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Willmore: Lordship is foundational doctrine

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The principle of Christ’s lordship is the “master key” that “unlocks every other doctrine,” Roger D. Willmore, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, said at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“I believe that our understanding of and response to the lordship of Jesus Christ affects the whole of our life and the whole of our ministry,” said Willmore, pastor of Deerfoot Baptist Church in Trussville, Ala.

A person’s confession of Jesus as Lord involves the unseen spiritual aspects of life as well as the physical aspects of life, he said. “If you don’t know this yet, you will learn that the major battlefield is … in your mind, in your heart.

“The decisions made in your heart and in your mind will invariably and inevitably be displayed in your life,” Willmore said, preaching from Luke 9:57-62, where Jesus is called “Lord” three times.

Noting Christ’s lordship over a person’s physical life, Willmore recounted in his Oct. 24 message at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary how Adrian Rogers, as he lay in his bed each morning, consecrated each part of his body to Christ’s service. Willmore then asked the seminarians whether Christ is Lord of their actions, attitudes, language, relationships, entertainment and possessions. Christ is not the Lord of a person’s life, Willmore said, unless He is Lord of everything.

Noting the implications of Christ’s lordship, Willmore said Christians have been bought at the price of Jesus’ blood. As such, Christ’s lordship implies ownership. Referencing Florence Nightingale, the renowned nurse who at the age of 30 submitted her life completely to Christ’s lordship, Willmore said she was asked late in life about the secret to her fruitful career. “I held nothing back from God,” Nightingale answered.

Second, Willmore said, Christ’s lordship implies obedience. The Luke 9 passage, he said, reveals three tests of obedience: the test of poverty, the test of urgency and the test of sovereignty.

In the first test, a man offers to follow Jesus, but Jesus replies that He, “the Son of Man,” does not even have a home.

In the test of urgency, another man offers to follow Jesus after his father’s death. Jesus, however, urges the man to follow Him immediately. “Delayed obedience is disobedience,” Willmore said. “When God calls, He calls now. When He sends, He sends now. When He gives you an assignment, there is a ‘nowness’ about it that has an urgency about it.”

In the test of sovereignty, a man offers to follow Jesus but desires to bid farewell to his family first. Willmore said the man had divided loyalties: He was hesitant to give up his allegiance to his family so that he could give his allegiance fully to Christ.

“I submit to you that if [Christ’s lordship] is the master-key doctrine, then we should be preaching the lordship of Christ,” Willmore said.

“In a day when the preeminence of Christ is challenged and debated, we need to preach the lordship of Jesus. In a day when Christians are malnourished and spiritually anemic … in a day when we seek to be culturally relevant rather than Christ-honoring … in a day when Christians are more concerned about satisfying self and seekers than they are the Savior, we need to preach the Lordship of Jesus.”
Benjamin Hawkins is a writer at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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