Christ, the Lord
The following is a summary of my December 4, 2016 sermon: Christ, the Lord.
CHRIST, THE LORD
Part 1 of WHO IS THE CHRIST? Luke 1:5-25
December 4, 2016. The Cornerstone Church.
Today, we’re studying the Bible in order to answer two questions:
What does it mean that Jesus Christ is Lord?
And how does his Lordship impact our lives?
Put yourself in Jerusalem in 4 BC. Imagine you’re a religious Jew and you’ve walked up the hill to the Temple for the evening sacrifice. There’s a big crowd and you’re all praying for the presence of God to come down.
A few minutes before, you watched an old priest walk into the Holy Place. It’s the highlight of his life; he literally won the lottery, so he’s in there burning incense to God - symbolic of the prayers of Israel. And you wait a long time for him to come out to give you the priestly blessing. Far longer than normal. Maybe he died inside?
When he finally appears, he’s ashen faced, eyes popping, knees shaking. Everyone’s asking him what happened and he can’t speak. And that’s when you realize: something big has happened. But you’ll have to wait 9 months to find out what …
A. WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT JESUS IS LORD?
The heart of the story is Gabriel’s message to Zechariah. And the heart of the message is this: the Lord is about to return to Israel. The promised baby - John - will grow up to ‘prepare the way for the Lord their God.” Because we know the rest of the story, we know that the Lord their God is Jesus.
The encounter with Gabriel tells us what it means that Jesus is Lord. It means that God is breaking in. The whole encounter is about “breaking in.” Heaven was getting ready to invade earth.
We see the idea of God breaking in throughout the encounter:
Verse 11: The angel breaks in. It’s Gabriel. God’s messenger - Daniel 8 and 9.
Verse 13: Promises break in. Answer to Zech’s prayers for God to return to Israel.
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” - Malachi 3:1
Verse 13: Healing breaks in. Elizabeth will have a child in her old age - Sarai, Hannah.
Verses 14-15: God’s Voice breaks in. John will be a Spirit-filled prophet.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers …” - Malachi 4:5-6a
Verses 16-17: The Lord will break in. God himself will return to Israel - as Jesus.
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.” - Zechariah 2:10
So … what does it mean for us that Jesus is Lord?
B. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US THAT JESUS IS LORD?
When we receive Jesus the Lord by faith, God breaks into our lives. Heaven invades our situations and relationships; families, workplaces, church. As our Psalm said today: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” - Psalm 33:20
Instead of looking at life with anxiety or irritation or boredom even, we now see everything with expectation. In the here and now, we expect Jesus to break in. Jesus told his disciples:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” - John 14:18
The Holy Spirit of Jesus is with us. Jesus alive and working in us, through us. Result: Even our normal is done in the supernatural. Ordinary people have extraordinary - heavenly - resources.
“Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds: “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.” - John 7:37-39
I want you to embrace this idea of expectation. You carry the presence everywhere you go. Expect Jesus when you speak, pray, or serve.
I heard the Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, tell an incredible story about God breaking in. Ravi met with a leader of a Middle-East terror group and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was a guarded and tense conversation. When it was his turn, Ravi spoke about Abraham and his son, then God and his Son, and the only way for the Islamic fathers to stop sacrificing their sons was to turn to God’s Son. Ravi said he had not planned to say this - it was a word from God - heaven invading earth, God breaking in. As they were leaving, he heard footsteps behind him and he thought he was going to die. The terrorist leader gave him a bearhug and with tears in his eyes said, “You are a good man.” EXPECT GOD!
Just your presence brings heaven into a room - hospital, funeral home, conflict.
Advent is the season for waiting. Just as Israel waited for God to return to Jerusalem. So, the church waits for Jesus to return to the world. We long for his kingdom of peace and prosperity especially as we look at the suffering and despair in the world. (See Isaiah 2:1-4)
BUT … don’t spend all your time looking into the future. Jesus has already broken into the world in his incarnation, in his life of compassionate and powerful service, teaching, and miracles. Heaven invaded the earth at the cross and in the resurrection. And the Lord Jesus has broken into our lives. He is with us now. Here. All the time.
This Jesus - the crucified, raised, sin-beating, devil-bashing, full-of-love and power, God-wth-us - Jesus … His face is shining on us. His favor is all over us. He is leading the way forward. Opening doors of opportunity to bring his presence into lives. He is making divine appointments for us so that in us and through us, he can make himself famous everywhere. (See Psalm 67:1)
There’s a song that describes this breaking in idea. I found a YouTube of Kirby Kaple singing Come to the Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKVHGi1iRLE