Jesus Is King! is a recent sermon that I gave at our church, Legacy Nashville.
It was the first installment of our January sermon series called Foundations. Our foundations, or our core values, are the elements of our church's culture.
It's not necessary that you go to our church in order to benefit from our values. In fact, I believe that these values, especially this first one, will serve anyone desiring to get back to the basics of their faith and grow in Christian community.
I have come to believe that I am much like Thomas. You know, The Doubter?
Just last week, as Allyson and I were driving home from Kentucky after Christmas, we were discussing our personalities and some things that we feel that we are currently struggling with.
Ally and I love to do this. Most of the time.
Unless the kids are crying!
In all seriousness, we enjoy road trips together. We unpack our hearts and help one another sort through our struggles.
We began to talk about receiving. I’ve come to realize that this is something that I really struggle with. Especially when it comes to receiving advice from people when I don’t ask for it. Unsolicited advice is probably one of my greatest pet peeves!
We laughed about this some, but ended up chalking it up to my life experiences. Since I moved out of my parent’s home at 17, I learned to be very independent early on.
I am not sure if you are familiar with the Life Languages test, but I am what you call an extremely high Shaper. That means that I am constantly shaping my world. That includes my day, my schedule, my environment. Anything I am involved in, I want to influence.
A Shaper’s motto is, “What’s your plan and are you working your plan?”
This is probably why I am a church planter. I love to lead and help shape both environments and people!
There is a drawback however. If my plan, at any time, gets altered, I can get very upset. Changing my plan causes me literal anxiety at times!
I probably inherited this from my Mom because she is the same way!
Thomas and His Terms
I don’t know if Thomas was a Shaper or not, but I have to believe that there is a great possibility that he was. I’d bet you that he had strong opinions, especially about what he was going to be doing with his time.
After all, he was not even present when all of the other disciples had called a special meeting.
They were all gather together to hide in prayer. Where was Thomas? Doing his own thing!
Thomas was not swayed by the fact that his brothers were gathering to do something that they deemed important. He had his own schedule to shape.
Thomas was so devoted to doing things on his own time that when Jesus showed up, he missed him.
We can get so busy doing our thing our way, that we miss what God is doing.
When Thomas did catch up to the disciples on his own time, he was told that Jesus had personally visited them!
But, Thomas would not believe.
Not only would Thomas not be talked into doing something that he did not want to do, but Thomas would not be talked into believing something that he did not choose to believe on his own terms.
Thomas did things on his own time. Thomas believed things on his own terms. Thomas was concerned with his plan and whether or not he was working that plan.
Thomas Is Our Twin
Who here is like Thomas? Anyone else stubborn?
Anyone else refuse to be talked into believing anything? If you’re going to believe, you’re going to believe on your own terms and in your own time?
Did you know that Thomas’ nickname was Twin? Did you also know that Thomas was probably not a real twin?
There’s no historical evidence to support that Thomas was a twin. Rather, most scholars believe that it was only a nickname.
I believe that Thomas’ nickname was Twin because he was a twin to you and I. I believe that Thomas is a representation of us. Our generation!
Thomas was taught to take care of #1. He was a self first person!
Thomas was strong and made his own decisions. He was in charge of his life. Thomas was empowered.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27-28 ESV
We’ve got to love this about Jesus! He comes to Thomas in a way that speak to Thomas. In some ways, He comes to Thomas on Thomas’ terms.
This may not happen for everyone as it happened for Thomas.
Jesus doesn’t always come to us in the way that we demand, but He will come to us in a way that gets our attention if we want to see Him.
Jesus wants everyone to know that they are loved by Him. He will come to you if you want to see Him.
Jesus will step over your doubts. He’ll run to you despite your dysfunction. He’ll walk through all of the walls of your hang ups!
Jesus knows what you need and He’s not shaken by it. He is faithful to come to you!
How We Get Saved
When Jesus came to Thomas, what happens to him is what happens to us when we are saved.
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:24 ESV
The byproduct of seeing Jesus is surrendering to Jesus.
None of us were saved as a result of rationale. You can’t study enough to figure God out.
If you are saved today, you didn’t invite God into your life, He invited you into His!
Jesus is not your self help guru. He doesn’t just teach you to be happy as the result of you doing a few practical steps for a one time, low price of three easy payments!
If Jesus has come to you, and you are saved or want to be saved, you’re going to make the same confession of faith that Thomas did. “My Lord and my God!”
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.
Romans 10:9 ESV
You don’t confess that Jesus is Lord because you’ve got God all figured out on your own terms. You confess that Jesus is Lord because God has got you in bearhug and it’s time you surrendered.
Jesus Is King!
If our highest value as a church is that Jesus is king, what does that mean for us?
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV
There is not only one God, but there is only one Lord! Jesus! He is king!
Jesus is not only God. But, He is also Lord. That means that He is not only our Creator, but also our King.
Many acknowledge that Jesus is God, but few live like Jesus is Lord.
When Jesus is Lord that means that Jesus is in charge. He is in charge of our lives as individuals and He is in charge of our church. He is the Senior Leader!
And he is the head of the body, the church.
Colossians 1:3 ESV
My title is Lead Pastor of Legacy Nashville, but ultimately Jesus is our Senior Pastor. We don’t follow man. We follow God. We follow Jesus!
That means that before we consult the latest church growth trends, we consult Jesus Christ directly in prayer.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
We are not here to simply lead a church, we are here to follow Jesus. To obey Jesus. To serve Jesus.
It’s not about our strengths, our gifts, our agendas, our personalities, our terms. It is all about Jesus. He is God and He is Lord!
Our prayer today is for surrender. We pray that we might come back to the state that we were saved in. Surrender! In prayer, we lay down our agendas and desires and we lay hold of Jesus as our eternal king.
We don’t just ask God to bless what we’re doing. We ask God to reveal to us what He is doing so that we can get involved because it’s already blessed.