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Lead On, O King Eternal

Christmas 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This year December happened to have 5 Sundays, and each of them we have talked about the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
What will 2018 be like for you?
This year December happened to have 5 Sundays, and each of them we have talked about the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
On December 3rd we talked about the fact that we were created to worship God, and lost that worship when Adam sinned. It’s as unimaginable as it is true – Adam and Eve hid from their Creator. God came looking for them. Every one of Adam’s descendants, you and me included, have hidden from God as well, and He continues to come looking for us.
On December 10th we talked about the prophetic preparations for the Savior. Sin has continued to devastate mankind; we’ve all been overwhelmed by its violence and impact. One of the most terrible effects of sin is to numb us to its power and presence, like a malaria-infected mosquito that numbs the place where it bites. So the Holy Spirit forces us to see our sin, so that we would long for a Savior.
On December 17th (COB had it’s children’s program, but at One Hope Fellowship) we talked about Mary and Joseph, and the way the Triune God chose to bring the Savior through them. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and the power of the Most High God overshadowed her, and the Son of God became a human being in her womb. Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, but he was chosen to be Mary’s husband and Jesus’ stepfather. We don’t have a theoretical Savior but one made of flesh and blood, who saves us from real sin.
And on December 24th we talked about the fulfillment of God’s promise: unto us was born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Jesus is Savior; He saves sinners from the power, presence, and penalty of their sin. Jesus is Christ; He is the Anointed One of God, the one God sent to be our Savior. And Jesus is Lord, our King, the Sovereign God, who has the final say in all things. Because Jesus is Savior, Christ, and Lord, His salvation is perfect, our hope in Him is assured, and nothing will prevent Him from achieving His perfect will for each and every one of His people.
So, now what? Is that all? No, not at all. Jesus didn’t stay a baby in a manger. Jesus didn’t stay an itinerant preacher in the wilderness. Jesus didn’t stay the suffering Savior on the cross. Jesus didn’t stay confined to His tomb, neatly wrapped in a burial shroud. He rose in victory and majesty, glorified, eternally God and Man. He ascended to heaven, and rules on high.
Let’s bring these weeks to a close this morning by talking about our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The Great Confession

Let’s turn to :
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” ()
This statement is known as the shema, which is the Hebrew word for hear. This is the first creed that we find in Scripture, and it was given to us by God Himself. There is One God, and He is LORD – Yahweh. Hear, O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is One.
What does it mean that God is One?
First, it means that He alone is God. There are no other gods. The universe is a monotheistic place. The reason idolatry is such a great sin is that it is not simply choosing one god (or many gods) over another, but choosing NO god over the One True God. Idolatry is not only a betrayal; it’s an insult. It not only says, “I want a god other than Yahweh,” but “I prefer NO god at all to the God Who Is.”
Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. He alone is God, and we are accountable to Him whether we like it or not.
Second, it means that He alone is OUR God. It is not ego that makes God demand our worship. It is truth. If it is a fact that Yahweh alone is God – and it IS a fact – and if it is a fact that there are no other gods – and it IS a fact – then worshiping and honoring Yahweh as God is not a matter of opinion, but of truth. And not only is it a fact that Yahweh is the only God, it is also a fact that He has always chosen people for His own glory. He chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He chosen the descendants of Jacob, the nation Israel. In Christ He chooses people for His own out of every tongue, tribe, nation, and kindred.
Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. HIS choice of us makes Him OUR God.
And third, it means that unity is His essential nature. The word translated one is often used in the Old Testament to describe a single grouping of things, as when Adam and Eve were described as being one flesh (), or when humanity is described as one people (). The Law of God in Israel was one Law for the Jew and Gentile alike (). Many people make up one family or one tribe. Yahweh is one, the only God, but He has revealed Himself to be Triune. There is One God. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Each is God. All three are God. One God, Three Persons. While one here does not establish the doctrine of the Trinity, it does provide a basis for the Trinity as it is later revealed.
Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
While one here is not proof of the Trinity, it certainly provides an early foundation for the Trinity.
So, Yahweh is Lord. He is One. He alone is God. He is OUR only God. He is unified in His nature and attributes.

The Great Response

How then are we to behave toward Yahweh, the One True God? tells us:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ()
There is the great commandment in verse 5. We are commanded to love the LORD our God – Yahweh our God – with all our heart and soul and might.
You might think that love would not be the first response to God’s sovereignty and authority. Fear comes to mind; the Bible tells us to fear the Lord our God. Worship certainly comes to mind, as does honor, obey, and submit to Him.
But love stands out here, especially since it means to have a strong sense of affection and loyalty. This isn’t love as a code word for slavish obedience. This is the love that Abraham had for his son, Isaac. It’s the love that Rebekah had for her son, Jacob. It’s the love that Jacob had for Rachel.
Our LORD, Yahweh, commands us to long for Him and delight in Him and adore Him and be happy and pleased with Him.
The very words used in verse 5 show that our love for God is to be as singular and exclusive as His own nature.
We are to love Him with all our heart. In the Bible the heart is the core of the person. The biblical heart includes emotion and affection, but is far more. The heart is also where we think, where we decide, and where we will. The heart is where personality and character reside. The heart is our nature. My heart is who I am; it is me.
To love the LORD your God with all your heart is to love Him with everything you are.
We are to love Him with all our soul. That’s the Hebrew word nephesh, and it essentially life, the life within us, the breath given to us by God, the awareness of our own existence. It is what God breathed into Adam at his creation (). In describing the end of life, Solomon spoke of the spark of life as a silver cord, as a golden bowl, as a pitcher that is constantly filled, as a wheel that is in constant motion. Life doesn’t stop, Solomon says, it is interrupted, severed; the silver cord is snapped, the golden bowl is broken. That’s what happens when the life departs the body and returns to God.
To love God with all our soul is to love Him with all the life within us, with every heartbeat and breath, in the fullness of the mystery of existence.
We are to love Him with all our might. This is our vitality, our energy, the power of our lives, our endurance, not just the physical strength of our body, but the mental strength of heart and mind as well. We face opposition from our own sin nature and that of others, and from the world’s temptations, and from Satan. It takes strength and effort and exertion to resist and to give ourselves to God.
To love God with all our strength is to love Him deliberately, purposefully, passionately, energetically.

The Great Confession 2.0

Just as the great confession of the Old Testament is found in - Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one – there is a great confession in the New Testament, in a number of places.
One is in :
Acts 2:36 ESV
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” ()
We find it in as well:
We find it in as well:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ()
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And in :
And in :
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. ()
Romans 14:9 ESV
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
And in , which says that God
And in , which says that God
Ephesians 1:20–23 ESV
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. ()
And in , which says that Jesus
And in , which says that Jesus
Colossians 1:15–19 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, ()
Are you hearing the theme? Jesus Christ is Lord!
Are you hearing theme? Jesus Christ is Lord!
Are you hearing theme? Jesus Christ is Lord!
That is the confession that saves sinners:
Romans 10:9 ESV
because, 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.
because, 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. ()
And it is a truth that can only be TRULY declared by someone in whom the Holy Spirit resides:
And it is a truth that can only be TRULY declared by someone in whom the Holy Spirit resides:
1 Corinthians 12:3 ESV
Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
… no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. ()

The Great Response 2.0

How do we respond to Jesus as Lord? Exactly the same as we do to God, because He IS God.
How do we respond to Jesus as Lord? Exactly the same as we do to God, because He IS God.
We’ll just let Jesus speak for Himself:
John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:21 ESV
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” ()
John 14:23–24 ESV
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
John 15:10 ESV
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
John 15:14 ESV
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” ()
This is exactly what Israel was commanded in , and for exactly the same reason: Hear, O Christian, Jesus Christ is Lord, and you shall love the Lord Jesus with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” ()
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” ()
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” ()
“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” ()
This is exactly what Israel was commanded in , and for exactly the same reason: Hear, O Christian, Jesus Christ is Lord, and you shall love the Lord Jesus with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is expressed through our submission to Him, through our obedience to Him, through our faithfulness to Him. In fact, those who claim to love Him, but will not obey Him, are deceived.
John explains that in his first epistle.
1 John 2:4–5 ESV
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:
1 John 5:3 ESV
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. ()
Many people in our time, even some who claim to be Christians, say that love means obedience isn’t necessary. That isn’t just mistaken; it’s a lie.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. ()
Many people in our time, even some who claim to be Christians, say that love means obedience isn’t necessary. That isn’t just mistaken; it’s a lie.
Love doesn’t take the place of everything else. It is the only proper foundation for everything else.

Bringing It Home

So, let’s talk about you and me.
God is Lord. We are to love Him with everything we are, with every breath and heartbeat, with all our energy.
Jesus Christ is Lord. We are to HIM in exactly the same way, with everything we are, with every breath and heartbeat, with every ounce of energy. He is Lord, and that changes everything for us.
I don’t know how 2017 was for you and your relationship with Christ.
Maybe it was a good year. Maybe you increased your love and obedience to the Lord this year. Maybe you bent your knee a little deeper, bowed to Him more often, really aimed at strengthening your affection for Him, your devotion to Him, your sacrifice for Him.
Maybe it wasn’t a great year. Maybe you resisted Him this year. Maybe you grew weary and eased up on your service. Maybe you got tired of the struggle against sin and the world.
I really don’t know. For me, I had my difficult times. I complained to Him more than I wish I had. I felt sorry for myself more than I should have. But I also grew in Him. I shared the Gospel more this year than I have before. I dove deeper into His Word. I surrendered more of my life than I had before.
In a few hours 2017 won’t be here anymore. Our victories are chalked up to the glory of God. Our failures are under the blood of Jesus.
What really matters is 2018, and how we live the next 365 days. We will each have 365 opportunities to be in the Word, to spend time with Jesus in prayer. We will each have at least 365 opportunities to share the Gospel, and 365 opportunities to devote the entire day to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will have 52 opportunities to gather for Sunday worship, and almost as many opportunities to gather mid-week for study and fellowship.
There will be countless opportunities to forgive others, to bless others, to share, to love, to encourage, to strengthen, to reach out. There will be many opportunities to let other believers into your life to bless and encourage you.
It is my prayer that each of you will end 2018 with a greater devotion to the Lord than you have today, greater reliance on Him, greater hunger for His glory, greater obedience, greater affection and delight in Him, greater surrender to His will.
It is my prayer that you will embrace Jesus as Lord as you never have before.
If you have the assurance of your salvation because your life reflects growing Christ-likeness, praise God!
If you don’t have that assurance, then don’t merely assume that you are right with God. Come to Him and fall at His feet.
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