Last week I began a series of articles examining the Great Commission Resurgence Declaration that I and 4294 other Southern Baptists have signed. The intent of this declaration is to lay out the commitments we must hold in common if we are to lead our churches and the Southern Baptist Convention back to a focus on fulfilling the Great Commission. The first article in this declaration calls for full submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it reads:
I. A Commitment to Christ’s Lordship. We call upon all Southern Baptists to submit to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in all things at the personal, local church, and denominational levels. (Col. 1:18; 3:16-17, 23-24)
Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Therefore, Jesus Christ must be our passion and priority and we should aspire to both know Him and love Him more fully. We must long to see Him have preeminence in all things. We desire to see a Convention of Christ-centered, “Jesus-intoxicated” people who pursue all that we do by God’s grace and for His glory. We believe we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit to lead us into a new and fresh intimacy and communion with the Lord Jesus that results in greater obedience to all that He commands. Christ’s Lordship must be first and foremost in a Great Commission Resurgence or we will miss our most important priority and fail in all of our other pursuits.
The doctrine of the Lordship of Christ is one of the most important teachings in all of the Bible. On the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter said, “let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” We will sometimes hear people say, “you’ve got to make Jesus Lord of your life,” but the plain truth of Scripture is that God has already made Him Lord, regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not. When we say that Jesus is Lord we mean that He is master of all things. In other words, Jesus is the supreme boss and we must strive to please Him in everything we do. Romans 10:9 makes confessing the Lordship of Christ mandatory for everyone who will be saved, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your hear that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In other words, if we want to be saved from our sins then we must acknowledge that Jesus is now the master and commander of our lives. We must be willing to submit our wills to His. But the Lordship of Jesus involves more than just our initial salvation. Once we are saved the Bible says that we are to continue to live our lives under the direction and control of Jesus.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” This verse teaches us that the Lordship of Jesus is to apply to every area of lives. No matter what we are doing the Bible says that we are to do it “heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” In other words, if you are a construction worker, these verses say that you are to do your work on the construction site as if you are doing it for the Lord rather than your boss. If you are a stay at home mom, you are to go about your day doing your housework as if you were doing them for Jesus. Why? Because, Jesus is our Lord and everything we do in this life reflects upon Him. Therefore, we must set it as a goal to constantly bring glory to Him in everything we do.
This applies not only to individual Christians but also to local churches and denominations. The truth of the matter is that First Baptist does not belong to us. The question is not about what we want to do as a congregation but what does Jesus want us to do. Jesus, our Lord and Master, has told us to go to the ends of the earth to tell the nations the good news about His death, burial and resurrection. The question, is not what does He want us to do but will we do it. Being surrendered to His Lordship means that we say yes to His call and trust Him to guide us and provide for us. The doctrine of the Lordship of Jesus calls us to obedience but even more than that, it gives us a source of encouragement.
The work that Jesus has called us to do is humanly impossible. We cannot save a single soul or change even one life. But thankfully, Jesus has not left us to do His work in our own power. Jesus has poured out His Holy Spirit upon the church (Acts 2) and has filled us with His power to accomplish all that He has called us to do. We can accomplish His task not because of who we are but because of who He is. He is our master and Lord. He has been given all authority and all power to carry out His divine purposes. Therefore, as we commit ourselves to a Great Commission Resurgence here at First Baptist, let us once again submit ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus.
For more information on the GCR go to http://www.greatcommissionresurgence.com/