Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

    Last month, I made reference to the significance of Jesus being “Lord.” In cultures where there is somewhat of a cast system established, where those of lesser status (this status could be based on family, beliefs, or material wealth), serve those who are considered superior and elite in societies where the idea of servitude and slavery is accepted and understood. However, in America, slavery was legally done away with after the Civil War; therefore, it is not openly practiced. Granted, there is a cast system set up in every culture, but for America it secretly exists in the minds and hearts of people in the form of prejudices and biases.

      The truth is we are all servants to something. Countless Americans serve the “American Dream,” which has been exalted as the secret of possessing happiness. However, many who have bought this presentation have found it to be deceptive, producing grave disappointment and disillusionment. The reason “the American Dream” is found to be wanting is because it does not address the spiritual. It is based on the ideas of the world, which have no real moral basis to them and can offer nothing but that which ultimately proves to be vain as far as purpose, unfulfilling as far as pursuit, and often ignominious as to the fruits it produces (Colossians 2:8).

      Even though there can be found among many Americans those who serve tyrannical masters such as the sins of the flesh (lusts, addictions, obsessions, pride, and various other abominations), they think themselves too politically correct, too intellectually savvy, and too ahead of their time to be slaves to inferior masters. How wrong these individuals are in their thinking! Such people are more enslaved than those who realize that they have been born in a position of servitude and properly recognize that they can only define their life by choosing who they will serve. This is the only wise way in which to prevent the character of their life from being defined by a tyrannical master.

      In America, it is obvious that those who swing in the deceptive heights of their arrogance see God as nothing more than a figment of the imagination, Jesus as a myth, religion as a broken down crutch, and the Bible as metaphoric at best, and obsolete and ridiculous at worst. Such people’s god is clearly the god of this age (Satan), their master is sin, and their ways that of death (Matthew 7:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Romans 6:12-13, 16, 23).

      It is for this reason that we must know who we serve. We are honoring some type of god and lord in our hearts, we are serving some type of master in our minds and lifestyle, and we are walking down the path of life or death. We need to discern what God we are worshipping, what master we are serving, and what path we are being lead down. The Apostle Paul said it best when he instructed the Corinthians to follow him as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

      This brings us to the concept of “Lord” in relationship to Jesus Christ. Consider what Acts 15:11 states, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”

Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Let us now go back a few Scriptures to Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him for the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

      What is the common ground to these Scriptures? We can all agree they have something to do with salvation, but salvation is attached to a particular name. The name that is used many times in Scripture is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us, but these three nouns are more than the name of someone. These three nouns identify someone who has all of heaven’s authority, power, and glory behind Him.

       We know that Jesus’ name was inspired by heaven itself, but who used these three names in relationship to acknowledgement and worship as to the identity of the one who bears this name? The first one to make reference to the Redeemer being Lord was Eve. According to 1923 Bible Scholar, Katharine C. Bushnell who knew both Hebrew and Greek and studied Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, stated that according to the original translation that Genesis 4:1 should read, “I have gotten a man, even ‘The Coming One.” The Coming One points to “Jehovah” or “Lord.” If this is true, Eve no doubt named her first son, Cain, in light of the promise of Genesis 3:15.

      It was Hannah in her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:10 who declared that the LORD (Jehovah) would give strength unto the king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. “Anointed” means the Christ (Greek) or Messiah (Hebrew). And, finally we have the angel instructing Mary in Luke 1:31 about the name of the Son she would miraculously conceive, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”

      What is in a name? We know that the name “Jesus” clearly points to both His humanity and His mission. Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua. “Joshua” means Jehovah saves or Jehovah is our salvation. Jesus’ mission was to save, but He had to take on a body before He could become the Lamb of God who would be offered on the altar of the cross to take away our sin (John 1:29, 36). Hebrews 2:16, 17 puts it this way, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

      When we consider the “Christ”, we are reminded that He was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to carry out His mission in the authority of heaven and in the power of the Spirit (John 4:34; Luke 4:18,19). This part of Jesus’ name clearly pointed to His earthy mission in light of heavenly credentials and calling.

      Now we come to “Lord.” As stated in the previous article in this series, the presentation of “Lord” in relationship to Jesus is “Adonai.” We clearly have His humanity and earthy mission represented in His name Jesus and we have His heavenly credentials and call defined in the term “Christ,” but when it comes to “Lord,” His deity and position is being clarified and confirmed.

      We know that Jesus is God who allowed Himself to take on the disposition of a servant as He allowed Himself to be fashioned as a man in the womb of a virgin. The Apostle Paul clearly brings this out in Philippians 2:5-8.

      We cannot begin to imagine the depth to which Jesus descended when He gave up His sovereignty (rule) as God to be made lower than the angels (His creation) to become identified with rebellious, lost man. He gave up the glories of heaven to be born in a manger. He gave up being served in order to serve. He tasted the futility of the labors of man in preparation to open up an eternal kingdom to mankind. He lived in the obscurity of humility in order to become an example to those who followed Him. He walked in the barren wilderness of the world and in the dusty paths of humanity, while setting His face towards Jerusalem in order to fulfill His mission.

      When 1 Corinthians 12:3 declared that no one can call Jesus the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost, it was in reference to Jesus being Adonai. Note the word “the,” it points to one who stands distinct in His position. The Apostle Paul declared there was only one Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 8:6 who made all things.

      The demons recognized Jesus for who He is, the Holy One of God (Mark 1:23, 24). In His presence they trembled in torment and asked Jesus of Nazareth if He came to destroy them. James 2:19 tells us that the demons believe there is one God and they tremble. If you follow how demons addressed Jesus, there is one term they never used, “Lord.” They understood that as Lord, Jesus, God and Creator, had sovereign authority over them. In my experience when the demonic world comes up against Jesus as Adonai, all they can do is manifest in bazaar and unpleasant ways.

      Jeannette and I actually encountered this when a woman came to us seeking deliverance from all of her demons. It is the natural response of most Christians to want to classify such claims as being crazy, ignore them, or flee. However, this woman did have demons, in fact she was possessed. She later admitted that she had married Satan and liked her companions (demons) because at times they entertained her. She also liked the power they gave her. She later confessed after a couple of sessions with her that the reason she came to us is that when her demons were not entertaining her and empowering her, they were tormenting her. She wanted to control them in order to prevent them from tormenting her.

      It took five hours of intense confrontation of using the Word of God in the authority of Jesus Christ against the lies and arrogant declarations of the demons to finally reach the person. To be honest, there was not much left of the person whose very personality was being consumed and taken over by the demonic forces. Clearly, she had sold her soul to Satan and he had made inroads to claim her will, intellect, and emotions. When we finally did reach her, I decided to lead her in a prayer of salvation.

      It is important to point out that at times I wondered if the woman’s reaction was not an act, but when a person contorts in an unnatural way and their eye color and voice changes, you must conclude that it is not some bazaar act where a person is trying to get attention. As I led the woman through the prayer, her voice was monotone. Such a voice can be demonic. My prayer went from salvation to acknowledging why Jesus is able to save for He is the Savior, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Lord, the Bread of Life, and so forth. The demons were able to repeat each of these titles, including Lord, without skipping a beat. However, I decided to throw the ultimate wrench into their religious game and the next declaration I made was, “Jesus is God Incarnate.” As the voice went to repeat what I said, before it could declare that Jesus was God Incarnate, all hell broke loose in our office. The demons manifested in a vehement way and it took several minutes to quiet them by using the authority of the Lord’s name and God’s Sword, His Word.

      As most of you know, I have been saved out of a cult. What distinguishes 99% of the cults is that they do not believe, will not declare, and if they make any attempts to address the aspect of Jesus being the God/Man, they literally spew it out of their mouth. They can use the various titles of Jesus, but there is an erroneous understanding as to what the titles mean, and as a result the titles lack authority. The reason there is no teeth behind the titles is because these individuals do not believe that Jesus is who He said He is—that He is God in the flesh. The fact that Jesus is God in the flesh changes the dynamics of the many titles that people use when referring to Him.

      It is also true that there is power in Jesus’ name. There are people who, like Sceva’s sons in Acts 19:13-17, use the name of Jesus to push back some of Satan’s demons but that power will only go so far as it did in the case of those in Acts 19. Consider what the demonic spirit said to Sceva’s sons, “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” Clearly, the authority was missing from these men’s lives, opening them up to be attacked by the unclean spirit. This authority is only present in the lives of those who know the Jesus of the Bible as Adonai, Who possesses all authority and power of heaven.

      So many people see the struggle in the unseen realm as a power play. However, Satan’s power is not limited because God is more powerful; it is limited because God’s authority sets boundaries as to how far his power is able to reach. Unfeigned power is defined and limited by authority. It is because God is creator and Satan is a created being that clearly stipulates that ultimately this enemy of God must come into subjection to God’s authority when He sets the limitation on his power, such as He did in the case of Job. Granted, God has all power to back up His authority, but the authority He has also declares His ability to carry out what He ordains. Authority and power walk hand in hand. For this reason, people who overstep their authority will begin to operate in abusive power that creates chaos and will eventually end in their destruction.

      Consider what question Jesus was asked by religious leaders of His day in Mark 11:28, “And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority to do these things?” They were asking Jesus by whose authority He was doing the works. Clearly, Jesus had power, but His credibility hinged on where His authority came from that was behind His power. Keep in mind, power is associated with the spirit in which someone is operating, while authority identifies a person to the source of his or her position, mission, and credentials.

      Philippians 2:9-11 tells us, “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.” It is clear that even though many will not agree with the Bible’s presentation of Jesus being Adonai, in the end they will have to bow, a pose of worship, and confess that Jesus Christ is Adonai. Keep in mind, we are commanded to worship God alone. If Jesus was not Adonai, He would not deserve such worship.

      In Revelation 4:8-11 we see Jesus sitting on the throne of heaven being worshipped as Lord God Almighty (Adonai El Shaddai). The 24 elders fall down before Him, cast their crowns before His throne and declare, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

      Next month I will deal with what Jesus’ authority as Adonai means for you and me. Meanwhile consider what your understanding is about Jesus being Lord. Has the authority of heaven unveiled this reality to your spirit, while His Word confirms it, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in you enables you to walk in the authority that has been entrusted to you?