Cymdeithas Dydd yr Arglwydd yng Nghymru

The Fellowship of the Lord’s Day in Wales



Sermon by Revd Dr D Ben Rees, Liverpool

Jesus is Lord

Text. Romans 10:9 That if you shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I am very conscious that we who have been given the privilege of meditating and propounding the faith of the Christian Church have made our theology often difficult and boring to our congregations and those outside the fold. But Paul, the greatest missionary the world has seen, reminds us in the text that it is all simple and easy to understand. Two things are needed, that is to confess and to believe. They are the two sides of the same coin. You cannot have the one without the other. But to be orderly I want to follow the pattern laid down in the text by the Apostle. Firstly to confess. We have a Person to be proud of. Jesus is Lord. The word Lord has a particular place in Scripture. In Hebrew God was called Yahweh but when the scriptures were translated into Greek, Kyrios namely Lord became the title for the one who has created heaven and earth and everything which is invisible and visible. The word Lord for God is used through the New Testament.

I will give you two examples from the life of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus. In the desert he referred to the coming of the Lord and quoted Isaiah and the familiar words of preparing the way of the lord, namely the way of God. Luke, the historian, gives the background for John the Baptist when he refers to his godly parents who were righteous before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before the Lord. So the word Lord had uniqueness, and the confession meant at least four things to Paul:

a)   He accepts the meaning given to the word by the Greek translators of the Scriptures. Lord is equal to God.

b)   This word Lord is more important than any other word. Paul explains this further in his letter to the Church at Phillipi. He says ‘because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honoured him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and earth – even those long ago dead and buried, will confess that this Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glorious honour of God the Father’.

c)   That we approach God in the name of Jesus Christ, ‘and that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, whoever he is’.

d)   The relationship between God and the Lord Jesus is an intimate one. When Paul sent his greetings to the Church at Rome he did so in ‘Grace and Peace’ from God our Father and the Lord Jesus.

Therefore we have an obligation to give the same worship and obedience to the Lord Jesus, that we give to the Father Luke Johnson puts it succinctly:

By calling him Lord we imply that the worship and obedience we pay to the risen Jesus is the worship and obedience we pay to God.

This leads to the second proposition of Believing. ‘Those that believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved’. But Paul speaks in something different – to confess with our lips yes and then to believe with our reason and our emotions (another word for the heart) that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Paul wants us to understand the meaning of the Resurrection as he wanted his contemporaries in Rome to understand it. After all Paul was surrounded by paganism as we are in the western world. He refers in his first letter to the Church at Corinth (Chapter 8) of sacrificing to idols, and he mentions the community in Corinth with its many gods and lords. But then he adds that we have one God who is the Father, fountain of everything and one Lord Jesus, and that everything is for his sake, including us. He was not a mythological figure but an historical character. He lived and died on the cross when Pilate ruled Judea in the name of the Emperor. But he conquered the grave. To Paul the belief that God had risen Jesus from the dead is the basic belief and different to all other religions. This is the belief that gives us as Christians uniqueness. Indeed if Christ has not risen, our preaching is of no value, and our faith has no impact. Jesus has conquered and his disciples will live, they are more conquerors through the love of the Lord. Though they have suffered persecution and hunger and violence one cannot quench the love of God that opens the gates of death.

Thirdly, the consequences of our belief and the consequence of confessing and belief is salvation. You will be saved, and will live for ever with God. One commentator has said that there are three stages in salvation for the individual, firstly to the Lord Jesus, secondly to the Church and thirdly to the world. The first response is to believe and confess the Lord Jesus, to be inspired by his person, his challenge, his victory and his presence. The second response is to experience the privilege and responsibility of being a member of his Church on earth and to share our concerns with our fellow believers. Thirdly we are not saved for our own selves or for God’s Church on earth but to exercise responsibility for the sorrows and needs of the world. Salvation is incomplete if it does not give the Lord Jesus the central place in our lives, and if we cannot involve ourselves with our fellow Christians, and if we cannot be involved in making the world a better place.
We can say with E J Burns:

New we rejoice to name him King,
Jesus is Lord of all the earth,
The gospel message we proclaim,
We sing his glory, tell his worth.


Top of Page