Why come under Jesus’ Lordship?

Our goal at Grace Church Seattle is to reach seekers and unbelievers with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We who call on the name of the Lord for salvation are also called to make Jesus our Lord.  Making Jesus the Lord of your life is without question the goal of Christianity.  The goal is not your salvation alone.  The goal is not your comfort.  The goal is the glory of God and our enjoyment of a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  And this only happens as we place ourselves under His Lordship.
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We each are called to come under Jesus’ Lordship. But you will always feel like this is about rules so long as you misunderstand the gospel.  You will always feel like leadership is communicating like Pharisees until you understand the very meaning of the word gospel.
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The english word “gospel” is “euangelizo,” which looks like the word “evangelize,” doesn’t it? That’s because it is the word to evangelize, but it means so much more.  It literally means “to tell the good news” or to evangelize about who is Lord.
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In the Greek culture, to evangelize was to tell people that the Roman Emperor is Lord.  This was considered a statement of fact, and if you didn’t like it too bad, he was Lord.  To disrespect him as Lord (to speak ill of Caesar) or ignore his lordship (to disobey the rules of the Roman Empire) was treason, and warranted consequence.  The first century Roman citizen did not have the option to deny allegiance to the Emperor.  So when the Emperor would die and a new Emperor would be established, the heralds (preachers) would “evangelize” (or share the gospel) that there was a new Caesar.  Or if the Emperor changed a law, the heralds would evangelize so that everyone would be informed and comply with the news rules or decrees of the Empire.
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Now take the above historical context and apply this to Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Jesus is that He is Christ the Lord, and therefore all other “lords” or “emperors” or “kings” or “masters” are not; rather, Jesus is Lord and deserving of our allegiance.
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This is either true, or it is not true.  If it is true, then no matter your religion or political persuasion, you are accountable for your response to the declaration: Jesus is Christ and Lord.  In other words, if Jesus really did rise from the grave and if He really is seated at the right hand of God the Father, then there are consequences for all human beings for their belief or disbelief.  If you disbelieve (and this is true), then you will go about your daily life but face consequences upon death and the day of reckoning.  If you believe, then you are called to conform your life to this belief.  The biblical word for believe is synonymous with trust and obedience.  So to believe Jesus is Lord and Savior to get salvation and not conform your life to His Lordship is to actively disbelieve even though you say you believe.  Even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19).  Truly regenerating belief results in change of lifestyle because the Lord of one’s heart has transitioned from self or some other god to the Lord of the universe (Titus 3:4-8).
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How does this related to the state of Grace Church Seattle? (i.e., what must we do with this information?)
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We are called as a church — as individual citizens of heaven who on this earth come together for worship and ministry as a local body called Grace Church Seattle — to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as a community.
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This is from the top-down and bottom-up.
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Our leadership has been praying more in the last few years than we ever have.
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Our leadership has been seeking the Lord’s vision for Grace Church to come under Jesus’ Lordship and follow His lead and His vision for Grace.
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Our leadership has sought the Lord’s vision related to children’s ministry, youth ministry, Home Communities, worship on Sunday’s, investing in leader development, the investment in our worship director, the hiring of our newest pastor — and we believe we have heard of the Lord as we continue to move forward.
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Now there is one thing that has been pressed on my heart that I believe is from the Lord for Grace Church — we need to unite to go out and evangelize.
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I hear fear and trepidation when I speak with people about sharing the gospel.  It is true we have a psycho public school philosophy in Seattle that is scary for parents who need to make decisions if they should place their children in that environment; it is true that the morality of Seattle has shifted to the extreme progressive-liberal left since 2012 and Christians are smaller than a minority voice; it is true it has become very difficult to stand for the morality of Jesus in everyday conversations at work or on social media; and it is true that our families are facing enormous pressures financially, which cause stress in marriages and a current church-wide feeling amongst many women that they are under some kind of spiritual attack.  And I am sure there are many other crazy insights you or I could share, here, that would make us all feel like it is time to panic.  But as I sit, typing away, I feel a calm and the need to say — Jesus is Lord!
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He can identify with you because He lived this life as a human being.  He faced trials and temptation and yet was without sin.  He stayed the course and achieved victory over sin – all the way to His death, for you.  And…He…was…raised!
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You are a citizen of heaven and as Jesus is, so you will also be (1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 49).  You are a citizen of heaven, and His power resides in you through the deposit of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22).  You are a citizen of heaven, and you will be transformed by His power when He comes, and until then we are to live…as… citizens…of…heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).
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Don’t cower.
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Don’t run by moving to another city with cheaper housing and conservative politics.
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We are not called to have a Christ-Against-Culture mentality.  We are called to have a Christ-Transformer-of-Culture mentality. The Apostle Paul didn’t strategize to change the Roman Empire by heralding the gospel in the countryside.  He went to the city-center.  Like the hub of a bicycle wheel that transfers power from the center through the spokes to the rim where the rubber meets the road, so also the morality of our culture flows from city-centers to the rest of culture.

Seattle is a big hub.
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This is why I feel called to Seattle. To impact and influence culture-changers. And I feel called to ask you, to compel you, to work with me to be a culture-changer.  Every sermon I preach doesn’t just have the goal to expound what the text says, rather every sermon has the goal to show you and your friends (believers or unbelievers) how the Gospel of Jesus — calling for our allegiance to His Lordship — makes us culture-changers.
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Like I said, the goal of Christianity is not your comfort, not even your salvation (which is a primary goal and a huge part of what we do, but that is not the end); rather the goal of Christianity is transformed people who are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and who make a real difference in this world.  And so I feel compelled to call for us, the committed at Grace Church, to band together in unity to become outward focused.
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This will be the thrust of our vision and focus beginning in August as we prepare for the fall and as we gear up for the fruitfulness that I believe is ahead.
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– 1 Corinthians 15:58
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GODSPEED
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