Lordship: The Flag Ship of All Other Ships

Samuel Lawrence

In Matthew 8:23-27 we read “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633

Many of us face storms in life. These can take many forms: an unexpected death of a loved one, a divorce, an illness, a job loss, a financial hardship, an unplanned pregnancy or any number of trials and tribulations can come our way and cause fear and strife in our hearts.  I am very certain many have as much fear or strife in the storms of life as the disciples surely felt in the boat caught in the storm in the Sea of Galilee. No doubt many, if not most, reading this faced a storm or two in 2016.  Many famous people died, as they do every year, causing us to think of our own mortality.  We had a turbulent election cycle leaving many uncertain about the future. There were wars and rumors of wars.  However, as we sit on the eve of a new year, I think of a quote by Brad Paisley: “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

How do we write that book? What will make it a good one?  Do we make New Year’s resolutions? If so, how long will we keep them? I think a better approach would be to set goals and then set out to achieve them.  Here are some quotes on goals…

  • “An average person with average talents and ambition and average education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals.” ~Mary Kay Ash
  • “Goals determine what you’re going to be.” ~Julius Erving
  • “All our dreams can come true –if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walt Disney
  • “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent.” ~Calvin Coolidge
  • “Begin with the end in mind.” ~Stephen Covey
  • “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” ~J.C. Penney
  • “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” ~Denis Waitley
  • “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” ~Proverbs 21:5
  • “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Clearly, having goals is important, even biblical. We can go on with such quotes, but suffice it to say there is a common thread… we achieve more with goals.  So, in the new year make it your resolution to set a purposeful, obtainable goal and then achieve it. Exceed it. Then set a bigger goal and achieve it.

One important goal that every Christ follower should have is to be subject to the “Lordship of Jesus Christ.”  Today many churches overflow with “easy belief-ism” whereby there is no repentance, no obedience to scripture.  In 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV) “Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”   Evangelist Vance Havner in his book “Hearts Afire” said: “Repentance is almost a lost note in our preaching and experience and the lack of it is filling churches with baptized sinners who have never felt the guilt of sin or the need of a Savior.”

Vance Havner also said: “Lordship is the Flag Ship of all other ships. The issues of membership, fellowship, discipleship, worship, and stewardship will all be resolved if Jesus Christ is Lord.”  Philippians 2:9-11 declares: “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” 

John MacArthur, whose book The Gospel According to Jesus lays out the case for lordship salvation, summarizes the teaching this way: “The gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority.” In other words, a sinner who refuses to repent is not saved, for he cannot cling to his sin and the Savior at the same time. And a sinner who rejects Christ’s authority in his life does not have saving faith, for true faith encompasses a surrender to God. Thus, the gospel requires more than making an intellectual decision or mouthing a prayer; the gospel message is a call to discipleship. The sheep will follow their Shepherd in submissive obedience.

Lordship salvation teaches that a true profession of faith will be backed up by evidence of faith. If a person is truly following the Lord, then he or she will obey the Lord’s instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not chosen to follow Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and into righteousness. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:14-26). (Read more here https://www.gotquestions.org/lordship-salvation.html)

So, in 2017, I want our resolution to be to make the Lordship of Christ our goal and I believe all our other “ships” will come in. After all, we have a Lord that even the winds and the sea obey him!

More reading:
“The Lordship of Jesus Christ”
Philippians 2:5-11
http://www.uu.edu/centers/rglee/fellows/spring03/willmore.htm

The Lordship of Christ: Introduction
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-20