First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Palm Sunday ~ April 5, 2020)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
We have been looking at the Apostles’ Creed, one of the ancient affirmations of faith the Church universal has used over its long history. The Creed has been instrumental in shaping the ministry and mission of the Church for almost two thousand years. I truly believe that the Apostles’ Creed addresses in a profound way our fears today, our anxiety, and help us gain some clarity and direction in the chaos that surrounds us. It brings us to the roots, to the foundations of our faith. What we believe is important. It is extremely important because it determines our set of actions.
Last Sunday we looked at the Doctrine of Jesus Christ being truly human and fully divine. We said that it is very refreshing and comforting to know that in His true humanity, Jesus knows what we are going through, He can relate to us because He has been there; and in His full divinity, Christ, God’s appointed Messiah, got everything under control. He is sovereign. This is very comforting and assuring.
“I believe in Jesus Christ,” but the statement doesn’t end there. The Apostles’ Creed continues to state, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.” The Lordship of Christ is emphasized here. I think this is a great topic to ponder today as we think about Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is one of the major events of our Lord’s life. Two thousand years ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and He was received as a King. Six hundred years before Christ, the Prophet Zechariah chapter 9:9 foretold Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as he said, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
I think the topic of the Lordship of Christ comes handy to us today. In the midst of our fears and anxiety, in the face of the unknown, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords comes to us and walks alongside each one of us in the journey of suffering and pain.
The Lordship of Christ
Today we are invited to declare that “Jesus Christ is Lord!” “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord”, stated the Apostles’ Creed. “Kurios Iesous” ~ Jesus is Lord” is one of the most ancient Christian confessions of faith. In 2 Corinthians 4:5 Paul declares, “For we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord.”
The Lordship of Jesus Christ, therefore, stands at the heart and core of Christianity. Everything in the Christian faith stands or falls on the lordship of Christ. The term “lord” occurs over 600 times in the New Testament. Nearly 250 times it is used to describe Jesus. The early church expressed its whole faith with the single word “kurios” (Lord). In fact, Paul’s most loved name of Jesus was not ‘Messiah’ but ‘Lord.’”
But what does it mean to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ is Lord? Two implications:
First: It Means Total Surrender
For Jesus to be Lord of your life means that He is the ruler, the boss, the master of your whole life. He cannot be Lord of a part – He must be given control of the entire life - the whole life, spirit, soul, and body.
Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952) was an American missionary and scholar and often referred to as “The Apostle to Islam” because he spent most of his life reaching out to the Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, and Bahrain. Zwemer made a sobering statement about the lordship of Jesus Christ. He said, “Unless Jesus is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” This is a challenge to all Christians to bring every area of our lives under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. In our lives there should be no rivalry for His throne.
Gibran Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) was a Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer of the New York Pen League. In one of his inspiring poems he says, “Do not love half lovers. Do not entertain half friends. Do not indulge in works of the half talented. Do not live half a life and do not die a half death …. Do not accept half a solution. Do not believe half-truths. Do not dream half a dream. Do not fantasize about half hopes. Half a drink will not quench your thirst. Half a meal will not satisfy your hunger. Half the way will get you nowhere. Half an idea will bear you no results.” Half is never really enough. Friends, today I leave you with a challenge, to not settle for half on anything. Remember that a life worth living is worth living all the way.
Second: Total Protection
When total surrender is offered, total protection is guaranteed. A King’s most important responsibility was to establish order and keep the peace and the wholeness of his subjects. It’s the King’s duty to defend his people and to fight foreign invaders. No wonder that Jesus Christ, our Lord, said to His disciples and ours, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” John 14:27. “Do not be afraid, little flock,” Jesus said, “for your Father has pleased to give you the Kingdom” Luke 12:32.
Friends, I am comforted this morning. My spirit is lifted up. I fear nothing because my King and my Lord is with me. Jesus is with us when we suffer and when we wrestle with doing God’s will in our lives. As we enter our own Jerusalem to confront the unknown and carry on our cross, we know that Jesus will be leading us from the pain and agony of Calvary to the glory and victory of Easter. Paul wrote to the Colossians 2:6-7 saying, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Amen!
 Samuel Zwemer, The Solitary Throne (London: Pickering and Inglis, c. 1937), 1.
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