There’s just something thrilling about imagining God humbling himself, stepping down out of glory and being born in the lowest of places, because it really shows us that none of us are too low for his grace. This morning, we were able to enjoy the children sharing with us about Humphrey the camel. We closed with the song “A Christmas Offering” which I would like to add to in following up with a brief message about a surrendered life, because there’s a phrase “The Little Lord Jesus” that’s used over and over and over again in that song the kids just sang; “Away in the Manger.” But now I want you to focus not on the 6 lbs. 8 oz. baby Jesus, but I want to point you to the Lordship of Christ, as we focus on the last part of that phrase, “Lord Jesus.” And the key thought I want to share with you is that Jesus is Lord.
As a matter of fact, Jesus is referred to as Lord over 700 times in the New Testament. We heard earlier from Luke’s Gospel, in chapter 2, that the angels appeared to shepherds at night saying,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
So we sing about it, we read about it, but in a practical sense what does that mean to say “Jesus is Lord”? What does that mean when you’re buying Christmas presents, when you’re dating, if you’re married, what does that mean in everyday life? What does it mean to say Jesus Christ is Lord?
Well by definition, Lord means supreme in authority, it means he’s in control; but to allow Jesus Christ to be Lord, to honestly say “Jesus is Lord” what we’re doing in a very practical way is surrendering every area of our lives to his Lordship. That means that we completely give ourselves to him as his subjects, he’s in control, he’s in authority, and we humble ourselves before him, giving ourselves to him as an offering.
And so for the rest of our time together I want to talk about what that looks like to give ourselves as an offering to the King of kings and Lord of lords. You see, if Jesus Christ is Lord, he deserves complete allegiance and therefore total surrender of his subjects. But the problem is that many people call him Lord, they believe in God, but they live as if he doesn’t exist.
Jesus talked about this in Luke chapter six, where he compared a wise builder to a foolish builder. And this morning, I would like you to consider what kind of house you’re building? Listen to what Jesus said in verse 46:
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:46-49).
Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’? Why are you giving me lip service?”
He’s saying, “I didn’t just ask you to talk the talk, but to walk the walk. I’m looking for servants for my kingdom”
Unfortunately, in our American culture there are many foolish builders and what they’ve invested in and worked for is going to collapse; its destruction will be complete, because they take the Word of God and they pick and choose what they’ll obey. But Jesus said that it’s the wise man, the wise builder, who’s the one who hears his words and puts them into practice. Yet many churches in America today are filled with people who refuse to trust Jesus. You know, when it comes to relationships, they know they’re supposed to pray for those who hurt them and to bless those who persecute them. They know they’re supposed to forgive, but after what so-and-so did there’s just no way; and so they take God’s word and they dismiss it because it’s just a little too radical, it’s over the top, it’s too much. They know they’re supposed to trust God, but that’s just unrealistic and there’s no way they could ever do that. You know, they’ll give him their Sundays, as long as it’s not football season or if they’re too tired from Saturday night. And so what many Christians do is they deny God’s word by the way they live or don’t live and yet Jesus said, “Don’t call me Lord and then don’t do what I say?”
You see, Jesus is not looking for part-time non-committed followers. He said if you want to follow him in Matthew chapter 16,
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
You see, he asks you to give yourself as an offering, to die to yourself, to surrender and come under his Lordship, because he’s God. He’s the one in authority, he’s the one who says what’s right and wrong, and he’s the Lord of all and so it’s not this pick-and-choose type of relationship. The apostle Paul said it this way in Romans chapter 12,
“In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1).
And so, Jesus was very serious when he asked, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).
What I’d like you to do is to take a moment and honestly consider, “What area of my life have I not surrendered to the Lord? What am I still trying to control? What is it that I haven’t given to God?” And I want you to be just as honest as you can. What is it that you haven’t surrendered? What area are you half-hearted, lukewarm, and distant from God? Where is it that you have one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom, where you’re living a partially surrendered life. You see, Jesus is looking for fully surrendered lives. That’s what Jesus wants for us. He wants followers who are fully surrendered. Not convenient Christians, not just God Bless America Christians, but full throttle, holding nothing back, sold out for Jesus kind of Christians.
The apostle Paul said it well in Romans chapter 14. I love this:
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:7-8).
So the Bible says that if we’re living, we live to the Lord, because we belong to the Lord. Our lives are not our own and therefore we surrender to his Lordship, we give our lives to him as an offering, because we belong to him. And this is important, because when Jesus shed his blood and died for you, he offered salvation to you as a free gift. The Bible tells us in Ephesians chapter 2,
“It’s by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Forgiveness, salvation, and heaven is by grace. It’s a gift, it cost you nothing, but it cost our Lord Jesus everything. The Bible describes it this way in the book of Revelation, as angels and the redeemed of God worship around the throne of Jesus they sing this song:
"You are worthy…because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
And so when you say yes to Christ’s offer of salvation, you no longer own the rights to your life. You’ve been purchased, you belong to him, your life is an offering to him; but you’re not giving your life to a 6 lbs. 8 oz. little Lord Jesus, because he’s no longer a baby in a manger. He’s not even Jesus on the cross dying for your sins; we need to understand that he’s a living, resurrected, soon returning, conquering, ruling reigning King, who’s coming back with a sword, because he’s the King of Kings and Lord of lords. And so today, don’t just say ‘Lord, Lord’, and then do whatever you want. He’s the supreme, ruling master of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords and if you’ve been born your life belongs to him.
And so therefore we want to do like the Bible tells us in Proverb chapter 3,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
And so the bottom line is this: to acknowledge him in all of your ways is to love him, to know him, and to trust him. To acknowledge him is to surrender to him as the ever present, all-knowing, all-powerful holy, ruling, reigning King of the universe; but not just some kind of distant God, he’s a relational God who came to us as Emmanuel, to be God with us, because he wanted to reveal himself to us and be in a relationship with us.
He came as that little Lord Jesus in a manger, so that we could see him, know him, and relate to him, because it’s all about relationship. As a matter of fact, someone once asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” And Jesus replied in Mark chapter 12,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
In other words, love God with everything that you have. It’s a fully surrendered life, and Jesus promised, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mark 10:39). It’s a love relationship, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. It’s because you know him, you love him, and therefore it’s an everyday kind of relationship.
The tragedy is, and I’ve got to say this, because to not warn you wouldn’t be loving, compassionate, or merciful; but there are too many people that are under the illusion that they are right with God because they joined a church, or because they got baptized, or because they checked the box, walked the aisle, or said a prayer. But the reality is that there’s a whole lot more to knowing Christ than that. The gift of eternal life may not cost you anything up front, but you’re only reasonable response is to give your whole life as an offering. And so we really need to examine ourselves and ask the questions, “Do we really know him? Is he Lord?”, because Jesus said some of the most haunting words in all of Scripture in Matthew chapter 7. Speaking of the judgment in the Last Days he said in verse 21:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles” (Matthew 7:21-22).
In other words, we might say, “Didn’t I go to church? Didn’t I serve on the worship team? Didn’t I help out the food bank? Didn’t I help the lady across the street? Wasn’t I a good person? Didn’t I do good things in your name? And in verse 23, Jesus said:
“Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:23).
In other words, “I don’t know you. We’re not in a relationship, you gave me lip service, but we didn’t know each other. You called me Lord but you didn’t do what I said.”
And so today it’s time for us to get serious, because there’s a really big difference between calling Jesus Lord and surrendering to his Lordship. The Bible tells us in first John that…
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and…We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:2-4).
You see, Jesus offers us the free gift of eternal life and the only reasonable response is that we offer our bodies as living sacrifices in service to our King. To live our lives in such a way as to say, “Not my will, but your will be done” and to surrender completely to his Lordship, trusting him with all of our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding, but in all of our ways acknowledging him as the Lord of lords.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
December 18, 2016
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Preaching Library, and PC Study Bible.
Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.