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John Stott [2] Jesus Is Lord: A Call To Radical Discipleship

Here are some notes from my notes of John Stott’s address to a Melbourne meeting in Crossway Baptist Church last night. He and Dr. Chris Wright are on an Australian tour to promote The Langham Partnership.

Reading: Philippians 2:9-11

The earliest, simplest and shortest Christian creed is ‘Jesus is Lord’ (just two words in Greek). It has two basic implications: a theological conviction (who Jesus is) and a personal commitment (to Jesus as Lord and God).

A. Paul gave Jesus a God-title – ho kurios. 6156 times in the LXX this divine title is given to Yahweh; 700 times in the N.T. Jesus is ‘Lord’

B. Paul transferred to Jesus a God-text – Isaiah 45:23

C. Paul demanded for Jesus God-worship. Everything/every one will bow the knee to him.

In terms of a radical response to all this, there is

(1) An Intellectual Dimension. Our minds are our ‘control towers’ for the rest of us. Matthew 11: 28-30 – the yoke implies a submission to authority; so our inclination is, like Mary of Bethany, to sit at Jesus’ feet.

(2) A Moral Dimension. Against the relativism of our day, we obey Jesus as Lord. John 14:21: whoever loves Jesus will experience Jesus being ‘manifested’ to him/her. We have no liberty to disagree with Jesus-as-teacher or disobey Jesus-as-Lord.

(3) A Vocational Dimension. We are _all_ in a lifetime of ‘ministry’. We do a grave disservice to the church when we refer to the pastorate as _the_ ministry (‘I got out of the habit of referring to just one ministry as “the ministry” several decades ago’). Diakonia is a generic word, which lacks specificity: you must add an adjective. In Romans 13 ‘secular’ authorities (magistrates etc.) are ‘ministers of God’ – the same title the N.T. applies to pastors. In Acts 6 some leaders were preoccupied with the wrong ‘ministry’, so they appointed other ministers to organize relief for widows while they concentrated on a ministry of the Word.

(4) A Social Dimension. Jesus is Lord os society. Psalm 110:1 is the most commonly quoted O.T. text in the N.T. (‘The Lord says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool”). Jesus is Lord ‘de jure’ (by right) but Satan is Lord ‘de facto’ (defeated but refusing to concede defeat). The old ‘social gospel’ was in error, identifying a ‘caring society’ with the kingdom of God. However, with Abraham Kuiper we say ‘There is not one inch of human life about which Jesus does not say “mine”‘.

(5) A Political Dimension. Jesus was crucified by Jews for a religious offense (claiming to be the Son of God) and by the Romans for a political offense (claiming to be a king). The Caesars by now were megalomaniac. They insisted on being ‘lord’ and ‘god’: there could be no other. We must submit to the State (Romans 13) but not worship the State. Sometimes (as with the midwives in Exodus) we must resist the State in an act of civil disobedience, if the State commands what God forbids, or forbids what God commands. We refuse to idolize any institution over Jesus.

(6) A Global Dimension (‘Can you hang in for one more? Your redemption draweth nigh!’). Here we are intolerant of pluralism: every knee – Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, Marxist – will bow the knee to Jesus as Lord. He is not ‘Jesus the Great’, but ‘Jesus the Only’. He is unique, without rivals or peers. So the primary incentive for world mission is not saving the ‘lost’ nor even ‘love’ for others, but ‘jealousy’ (in its pure biblical sense) for the Name of God, and the honour and glory of Jesus. Our mission is an inevitable deduction from the universal Lordship of Christ.

Conclusion. A life of integrity – for ‘integrated’ persons – has at its core, a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s only when Jesus is Lord that we become truly whole.


Rowland Croucher July 11, 2002.


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