Jesus Our Lord
April 1, 1877
C. H. SPURGEON
"Jesus our Lord."Romans 4:24.
"Jesus Our Lord" is a somewhat unusual form of expression to be used in the Scriptures. We have many references to "Jesus Christ", and to "our Lord Jesus Christ;" but there is only one other passage in which it occurs. Yet, to me, it seems to be inexpressibly sweet. I shall be devoutly grateful to God if, in my sermon, I am able to convey to you even a tithe of the sweetness, which I have drawn from this expression for my own enjoyment.
It is the part of faith to accept very great contrasts; and if we look, for a moment, at the words of our text, "Jesus our Lord," and, especially, if we look at the connection in which they are found, we shall see a great contrast; Jesus, the "Man of sorrows," and yet "our Lord." Jesus! Thoughts of sorrow, and rejection, and shame, cluster around that blessed and ever-musical name; yet he is "our Lord" in the highest and divinest sense; our Lord, and our God. Faith has learnt to think of him, even before his birth, as the Christ of God, and to give heed to the angel's message to Joseph, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Faith also bows at the manger with the shepherds worshipping, and with the wise men from the East presenting gifts, realizing that the infant is the Infinite, and that the babe of Bethlehem is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Faith sees Jesus, in the humble garb of a Galilean peasant, moving about in the company of a band of fishermen; she sees that he is a friend of publicans and sinners, yet she believes him to be the Son of the Highest, though flesh and blood have not revealed that great truth to her. Even in his humiliation, she knows him as Lord of the sea, who made the stormy waves lie still at his command; and as the master of diseases, before whom all manner of sicknesses, and even devils themselves, fled apace. She knows him to have been a suffering man, yet she calls him "Lord." Yea, even though, on the cross, she beholds, with tearful eye, his agony and death; yet even there she salutes him as Lord. She did so in the dying thief's prayer, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom;" and she has done it thousands of times since. And now, today, though the name of Jesus of Nazareth is bandied about, and to many it is only a byword, and the despised Galilean has, as yet, only a partial sway over the sons of men, yet faith sees him exalted to the highest heavens, and she owns him as both Lord and God.
And these things, which I said were contrast which it was the part of faith to accept, have ceased to be contrasts with her now, for now faith sees but little contrast between Christ's death and his reigning in glory. In fact, she understands that the one is the outgrowth of the other, especially as she reads such a passage as this, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made' himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled him elf, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 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." Faith delights to think that Christ's being Lord is the actual fruit of his having died, and having risen again from the dead, for she comprehends the meaning of the apostle Peter, at Pentecost, when he said to the Jews, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses . . .. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Faith has quick ears, and she has heard Jehovah speaking in the same language as that which saluted David's ear, "Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Even when faith sees Jesus Christ under the most humiliating circumstances, she perceives how, out of that very humiliation, his mediatorial kingdom has grown, and she delights to acknowledge that glorious fact, and with adoring reverence she calls him, "Jesus our Lord."
Before I finish this introduction to my discourse, I want to remind you, beloved, that, notwithstanding all the sweetness with which the name of Jesus is associated, and the blessed condescension by which he has brought himself so near to us, yet our faith never takes liberties with him, or forgets that he is "Jesus our Lord." He is "Jesus." Oh, the ineffable sweetness of that dear, and precious, and consoling name! But he is also "Jesus our Lord;" and you will always find that, in proportion as faith grows, reverence grows. Unbelief is presumptuous, but faith is always humble. The more you know of Jesus as your Savior, saving you from sin, the more will you recognize him also as your Lord. No one rebels against Christ because he believes in him; but, because we believe in him, he becomes our Lord, and we learn to obey him. That is the spirit I long to have reigning in all our hearts, the spirit of devout, worshipful reverence towards "Jesus our Lord."
First, I shall try to show you that Christ's tender condescension's endear this title to us; secondly, that our loving hearts read that title with peculiar emphasis; and, thirdly, that we find special sweetness in that word "our","Jesus our Lord."
I. First, then, I want to show you that CHRIST'S TENDER CONDESCENSIONS ENDEAR TO US THIS TITLE, "Jesus our Lord."
First, dear friends, we claim to give him this title specially because he is man. "Jesus our Lord," says the apostle, "who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." We worship him all the more reverently and affectionately because he is man as well as God. We call him "Jesus our Lord" as if we meant thereby to appropriate him especially to ourselves. We can say even to the angels, "He is your Lord, for he created you, and he sustains you, and you delight to do him homage; yet he is not an angel. He took not upon him the nature of angels. He never redeemed you with his precious blood, neither is he so near akin to you as he is to us; he never called you his brethren; but he is Jesus our Lord,' for he was born of a woman, and made under the law, and became a partaker of our human nature, wherefore he is not ashamed to call us brethren, and he is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh."
It is a delightful thought to us that the kingdom of "Jesus our Lord" has no bounds to it. Indeed, we can hardly imagine how wide is his dominion, or how numerous are his subjects. It may be that there are innumerable beings, in yonder starry worlds, as count less as the sands on the seashore, and that Jesus is Lord over all these; yet he bears such a special relationship towards this little planet, and this poor race of fallen men and women, that this round earth calls him hers as no other world can call him; and we his people call him ours as no other creatures can, for, just as truly as he is God, so is he also man. Behold, on the very throne of God above, there sits a man like unto ourselves. The men of Israel said that they had ten parts in the king, and more right in David than Judah had; and we have ten parts in the Son of David, and more right in him than all the rest of his creatures have. His tender condescension, in becoming man, endears to us the title, "Jesus our Lord."
We call him Lord with all the greater willingness and delight because he loved us, and gave himself for us. You remember the argument of the apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." He who bought us with such a price claims us as his own; and none of us, I trust will dispute his claim. We rightly sing,
"To him that loved the souls of men,
And washed us in his blood,
To royal honors raised our head,
And made us priests to God;
"To him let every tongue be praise,
And every heart be love!
All grateful honors paid on earth,
And nobler songs above!"
We own him Lord because he has made us to be new creatures in him, and because, as our Shepherd, he has not only led us, and fed us, but because he has laid down his life for us who are the sheep of his flock. Now that he has done this for us, he must be our Lord, and he shall be our Lord. Every drop of his blood shall be a jewel in the crown, which he shall wear as he exercises his rightful sovereignty over us. Every scar in his blessed body shall be to us a token of his true royalty; and all that he has endured and sufferedeven the wormwood and the gallall this shall be but another token of the gracious Sovereignty to which we most cheerfully submit ourselves. Brethren and sisters in Christ, do you not feel that, because he died for us, we do all the more, and certainly none the less, call him "Jesus our Lord"? Thus again his tender condescensions endear the title to us.
Further, in all the privileges that are accorded to us in him, he is our Lord. They all of them remind us of his lordship, and sweetly, yet effectually, enforce that lordship over us. Are we not his Church, and is he not the Head of the Church? We own no other head. The Church of Christ finds supreme delight and satisfaction in his headship. Are we the members of his mystical body? Then, let us remember that he is never called an arm or an eye; he is always the Head, controlling the whole body. Are we the flock, which he hath purchased with his own blood! Then, he is the Shepherd of that flock. Doth he make some of us to be the under shepherds of his flock? Then, he is the chief Shepherd; and when he shall appear, we "shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." Does he make us to be a spiritual house? Then, he will dwell in that house, as its Lord and Master. Are we, through his infinite love, united to him in the bonds of sacred marriage? Then, he is our Husband, and it becomes our delight to bow to his will, and yield ourselves absolutely to his control. Are we dead and buried with him, and do we expect to rise from the dead! He "is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence." Do we expect to enter into glory? When we do, we shall see the Lamb in the midst of the throne, and we shall bow before him as Lord of all. Are we looking for the splendors of the millennial age, and expecting to share in them! We shall then behold him reigning here as King, and breaking his enemies in pieces like potters vessels. You cannot draw near to Jesus without being impressed with the thought of his lordship over you as well as his divine condescension toward you. In fact, it is in his condescension that his divine lordship comes out more than anywhere else.
Once more, in our dearest fellowship at the table of communion he is "Jesus our Lord." Some of us are coming, presently, to the table where Jesus deigns to sit and eat with us, and there is no fellowship closer than that which this memorial supper so sweetly yields us. Yet you must have noticed, I think, how Paul, in his account of the institution of this ordinance; constantly uses the expression "the Lord." "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread." Why did he not simply say "Jesus"? Further on, he says, "Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come;" and that those, who "drink this cup of the Lord, unworthy, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, . . . not discerning the Lord's body." All through, the apostle speaks of Christ as the Lord, who sits at the head of the table as the King presides in his palace. He is our dearly-beloved Spouse, of whom we may truly say, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his;" yet is he still the King; and we feel that, even in all the nearness of communion that he permits us to enjoy with him, there is still a distance as to quality and rank between him and ourselves, and we call him Master and Lord, and do well in speaking thus. Probably, we never feel how much he is our Lord till we come to the table of communion. His very con dissension makes this blessed title to become more bright to us, and to be better understood by us.
II. I think I have said enough upon that first head to make it clear, so I will turn to the second one, which is this, OUR LOVING HEARTS READ THE TITLE WITH PECULIAR EMPHASIS.
Oh, that we might suck the sweetness out of these words, "Jesus our Lord"! George Herbert wrote,
"How sweetly doth 'My Master' sound! 'My Master!'"
I may alter the words a little, and say,
"How sweetly doth Jesus our Lord' sound! 'Jesus our Lord!'
As ambergris leaves a rich scent
Unto the taster.
So do these words a sweet content,
An oriental fragrancy, 'Jesus our Lord.'"
So, our loving hearts read this title with peculiar emphasis, for, first of all, we never yield this title to anybody but to him: "Jesus our Lord." We say, with the prophet, "O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name." Moses was once lord over us; we put the Lord out of his rightful place, and sought to serve the law; but now we know that, while "Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant," . . . Christ is "a Son over his own house." Beloved, I charge you to let the Lord Jesus be the only Lord of your conscience. Obey none beside him, for he alone has the right to rule over you. I fear that there are some who take a thing for granted because some one of my Master's servants said that it was so; he was an eminent servant, and highly favored by his Master, and therefore they take what he says for law. But we, who also are our Master's servants, beseech you never to look to us as though we were masters, for "one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." It is a blessed day for any man when he is able to cast off every yoke except the yoke of Jesus Christ. Blessed shall we be if, henceforth, "Jesus our Lord," and he alone, shall receive our complete obedience, and the loyal homage of our hearts. Thus, we emphasize this title by reserving it for our Master alone.
We also render it to him with the emphasis that arises from great willingness. We are not only willing, but anxious, that Jesus should be our sole Lord and Master; and we feel angry with ourselves that we did not let him be our Master years ago. We are so glad that he is our Lord that we wish never again to grieve him,never to have a will of our own,never to do anything but what would perfectly accord with his rule over us. I know that every saved one feels just like that, and says, "O Lord, rule thou over me; be thou my only Lord! I wish it with intense desire, and most cheerfully own that this is thy rightful title."
And every true Christian pronounces this phrase, "Jesus our Lord," with the emphasis of unreservedness. We desire that Christ Jesus should be our Lord in everything, and Lord over every part of our being. Each one of us has said to him, "My Lord, do just what thou wilt with me. If I can the better glorify thee by patient endurance or by active service, only give me the needful grace, and I will not fail to own thee as my Lord." Have you not, beloved, given up to the Lord Jesus everything that you have! Have you not felt that you love him better than husband, or wife, or child! Do you not feel that your spirit, soul, and body, all belong to him, and that you desire to consecrate to him all your goods, all your hours, and all your powers? Are you keeping back from him any of your substance; do you reckon that aught that you have is your own? If so, you are not true to Jesus your Lord, for he who truly loves Jesus, and who knows that he is one of those who are redeemed by him, says with all his heart that Jesus is his Lord, his absolute Sovereign, his Despot, if that word be used in the sense of Christ having unlimited monarchy and supreme sway over the soul. Yea, O "Jesus our Lord," thou shalt be the autocratic, imperial Master of our heart, and of the whole dominion of our manhood!
The Church of God, in a very special manner, calls Jesus "our Lord," for there is not, and there cannot be any head of the Church except the Lord Jesus Christ. It is awful blasphemy for any man on earth to call himself Christ's vicar and the head of the church, and it is a usurpation of the crown rights of King Jesus for any king or queen to be called the head of the church, for the true Church of Jesus Christ can have no head but Jesus Christ himself. I am thankful that there is no head to the church of which I am a member save Jesus Christ himself, nor dare I be a member of any church which would content to any headship but his. You may put some other interpretation upon the title; but if it means what is meant, in Scripture, by the term "the Head of the Church," it is an infringement of the crown rights of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The true Church of Christ keeps that title for her Lord alone, and will not own another head. Nobody can make new laws for the true Church of Christ. You know that parliament makes laws which tell which way you shall turn when you say your prayers, and what clothes you shall put on, and I know not what beside; but that is a poor parody of the true Church which submits to such lordship as that. If I were a member of a church whose laws were made by a parliament that might consist of Jews and Gentiles atheists and skeptics, I would be out of it as quickly as I could. There is no lawmaker for the Church of God but Jesus Christ himself, and no one can take his place, and no one will be allowed to take it when the Lord wakes up his people to be loyal to what is written in this blessed Bible. This is our Statute-book, and we acknowledge no other but that which King Jesus has given us. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Do you say that these are matters of little importance! Ah, sirs! the Covenanters of Scotland bled and died for this which you call an unimportant matter,that Christ alone is Lord of his Church. You may call it a small thing if you like; but that teaching which is contrary to it is the mother of a thousand mischief s to this our beloved land, and is doing it inconceivable damage. I pray that there may come to all sections of the Church of ChristMethodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian,this one resolve, "We will get back to Holy Scripture, and to the sole headship of Christ, cost whatever it may." If all of us should ever get to that point, we should get closer to one another than we now are, for we should be all one in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Once more, dear friends, we call "Jesus our Lord" for ever. When the true Church takes Jesus Christ to be her Lord, it is in a marriage bond that shall never be dissolved; and when any individual soul takes Jesus Christ to be her Lord, she takes him, to have and to hold, in life and in death, in time and throughout eternity. Is it not so? Then, a very precious thought, which arises out of this truth, is that, however poorly we do our duty as his servants, he will carry out to the full his character as our Lord. A lord, you know, takes care of his servants, he sees that they do not die of starvation, and he protects them, and, so far as he can, sees that they do not want any good thing. I always feel quite certain that, if we faithfully serve our Lord, he will keep us in livery; and, having food and raiment, we ought therewith to be content. His promise to the upright is, "Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." If you get anything over and above bread and water, you may know that he has given you more than he promised; and he will keep you in livery till you need it no more, and then he will give you those spotless garments of light and joy in which you shall serve him for ever and ever. "Jesus our Lord" is not like that Amalekite who, when his Egyptian servant was sick, left him to die. He is not like some masters whom we have known, who, the moment a servant is taken ill, send him off, caring not whether he shall die or live. Our Lord and Master never discharges his old servants; he never turns them adrift. Remember the psalmist's testimony and petition: "O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not." Nor will he. He is a good Master whom we serve, the best of all masters, "Jesus our Lord."
III. Now I come to the third point, which is that WE FIND MUCH SWEETNESS IN THAT LITTLE WORD IN THE MIDDLE OR OUR TEXT: "Jesus our Lord."
It is very sweet because it helps us to remember our personal interest in Christ. My brothers and sisters, let me remind you that you can never truly say, "Our Lord," till you have first said, "My Lord." It is blessed to be able to say it as David did, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." David claimed this blessed Son of his as his Lord, and he did well in doing so; and it is a very sweet thing when any one of us is also able to say, "Jesus Christ, the Son of David, and the Son of God, is my Lord." It is truly blessed to be able to say, as Thomas did, "My Lord and my God." Each one of you needs to have the personal conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord to you. I would even like to say this, if I only said it as tremblingly as Mary Magdalene did when she supposed that she was talking to the gardener, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." It is better still if we can say this as Paul once said it, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him." This title, "Jesus our Lord," reminds me, and I hope it also reminds you, of the time when you first said,
"'Tis done! the great transaction's done;
I am my Lord's, and he is mine:
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine."
There is, however, even more sweetness than this in the expression, "Jesus our Lord," for it brings us into fellowship with all the saints. "Our Lord,"then, David, and Thomas, and Mary Magdalene, and Paul, we have the same Lord that you had. Yes, and we seem to join with all the goodly fellowship of the prophets, and the whole company of the apostles, and the noble army of martyrs, as we say, "Jesus our Lord." Yes, and all the great company who served their Master here with patience, and labored for him with diligence, and have now gone to their reward,we are one with all of them, we have "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." This term, "Jesus our Lord," seems to draw a circle round all the elect of God, the whole host of the redeemed out of every nation, and kindred, and tribe, and tongue, and people in every land and every age. It seems to remind me of a kind of clanship which exists among all believers. Just as the old Highland clansmen, when they saw the head of the clan, all felt intense enthusiasm at the very sight of him, for he was the great center and meeting place for all the divers families in the clan, and with him leading them they rushed forward to victory or death with the utmost enthusiasm, so, when I look you in the face, beloved, we may differ very greatly in station, in ability, and in a thousand things, but your Lord is my Lord, so we are brothers and sisters in him, and we clasp hands around him, and say, "Jesus our Lord." This one peerless name wakes us all to enthusiasm and holy daring.
"Jesus, the name high over all,
In hell, or earth, or sky,"
stirs our very blood as nothing else can, and we feel a closer tie than ever to all the saints. This one touch of grace has made us all akin. The blessed name of "Jesus our Lord" has banded us all together in one holy brotherhood, and we join in singing,
"One family we dwell in him,
One church above, beneath."
And, further, the example of "Jesus our Lord" will foster practical love to one another. It will if it works rightly, for we shall remember what our Lord did, and seek to follow his example. Do you remember what he did on the night when he was betrayed? "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciple's feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." After he had done so, he said to them, "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." After such an example as that, we ought to be willing to do anything for one another; we should feel as if "Jesus our Lord" constrained us to make any sacrifice, and to take the humblest and lowliest place, so long as we might be of service to anyone else who also calls him Lord.
And, brethren, what a death-blow this title ought to deal to all pride! Diotrephes still loveth to have the preeminence, but would he love it if he really knew "Jesus our Lord" as he has revealed himself in his Word? This brother wants more respect shown to him, that brother must have some office given to him, and that sister must be held in high esteem, or she will not be happy. Ah, yes! and you remember that there were two apostles, whose mother asked for them that they might sit, one on the right hand, and the other on the left hand of Christ, in his kingdom; and when the other apostles were moved with indignation against the two brethren, our Lord said to them, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (that is, your servant;) and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." As we recall this act, and these words, we cry, "Down, pride; you are not lord! Down, ambition; you must not wish to rule! Down, every proud thought, that 'Jesus our Lord' may rule absolutely alone over us!"
Now, dear friends, are you enjoying the sweetness of this title? Do you feel as if you must roll it under your tongue as a sweet morsel? Then I will not detain you longer except to say just these two things. First, this title, "Jesus our Lord," gives us great confidence in our common service. As a Christian church, we are all working for Jesus; I hope I may say that the members of this church are all seeking the glory of God. Then, let us remember what our Lord said to his disciples, ere he went back to his Father, "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." March on, then, ye armies of the living God, for Christ is your Lord, and he has given you your commission, and it is his power which will make your march to be victorious. Does any man think of turning his back in the day of battle when he has such a Captain as this to lead him? Does anyone dream of defeat, or talk in a halfhearted way, of what the issue of the conflict is certain to be? "Jesus our Lord" is the world's Creator,he that can shake heaven, and earth, and lie? with his word. So, in his name let us set up our banners, and march onward confident of victory.
The thought with which I close is one that ought to yield considerable comfort to many of you. Our common joy in "Jesus our Lord" becomes an evidence of grace. Have you felt a gracious sweetness stealing over your soul because Jesus Christ is your Lord? Then, listen to these words of the apostle Paul: "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." Anyone can repeat these words, but you cannot say them arightas I hope you have been saying them, with an ineffable sweetness stealing over your soul as you said them,"but by the Holy Ghost." Go your way, therefore, thou whose heart has leaped at the very sound of those three words, and say, "I have the witness of the Holy Spirit within my spirit, that I am a saved soul, or else I should never have said, in my inmost heart, 'Jesus our Lord.'" O brother or sister, here is a sign that cannot lead you wrong, for you have the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, to tell you that you could not say that, in your inmost soul, but by the Holy Ghost. Come, then, beloved, and worship "Jesus our Lord." Continue to worship him, continue to love him, continue to trust him, continue to serve him, continue to magnify him among the sons of men.
But to you who love him not, and who have not accepted him as your Lord, I can only say, in God's own words, "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him;" and this other verse, which is, to my mind, the most awful in the whole Book of God, yet it was uttered by one who loved the souls of men beyond all conception, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha;" that is, "let him be accursed at Christ's coming." God save you from that terrible doom, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
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