Milford H. (Milford Hall) Lyon.

The Lordship of Jesus online

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Fleming H. Eevell Company

London & Edinburgh
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I. The Basis for a Spiritual Revival . . 7

II. The Concurrent Testimony of Scripture 12

III. The Source of Life 17

IV. The Supreme Authority for Instruction . 21
V. The Guide of Action 26

VI. The Basis of Christian Unity ... 31

VII. The Will of God 38

Vin. Jesus as Lord in the Home . . . .53

IX. Jesus as Lord in Education ... 60

X. Jesus as Lord in Society - . . . .66

XI. Jesus as Lord in Politics .... 75

XII. Jesus as Lord in Business .... 84

XIII. Jesus as Lord in the Church ... 100

XIV. The Christian Incentive . . . .109
XV. Preparation for Christian Service . 121


Any treatment of so great a subject must, of
necessity, be out of proportion to the theme. The
author has not written to instruct the student of
theology, so much as to help that larger company
of earnest Christian disciples amid the problems
and burdens of practical life. No claim is made
that a new truth has been discovered. It is rather
that an old one has been emphasized and applied.
There is an abundance of potential energy in the
religion of Christ, still undeveloped, to stir all
Christendom to its depths, and to arouse men out of
the spiritual lethargy into which so many have

Where quotations from Scripture have been
made, the Eevised Version has been used because
it generally brings out more clearly the meaning
of the original.

It has been with an earnest desire to do the
Master's will that these chapters have been written.
And they are sent forth with a prayer that they
may help to advance His kingdom, and bring many
souls into the life of full obedience to their divine


Wheaton, Illinois.




Every great religions revival in the history of the
Christian church has taken form about some central
truth. This truth may have been long accepted,
but never had received the consideration it deserved.
Many a star may have flitted across the telescopic
field of vision, but not until the astronomer has
focused his lens upon that particular object does
he determine its relative importance. Every great
religious principle whose emphasis has stirred the
church to its depths and transformed its life had
previously been accepted, but needed to be brought
into the foreground to exert a permanent and
powerful influence upon religious thought and char-

Thus, the revival under Luther and his associates
had as its basic principle justification by faith. The
church had in a measure always believed this, yet
when advocated and applied by the leaders of the
Eeformatiou, it seemed almost a discovery. Like-
wise, the great religious awakening under the Wes-
leys and Whitefield was not merely a protest against


8 The LorclsliiiD of Jesus

the ritualism and sacerdotalism of the day, but was
founded upon the principle of the work of the Holy
Spirit in personal regeneration. Jonathan Edwards
brought especially into prominence the message of
the sovereignty of God. Finney emphasized the
importance of personal responsibility and choice.
And the central truth in the preaching of Mr.
Moody was salvation by grace, the free and unmer-
ited favor of God. In each case the principles
previously established were not disregarded, but
were used as the foundation upon which to add
another story to the massive and enduring structure
of religious truth and achievement.

The revelation to each generation is supplemen-
tary, not substitutional. The AVesleys accepted the
doctrine of jastification, Finney of regeneration, and
Moody of divine sovereignty. Spiritual riches come
not by discarding the past, but by adding to the
treasures already accumulated. *'The kingdom of
heaven is like unto a householder who brought
forth out of his treasures things both new and old."

We are now led to inquire what shall be the char-
acter of the next great spiritual awakening. If it is
to follow in the path of history, can we not cxpoct
that it also shall form about a central truth which
shall be, not only a basis for the structure, but also
a mainspring giving energy to the entire movement?

Such a principle to become the dynamics of a
great religious revival must bo a truth of the miglit-
iest import. It need not attract by any claim to
novelty. It may be rather some belief that has

The Basis for a Spiritual Eevival 9

been already at least partially accepted, but has not
been generally assimilated and had its latent poten-
tiality applied to life and experience. And when we
stop to consider that all of the great discoveries in
the material world have been the application of prin-
ciples and powers of simple character and of common
observation, can we not expect an analogy in the
realm of religion?

Any great principle to be worthy of giving direc-
tion to a great spiritual movement must satisfy
many varied and strict requirements. First, it
must be scriptural. Any idea advanced that does
not commend itself to Christian thinkers and work-
ers as having unquestioned authority in the Word
of God cannot with reason expect their acceptance
and support.

Second, such a principle must be comprehensive
in its character, comprehensive in its scope of vision,
and also in its application to all classes and condi-
tions of humanity. In our day, more than ever
before, any idea that is evidently limited in its grasp
of truth cannot command any general interest.
The power of Christianity has been its universality,
and its adaptability to all the varied needs and prob-
lems of human life and experience; and any religious
principle, to receive the hearty support of Christian
thinkers, must be universal enough to reach all
grades and elements in society.

Again, this principle must be unifying. Many
religious ideas in our day have been advanced that
have tended to divide, rather than unite, Christian

10 Tlie Lordsliip of Jesus

believers. Christ is not divided; the Holy Spirit
does not teach one thing to one, and the opposite to
another. Anything that tends to produce schism
cannot surely meet the divine approval. If a relig-
ious awakening does not tend to unify the disciples
of Jesus, its ultimate result is disastrous rather than

And, lastly, this principle must be effective in
producing a higher type of religious thought and
character. It must be applicable to present-day
conditions and needs, and when so applied must
tend to a radical transformation in the life of its

What principle can satisfy all these religious tests?
Do we not have it in the Lordship of Jesus? The
"church has always accepted — at least superficially —
the truth of this principle, yet never has it been
brought into the foreground of the field of vision.
Even the Jews looked upon the coming Messiah as a
king, but the lordship was to be political rather than
personal, the sovereignty of an earthly throne,
rather than the dominant power in the direction of
individual and social thought and activity. Every
generation of the Christian church has assigned to
Jesus the title of Lord. It has been incorporated
in its creeds, its hymns, its sermons, and its prayers.
But too often the practical authority has been trans-
ferred to His future reign, rather than to be made
dominant in present conditions. In the contempla-
tion of His great sacrifice and death, many have
seemed to forget that He lives and reigns. The ob-

The Basis far a Spiritual Kevival 11

ject of this work is to emphasize the pregnant truth
that we should acknowledge Jesus not only as our
Saviour from the gnilt of sin, but also as Lord of
the entire activity of life.



Let us note at this point how thoroughly scrip-
tural is the principle of the Lordship of Jesus.
The frequency and directness with which the Old
Testament speaks of Jesus as King was, in itself,
one cause of the misconception of the Jews, and of
their rejection of the Christ. But their mistake
was not in the interpretation of Scripture, it was in
their idea of kingship. They could not disassociate
from their conception of royalty, the thought of
material w^ealth and dominion, of rich apparel and
gorgeous display. They read rightly when they
expected the Messiah to be a king, but, with the
veil upon their hearts, they failed to see that he who
was to be truly great should be the servant of all,
that true regality consisted in kingliness of char-

A few Messianic passages will be sufficient to show
clearly the prophetic conception of the character
and office of Christ.

Genesis 49:10 — "The sceptre shall not depart
from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his
feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the
obedience of the peoples be."

Isaiah 9: 6-7 — "For unto us a child is born, unto

Concurrent Testimony of Scripture 13

us a son is given; and the government shall be upon
his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonder-
ful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government
and of peace there shall he no end, upon the throne
of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and
to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from
henceforth even forever."

Psalm 110: 1 — *' Jehovah saith.unto my Lord, sit
thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies
thy footstool."

Jesus Himself referred to this passage in His con-
flict with the Pharisees, related in Matt. 22: 41-46.
They could not understand this Scripture, for the
key to its interpretation rested in the acceptance and
acknowledgment of Jesus as that Lord of which the
Psalmist wrote.- Failing in this, no one of them was
able to answer Him a word.

Micah 5:2 — "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
which art little to be among the thousands of Judah,
out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to
be a ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth are from of
old, from everlasting."

Mai. 3: 1 — "Behold, I send my messenger, and he
shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord,
whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple."

Daniel 7 : 14 — "xind there was given him dominion,
and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples,
nations and languages should serve him : his dominion
is an everlasting dominion, v^diich shall not pass away,
and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

14 The Lordsliip of Jesus

The Messianic prophecies so clearly point to the
Kingship of the coming Christ, that it is not
strange that the Jews failed to see in the gentle
and loving Jesus qualiti-es so opposite and in such
strange contrast to all of their ideas of lordship and
mastery. They had not grasped the greater concep-
tion of "the Lamb that is in the midst of the
throne." As Jesus Himself gave as the true basis of
royalty, "Whosoever would be first among you shall
be your servant." The Jews will never have the
veil removed from their hearts until they read many
of their Messianic prophecies in the light of the
Lordship of Jesus. While passages such as Isaiah
53 foretell His office as Saviour, more foretell fully
His office as King. Truly, they must learn that
genuine royalty is not a matter of throne and crown
and sceptre, but of gentleness and love and service.

If the Old Testament prophecy is explicit in its
reference to the Lordship of the coming Christ, still
more so is the prophecy, the biography, and the his-
tory of the New Testament. In Matt. 3: 3, John the
Baptist bears witness to the Kingly office of Jesus :
"Make ye ready the v/ay of the Lord." The angels
also, on His birth night, Luke 2: 11 : "For there is
born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour,
who is Christ the Lord."

Thomas, when he beholds the risen Christ,
exclaims in the enthusiasm of his newly-established
faith, "My Lord and my God," This utterance
might well be said to be the typical testimony of a
converted life. Like the exclamation of Mary under

Concurrent Testimony of Scripture 15

similar conditions, "Kabboni!" *'My Master," it
marks the spirit of the soul that has entered within
the portals of the Kingdom of our Lord.

Peter clearly indicates his Comprehension of the
Lordship of Jesus. With this truth he closes his
sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2: 34-36). After quot-
ing from Psalm 110, which Jesus had also used,
"The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right
hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy
feet," he ends his message with these words: "Let
all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that
God hath made him both Lord and Christ whom ye
crucified." It was this that convicted the Jews of
sin. "Now when they heard this they were pricked
in their hearts." Also in his sermon in the house
of Cornelius, Peter declares the same truth: Acts
10:36, "Preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus
Christ (he is Lord of all)." Then, in 2 Peter 1 : 11,
he speaks of "entrance into the eternal kingdom of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." In the one
case he speaks of Jesus as Lord and Christ; and
in the other, as Lord and Saviour.

Paul uses the term "Lord" generally, in speaking
of Jesus; but the three-fold title, "Lord Jesus
Christ," is frequently employed. Each name has
its peculiar significance. "Jesus" refers to His
Saviourship (Matt. 1:21): "Thou shalt call his
name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people
from their sins." "Christ" refers to His Messiah-
ship; while "Lord," His foremost title, refers to
His Mastership or Kingship.

16 Tlie Lordship of Jesus

In 1 Cor. 15: 31, Paul speaks of Christ Jesus our
Lord. And in 1 Tim. 6 : 15, he affirms this as a pres-
ent fact, and not as some seem to think, that this
Kingship of Jesus is entirely a matter of a future
dispensation; for he says, speaking of Jesus, "who
i5" — not who shall be. "Who is the blessed and
only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of
lords." Again, in 2 Cor. 4: 5, Paul states that the
Lordship of Jesus is the basis of his preaching:
"For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus as

Furthermore, Jesus Himself uses the title of Lord
in referring to His own office. When the Pharisees
endeavor to regulate His life, He declares that
the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. In John
13:13, He says: "Ye call me Master, and Lord:
and ye say well; for so I am." And in the next
verse He adds the definite article, "I then, the Lord
and the Master," claiming for Himself absolute
sovereignty. Also, in John 18:37, in reply to
Pilate's question, "Art, thou a King then?" Jesus
answers, "Thou sayest it, for I am a King." And
finally, in Eevelation 17:14, "For he is Lord of
lords and King of kings."

These are but a few of the Scripture passages
especially referring to the Lordship of Jesus. Many
more will suggest themselves to every student of the
Bible. But enough have been quoted to show how
this great teaching permeates the entire book, and is
founded solidly upon the Word of God.



Let US now proceed to consider the comprehensive-
ness of Christ's Lordship. John 14:6, "I am the
way, and the truth, and the life." Here we have
Jesus stating His threefold Lordship, declaring Him-
self to be the source of spiritual direction, of spiri-
tual instruction, and of spiritual vitality. No claim
could be more all-embracing than this. It covers
the entire realm of the spiritual nature, including
birth, growth, and activity. Let us consider these
divisions in their reverse order.

First, Christ as the one source of spiritual life,
as Paul states it in Colossians 3:4, "Christ, our
life." This life, John also speaks of in the first
chapter and fourth verse of his Gospel. "In him
was life," is evidently not physical or intellectual
life, merely, for in his Epistle he says, "He that
hath the Son of God hath the life, and he that hath
not the Son of God hath not the life." Before
receiving Him they have physical and mental vitality,
hence the apostle must refer to the spiritual life.
Note he uses here the definite article, which the
Revised Version adds, as it is in the original text,
"hath /Aelife"; all other life, in comparison with
the spiritual, being so temporary as not to be entitled
to the term.


18 The Lordsliip of Jesus

Jesiis had Himself declared (John 10:10), *'I
came that they may have life, and may have it
abundantly." Here, again, the Eevised Version
keeps close to the original meaning; "abundantly,"
not "more abundantly." If without Jesus there
could be spiritual life. He would not have defined
the imi^artation of life as the purpose of His advent.
"The first man Adam became a living soul. The
last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Cor.
15 : 45). There can be no lasting vitality to the soul
apart from Jesus, and without spiritual life there
can be neither development nor service.

The simple illustration of the vine and branches
was used by the Master to show the absolute de-
pendence upon Him for spiritual existence. "Apart
from me ye can do nothing." The life of the spirit
comes, then, not by any system of study or culture.
It is only through the assimilation of the very per-
sonality of the Christ. This is the meaning of Paul,
"Christ in you, the hope of glory." Upon this
foundation alone does he base his spiritual exist-
ence. "It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth
in me." And his desire that this same experience
should come into the natures of his friends in Gala-
tia, is so great that he writes to them, "My little
children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ
be formed in j^ou." This is the leaven which must be
hid in the meal until the entire character is vitalized.

This essentiality of life is fundamental. The
teacher is of more importance than the text-book.
Imparting the spirit of learning is far more valuable

The Source of Life 19

than the facts of learning, for without the spirit the
facts are futile. Education alism cannot take the
place of evangelism, nor culture of conversion.
While the soul is dead in trespasses and sin, it
needs something more than reformation. It needs

A sculptor toiled for weeks to express his ideal of
a perfect human form. When he had completed
his work he invited a friend to come and behold his
achievement. ' ' What do joii think of it?" he proudly
asked his friend. "It yet lacks one thing," was the
reply. "What is that?" inquired the artist, with
some disappointment, as he had thought his work
beyond criticism. "Life," was the answer.

Jesus is Lord of life. Eeligion is relationship, it
is the vital contact of the personal soul with the
personal Lord. More and more, the world is realiz-
ing that Christianity is Christ. This is the reason
why the philosophic Paul determined to know noth-
ing among the Corinthians but Christ. He embraces
the entire domain of spiritual existence. When one
ascends to the Mount of Transfiguration, and the
clouds have rolled aWay, he sees Jesus only. It
is to Him alone we must look for the one spiritual
source of birth, growth, and maturity. He is the
one authority in the biology of the soul. It is upon
His life that we must depend for imparting to us
life. "We were reconciled to God through the
death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall
we be saved by his life" (Eom. 5:10). By His
death the debt was paid, the obstructions removed;

20 Tlie Lordsliip of Jesus

but by His life do we receive the spiritual vitality to
live and grow.

Here is the great lesson of the bread chapter, the
sixth of John. The assimilation of Jesus must pre-
cede the imitation of Jesus. His life must be im-
pressed before it can be expressed. You cannot
follow Jesus until you are filled with Jesus. To be
real and regnant, the kingdom of God must be
within you. The seat of His throne is in the human
heart. The great need of the church, and of society
in general, is regenerated men, men alive in Christ,
or, better, Christ alive in them.



The title of Master is literally Teacher. Christ
claimed not simply to teach the truth, but also to be
the truth, the word made flesh. Pilate asked,
"What is truth?" Jesus had already given the
answer., "I am the truth."

In these days many are saying, *' Truth for
authority, not authority for truth." It is true that
authority does not create truth ; it only identifies it.
The government by its stamp does not create the
gold, yet it does indicate its value. But, more than
this, Jesus is at the same time the source of
truth, and truth is to be gauged and identified by
His teachings. Somewhere in spiritual instruction
there must be authority. Ecclesiasticism has located
that authority in the church; Christianity sees it
alone in Jesus.

If, in law, a case could be appealed from the
county court to the district court, and then to the
appellate court, and again taken back to the county
court, there would be no end to litigation. Christ is
the supreme tribunal, the court of last resort, in the
realm of the spirit.

An engineer might take never so much time in
making soundings, but, before he could begin to
build the buttresses for a bridge, he must strike solid



The Lordsliip of Jesus

rock somewhere. Upon the rock, Christ Jesus, is
built the structure of our spiritual faith. All other
foundations must be as unstable and disastrous as
the shifting sand.

In these days there is so much human opinion in
religious beliefs. This was one of the especial
grounds of Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees.
He quoted first from Isaiah, "In vain do they wor-
ship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of
men." And then the Saviour adds, "Ye leave the
commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition
of men" (Mark 7:7-8).

The aj^plication of this principle would revolu-
tionize much of our modern preaching. The text is
too often simply a point of departure. If every ser-
mon were to be gauged in its preparation by the
teachings of Jesus, and delivered as if He were a
member of the audience, how much, often, would
have to be added, and how much eliminated!

Many of the utterances of Christ are still not
regarded as authoritative. A great many base their
religious belief upon the authenticity of the Gospels
rather than upon their authority. There is a blight-
ing infidelity extant that makes many of the teach-
ings of Jesus something to be admired, rather than
to be applied; the beautiful utterances of imprac-
tical philosophy, rather than the supreme expression
of divine wisdom. He that acknowledges Jesus as
Lord of spiritual learning will not simply take His
words as true; but, furthermore, will believe them
to be the most important and practical messages that

Supreme Authority for Instruction 23

an all-wise and all-loving Creator had to impart to

And, further, the authority of the teachings of
Jesus may reasonably be considered as extending
also to the words to which He gave His sanction.
It is a princij3le in law that a master is responsible
for the acts of his agent ; and most certainly would
it establish beyond question that responsibility if the
principal gave the act his approval. The author
who quotes certain words in support of his principles
thereby gives them the same endorsement as if they
were his own. So the authoritative teachings of
Jesus may rightfully be said to include all the mes-
sages to which he gave His endorsement.

He said to the Jews, "Ye search the scriptures,
for in them ye think ye have eternal life ; and these
are they which bear witness of m.e." From Deu-
teronomy He thrice chose w'ords to repel in the
wilderness the assaults of Satan. On the walk
to Emmaus, "Beginning from Moses and from all
the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scrip-
tures the things concerning himself . " He quoted
also from David, Jonah, Isaiah, and Daniel. If we
believe in the authority of the teachings of Jesus,
we cannot doubt that they were intended, not simply

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Online LibraryMilford H. (Milford Hall) LyonThe Lordship of Jesus → online text (page 1 of 8)