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Picture a young person responding to an altar call in a service or at home kneeling beside his or her bed asking Jesus to come into their lives and be their Savior. In actual fact, no matter how or where it happens, the decision to ask Jesus to be our Savior is the most important decision a person can make. I well remember the night I did so in an evangelistic meeting in downtown Sydney Australia. The angels in heaven rejoice over such a decision. However, there is more to being a Christian than just being saved from our sin. It is like there are two sides to a coin. On one side is the imprint, ‘Jesus is my Savior.’ On the other side is the call to be able to say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’
When Peter preached the first sermon of the new era on the day of Pentecost, he finished his message by declaring that “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36, NKJV) or as the Message puts it “Master and Messiah.”
JESUS IS SAVIOR AND LORD
It is important to note that Jesus is both Savior and Lord. He is the one who, through His death of the cross, brought salvation from sin and death to us. Yet, He is also one who desires to be the Lord of our lives, the Master of our destiny.
Now, the lordship of Jesus Christ must be built on the initial experience of accepting Jesus as Savior, on a foundation of repentance from sin and cleansing by His blood. To leave that out is to end up, as I heard one preacher put it, with a “bloodless gospel.” Calvary must always be the central point of our experience.
However, we must also see, when that foundation is established, Jesus wants to take us further and be the Lord of our lives, for indeed, Jesus is Lord. I might add that this is the ideal. No one except Jesus lived a perfect life. But it is meant to be the direction we are heading—the goal we are setting.
The Lord will enable us to do it as we step out in obedience and faith, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish it.
One reader responded to the last Langstaff Letter with these words, “In my own life, I received the message of the Savior when I was nine years old, but my life did not change until I received Him as Lord at age 27.”
JESUS IS LORD
Years ago, I read the notes of an Easter Sermon “Jesus is Lord” by a good friend of mine, Pastor Phil Roland. Here is the opening to that sermon.
“I’ve prayed with men of several nations and heard the word, “Lord,” in many languages… I heard the name “Lord” cried out in fervent prayer by African believers using the term, “Bwanna.” I heard Latinos ardently calling out in supplication, “Senior!” I heard Messianic believers call out to Jesus with the term, “Adonoy!”
One South American Charismatic pastor, Juan Carlos, Ortiz, became weary from listening to people overusing the word, “Senor,” when praying to God. They used the word so frequently it became a cliche. (A meaningless term.) He declared a moratorium on the word for one month. He forbade his congregation from using the term when applied to God at their church, homes and workplaces.
He said, “You may not use the term, “Senor” when applied to Jesus until you learn HOW to make Him Lord of your life!” For his congregation, it became a “transformational event.” Afterwards, the pastor and his congregation used the term more reverently.
THE MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE
I read a delightful book with the unusual title “The Purple Pig & Other Miracles.” by Dick Eastman. In the book, he tells a wonderful story that he titled “The Minneapolis Miracle.” Here is an abbreviated version of the story.
Dick Eastman was invited back to speak at Spiritual Emphasis Week at his alma mater. Three days before he left for Minneapolis he heard God say: “You will see something new you have never witnessed before. It will involve a new element of worship and commitment.” After he arrived at the chilly Minneapolis campus he wrote down ten declarations. Number two was: “There will be a wave of sacrifice on this campus, unlike anything we have ever witnessed. It will be the beginning of a life of total discipleship.”
“Standing before the students I read the list. By the following evening a number of miracles had already happened. The auditorium seemed to be aflame with God’s glory. It was the night God promised ‘a new discipleship’ and ‘a wave of sacrifice.’… But just before an opportunity came to end the rally came to end the rally, a lone student stood to her feet and quickly left the auditorium. I was concluding what I felt were my final fatal remarks when a startling thing occurred. The student who left five minutes earlier had returned, but not to her seat. She was heading straight up the aisle for the platform. In her hand she gripped a black object. It was her wallet. Standing before a crowded auditorium of classmates, she stepped up to the microphone. Students everywhere inched forward in their seats as she spoke. ‘God told me to go get this from my room. It’s all I have. He told me to do it now, before the service ends.’ She turned to hand me the wallet and stepped awkwardly from the platform. Then, as quickly as she had come forward, she returned to her seat.
I forgot my sermon, as I stood momentarily stunned. In my heart the melody of a Scripture song began, Numbers 23:19. I felt impressed to hold the wallet above my head and sing the chorus. ‘God is not a man that he should lie… hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?’
As students joined me in singing I gripped the wallet tightly. It was my confirmation of the promise given prior to the meeting, that a new discipleship would be seen – including a wave of sacrifice. The giving of the wallet was indeed a sacrifice. The student had acted out of total obedience to God. Nothing said from the pulpit could possibly have brought about such an act of dedication. We sang the chorus a second time. ‘God is not a man that he should lie… hath he said, and shall he not do it-‘ My eyes were closed as the singing continued.
Suddenly, a strong wind of conviction settled upon the four hundred students. I could hear unusual sounds, like that of a crowd moving about on a busy street. I opened my eyes, though continuing to sing. Students were coming from everywhere toward the platform. They were emptying their wallets; the majority were giving everything they had. It was truly a miracle, a miracle of commitment such as I have never witnessed.
Thousands of dollars were given within the next thirty minutes. The ultimate total reached in excess of $27,000. Every dime of it came from those present the night in the rally. Later, I looked in the wallet given earlier and discovered it contained $260. It represented the girl’s entire savings. Dollars, however, were not the only things given that night. Students began leaving the chapel moments after conviction settled. Again, only the Holy Spirit prompted them. Within two hours the platform looked like a junk yard – televisions, musical instruments, rock records, sports equipment, photographs, a rifle, a mink-trimmed coat. May other items lined the platform, including the keys to several automobiles given to the college. One student rushed down the aisle weeping, clutching in his hands a car stereo removed from under the dashboard of his car only moments before. He put it on the altar and returned for a box of rock and roll tapes.
Two days later God ordained an inspiring share-time for the students. Many welcomed the opportunity to describe what had happened when this spirit of sacrifice settled. A tall lanky college student shared an especially memorable testimony. He was sitting near the back of the auditorium when the wave of conviction first settled. God spoke so directly he was startled.
‘I was sitting there when God asked me if I was willing to give everything I had. I thought a minute about what I had on me and told Him I would. So, I walked to the front and emptied my wallet. I even threw my change down, pennies and all. I was watching people respond around me when God asked me why I didn’t give up everything. He asked me about the hundred dollars I had in my dresser drawer in the dorm. It took a while to sink in, but finally I went and got it. The student smiled as he explained what happened next.
I returned to my seat shouting victory when God hit me right between the eyes. He said, “I thought you said you loved me?” I was sitting there shaking when God said, “What about your new ten-speed bicycle in your closet?”‘
Some of the students laughed as the lad spoke. I chuckled, too. After all, few college students, if any, keep ten-speed bicycles in their closets.
‘I started arguing with God. I wasn’t about to give up my bicycle. Man, I wouldn’t even take my bike out in the rain. Why, I even told God He could have my car, but not the bike. I was really hung up on it. Every night I’d carry it up the stairs and put it in my closet, right with my clothes. I practically worshipped that bike.’ The youth took a step backwards and hung his head. He cleared his throat and continued.
‘God asked me again if I loved Him, and I told Him I did. But He hit me up again for my crazy bicycle. So, I finally gave in. In fact, I practically ran from the chapel to the dorm. I didn’t want “doubt” to catch me. So I got the bike as fast as I could and carried it down the stairs. When I reached the street, guess what? Yup, it started raining. I probably looked like an idiot crying and pushing my ten-speed bike through the park in the rain. But I’ve never felt better. All that bondage is gone. I feel so free.’
As the student stepped from the platform I remembered two nights earlier when he rolled his bicycle down the center aisle. It was the most unorthodox thing I’d ever seen in church. But knowing the whole story helped me understand why the step had been taken. It was apart of what God had shared just prior to the Minneapolis trip, that a new wave of discipleship and sacrifice was coming soon. And only heaven could know how desperately this is needed” (Eastman, 2011).
I believe we are moving into a new season in God that requires a greater sacrifice from God’s people that will show we really mean business. It will involve embracing the call to make Jesus not only our Savior, but also our Lord. We need to embrace both and to build on repentance and faith that brought us salvation. Then we can come to an understanding and commitment of the declaration, “Jesus is Lord!” May He truly be the Lord of our lives, for He is, as it says in Revelation 19:16 (NKJV), the “King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.”
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV) says, “Therefore 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.”
Jesus is Lord.
Eastman, D. (2011). The Purple Pig and Other Miracles: How a Radical Band of Young Intercessors Tapped Into the Supernatural, Shook Up the World and Inspired Today’s Global Prayer Movements. United States: Charisma House.