Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Watch "Jesus—Lord."

Leslie Basham: Have you ever been invited to “make Jesus Lord”? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth helps you think about that phrase.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, the fact is, we don’t make Jesus, Lord—He IS Lord! And salvation is inherently, intrinsically about coming under new lordship.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of the devotional, The First Songs of Christmas, for Tuesday, December 4, 2018.

Nancy: What does it mean that Jesus is "Lord"? We’re about to talk about it, but first I want to ask, Do you have to be ruled by your emotions? A woman named Lori has learned a lot while answering that question.

Lori: The very first time I heard Revive Our Hearts I was on the radio in Dallas. I had my second child. It was 2001. I heard this woman come on the radio and say, "Just because it’s your time of the month doesn’t mean you have to be a shrew." Nobody told me that. I had never heard that before. I had grown up in the seventies. Girls were doing football, “I can do this; I can do better.”

Nancy: Lori says that statement had a huge effect on her, and God used it to change her life in a significant way. When her three daughters were growing up, she passed that truth on to them as well. She gave them some practical steps. She showed them how to keep track of emotional ups and downs so they’d recognize when they might be more likely to be tempted to sin with their words.

Lori: My husband gets people coming up saying “Wow, three teenagers in the house, four women in the house. It must be hormones raging.” And he’s like, “No.” They track it, and they understand that while it’s real and it might happen, they’re not to live by their emotions. So they expect it and watch out for it.” That’s parenting, and I got that from Revive Our Hearts and Lies Women Believe. Isn’t that spectacular?

Nancy: Lori is grateful for all she’s learned so she can pass on the truth to the next generation. And she’s grateful Revive Our Hearts is available for her daughters as wekk.

Lori: I walk in the kitchen sometimes and they’ll have a notepad. I'll ask, “What are you doing?” “Listening to Miss Nancy.”

Nancy: I’m so glad the Lord is letting Revive Our Hearts speak to multiple generations about the truth that has such practical implications for our lives. The reason we were on the radio for Lori to hear that day about seventeen years ago was thanks to listeners who generously gave to make the program possible.

And the reason we’re able today to speak to the next generation of women is thanks to listeners, like you, who support this ministry. I believe the Lord has many more divine appointments in the year ahead—women hearing the truth of His Word and watching it change their lives.

In order for us to have another solid year of fruitful ministry, we need you help. As I've been sharing with you, a huge percentage of the donations we need for the entire year typically come during the month of December.

This is such a crucial time for us that some friends of the ministry have set up a special matching challenge of $750,000. That means they will double every gift you give between now and December 31.

So your gift at this time will mean an investment in multiple generations perhaps in many years to come. In order to make you gift and be a part of helping us to meet this matching challenge, you can go to ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

In a world that is filled with so much sadness and despair, I want to thank you for your part in helping Revive Our Hearts share the true hope found in Jesus Christ. 

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. Now, let’s continue preparing for Christmas with the series, "The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus."

Nancy: Well, we call this series of the names of Jesus, “The Wonder of His Name.” Some of those names are really easy to love—names like Good Shepherd, Immanuel: God with Us, Savior (we looked at that the last time). We find these names comforting and encouraging.

But then there are other names . . . not so much, not so easy to love. The name of Judge (we’re not looking at that in this series), but we’ve talked about Him as the Righteous Judge. And then the name we want to look at today—Jesus as Lord.

We live in this egalitarian culture, and we don’t have “lords” in this culture. We’re not so familiar with what the Brits are, the nobility, the aristocrats. They have lords and earls, and House of Lords, and House of Commons. You may not know very much about that structure, but do you think you’d want to be in the House of Lords or House of Commons? You want to be in the House of Lords, but you don’t want to be ruled over by lords. Right?

By our nature, in our very individualized, egalitarian, Western culture, we are resistant to the idea of someone “lording” it over us. We don’t want somebody telling us what to do. And we think, Lord? That’s kind of what goes with that name, isn’t it? But I want us to see in this series that every name of Jesus is wonderful. Every name is lovely. Every name is desirable.

John 1 tells us that “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (v. 17). And each one of these names brings us grace and brings us truth. We have the Good Shepherd, for example. He brings us grace as we see that He feeds us and leads us and protects us. But the truth is that He also owns us. He rules us. He disciplines us.

Think about Immanuel. It’s a gracious thought that God is with us. That bring us encouragement and comfort. But the fact that God is with us all the time also brings the fear of the Lord, that He sees all that we do and all that we think. Well, the same with the name “Lord.” We’ll see that we find both grace and truth in that name, and we need both.

Now first, let me give you some background on the name and make some observations about this name because I want to make sure that we understand what we’re talking about when we call Jesus “Lord.”

The word “Lord” in the New Testament is the Greek word kyrios. It comes from the word kuros which means might or power. In the ancient Greek culture, this word was used in a number of different ways.

It could be used as a general term of respect, such as saying “sir” to someone today, just a respectful term—kyrios, sir.

It was also the official title of the Roman Emperors—kyrios, the Lord of the Empire.

It was a title given to Greek gods—kyrios they were called oftentimes.

The basic idea of this term in that culture is one who is superior, one who is supreme, a sovereign being to whom a person or a thing belongs, one who possesses absolute authority, ownership and power. This is why it was ascribed to the Roman emperors and to the Greek gods.

It’s a being to whom is owed absolute allegiance and submission—kyrios—an absolute being who has the right to control, the right to decide what to do with that which he owns and over which he rules.

Now, in the Scripture, this word kyrios can sometimes refer to people used in that lesser sense of sir, just as a term of respect. Sometimes it refers to God and sometimes it refers to Jesus. You kind of have to look at the context to determine who it is referring to.

But again, we have to take this name back to the Old Testament as we see how these names of Jesus, over and over again take us back to the God of the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Scriptures, God is called Jehovah or Adonai. Between those two names, they’re used 9,000 times in the Old Testament—Jehovah and Adonai.

When the Old Testament, which was originally written in Hebrew, was translated in the Greek so people in the Roman era could read it, the word kyrios was used for those Hebrew words Jehovah or Adonai. So in the Greek Old Testament, which people would have had in the time of Jesus, over 9,000 times they saw that word kyrios, God is Lord.

So when we come to the New Testament, kyrios, Lord, is the dominant title of Jesus. Jesus is referred to by this title more frequently than any other single title. In fact, it was interesting to me to learn—I would not have guessed this, but I learned as I was studying this—that Jesus is called Savior in the New Testament fewer than twenty times, but He’s referred to approximately 700 times as Lord.

To call Jesus kyrios was to make Him equal to God, and the people in Jesus’ era understood this. When He was called “the Lord,” not just like sir, but “the Lord,” that this was calling Him equal with God. 

In the gospels, Jesus did not hesitate to refer to Himself as Lord. He said in John 13, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am’’ (v. 17). I mean, that’s pretty simple. “I am Lord.” He called Himself the “Lord of the Sabbath.” He called Himself the “Lord of the harvest.”

He was also referred to as Lord by others.

  • He is called “Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24).
  • He is “Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Rom. 14:9).
  • He is the “Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8).
  • He is the “Lord of peace” (2 Thess. 3:16).
  • He is the “Lord of all" (Acts 10:36).
  • And a number of times, three times in the New Testament, He is called the “Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15, Rev. 17:14, Rev. 19:16).

Now, when we see Jesus addressed as kyrios or Lord in the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, it’s most often used as a term of respect. It wasn’t until after Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension, when He was exalted to the right hand of the Father, that Jesus assumed in the fullest sense His role as Messiah Christ and Lord over all. That’s important.

Acts chapter 2 tells us: “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, [Messiah] this Jesus whom you crucified” (v. 36).

After His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He assumed in His fullest sense the powers and the force of what it means to be Lord, exalted to the right hand of the Father. You see this in Romans:

He was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. . . . To this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living (1:4; 14:9).

In fact, the first recorded person in the New Testament to confess Jesus as Lord took place right after His resurrection as Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,I have seen the Lord”—John chapter 20, verse 18.

Now, this word “Lord” was one of the most important words of the early Christian church. “Jesus is Lord” became the central confession of those early believers, and this quickly created a problem and a conflict with the Roman Empire because the emperor was lord—so it was thought.

The emperor was supreme. The official title of the Roman Emperor Domitian was kyrios kai theos, “Lord and God.” That’s what the emperor was called, and all citizens of the empire were required to pledge allegiance to the emperor by burning a pinch of incense to Caesar and declaring: kaisar kyrios—Caesar is Lord. And if you didn’t do that, off with your head.

Now, the first-century Christians were taught to honor the king and to pay taxes. They were model citizens. But they simply could not and would not take an oath of loyalty to Caesar or anyone else as Lord, and when they refused to proclaim kaisar kyrios—Caesar is Lord, they were thrown to wild lions or crucified.

It reminds me of those three Hebrew young men in the Old Testament who refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image and were thrown into the fiery furnace.

And now, in the New Testament, one after another of these Christ followers by the thousands went to their deaths singing and proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord!”—not Caesar is Lord, but Jesus is Lord. It was a costly confession, but somebody would not have been considered a Christian in that era if they were not willing to confess, to the point of death if need be, “Jesus is Lord.”

That same confession, by the way, is costing many of our brothers and sisters in Christ their freedom or their lives today—in North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt—and not only in other parts of the world, but it’s becoming more and more costly in our culture to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord,” and to refuse to give that place to anyone or anything else. And I think we need to be determining: Do we really believe that Jesus is Lord? Are we willing to proclaim it if the whole world is going in the opposite direction and if it begins to be costly for us?

You see, “Lord” is not just a name or a title. It’s a name that carries with it authority and the right to rule. It represents a mandate to bow to His authority, to obey Him. It says, “Jesus is supreme, the One to whom we pledge our allegiance, our loyalty, and to whom we render all obedience. Jesus is Lord!

Abraham Kuyper was the Dutch statesman and theologian of generations ago who said,

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: "Mine!"

It’s His! He is Lord!

But here’s the problem: Underlying all sin is the drive and the desire to be our own lord. Confessing and calling on Jesus as Lord represents a complete change of mind and heart. That’s what repentance is. It means repenting from being my own lord, calling the shots in my own life, running my own life, doing what I want to do when I want to do it. Repentance is turning from myself as lord and bowing before Jesus as Lord. And that and that alone is what results in true salvation.

Romans 10: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 9).

The offer of salvation throughout the Scripture is never separated from the call to turn from sin and self and to follow Christ and to bow to His authority as Lord.

Now, we’ve had some teaching and thinking on this whole matter within the church in my lifetime that has been misleading and, I think, dangerous. Have you ever heard or maybe said something like this: “I accepted Jesus as Savior when I was a kid, but I didn’t accept Him as Lord until later in my life”?

Do you know when the two titles, Savior and Lord are mentioned together in Scripture, every time without exception, Lord precedes Savior? He’s our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” and those two titles are inseparable. When you get Him, you get all that He is, and He is both Lord and Savior.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “You need to make Christ the Lord of your life.” Well, the fact is, we don’t make Jesus, Lord—He IS Lord! And salvation is inherently, intrinsically about coming under new lordship, new ownership.

Or maybe you’ve heard, when somebody’s speaking about a professing believer who is living an ungodly lifestyle: “She must be a carnal Christian or a backslidden Christian,” or “He just needs to surrender his life to the Lord.”

There is no category in Scripture for true believers who persistently, habitually choose to sin and refuse to bow to Jesus as Lord. The fact is, those who have been redeemed, those who have been saved no longer belong to themselves. Yes, they may make wrong choices . . . as we all do. They may drift at times or fall into a backslidden condition.

But here’s the difference: they can’t be happy to stay there. They’re miserable there because they have a new nature, if they’re true believers, if they’ve been truly converted, born again, that confesses Jesus as Lord and deep down wants to obey Him.

I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a friend whose son is living with his fiancé. Both the son and his fiancé are professing believers, and my friend said, “I know he knows the Lord.” As we went on the conversation, I said gently, “Are you sure? And how can you be sure?”

Another friend wrote me recently asking for prayer for a teenage child. They’re dealing with lying, drunkenness, substance abuse; this child is being drawn to ungodly friends. And my friend, the mother, said, “We know he loves God, but he is making awful choices. Please pray that he would surrender his life to Jesus.”

Now, I hear that mom’s heart cry, and I hear parents’ heart cries. Some here in this room would have that heart cry. And, yes, you want to pray that your children or these people you know that you’re burdened about will surrender their lives to Jesus, but are you so sure that they really truly love God?

This mom says, “We know he loves God, but he’s making awful choices.” Now, I don’t know her son’s heart. She doesn’t know her son’s heart. But here’s the thing: A decision “for Jesus” as a child or a teenager or at any point in life doesn’t necessarily make one a Christian.

The person who professes to be a Christian, may even have a time, date, place, location. But a person who professes to be a Christian but gives no credible evidence of following Christ as Lord, no evidence of a life change, a heart change, that person has no basis for assurance of salvation.

And you need to remember that as you’re praying for friends or family members that maybe made a profession—one time you thought they were a Christian, now they’re living like the devil. Don’t assume they know the Lord. You’ll be praying perhaps in an inappropriate way. Maybe you need to be praying that they will come under conviction of their lost condition. The thing is: God knows their heart.

Jesus’ work is the grounds for our assurance—what He did on the cross—and a heart that has been truly converted by Jesus will be revealed in changed desires, changed life. As I realize, all of us realize, especially if you’ve been a Christian any length of time, that that change may be painfully slow at times.

And there will be times when we give in to the demands of our flesh, the drives of our flesh. But a person who stays there with no repentance, no evidence of conviction of the Holy Spirit, then we have to wonder, Does this person really have a saving relationship with Christ?

Listen, there’s a huge difference between calling Jesus “Lord” and actually knowing Him as Lord. And Jesus had a lot to say about that subject. I think of the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the end of Matthew chapter 7, where Jesus says these stunning words:

Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (v. 21).

Jesus is saying, “Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is.” Not everyone in this room who claims to be a Christian is truly a Christian. You can claim to know Jesus, but that’s not necessarily proof of genuine faith. True faith will always be demonstrated in a life that wants to obey God.

That’s why Jesus says, “The one who will enter is the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” That doesn’t mean that obeying God is what gets you into heaven or what saves you. But it means the one who has truly been converted, has placed his faith in Christ will obey the Father. And that’s the person who has eternal life. Jesus goes on to say,

On that day many will say to me [many will say to me], "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" [We were Christian workers.] And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness" (Matt. 7:22–23).

There’s a similar account. Matthew 7 is the Sermon on the Mount. And in Luke 6, we have the Sermon on the Plain, where Jesus says something similar. He says, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” (v. 46). You see, calling Him “Lord” and honoring and obeying Him as Lord are two very different things.

Both of these sermons—the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain—after Jesus talked about this matter of calling Him “Lord,” in both cases He goes on to tell a parable about two different ways that people respond to His Word.

He says, “There are those who hear My words and do them—these are the ones who call Me 'Lord' and prove that they mean it by obeying Me." He said, "Those people are like a wise man who built his house on a rock. That house stood strong through the storms.” I think the storms there are a picture of the final judgment. That home lasted. That home stood firm because it was a home that was built on Jesus as truly being the Lord of that person’s life.

And then Jesus said “There are those who hear My words and don’t do them.” These people also call Him “Lord,” but these people are just giving Him lip service, and they live in a way that is contrary to His Word. Jesus said, “These people are like a foolish man who built his house on sand and the storms came—the same storms, the judgment of God at the end of the age—and that house fell, and great was the fall.”

Which kind of person are you? Do you call Him “Lord”? That’s good. But there are two kinds of people who call Him “Lord.” Those who evidence that He really is their Lord, and those who still are their own lord, or trying to be. How foolish is it to be your own lord, because Jesus is Lord, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

You can’t call Him “Lord” and say, “No.” If you call Him “Lord,” you can only say, “Yes, Lord.”

And that’s why over and over again here at Revive Our Hearts and through the True Woman Movement, we’re calling women to wave that white flag of surrender and say, “Yes, Lord.”

If it’s your heart, say it with me—“Yes, Lord.” Let me hear it with a little more enthusiasm—“Yes, Lord!” Yes, Lord.

We said that this name has truth and grace attached to it. The truth is that He is supreme. He is sovereign. He is the owner to whom we owe all allegiance and obedience. We are not our own; we belong to the Him. That’s the truth about Jesus as Lord. But there’s so much grace wrapped up in this name, too.

He is a compassionate Lord. He always does what is best for His subjects. And as our Lord, as we surrender our lives to Him, He takes full responsibility for our care, for our oversight, and our eternity.

William Borden was the heir to the Borden Milk Company who had an encounter with Christ as a college student. He went on to become a missionary; died on the way to the mission field. But he wrote in his journal as a college student:

Saying “no” to self and “yes” to Jesus every time. In every man's heart there is a throne and a cross. If Christ is on the throne, self is on the cross; and if self, even a little bit is on the throne, then Jesus is on the cross in that man's heart.

There’s this little phrase in Psalm 45, verse 11, that perhaps sums it all up. It says, “Since he is your lord, bow to him.” Since He is your Lord—since He is Lord, and since He is your Lord and mine, then what’s the appropriate response? Bow to Him.

And O Father, we bow our hearts before You. You are Savior, and You are Lord. You are Lord, and You are Savior. What rich and beautiful and sweet names. We love what we have seen of You today, and we’ve been encouraged and stirred and perhaps challenged, and I thank You, Lord, that You’ve been speaking to our hearts, reminding us how great a Savior we have. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Leslie: Jesus is Lord. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been showing you how powerful and profound that statement is.

If you’re ready to make that acknowledgement for the first time, we’d like to send you some information about what it means to come to faith in Christ and recognize Him as Lord of your life. Just ask for that free information when you call 1–800–569–5959.

And if you’re a regular listener, would you pray that many people will respond to today’s program and recognize Jesus as their Lord?

Let me tell you what’s coming tomorrow. You couldn’t live if your head were disconnected from your body. That’s common sense. But it’s easy for us in the body of Christ to forget that we need to be connected to Jesus—the Head of the body. Nancy will explain more. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants Jesus to be your Savior and Lord! It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

Dawn Wilson, Lindsay Swartz, and Darla Wilkinson provided helpful research assistance for this series. 

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