Christ's Crown Rights
By J. Gregory Mantle
"He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36)
A true Christian is a man or woman under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ's crown rights, as Lord of all, are not dependent on our recognition of them. They were the Father's gift to the Beloved Son for His great mediatorial work.
"It is in consequence of this that God has also so highly exalted Him, and has conferred on Him the Name which is supreme above every other, in order that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings in Heaven, of those on earth, and of those in the underworld, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11, Weymouth).
Each name of our Lord has a distinct message. The name "Jesus" is the human name, and it is a special link with the days of humiliation and sacrifice. It is a name peculiar to the Gospels, where the other names, Christ the Lord are seldom found. "His name shall be called Jesus because He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21)
At the close of the historic manifestation of Jesus, John wrote at the end of his Gospel: "These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name" (John 20:31). The word "Christ" means Messiah, the Sent One. Christ is the Anointed One. It is His prerogative also to anoint His obedient and believing disciples with the Holy Spirit.
The name "Lord" is seldom found in the Gospels. The Apostle John uses it because it was given to him to point men to the Son of God in all the glory of His relation to the Father, as the Lord Jesus Christ. It occurs frequently in the Acts of the Apostles, for the church was to be built historically upon this magnificent truth: "Know assuredly," said Peter, "that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
Lordship Means Surrender to His Sovereignty
The most perfect expression of the Lordship of Jesus in the apostolic writings is the letter to the Romans. The Christians at Rome and elsewhere had scruples about food. They thought the meat exposed for sale in the meat market had possibly been offered to idols. So they became vegetarians, and would not touch, taste or handle meat lest they should be defiled. Others had no such scruples, but ate what was set before them, asking no questions. Others had difficulties about fast days and feast days.
The apostle says: Settle these matters by making the arisen Jesus, Lord of your conscience. "For not one of us lives to himself, and not one dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this was the purpose of Christ's dying and coming to life – namely, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living" (Rom. 14:1-9, Weymouth).
No words can express more plainly than these that the purpose of Christ's death and resurrection was to win undisputed Lordship over man. "To this end" – so the passage reads in the Authorized Version – "To this end," and no other, "for this purpose," and nothing short of it, He died on the Cross of Calvary. He rose from the dead, and lives a life on which the tooth of time has no power, in order to execute that Lordship. Therefore to dispute His sovereignty, to deny His Lordship, is to rob Him of the fruit of His Passion.
Many are perfectly ready to take life from Jesus Christ who hesitate to take law from Him. But there can be no real loyalty unless we make Him the Lord of our conduct as well as the Savior of our soul.
Lordship Means Surrender to His Ownership
There is a place in your heart called a throne. Some one always occupies that place. The rival claimants are Christ and Self. Which of these is on the throne? Christ will brook no rival. He will accept no divided allegiance. So long as one apartment is withheld, He will not assume control. Spirit, soul and body belong alike to Him.
There is the citadel – the spirit; there is the city – the soul; there are the walls – the body, with its five gates of access. You cannot keep that wonderful little kingdom, for while you are watching at one gate the crafty, sleepless enemy will come in at another. "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (Psa. 127:1).
Jesus asks for the ownership of the entire being, for the whole is His by creative and redemptive right, and until all is yielded there is discord and disharmony. Only One can bring peace to this wonderful little world. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we can say: "The government is on His shoulders," then every part of the little kingdom acknowledges His Kingship and rejoices in His Sovereignty. It was for this man was created. It was for this Jesus died and rose again….
Lordship Means Surrender to His Protection
The Christians to whom the Apostle Peter wrote in his First Epistle were exposed to bitter persecution for Christ's sake. Hence the apostle has much to say about fidelity in suffering: "And who," he asks, "will be able to harm you, if you show yourselves zealous for that which is good?...So do not be alarmed by their threats, nor troubled; but in your hearts consecrate Christ as Lord being always ready to make your defence to any one who asks from you a reason for the hope which you cherish" (1 Pet. 3:13-15, Weymouth).
In other words, only make Jesus Lord and King of your life, and you have nothing to fear from devils or from men. The very end of government is the welfare of the governed. What so stirs a nation to indignation and action as an indignity done to one of its citizens? If you can put your hand on your heart and say, without compromise or reservation, "Thine is the Kingdom!" who shall harm you? "He that toucheth you," says our Sovereign Lord and Master, "toucheth the apple of Mine eye."
The kingdom is the dominion over which the king reigns. The question is: "Who is King?" If in answer to that question you can unhesitatingly say: "Jesus is King!" then you may confidently depend upon Him to protect His kingdom.
Lordship Means Surrender to His Enabling
"No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (1 Cor. 12:3). You can say it easily with the lips but the passage means something far deeper. It means saying it with the life. It is the Holy Spirit who alone can present and enforce the claims of Jesus to the Lordship of the life. Only He can put this blessed ideal into a sinful and divided soul. Only He can show the dishonesty of compromise and reservation. Only He can detach you from the things you once loved, and spoil you forever for "the vain things that charmed you most." Only He can enthrone Jesus in the yielded heart and enable you to sanctify Christ as Lord.
His activities do not cease when Jesus has been enthroned. He will constantly discover new territory which He covets for the King. He will enable you to apply the principle of absolute surrender as you yield more and more completely to His obedience.