The Lordship of Jesus
Series: Church Around the Table
We’ve got a special guest today: Allan Meyer. You’re going to enjoy this. The Life Groups will be discussing this. If you’re not in a Life Group, I hope you’ll sign up for one real soon. Allan’s got a world-class gift from God. When John the Baptist came, he prepared people for Jesus. When Allan comes, he prepares us for what God wants to do in our lives. Let’s open our hearts and welcome Allan Meyer to Living Streams.
Thank you. What a privilege to be here with you. Thank you for the opportunity. It’s lovely having been an occasional visitor over many years. There’s a wonderful buzz in the house over this past few days. It’s a privilege to be able to share it with you. I brought two resources with me. One is my book From Good Man to Valiant Man. It’s about male sexuality. Women need to read it because you’ve got to relate to men everywhere you go. And men need help. I’ve got a DVD called Becoming a Valiant Man, that explains why men need so much help. Women have known that for a long time, but men do. In a highly sexualized world, men need a lot of help. The book is the kind of help they need. And if that’s helpful to you, I’ll be glad to sign one for you later.
Today I want to share with you the conversation I had in university that changed my life. I wouldn’t be here this morning if it hadn’t been that I had one of those divine moments where you sit down next to another student, a conversation unfolds, and it just happens that God had the right person to sit next to just at that moment in your life. And everything changes.
That conversation was triggered by the call of God on my life. I grew up going to church. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t go to church because Mom and Dad were both believers. As a result, I was there from the time I was a child. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe the Bible was true. I enjoyed church. I enjoyed worship and I would have called myself a believer.
All I ever wanted to be in church was a school teacher. My dad was the principle of a primary school. I had aunts and uncles who were teachers. That’s all I ever dreamt of. I wanted to be a normal Australian that had nice house, a pretty wife, a football team that could win lots of games, and be a school teacher, have barbecues and have a really nice life, and then die and go straight to heaven (if such a place ever existed). That was my plan.
I was a strange kind of believer because I had a kind of a breakthrough in my final year of high school. I won a scholarship to university. The education department put me through university. I had signed an agreement that at the end I would teach for three years. I was really happy with the arrangement. During those first years of university, I was as happy as I could be. I had a car. I had money in my pocket from my studentship. I had golf clubs, a rifle, a pretty girlfriend. I was just having a whale of a time and having tremendous fun, and attending church.
The weird thing about my life is that, while I attended church, I was a weird kind of Christian. I had a can and a hose in the trunk of my car. I used to syphon petrol out of other people’s tanks. At least I used it to get to choir practice on Friday night. I would steal my lunch from the university cafeteria every day so I would have a dollar to put in the offering on Sunday. While that might not sound like a really Christian life to you, it was working for me.
My pretty girlfriend was an Anglican girl. She was going to an Anglican church. Her minister used to bring people in to share testimonies. I was a Lutheran. We didn’t have any testimonies. I had never heard one. But in the Anglican Church, apparently, there were a few testimonies.
One night, listening to one of these testimonies, I got really disturbed because the kind of relationship with Jesus he was talking about was totally unfamiliar to me. Then her minister quietly came up beside me and asked me a question. He said, “Tell me, young man, where are you with the Lord?”
I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I didn’t know how to answer the question. I had been going to church all my life and no one had ever asked me that question. I bumbled out some nonsense about, “Well, I used to have my doubts but now I’m right in there.”
I went home from that meeting that night aware that I had no idea where I stood with the Lord. In fact, I thought, Well, how would you ever know? I mean, I guess you have to die to find out where you stand with the Lord.
A good Lutheran boy should have known better than that, but that’s where I was. And that question upset me. It set me up for the next thing, which was three weeks later. I went to my Lutheran church and we had a visiting speaker. He spoke on hell. I have to tell you, halfway through that sermon, I got the feeling I was going to get to see this place someday. Even though he didn’t have 8x10 glossies to prove that hell existed, I had a bad feeling that all this stuff is true.
He said something that day that shook me up. He said, “The worst two words that will ever be uttered in hell are the words ‘if only.’ If only I’d followed Jesus. If only I had listened. If only I had taken it seriously. If only I’d been a real believer.” That so disturbed me that, at the end of the service I could hardly get up and walk out of the chair.
Now, if you came to Living Streams and someone shared a message like that, at least at the end someone would stand up and say, “Now if there is any young man here today that has a can and a hose in the trunk of his car, who feels the need for repentance…” I would have said, “Yeah! That’s me! That’s me!” But I went to a Lutheran church. They scare the hell out of you and send you home for lunch. I left there that day thinking, I have got to get this figured out—where I stand with Jesus.
Well, I started asking myself the question: “How Christian do you have to be to get to heaven? And how would you know when you crossed the line?” Because here was my challenge: I didn’t want to be a fanatic. I really did want to die and go straight to heaven and have my sins forgiven; but I didn’t want anyone else to know I was on the way. I hoped that I would die, walk through the gates of heaven, everyone would turn with shocked surprise and say, “Oh, we never thought we’d see you here, pal!”
And I would say, “Oh, me and Jesus were like that, because I was a secret agent for God. It was my business to get into heaven under the radar so no one else knew I was on the way.”
I was trying to figure out: How Christian do you have to be to really be right with God? I started trying to do the sums on that. The first thing I thought of was money. Now, God’s nearly always broke. They tell you that in church. If I was to give God money, that would be very helpful. That’s got to count for something. So I put that on my list. I don’t mind giving some more.
Then I had the brilliant idea. Sunday School. Brilliant. It happens in church on Sunday. I was going to be there anyway. So I could be normal through the week, come to church on Sunday and teach the little children about Jesus. If Sunday school teachers don’t get to heaven, you tell me who does! How much suffering does it take to get into heaven?
I was getting my list of what I was prepared to do, and I was starting to feel pretty good about this list. “Well, I’m giving money. I’m teaching Sunday School.” I came home from work on a Thursday, four days later. I was going to take my girlfriend out (she’s now my wife). I got right near the front door and God spoke to me as clear as I’m speaking to you. He didn’t speak in my ears. He spoke in my chest. I heard it in here. He simply said to me, “I want you to be a minister.”
I’ve got to tell you, that wasn’t on my list. A minister. I’m trying to be a secret agent for God. I’m trying to fly under the radar. I’ve got to figure out something pretty quick. I saw myself dressed as a Lutheran minister with the black stuff on and the colors around my neck. I burst into tears. “Oh, no! Nineteen years old and I’m dead already!”
I felt like my entire life came to a halt. I jumped in my car. I drove around to see my girlfriend. I said, “I think God wants me to be a minister.” She cried. She didn’t want to marry a minister.
I have a reverse testimony. You’ve heard those testimonies, “I was low and down and broken and filled with sin. And Jesus came and lifted me up.”
Well, I was doing great. I had a lovely life. I had a car and some money and a pretty girlfriend and life was going great. Then Jesus came along and wrecked the entire thing. As a result of that moment, the call of God, now I’ve got a crisis on my hands. I want to be absolutely sure I’m going to heaven. I’m a university student. I can figure out that, if I keep telling God I’m not doing what he says, that’s not going to go well.
As a result, I found myself in an emotional crisis. I was so upset I couldn’t think straight. Here I am, trying to study for my final exams, and I’m so overwhelmed with this sense of the call of God on my life and not wanting to do it, that I can’t think.
I was in the university library, studying for a history of educational thought exam, and I was so overwhelmed. I’m trying to study. Nothing will go in. I can’t even read stuff. It was just overwhelming my emotions. I don’t know why—again, God is so wonderful—I just saw that the university diary for the day said that there was a Lutheran service in the religious center at lunch time. I thought, Well, I’ll go and do something religious. Maybe God will leave me alone if I do something religious.
So I went down to the religious center and I sat down on one of the seats. Another student just happened to come in and sit down alongside me. Away they went with the Lutheran service. By the way, my Lutheran church was a wonderful experience for me. That Lutheran service that day didn’t mean a thing. At the end of it, as they packed up and were beginning to leave, I was overwhelmed with distress; because I had hoped to find a bit of peace here so that I could study. I was just as messed up after the service as I had been before it began.
The young guy sitting beside me opened his lunchbox and started eating his sandwiches. Now let me tell you a secret about sharing your faith: Sometimes we worry, How can I share my faith? How can I break into the conversation some spiritual thought? Listen, just don’t leave too soon. You’re having coffee with someone, having a conversation with someone, just don’t leave too soon. Because the Bible says “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
I was so overwhelmed, I just couldn’t help myself. I start telling this kid next to me all of my woes. “I think God wants me to be a minister.”
Well, he says to me, “That’s wonderful!”
I said, “No! No! It’s terrible!”
He said, “Why?”
I said, “Because I don’t want to be one.”
He said, “Well, are you a believer?”
I said, ‘Yeah.”
He said, “Well, what do you believe?”
Oh, well you ask a Lutheran that, I can tell you. I went right through Luther’s small catechism. “So what do I believe? Well…
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven.
He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
from whence He shall judge the heavens and the earth.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian church
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and the life everlasting.
Do you think I’m saved?”
He said, “Ah, it’s possible. That’s a lot of believing you’ve got going on there, man. But you don’t want to be a minister?”
“Well, let me ask you something about all that confession you made. I just wonder if you haven’t overlooked one of those words that was in there.”
“Well, which one?”
“Well, go back to the beginning. ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord. That’s an interesting word in there, Allan. Lord. Do you know what the word means?”
“Well, I guess it’s kind of like it’s part of his title. Like there’s Professor Gordon Brown, and I’m Mister Allan Meyer and he’s Lord Jesus Christ. It’s kind of like part of his name. You’d only have two names if you didn’t put Lord on the front.”
“No, no. That’s an interesting point of view. But no, you see, the issue with lordship is that Lord actually means something, Al. The interesting thing is you’ve got a lot of believing going on there, but if you went right back to the beginning when Christianity was just beginning, it was an awful lot simpler than that. Everything you just said, that’s good stuff to believe. But it took a hundred and fifty years to get that locked together. Right at the beginning when people were first beginning to embrace Jesus, all you really had to know was four words: Jesus Christ is Lord. The earliest Christian confession. You knew if people were disciples or not. Jesus Christ is Lord. I wonder if, in all your believing, you’ve overlooked that one, simple thought. What do you think Lord means, Al?”
“Well, I don't know. I guess He’s in charge or something?”
“Yeah. That’s exactly right. You see, the word Lord means that he is the master. He is the owner. He’s the one with supreme power and authority. He’s the one who rules. He’s the one who has dominion. He’s the one who has power. He’s the one with all authority in heaven and in earth. Put in simple language, mate, he’s the boss. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your boss?”
“Well, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about it quite like that. Now, I guess when I was syphoning petrol out of tanks I really hadn’t given that a lot of thought.”
He said, “Al, what you need to understand is this is the critical issue. Who rules? It’s the struggle of the ages. It’s the spiritual war that will separate life and death. And it’s the war that’s been going on from the very beginning. If you go back to the Garden of Eden, that’s where the war began. And it was all over one question: Hath God said? Who’s in charge around here? Who is the one with supreme authority? Who are you following? Who are you yielded to?
“You see, God created that garden and said to Adam and Eve, ‘The whole thing is yours. Fantastic. Enjoy the lot. But that one tree, the Knowledge of Good and Evil, leave that up to me. Because, you see, as human beings, you don’t know enough to proclaim with authority what’s good and what’s evil. You’ve got to leave that to me because I see the end from the beginning. Something you think is really good, if you just knew where it leads, you’d discover one day that was evil. And something you think is really bad, if you just new where it would lead, you’d say, ‘‘‘That was good.’”
He said, “You need to know that God said to them, ‘The tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that’s all mine. You leave that alone. You honor my leadership.’ And into that garden came a creep, dragging with him the silent chains of our future bondage, and he starts with this thought: ‘Hath God said you shall not eat of anything in this garden?’
“No, he didn’t say that, you miserable coot. 'He said we could eat of everything, just leave that tree, the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Let him be the boss.’
“‘Oh, I hate to tell you this, but you see, that’s the problem. You’ll never have a real life ’til you’re the one who sits upon the throne.’
“It’s the war of the ages.
“Listen to what Psalm 2 has to say:
1 Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
“There is a spirit that sees obedience to God as a prison house. And yet, the Father of life, obedience to him is a fountain of life, not chains and shackles. The Bible says:
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs…
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
…“You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
“Who rules, Al? Who rules? See, what you need to understand is that when Jesus was sent into the world, he was sent as Lord. It’s in the Bible from one end to the other. You might have overlooked it, but let me just remind you just how frequently the Bible refers to Christ as Lord. The angels said it when they were announcing Jesus’ birth.”
Luke 2 (NASB):
1 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Acts 2 (NASB):
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.
Romans 10 (NASB):
9 … if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
Philippians 2 (NASB)
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 Peter 3 (NASB):
15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts,
1 Corinthians 8 (NASB):
6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father,…and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
2 Corinthians 4 (NASB):
5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
Revelation 17 (NASB):
14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
He said, “Al, do you understand what the word covenant means?”
“Yeah, well, I guess that means it’s an agreement.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Like, you know, when I sold my bicycle. We haggled over the price and then we came to an agreement.”
“Ah,” he said, “But that’s not the kind of covenant that you can have with Jesus. The kind of covenant you just spoke about—in the Bible there’s a word for that. It’s (Greek word). It’s an agreement between equals. You can haggle about that. You can negotiate those agreements. But Jesus Christ is not the subject of a (Greek word). He’s the subject of a (Greek word)—a covenant from a superior to an inferior. You can accept him as Lord. You can reject him as Lord But you can’t negotiate. You either embrace him or reject him as Lord.”
He said, “Al, I think I understand why you’re struggling so much. The problem you face is that you’re trying to marry a dishwasher.”
I said, “Um, you’d better run that one by me one more time. What do you mean I’m trying to marry a dishwasher?”
He said, “Just imagine this. That pretty girlfriend of yours—imagine when the time comes to marry the girl, you step up to the altar and the pastor says, ‘Allan, repeat your vows.’ And out you come, ‘I, Allan, take you Helen to be my lawfully wedded dishwasher.’
“You’ve got to know at that point that ceremony isn’t going to go one step further. Then she’s going to say, ‘Excuse me? Lawfully wedded dishwasher?’”
“‘Oh, yes! No, excuse me—far too narrow. I embrace you as my lawfully wedded cook, ironer of shirts, occasional romantic companion, and my dishwasher.’
“‘No, no, no! That’s not marriage, Al. Whatever you’ve got in your mind there has nothing to do with marriage. You see, when I came down that aisle, I was prepared to marry you as a wife. Now if you embrace me as a wife, an occasional dish might get washed. But you can’t marry me as a dishwasher.’
“You see, Al, that’s what you’re trying to do. You would love to have Jesus for your Savior, but you don’t want him as your Lord. And here’s the problem. You can’t have him on those terms. You either embrace him as Lord, or you do not embrace him at all. That is not a covenant that’s available to you. You need to appreciate that, if you embrace him, you embrace him as Lord, and because of who he is, he will wash you. He’ll wash your feet. He’ll wash your heart. He’ll wash your life. But you can’t marry a dishwasher.”
I cannot tell you how important that moment was for me. The recognition that I was trying to engage with Jesus in a way he was not available to me. No wonder I was in distress and I couldn’t find any peace. It was a horrible time.
Listen to it in the words of Jesus:
Jesus said, “Not everyone that says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy and drive out demons and perform miracles?’ And he’ll say, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.’”
In Luke 6 (NASB), Jesus put it this way:
46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
Well, that was me. I’ve got to tell you, it nailed me to the wall. That conversation changed my life. Listen to this last parable: (Matthew 21 TPT):
28 Jesus said to his critics, “Tell me what you think of this parable:
“There once was a man with two sons. The father came to the first and said, ‘Son, I want you to go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son replied, ‘I’d rather not.’ But afterward, he deeply regretted what he said to his father, changed his mind, and decided to go to the vineyard.”
I am that son. I had been living for nineteen years attending church and believing everything but I had never embraced the Lordship of Jesus. When he called me in a way that I did not want to follow, it was exposed for what it was. I was a rebel to the core of my being.
30 The father approached the second son and said the same thing to him. The son replied, ‘Father, I will go and do as you said.’ But he never did—he didn’t go to the vineyard. 31 Tell me now, which of these two sons did the will of his father?”
They answered him, “The first one.” Jesus said, “You’re right.”
I thank God for that young man who sat beside me. We had a conversation and, at the end of that conversation, I knew that if I did not embrace him as my Lord, I couldn’t have him as my Savior. I decided, “I’ll take Jesus, lock, stock and barrel.” I am so glad I did. What I thought was going to be a horrifying life has turned out to be the most thrilling journey you could imagine.
What I thought was going to be evil actually turned out to be really good. And what I was trying to hold on to, what I thought was good, would have destroyed my life and left me in dust and ashes. I am so grateful that a young man explained to me one day that Jesus Christ was Lord.
Let me ask you a question as we close. Is Jesus your Lord? In reality, Is Jesus the ultimate authority in your life? Is that who he is? If Jesus Christ was really to be your Lord, would you have to handle your money differently? If Jesus Christ was really your Lord, would you have to handle other people’s money differently? If Jesus Christ was your Lord, would you have to handle your sex life differently? Or is your sex life sitting on the throne? If Jesus Christ was really your Lord, would you love better? Would you love your husband, your wife? Would you love your father or your mother? Would you love your brothers or your sisters? Would you love your church or your nation differently if Christ was Lord?
If Jesus Christ was Lord, would you get up tomorrow morning and go to work and do a fundamentally different kind of work? Would you go to work knowing that you serve the King? Would you give it your best if Christ was Lord? Would you have to change? Would people see a difference in the way you work if Jesus Christ was Lord?
If Jesus Christ was Lord, would you handle your worst enemy differently? Would you forgive more quickly? More completely?
If Jesus Christ was the Lord of your life, would you stop driving and texting at the same time? If Jesus Christ was your Lord, would you clean up your room when your mother asks you? If Jesus Christ was your Lord, would you resolve conflict? Would you serve better?
Let me sing you an old chorus. When I sing a chorus, it’s like going to an Eagles concert. Just old songs. It’s an old song I heard years ago. It became part of my life.
For he is Lord
He is Lord
He is risen from the dead
And he is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord
One day there was a man who bought himself an apartment. He thought he’d put in a tenant. Figured he’d come back at the end of the first month and collect the rent. He knocked on the door. A man came out and said, “Are you the owner?”
He said, “Yes, I am.”
“Wonderful, I’ve got something for you.” He took a backward step and began to sing:
You are the owner
You are the owner
You have bought this apartment
You are the owner
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That you are the owner
He shut the door and went back inside. The owner said, “That’s incredible. I’ve never seen that before. Maybe he’s going to give me two months’ rent when I come back next month.”
He came back and knocked on the door. The man comes to the door and says, “Sweetheart! It’s the owner! Bring the kids!”
All the family comes out and begins to sing:
You are the owner
You are the owner
You have bought this apartment
You are the owner…
They give him the whole song, shut the door and go back inside. He says, “That is absolutely incredible. Maybe they’re going to give me three months’ rent at that end of next month.”
He comes back at the end of the third month, knocks on the door. The man comes out. “It’s the owner!” The entire neighborhood comes together. They’ve got a sixty-piece orchestra. They’ve got a fifty-person choir and they begin to sing:
You are the owner
There will come a moment when he will say, “Shut up! And show me the money!”
If Jesus Christ is Lord, he deserves more than a song. I went to church for nineteen years and sang my heart out. Jesus said, “That’s really good. Show me the money, Al. Show me your obedience. I want to see it in every part of your life.”
And by the grace of God, that conversation changed my life. And it’s why I’m here today. My life has unfolded differently because of that moment. And may God help you, that perhaps your life might unfold differently from this moment because you were here today.
Would you bow your heads with me this morning?
Father, in the name of Jesus, I want to thank you for the moment that was so precious in my memory and in my life. I pray for my friends who are here today. I pray for those who perhaps through this story it has awakened them that they need to adjust where you sit in their life.
If you’re here today and hearing this story awakened you to the thought that you really do need to make an adjustment to the submission you have and the obedience you have to the words of Jesus, I want you to wave at me a little bit and I’m going to pray for you right where you are. It’s helpful to do it. You say, “I heard that and I know that I need that.”
Father, I pray for every hand. Let the Spirit of the Lord remind them, ‘Show me the money. Show me the life. Show me the obedience. Follow me, not just in words, but in reality.’ Let your kingdom come in these lives, I pray. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture marked TPT is from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com