“"Lord, Lord"”

Categories: Bulletin Articles, M. W. Bassford

There are many pointed questions in Scripture, but perhaps the most pointed of them all appears in Luke 6:46.  Here, Jesus exposes the great contradiction of (self-described) Christianity—the millions upon millions of people who call Jesus Lord but don’t do what He says to do.  It is as though they see Jesus as the spiritual equivalent of Queen Elizabeth II—a beloved ceremonial figure who makes speeches from time to time but doesn’t have any real power.

This clearly is not the way that the Son of Man wants to be perceived.  Indeed, in the next several verses, He warns that the difference between the obedient and the disobedient is stark.  The former will triumph despite disaster; the latter will be destroyed by it.  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’,” then, is another way of saying, “Why are you rejecting my word even though it is your only hope?”

There are many ways in which (again, self-described) believers do this.  Most conspicuously, they take the things that He and His apostles said not to do and do them.  They practice every form of wickedness and, like the corrupt temple-goers of Jeremiah 7:10, they show up at church on Sunday morning and cry out, “We are rescued!”, only to return to evildoing.  Sometimes, their bad behavior is endorsed by the hierarchy of their denomination (many of which have been doing a lot of Bible-rewriting over the past few decades); at others, it is the result of their own stubborn commitment to sin.

Of a similar stripe are those who take what Jesus said to do and do something else instead.  They say He’s Lord, but they act like their ideas are better than His.  This spirit is evident in every departure from the simple pattern of the first century. 

Yes, we know that congregations in the first century were autonomous, but we think that banding together in a denomination will help us serve Him more effectively.  Yes, early churches spent their modest financial resources on only a few things, but think of all the good we can do if we go beyond that!  Yes, early Christians worshiped in song without instrumental accompaniment, but instrumental music is so beautiful and uplifting!

There are lots of people who think they’re smarter than Jesus.  I’m still waiting to find somebody who actually is.  If we don’t think that we are, what excuse do we have for exceeding His Lordship?

If we wish to avoid these errors, we must do so by magnifying rather than minimizing Christ as Lord in our hearts.  We must seek to increase rather than diminish the sphere of His authority.  In addition to following all of His commandments, we must honor Him in our judgments. 

If we are of a mind to do so, we can justify watching any kind of filth on TV, and if confronted over our preferences, we can indignantly demand book, chapter, and verse showing that we’re wrong:  “I know this isn’t the cleanest, but watching it isn’t sin, is it?”  Wrong question.  If Jesus is Lord, we won’t seek to expand the boundaries of moral gray areas.  Instead, we will seek what glorifies Him.

The Lordship of Christ is no small thing.  It should transform us in every area of our lives.  However, we do not yield this service to Him out of fear, but out of love, out of a desire to acknowledge, if not repay, all that He has done for us.