the divine nature and attributes to him. It is also the Old Testament term for the Son of God, and the Messiah; and when Christ himself asserted that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, he was charged with blasphemy, and with equalizing himself with God.

B. F. Westcott, one of the foremost Greek scholars of the nineteenth century, in commenting on 1 John 4:3, wrote:

To “confess Jesus,” which in connection can only mean to confess “Jesus as Lord”, is to recognize divine sovereignty in One who is truly man, or, in other words, to recognize the union of the divine and human in one Person, a truth which finds its only adequate expression in the fact of the Incarnation.

Two other well-recognized scholars, writing on the meaning of the “word” in Romans 10:8, say:

“The subject of the rema [word] which is preached by the Apostles is the person of Christ and the truth of His Resurrection … The power of Christ lies in these two facts … His Divine nature and His triumph over death.”

Explaining the phrase “Jesus is Lord,” the NIV Study Bible note says:

The earliest Christian confession of faith, probably used at baptisms. In view of the fact that “Lord” (Greek Kyrios) is used over 6,000 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) to translate the name of Israel’s God (Yahweh), it is clear that Paul, when using the word of Jesus, is ascribing deity to him.

To sum up: Romans 10:9-10 is not dealing with the question of the subjective lordship of Christ, but with His deity and His resurrection. To believe that Jesus (the man) is Lord (God) and that He is alive (which includes the fact that He died) results in righteousness and salvation. Notice too that this interpretation is held by several generations of scholars who represent differing schools of theological thought.

What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? Part 1 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #24) #VA1

The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

God the Father is the subject in these verses, whereas in verses 6-8 God the Son was the subject. Christ’s obedience was followed by the Father’s exaltation of Him to the place of highest honor. God exalted and honored the One men despised and rejected.

Christ’s exaltation and His receiving a name that is above every name was the answer to His high-priestly prayer in John 17:5. The exaltation refers to His resurrection, ascension, and glorification at the Father’s right hand. His “name” is not merely a title; it refers to His person and to His position of dignity and honor.

Today’s quote is from William Booth. He said: “I must assert in the most unqualified way that it is primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the salvation of the body.”

Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 1) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Even in English the word “Lord” admits several meanings. Facetiously, a wife might refer to her husband as her “lord and master.” In such a phrase the two terms “lord” and “master” are synonymous. Her husband is her master.

If I were to have an audience with, say, an ecclesiastical bishop, I might be briefed to address him as “my lord bishop.” “Lord” is simply an honorific title of respect that I would be glad to use. But since I do not belong to the church of which that man is a bishop, I am not acknowledging him as my master in any sense. I take no orders from him. I respect him for his position, and that is the sense in which I would address him as “my lord.”

When a circumstance seems inexplicable or entrapping, in our anxiety or helplessness we might cry in desperation, “Lord, help,” or in resignation, “The Lord knows.” Either exclamation acknowledges the superiority and perhaps sovereignty of God in that particular circumstance.

When I pray to the Lord, I often and usually unconsciously blend several meanings of the word. I recognize I am praying to a superior. Because I am a believer I acknowledge that superior as God. Usually, but regrettably not always, I realize that He is my master and in control of the matters about which I am praying. I often include the ideas of Friend, Comforter, Guide, and so forth when I pray to the Lord.

Actually you cannot say “lord” or “Lord” without including the meaning of superior or sovereign, even though you personally may have no relation to that lord and to his superiority or rule.

Of course Jesus is Lord. He is Lord because of who He is. He is also Lord of creation, Lord of history, Lord of salvation, Lord of the church, Lord of disciples, and Lord of the future. But even if there were no creation, no history, no salvation, no church, no disciples, and no future, He was, is, and always will be Lord.

But creation, history, and disciples do exist. How is He Lord to them? He is Lord in various ways and relationships. To the sinful woman He met at Jacob’s well in Samaria, He was simply a sir. She called Him lord as a matter of politeness. A centurion called him lord, meaning Rabbi or Sir. Jesus claimed to be the sovereign of the Sabbath. To His disciples, He said He was their Lord and Master. Thomas ascribed full deity to Jesus when he called Him his Lord and his God. “Lord” can also refer to idols, an owner of an animal, or a husband. Thus the word Lord has a variety of meanings and relationships in the New Testament.

The Verdict: Not Guilty, Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #48)

The Bible says in Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Curtis Hutson. He said: “If turning from your sins means to stop sinning, then people can only be saved if they stop sinning. And it is unlikely that anyone has ever been saved, since we don’t know anyone who has ever stopped sinning.”

Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

JUSTIFICATION SHOWN

To be sure, justification is proved by personal purity. It does not come because of any reformation or commitment to change; but, once justified, we show this by changes in our lives. “He who has died is freed [literally, justified] from sin”. We stand acquitted from sin so that it no longer has dominion over us. Justification before the bar of God is demonstrated by changes in our lives here on earth before the bar of men.

THE VIEWPOINT OF JAMES

This was the perspective of the apostle James when he wrote that we are justified by works. Unproductive faith is a spurious faith; therefore, what we are in Christ will be seen in what we are before men. Men cannot peer into the courtroom of heaven to observe the Judge rendering a verdict of “not guilty” in respect to the sinner who believes. But men are spectators in the courtroom of life here on earth. When they see changed lives, they can know that there has been a heavenly verdict; that is, justification. When they do not see changes, then they may question and doubt. Justification by faith is necessary in the court of heaven. Justification by works is the only thing people can observe in the court on earth.

James gives an example of nonworking faith in the case of someone who sees a fellow believer in need of food and does not help meet that need. Faith that is not moved to relieve the hungry man’s need is nonworking faith.

The Verdict: Not Guilty, Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #47)

The Bible says in Romans 3:21-23: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from A.C. Dixon. He said: “We need a quickening of faith; faith in the power of the God of Pentecost to convict and convert three thousand in a day. Faith, not in a process of culture by which we hope to train children into a state of salvation, but faith in the mighty God who can quicken a dead soul into life in a moment; faith in moral and spiritual revolution rather than evolution.”

Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

HOW CAN SINNERS BE RIGHTEOUS?

If justification does not make us righteous, what does? Also, if we cannot make ourselves righteous enough to satisfy a holy God, what hope is there that anyone can ever be justified? Will God have to condemn all people? Can He lower His standards enough to let some into heaven? Or is there some way He can change the sinner into a truly righteous person so that He can truly announce it so? As mentioned earlier, it is the latter course of action that He takes.

And how does God do that? By joining us to Jesus Christ when we believe. And because, then, we are in Christ, we have His perfect righteousness imputed to us; that is, placed on our account, so that we are in reality righteous in God’s sight.

Impute is the key word. It means “to place to the account of.” Perhaps the best illustration of imputation is the story told in the book of Philemon. Onesimus, the slave who ran away from his master Philemon in Colosse, found Paul and received Christ in Rome. At that point, Paul asked Onesimus to return to his master, assuring Philemon in a letter he sent along with the former slave that “if he [Onesimus] has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” Likely this indicates that Onesimus had stolen property or money from Philemon when he ran away. In other words, Paul assured Philemon that he would pay whatever was necessary so that Onesimus need not be charged for anything he may have owed. Similarly, God imputes or puts on the believer’s account the righteousness of Christ, so that in His sight we are completely righteous and He can announce it as so.