Unity Of The Spirit - "One Lord"
The concept of oneness with reference to the church — the Spirit — the hope — the Lord is according to the New Testament doctrine. Plurality of these fundamentals is the concept of heathen religions. Paul refers to the heathen doctrines of lords many in 1 Cor. 8:5, 6 "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we through him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him." Here Paul shows the contrast between the unity of true religion and the division of heathen religion. Numerous and various gods and lords, each with his particular function, differing and often opposed and contradictory to the functions of the others was the pagan's religious conception. This is the very opposite of true religion. Paul states it this way, "yet to us there is one God" — "and one Lord."
The oneness or unity of "God and the Father" and the "Lord Jesus Christ" is given by Christ as the pattern of the unity by him desired and expected of his followers. John 17: 20,21 "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me." This is no superficial, mechanical or humanly arranged union here required of those that believe on Christ through the words of the apostle. This fellowship which the Lord has with God is had when men believe the words of the apostles implicitly and exclusively. John, the apostle, writes in 1 John 1:3, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us; yea and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ." John says that the design of declaring that which he had seen and heard was that fellowship with the apostles might be had — which fellowship was with Cod the Father and Jesus Christ. This same truth as to how fellowship or unity with God is had, is expressed in 1 John 1: 6, 7 "If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin." My friend, when you have fellowship with God you are in fellowship with all that God approves. You can have this glorious fellowship by heeding the words of the apostles. Fellowship cannot be had with God by following the doctrines' of men. Divided and divisive denominationalism is the result of men following human doctrines, not from submitting to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. Submission to the Lord Jesus Christ brings one into oneness with all others so submitting and that fellowship is with God.
Jesus Christ is the one Lord. 1 Cor. 8:6 "Yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him." The word "Lord" means one with power and authority, a master or ruler. God made Jesus "both Lord and Christ," according to Peter's statement to the Jews of every nation. Acts 2:36 "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified." And to the Gentiles he also declared that (he is Lord of all.) Acts 10:36 "When any one whether Jew or Gentile rejects Christ as Lord, he is rejecting God, who made Christ Lord of all, both Jew and Gentile. There is no such thing as a plurality of Lords in God's arrangement; there are no distinctions between peoples which allow one submitting to one as lord and another submitting to some other as Lord. "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him." Rom. 10: 12 God made Jesus Lord "when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body; the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Eph. 1: 20-23 Christ stated his authority as Lord when he gave the commission to the apostles after he was raised from the dead. "And Jesus came to them and spake unto them saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Math 28:18-20 To humbly submit to the requirements of this commission is to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. To refuse is to reject Jesus as Lord. This commission is of the Lord, not of man.
To acknowledge Jesus as Lord is to submit to all the requirements of his will. Partial submission will not meet the requirement. To accept some of his requirements while rejecting others is to fail to accept him as the one Lord. No divided allegiance or service is acceptable. No one can serve two lords. Yet when a person tries to select the things of the Lord that suits his human judgment and along with that accepts doctrines and commandments of men he is attempting to serve two Lords.
I have already introduced the passage which is the record of the apostle Peter's announcement that Jesus is Lord. This reference is Acts 2:36. Here the apostle said, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom ye crucified." This is the climax of his sermon. Leading up to this statement the speaker had developed the gospel. He had reviewed the death of Christ and his resurrection. He had shown that David, "being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne" — "foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of Christ." He then states that 'God raised up Jesus and that Jesus at God's right hand exalted, had poured forth that which they saw and heard. After developing the theme of Christ resurrected, he requires his hearers to accept with assurance the fact of Jesus as Lord.
Now notice their response to this requirement. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"
Exercising his responsibility as an ambassador of the Lord, Peter replied to their question, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins: and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." This requires the acceptance of Christ's lordship. To refuse to be baptized for the remission of sins is to reject Christ as Lord.