Basic Christian Training
Lesson 3
The Lordship of Christ

O.J. Gibson

Who is Jesus Christ to you? He raised the question, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13; cf. Matthew 22:41-42; Mark 12:35-37). Then He made the question personal, “But who do you say that I am” (Matthew 16:15)?

He is the Lord. That was how the disciples spoke to Him hundreds of times in Scripture. They never addressed Him as Jesus. They called Him Master, not only in the sense of teacher (rabbi, didaskalos) but also as commander (epis-tates, despotes). They were slow to recognize His deity, even when He made clear statements (John 14:8-11; cf. John 8:24, 58) or pointed to such verses as Psalm 110:1 (Matthew 22:41-45). He taught them that He would determine the eternal destiny of every man (Matthew 7:21-23). Despite limitations in their understanding, they confessed that Jesus was Lord, and they followed Him even when others turned away (John 6:66-67).

The word “Lord” is used in three senses: position, ownership, and rule. The prophet saw “the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). The New Testament applies this verse to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:41). That is His position as the Lord enthroned in heaven. The Bible says, “The earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26). The verses refer to His ownership of the entire planet and everything and everyone on it. As the Creator, everything and everyone belong to Him. After a night of unsuccessful fishing, Jesus commanded Peter to launch out to sea again and let down his nets. Peter responded, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5). That is His rule.

His Position as Lord

1. Proclaimed
Cornelius was a Gentile, a Roman centurion, a commander in the Roman army. He wanted to have his sins forgiven and sought out the Apostle Peter so that he might bow the knee to Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Peter emphasized that “Jesus Christ – He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Peter explained that “through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43), and Cornelius trusted in Jesus Christ as his Savior and submitted to Him as Lord that day. Earlier, Peter had preached to the Jews, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). He is Lord over Jews and Gentiles. He is the Creator, and therefore the owner of all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). All ranks of heavenly beings are accountable to Him. Angels and authorities are subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22). He reigns “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Ephesians 1:21). He is the only King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). All will fall down before the throne of God to worship Him (Revelation 4:10-11; 5:12-14).

2. Rejected
It is a remarkable thing that the omnipotent Creator would permit rebellion under any circumstances. This permission remains one of the mysteries of the counsels of God. The uprising first began in the spirit world with Satan desiring to be equal with God (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-17). It spread to other angelic beings (2 Peter 2:4). Satan furthered his rebellion by deceiving Eve and influencing Adam to sin (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). The following generations became corrupt and violent in their defiance against God, resulting in their destruction in the Flood (Genesis 6:11-13). God said, of His chosen people, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2). And when God sent His Son, they also rejected Him (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 23:21) and killed the Prince of Life, the Lord of glory (Acts 3:15; 1 Corinthians 2:8). Those who reject Jesus make up a large portion of the human race (Matthew 7:13-14).

3. Acknowledged
Many people refuse to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord. In no way does this alter the fact that He is Lord! Myriads of people will submit to Him “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) who will sing His worth along with hundreds of millions of angelic beings. Jesus demonstrated His absolute authority and power over His Creation:

  • He has power over leprosy (Matthew 8:2-4).
  • He has power over paralysis (Matthew 8:5-13).
  • He has power over fever (Matthew 8:14-15).
  • He has authority over demons (Matthew 8:16a; 28-34).
  • He has power over all sickness (Matthew 8:16-17; 11:5).
  • He has control over nature – the wind and sea obey Him (Matthew 8:23-27; 14:24, 32-33).
  • He has charge over the laws of nature, even suspending the laws of physics when He walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33), or when Jesus instantly turned water into good wine with apparent age characteristics (John 2:1-11).
  • He has authority over legions of angels who are ready to act at His command (Matthew 26:53).
  • He has authority over the fallen angels (demons) who are subject to His word (Mark 1:27).
  • He has authority over death and the place of the dead (Revelation 1:18).
  • He has authority over the nations (Revelation 2:26-27).
  • He is the final authority and judge over all humanity (John 5:21-26; 17:2; Revelation 20:11-14).

Millions of human beings have freely submitted to His authority in response to His loving sacrifice on the cross for them. His enemies will be brought to praise Him (Psalm 76:10). Although not all people acknowledge his sovereignty, in a future time, all of creation will bow to the knee in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ since “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus said, “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am” (John 13:13). Do you call Him your Lord?

His Ownership As Lord

1. Stated
“The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). All the riches of the earth belong to the Lord (Haggai 2:8). Everything on the earth and in the earth is His possession (Psalm 104:24). “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14). The Lord Jesus Christ owns every living creature, both animal and humankind, for “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16; cf. Psalm 50:10-12; John 1 3). The Lord lamented that even the ox and ass knew their owner, but His people did not know to whom they belonged (Isaiah 1:3). As the clay in the potter’s hand, they were His to do with as He pleased (Jeremiah 18:6). People belong to Him by creation, and those who trust in Him belong to Him by redemption through the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18). He died for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). He even paid the sin debt for false teachers who rejected Him (2 Peter 2:1).

2. Accepted
One becomes a child of God by choice through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). From that point, the believer is not His own but is bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). He has recognized that he is not capable of being his own master any more than he is capable of saving himself. He confesses Jesus as Lord, just as Thomas did (John 20:28). There is no Biblical support for any such concept as “I accepted Jesus as my Savior but not as my Lord.” The expression “Lord Jesus Christ” or “Jesus Christ our Lord” occurs many more times than “Jesus our Savior.” To accept Jesus is to accept the Lord. A new believer may not see all the implications of the Lordship of Christ immediately but will willingly submit to Jesus’ teachings. Sadly, a believer may fail to carry out his Master’s will. A Christian may even stumble and fall. But a true believer will not refuse to submit to the Lordship of Christ at the point of coming to Him for salvation or deliberately believe that He is Savior, but not Lord.

3. Evidenced
The child of God confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and shows by his life that the confession is true. True believers recognize His rightful rule over their lives and willingly submit to Him as their Lord and seek to learn all they can about living for Him and pleasing Him in every way (Colossians 1:9-18).

His Rule as Lord

Like a train, every well-ordered society runs on two rails – authority and subjection to that authority. If this principle is not followed, society derails, and the outcome is catastrophic. Children are subject to their parents, employees to their employers, citizens to their governments, and everyone is under the sovereign rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who dwell on the earth are His subjects whether they realize it or not (Hebrews 2:8). We don’t make Jesus Lord – He is Lord! As we come to Him for salvation, we are surrendering to Him as Lord. As we grow in Christ, we will submit more and more to His rule and ownership of every area of our life. We learn to follow Him, obey Him, conform our will to His will, and honor Him as our Lord. Without this, our lives derail, and the outcome is catastrophic.

Next, we will consider the lives of people who do not submit to Jesus as Lord and those who do.

1. Those who do not submit to Jesus as Lord

  • Some accept Jesus as Lord in word only. They say He is Lord, but they still rule their own lives and refuse to do what He says. The Master questioned people like them, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Such a person does not have saving faith.
  • Some claim to know Him, but they do “not keep His commandments.” A person who claims Him as Savior and rebels against Him as Lord is a liar (1 John 2:3-4).
  • Others boldly say, “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14,27). There has always been resistance to His reign, even with the urgent warning of eternal death.
  • Still, others despise authority. They live life fulfilling sexual lusts, despising authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed, and are unafraid of speaking evil of dignitaries (2 Peter 2:10-11) who “will utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Peter 2:12).
  • There will be those in the judgment who will say, “Lord, Lord,” while citing great works that they have done in His name, yet He was never Lord of their lives. He will reply, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:25-27).

We live in a world with people devoted to self-interest where people become self-ruling sovereigns of their own lives. People are encouraged to be autonomous, self-directing, and independent of external control. People believe they are supreme, and whatever they think or feel is the only thing that matters. What is important is feeling good about yourself. Such concepts as self-realization, self-discovery, self-love, self-esteem, self-development, self-enjoyment and self-image are paraded and packaged under many forms, but they are all about self.

Scripture teaches that God calls us to do His will, not self-will; submitting to God’s government, not self-government; discovering God, not discovering self; loving God, not loving self; with God as the center of our lives, not self as center. The Scripture model is not “me first,” but “God first, others next, and me last.” Many people today are like the Greek mythological character Narcissus. He fell in love with his reflection in the water and wasted away because he could not fulfill his love of himself. Our society has derailed, and we are facing catastrophic failure. One of the characteristics of the moral collapse in the end times is that men will be “lovers of themselves” (2 Timothy 3:2). Today there is greater worship of the creature than of the Creator (Romans 1:25).

What many people do not realize is that freedom from God’s rule is not true freedom. Those who will not submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord have already submitted to Satan as their father (John 8:44). He is an oppressor (Acts 10:38) and has enslaved people under his rule (2 Timothy 2:26). Those who have not submitted their lives to Christ are currently living under the rule of Satan, whose kingdom is “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13; cf. Acts 26:18; Ephesians 6:12). Those under his rule (which includes everyone not under the Lordship of Christ) are enemies of Christ (Colossians 1:21). Unbelievers are not independent, self-governing people. They are squeezed into the world’s mold (Romans 12:2), they submit to Satan, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), “whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

2. Those who do submit to Jesus as Lord

  • Believers recognize Jesus as Lord and surrender to His rule over their lives (Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:10-11).
  • They love the Lord and willingly keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21, 23; 1 John 2:3).
  • They boldly come into the presence of the Lord and present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, desiring to do His will. They give themselves to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Hebrews 4:16).
  • They recognize that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth and submit to Him and all authorities that God has placed over them (Matthew 28:18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 2:13).
  • They understand that they belong to Him and want to live for Him as their Lord (Romans 14:8-9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • They know that their salvation came at the enormous cost of the precious blood of Christ, which motivates them to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:16-21).

When a sinner trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior, God immediately releases the sinner from the bondage and slavery of his sin. New believers know the liberating truth of the gospel, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Further, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin…Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36). God has “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13). To be subjects of such a benevolent King now creates a desire in us to freely and willingly submit to Him, walking “worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). We acknowledge that He is Lord, so “that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18), which means that He should have first place in every area of our lives. Our prayer should be, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Let this prayer be true in our lives each day.

Practical Implications of His Lordship

The following list may help clarify how we can submit to the Lordship of Christ in our lives:

1. Priorities
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The verse contains both a command and a promise. Put the Lord’s interests first in your life, and He promises that He will provide all the necessities of life. Do the Lord’s purposes and plans take first place in your life?

2. Body
As a believer, you belong to the Lord because He bought you at the price of His precious blood. Your body belongs to Him, and it is His temple. We must flee sexual immorality and use our body for His glory (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Does every day begin with a fresh commitment of your body to Him?

3. Possessions
“The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness” (Psalm 24:1; cf. Deuteronomy 10:14). Therefore everything we have belongs to the Lord, not to us (1 Chronicles 29:14). “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7; cf. Job 1:21). The Lord has given to us everything we have, “And what do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). God is the One who gives every good gift to us (James 1:17), and He has made us managers or stewards of all our possessions (1 Corinthians 4:2). Jesus Christ, who is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Is He Lord of all of your possessions, talents, and time?

4. Relationships
He commands us to love one another as He loved us (John 15:12). It is the mark of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus (John 13:35). Love is a choice that is sacrificial, not sentimental. We need to care for others as He did. We remember that He was morally separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26), yet He ate with them (Luke 15:2). Both love and holiness must govern our dealings with others. The Scripture forbids “friendship with the world” (James 4:4) or what it represents (1 John 2:15-16). We must not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” which must include separation in business partnerships, marriage relationships, financial investments, secret orders, or fraternities (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We also demonstrate submission to Jesus as Lord through biblical order in family relationships (Ephesians 5:22-25; 6:1-2). Do your relationships have His approval?

5. Work and School
As employees, we demonstrate Christ’s lordship by our willing obedience to our employers. Employers show Christ’s lordship by being compassionate to employees and paying fair and timely wages (Ephesians 6:5-9; James 5:4). “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” who will reward you for He considers it as service to the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). Does your work ethic demonstrate that you are ultimately serving your Master?

6. Speech And Thought Life
He should be Lord of tongue and mind. He is willing to speak through us if we let Him (Matthew 10:20). We are to be swift to hear but slow to speak (James 1:19). We are not to speak evil of others (James 4:11). He looks within our thoughts and detects defilement (Matthew 15:19-20). “Let your speech always be with grace” (Colossians 4:6). Have you surrendered your thought life and your tongue to Him?

7. Hopes And Ambitions
Our Lord saved us for good works (Ephesians 2:10), then He rewards us for our faithful service to Him (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). His rewards include crowns (1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10), the “prize” (Philippians 3:13-14), and rewards (or their loss) for the things we did in life for Him (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). We are to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Our hopes and ambitions should be on eternally important things. Does every area of my life come under His rule?


Spiritual growth as a believer cannot begin until we abdicate the throne of our lives and surrender to the lordship of Christ. The Lord says, “My son, give Me your heart” (Proverbs 23:26). This is the governing center of our being, “for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). It is from our heart, Christ must rule as Lord. He who went to the cross to redeem us to God by His blood is the One who says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

Long ago, Satan suggested that God was depriving us of the best by placing His will ahead of ours (Genesis 3:5). Generations have paid a terrible price because Adam and Eve listened to this slander against the only One who loves us with eternal love. We cannot be deceived by Satan’s lies. Our future depends upon believing that submission to God’s will, to the Lordship of Christ, to the reign of the Eternal One, is essential to our eternal good. His will for us is “good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Basic Christian Training – Lesson 3
The Lordship Of Christ

  1. What do you learn about the position of Jesus Christ in the following verses (Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 4:10-11; 5:12-13)?
  2. List persons or things that have acknowledged or will acknowledge the Lordship of Christ:
    1. Matthew 8:27
    2. Matthew 26:53
    3. Mark 1:27
    4. Romans 14:9
    5. Philippians 2:10-11
  3. How was the Lord received when He came to the earth (John 1:10-12)?
  4. What was the primary objection of the citizens of Luke 19:14, 27? How does this apply to those who reject Christ today?
  5. What is the significance of the confession of Thomas in John 20:28?
  6. What must a person acknowledge to be saved (Romans 10:9-10)?
  7. In your opinion, is it sufficient for salvation to accept Jesus as Savior but reject Him as Lord? Explain.
  8. Is it possible to say Jesus is Lord and still not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; 13:25-27; 1 John 2:3-4)? Explain.
  9. Paraphrase (rewrite in your own words) Romans 12:1-2.
  10. In the verses above, what actions are required for practical lordship?
  11. Recognizing the Lordship of Christ affects every area of our life. Contrast the actions of a person who practices the lordship of Christ and one who does not.
    1. General Walk
      1. Colossians 2:6
      2. Ephesians 2:1-2
    2. Sexuality
      1. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
      2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    3. Speech
      1. Colossians 4:6
      2. Colossians 3:8-9
    4. Job Performance
      1. Colossians 3:23-24
      2. Colossians 3:22
    5. Family Relationships
      1. Colossians 3:18-21
      2. Colossians 3:18-21
    6. Business Partnerships
      1. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
      2. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  12. How would you respond to someone who says he is a Christian but whose life does not show any evidence of practical submission to the Lordship of Christ?
  13. Revelation 3:20 speaks of Christ knocking at the door of your heart. What is the first step in accepting Christ as Lord of your life? Consider your life as a house with many rooms. What rooms in your house have you yet to open up to Christ in a practical way? Explain. What action do you intend to take?
  14. In your own words, explain what personal lordship means to you.