“Jesus Christ is Lord,” Κύριος Ἰησοῦς, (Kurios Iesous), represents the earliest and most basic form of Christian confession. Twenty-first century Christians must not ignore the compelling truth it represents. The authority of the confession dominated the apostolic church and stood as foundational in the Christian life. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). This confession is one of the best ways to convey the meaning of Jesus’ authority over the believer and the church, and the expectation of his final victory.
The confession of Jesus’ Lordship and the genuine surrender by faith places the Christian at the disposal of the exalted Savior and the sovereign of the universe for Jesus’ continued mission through the church. Millard Erickson writes, “Accepting Jesus as Lord means making him the authority by which we conduct our lives.” Working out the implications of Jesus’ Lordship requires a lifetime process known as sanctification. The recognition of Jesus’ Lordship moves one to repentance and requires relinquishing one’s rebellion toward God. Then, the individual has the responsibility of sharing and demonstrating the Gospel core with others.
“Jesus Christ is Lord” has been the central motif of my Christian journey. During my practice of ministry this truth has only served to reinforce the need to replace myself as Lord and sustainer of my own life and family. Jesus can easily become someone’s Savior and never their Lord. Thomas Oden claims that, “to understand Christ as Lord is to confess that he was appointed by the Father to have us under his power, to administer the kingdom of God in heaven and earth.” I am committed to this kingdom work under Jesus’ Lordship and authority.
I had the privilege of serving two churches as a Provisional Elder (process of becoming a full-elder). In whatever context I find myself, Jesus is Lord. The churches I have served belong to Christ. Everyone I meet is a creation of God, called by inspired grace, and loved unconditionally under Jesus’ Lordship, thus deserving my witness to the Gospel message. During my first year of ministry at my current appointment I have conducted fifteen funerals. Never before has the truth of “Jesus is Lord” been so important as I have shared with grieving family members and friends the Gospel core.
One family in particular will forever stand as an exemplary example of what it means to be Christian and know Jesus as Lord. This family had lost their loved one but there was something different about how this family handled the event. As I ministered to the family in the days prior to the funeral and following, they laughed, worshipped, and lived together in such a way as to testify to the fact that ‘Jesus is Lord.’ The wife of the deceased, and family members all claim to trust Christ as Savior. These claims became evident to others and me from the stories they told and the way they conducted themselves in the midst of loss. I trust that this is why we truly worshipped the Lord and celebrated in the face of death.
(b) The Holy Spirit
As I make my personal confession of “Jesus is Lord,” I am proclaiming a personal relationship with the triune God, for Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and the apostle Paul writes, “…no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). That same Spirit testifies to my Spirit that I am a child of God. It is the proclamation of a timeless truth. The person of the living Triune God reigns now and forever, and desires a saving relationship with all.
Richard Hays states, “The one certain criterion of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration is that He empowers the simple confession, ‘Jesus is Lord.’” That confession is foundational to the sacrament of baptism as we confess Jesus Christ. The Christian’s response to Jesus’ Lordship recognizes God’s constant calling out to humanity both on a personal and communal level. When the individual truly realizes and confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit baptizes the individual into the life affirming Christian community of which Jesus is head. After the individual surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus in his/her daily life, the Holy Spirit empowers the person to overcome sin, which separates people from God, themselves, and others. As a result of the Holy Spirit’s work, the individual and the Church are enabled to live and worship in Christian unity and empowered to witness in the world.
Everything we can know and understand about God results from the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Christian church as a community of believers exists by the activity of the Spirit, “as an instrument of God’s mission and ministry.” The same Spirit, moving over the face of the waters at creation, spoke to the prophets creating a covenant community of expectant believers. The fulfillment of their expectation, the Son, was given the Spirit without limit. “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness…” (Luke 4:1). After the resurrection of Jesus, the expectant community becomes the new covenant community empowered, cleansed, united, and sent out to the whole world by the Holy Spirit.
The same Holy Spirit who enables individual believers to confess, “Jesus is Lord,” baptizes them into the church body and builds a community of faith. The Holy Sprit is actively drawing people to God to convince them of their sin and the forgiveness made available through the death, resurrection, and victory of Christ over death (John 16:8-11). Through this process of God’s divine grace the faith community is being constantly drawn into God’s presence and power. When one accepts Christ as their savior it is the Holy Spirit who serves as the agent of new birth. The Holy Spirit then nurtures the believer in this new life reminding them of God’s love and claim on their life (Romans 5:5, 8:14-16), and gives the required gifts for ministry to all members of the body of Christ (2 Corinthians 12).
I feel that the practice of ministry has helped me to move forward into my relationship with God through the Spirit. While serving the church I have also witnessed the Holy Spirit’s activity especially as it pertains to the process of discipleship. I’ve witnessed people cooperate with the grace of God and grow in their relationship with God as Disciples of Christ and desire to love and serve God and one another.
Believers are called to live holy lives under the Lordship of Christ. The loving and nurturing God continues the sanctifying work of extending grace to the believer thus making it possible to live a holy life. The process of sanctification transforms the believer and fills them with God’s love. The outworking of the Holy Spirit as evidenced in the life of a Christian bears fruit (Galatians 5:22) as a testimony and a witness to the power and grace of God.
I always enjoy leading the congregation through the season of Pentecost. This is an exciting time as we are focused for an entire season on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. However, I am always careful to teach that the Holy Spirit can’t be relegated to one season in the Church year and that God as the Holy Spirit is active in all seasons of the Church year and to be celebrated and submitted to in all of our life experiences.
I believe in the power and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and ministry. As I prepare sermons weekly I pray for the Spirit’s inspiration. It occurred to me quickly in my first appointment that Sunday comes around every week and I must be prepared. The practice of ministry is a true gift but it comes with heavy responsibilities and many demands from people. I have been very busy at times and seen my sermon preparation become less than what I would desire or usually require. It’s during these weeks that my prayer life has been desperately directly toward the inspiration, guidance, and power of the Holy Spirit.
I have felt at times as if I had failed to deliver the message of the text during my sermon when low and behold the Spirit would move in someone’s life in a profound way. There have been several occasions where after a service someone would comment about how something I said made an impact on their lives when I know for sure that I never said those words. Over and over again I have witnessed the Holy Spirit work and usually most powerfully when I humble myself and move out of the way. These moments bring me to my knees and make me grateful for the fact that I am called to be a Pastor in the United Methodist Church. I have learned that I don’t serve in my own strength and power. I am equipped and being transformed just as all are in God’s church and we stand as a testament to person and work of the Triune God, for this we can be assured and united in Christian love.
 Hamblin, Robert and Stephens, William. The Doctrine of Lordship (Nashville: Convention Press, 1990) P. 59.
 Erickson, Millard. “Lordship Theology: The Current Controversy,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 33 (Spring 1991) PP. 5-15.
 Thomas Oden commenting on John Calvin, Catechesis Of the church of Geneva, LCC XXII, P. 96, cf. Baxter, PW XVII pp. 381-412) Oden, Thomas. Systematic Theology: Vol. Two: The Word of Life (Peabody; Hendrickson, 2008).
 Hays, Richard B. Interpretation: First Corinthians (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997). P. 208.
 Tuttle, Robert. Someone Out There Needs Me: A Practical Guide to Relational Evangelism (Zondervan, 1983), P. 25.
 Inbody, Tyron. The Faith of the Christian Church: An Introduction to Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s, 2005). P. 247.