In the passage where Christ’s condescension and exaltation are described in detail, we see the culmination of human history. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).
Those who have received Christ as Savior do confess His lordship voluntarily now (Rom. 10:9,10); those who die unsaved will do so as they reap the consequence of final judgment (Rev. 20:15). How do we honor lordship of Jesus the Messiah today?
1. Honor the Lordship of Christ by embracing unselfish goals.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:3-5). Although believers have Christ’s spiritual mind through regeneration (1 Cor. 2:16), we need to “renew” our conscious mind with God’s truth (Rom. 12:2). We are summoned to adopt our Savior’s attitude of humility and servanthood.
It has been noted that we experience joy by the relational priorities of J.O.Y.– Jesus, others, you.
- Jesus – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”(Matt. 6:33)
- Others – “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself…” (Rom. 15:2,3a).
- You – In preparation for the Last Supper, Christ taught, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (John 13:13-16). And Paul testified, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more (1 Cor. 9:19 ).
Christ’s willingness to endure the cross calls us to deny our independence (Phil. 2:7,8). Jesus connected His own embrace of the Cross with our call to radical discipleship: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25; see v.24; Gal. 2:20).
2. Honor the Lordship of Christ by repenting of known sin.
When the risen Christ revealed Himself to John in an apocalyptic vision, the apostle–although a close friend and confidant of Jesus–swooned in reverential awe before Him. (Rev. 1:10-17). If our worship of the Lord is void of reverence, it is also void of reality.
When the seven churches of Asia Minor were addressed by the Lord, five of them had deviated from right doctrine and/or practice and were commanded to repent. For example, Ephesus (where Paul, Timothy, and the apostle John had years of dynamic ministry) was rebuked and corrected: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:4,5; See 2:16,22,3:3,19).
Although all our sins (past, present, and future) have been pardoned, believers sometimes sin (by commission or omission). God’s Spirit is still Holy and righteous, therefore sin grieves Him and quenches His influence (Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 5:19). This hindered fellowship is restored through repentance–realigning our mind, will and values with Him. We therefore admit where our thoughts, words and behavior need to be changed. This is designated in the Bible as “confession” (to speak the same). 1 John 1:9 refers to initial salvation and an ongoing pattern of confession/repentance. (Note the present tense used, which means “if we continue to confess our sins…”. Just as God’s redeemed ones are categorized as those who don’t ignore or excuse sin (1 John 1.6-10), so God is designated as the One who continues to apply the efficacy of Christ’s blood to our personal lives (1 John 1:7-2:2; see 3:8,9).
Such confession and repentance do not contradict the believer’s complete justification before God (Rom. 5:1;8:1). Rather, they demonstrate respect for Christ’s Lordship.
Paul counseled the Corinthians, ” Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (1 Cor. 7:9,10).
It’s common courtesy to admit our fault(s)to a person we have grieved or offended (intentionally or unintentionally); does the Person of the Holy Spirit deserve less?
3. Honor the Lordship of Christ by obeying God’s Word.
Since all God’s Word (Old Testament and New Testament) is inspired and profitable, we are to heed His Word for being rebuked, corrected, as well as instructed in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). The Scriptures, especially directives given to God’s people after Calvary and Pentecost, are more than suggestions; they are responsibilities– my response though His ability. Our will is involved and cooperation required to obey divine instructions. Yet, this is a grace life because the directives are also descriptions of Christ’s indwelling Life expressed through us (John 15:5).
- Disobedience causes dishonor: Christ asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
- Obedience demonstrates love and honor: “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:15,21).
- Obedience should flow from an abiding relationship; it need not be burdensome (1 John 3:24;5:3).
What guards these responses to Christ’s Lordship from sliding into self-effort or legalism? We are motivated by grace, encouraged by our identity in Christ, and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Returning to our initial context, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”(Phil. 2:12,13).
May our lives and lips proclaim:
Al hail King Jesus
All hail Emmanuel
King of Kings, Lord of lords
Bright Morning Star.
And throughout eternity
I’ll sing His praises,
And I’ll reign with Him
 “If we confess (ean homologomen). Third-class condition again with ean and present active subjunctive of homologeoo, “if we keep on confessing.” Confession of sin to God and to one another (James 5:16) is urged throughout the N.T. from John the Baptist (Mark 1:5) on.”-Robertson Word Pictures.
 Chorus by KENT HENRY
Biblical quotations are from the JKV.
Our concept of God greatly affects our faith, worship, and security. See this online video that features five people giving testimonies of their personal discoveries of God’s Love: fathersloveletter.com/journey.html