Thursday, January 13, 2022

Pastor's Note

 First Peter 3:15 strongly encourages us to set apart Christ Jesus as Lord and Master in our hearts.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15 ESV)   But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) 

So this week we tackle that particular directive as we take insight from Isaiah 62 and other Bible verses. Let’s define what it means that Christ is Lord. Then we will address the challenges to setting apart Jesus Christ as Lord.  And, finally, by faith we put Christ in that position of Lord in our hearts.

One: Definition of Christ as Lord

To revere Jesus Christ as Lord in our hearts means that He is exercising absolute ownership rights. He owns us; do we revere Him as the owner of our hearts and our lives?

This comes up when we recognize that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. We begin to live each day, thankful that God gives us life, food, habitat, a clean bill of health, admiration of our kin, and so much more.

As owner of our life He is also committed to taking good care of each one of us.

Two: Challenge to Christ as Lord

What are the challenges?

1 Peter 3:15 says the challenge has its home in the human heart. This means Jesus’ lordship is driven not only by information but by emotion. The heart is the seat of emotions and also of decision making - the will. Our will, our determinations on how to act, speak, live, more, go left, go right, every decision is calculated and steered by emotions: our heart. If our emotions go sour, so does our life. 

How does this play out? If you say to an individual, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior from sin and I know that I will inherit eternal life,” that’s an ardent testimony of the Christian faith. That’s a great way to Let your light shine

But if the person you say this to laughs in your face and goes on and on about “what a ridiculous thought, the Bible is an outdated book, Jesus Christ never claimed to be God” or anything close to it, and about a dozen other challenges, your emotions will be challenged. That position in your heart which once held Jesus Christ as Lord is now being chipped and snipped away. A once strong position has been crunched down to more of a question or a concern: “Is Jesus really who He says He is?” “What about their comments?” “What is my faith really built on?”

It is absolutely one of the most important things for us to grasp at this time in God’s history that the Lordship of Jesus in our hearts is not a stable situation. It flickers and wanes, it advances and retreats according to various programs, contacts, the media we ingest, the podcasts we listen to or ignore. Jesus’ position of lordship in our heart is constantly being challenged. 

Such attacks on the Christian faith are not mere coincidence but are orchestrated by Satan himself. That’s seen in Ephesians 6 where we see that our existence as believers is framed in military parlance. 

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle [battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12).

The heart is the place where Jesus must be Lord and master but the heart is fickle and it is attacked through so many avenues. So how do we maintain Jesus’ position in our hearts?

Three: By Faith we revere Christ as Lord

How do we confront that intellectual doubt or an emotional frontal assault that does creep up in our hearts and in our minds?

Isaiah 62 is one of many passages that takes us back to what’s really happening in time, space and eternity and how we can combat such doubts and fears about God, about the relationship that we have with him, about Jesus’ lordship. And then we will be able to let our light shine because of the confidence that we have in Jesus Christ as Lord in our heart.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. (Isaiah 62:4).

The heart is under attack so God confronts this attack by shoring up our understanding of His delight in us. And since He delights in us, he will join Himself to us. Since the Eternal God has joined Himself to us, we are not forsaken, the desolate desert experience we are going through will be erased!

We are in a desolate place but God promises to join Heaven to this ramshackled earthbound plot of ground. “Your land shall be married.” This means a joining together of Heaven and Earth - marriage. This means that the experience of dryness and feeling deserted will disappear. We are in a dry period of our existence; earth is a tired and worn out system that is constantly being drained and challenged by sin. It’s like a desert compared to Heaven. But God will forever connect with us because He delights in us.

How does He enforce that event? By reminding us that salvation comes out from the city of Jerusalem. The salvation that will burn like a torch in this dark world is the committed attack of justice which came at Jesus just outside the walls of Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. That is where our light was first lit. When Jesus’ light was snuffed out by our dark sin, God’s justice was satisfied and now God can fully display his approval of each of us. The Lord is delighted in you. God rejoices over you.

Isaiah 62:1-5

English Standard Version

62 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,

    and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,

until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

    and her salvation as a burning torch.

2 The nations shall see your righteousness,

    and all the kings your glory,

and you shall be called by a new name

    that the mouth of the Lord will give.

3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,

    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,

    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,

    and your land Married;

for the Lord delights in you,

    and your land shall be married.

5 For as a young man marries a young woman,

    so shall your sons marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

    so shall your God rejoice over you.

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