Sermon #107                                                 Luke Sermons


     Title:          The One Issue Between God and Man

     Text:          Luke 14:25-33

     Subject:     The Lordship of Christ

     Date:         Sunday Evening—November 2, 2003

     Tape #       X-85a

     Readings:   Bob Pruitt and Ron Wood



If God the Holy Spirit will enable me, I want to preach to you tonight about The One Issue Between God and Man.


Everywhere I go in this country and abroad I meet with men and women who see the withered, lifeless condition of the church. They know that something is wrong, both with themselves and with the church. And they are looking for something. They know that something is missing in their own religious experience and in the church, but do not know what it is. The fact is they have never been confronted with the one issue between God and man. The preachers they hear and the churches they attend do not even know what that one issue is. Do you?


The issue between you and God is not what you do or do not do. Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that it does not matter how you live. It matters a great deal. God has told us how to live in this world. And we are responsible to obey him. But I am saying the issue between you and God is not what you do. There are a great many people in hell today who lived much better than you or me.



·       The Rich Young Ruler

·       Simon the Pharisee and the Woman who was a Sinner.

·       The Pharisee and the Publican.


The issue between you and God is not what you have felt, experienced and done in the spiritual realm. I hear much talk these days about the baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, miracles, and sheer emotionalism as evidences of God’s blessings and the absence of these things as an evidence of his disapproval and wrath. But that is not the case at all. In the day of judgment many will be damned who felt more, experienced more and did more in what we call the spiritual realm than any of us (Matt. 7:22-23).


(Mat 7:22-23)  "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."


And the issue between you and God is not what, or how much you know and believe about the Person and work of Christ. Again, let me be understood. Doctrinal truth, gospel knowledge is vital. You must know and believe the doctrine of the gospel. But accurate, factual, orthodox knowledge is not salvation. A person can believe the truth about Christ and not be saved. A man can believe the doctrine of the gospel and yet be lost.


Illustration: Judas, Demas, and Diotrephes


The issue between God and man is not what you believe.


Proposition: The issue between God and man is the Lordship of Christ. The issue between God and man is, who is going to be boss? Who is going to rule? Christ, or you?


Rolfe Barnard told a story about a young preacher he met who started a church with nine families. In a short while the congregation grew in number and caused the city where they lived to sit up and take notice. That church, Barnard said, was “A fellowship of men and women who lived in the power of the resurrection life of the risen Lord.” When Barnard asked him the secret to his ministry, the young preacher said, “Bro. Barnard, there isn’t but one message to be preached, and that is God’s eternal purpose in Jesus Christ, that on the basis of his life laid down God has purposed to set up his totalitarian rule in the hearts of men.”


What a message! If it ever penetrates these hearts of ours, the people around us will sit up and take notice. God almighty is determined to make Christ Lord over everything, to put all things under his feet, in particular to bring you and me to bow to the rule of his Son.


I.                  The one issue between God and man is the absolute Lordship of Christ. It always has been and always will be.


The issue is not do you want to go to heaven, or do you want to go to hell when you die. Everybody wants to go to heaven. The issue is not do you want to have peace, or do you want to live in turmoil. Everybody wants to live in peace. The issue between you and God is his Son. Will you, or will you not bow to the claims of Christ, your sovereign Lord? Everyone is going to bow, either willingly or unwillingly, either now or at the judgment seat. If you willingly bow to Christ now, that is salvation. But bow you will to Jesus Christ the Lord. God has purposed it. And God will do it. Even if he sends you to hell, God is going to put you in subjection to his Son (Isa. 9:6-7; Ps. 110:1). This has always been the issue.


(Psa 110:1)  " The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."


(Isa 9:6-7)  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. {7} Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."


A. This was the issue in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15-17).


(Gen 2:15-17)  "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {16} And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: {17} But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."


The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, whatever it was, was the symbol of God’s dominion, his rule, his authority. When Adam ate of the fruit of that tree, he was saying, “God has no right to be God. I will not have him to rule over me, even if I suffer his wrath forever.” Remember, “Adam was not deceived” (1 Tim. 2:14). He knew what he was doing. And you do too.


Your problem is not that you are ignorant, or deceived. You know your depravity, your guilt, your sinfulness. You know who God is and what God requires (Righteousness and Satisfaction). And you know what Christ has done for sinners. Your problem is that you will not have Christ to reign over you. What is your point of rebellion? God always meets sinners at their point of rebellion.

·       Naaman

·       The Ruler


B. This was the issue at Calvary.


That mob of rebels did not crucify the Lord of Glory because they did not believe his words, but because they would not submit to his rule on his terms. They wanted to take Jesus and make him king on their terms, a king whom they controlled (John 6:14-15). But they would not bow to his dominion and be ruled by him. “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Lk. 19:14).


C. This is still the issue todaywith men, with preachers, and in churches.


This is the issue – Does God have the right to be God and does he exercise that right? Does God have the right to sit on his throne and do whatsoever he will? The Bible says he does! Does God exercise that right? The Bible says he does (Ps. 115:3; 135:6).


God almighty will not abdicate his throne. He will not step down. He will not quit announcing his commands, pressing his claims and meddling with our lives. God demands that we surrender, that we give ourselves up to the rule of Christ his Son. Saving faith is nothing less than surrender to Christ the Lord. If I would be saved I must lose my life to Christ (Mk. 8:34-35) - Not my heart – Not my soul – Not my mind – Not one day in seven – Not a tithe – Not a little time each morning and evening – My life!


(Mark 8:34-35)  "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {35} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."


Christ will not have me unless he has all of me (Lk. 14:33).


(Luke 14:33)  "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."


Spurgeon said, “No man has truly given himself to Christ unless he has said, ‘My Lord, I give thee this day my body, my soul, my powers, my talents, my goods, my house, my children, and all that I have. Henceforth, I hold them at thy will, as a steward under thee. Thine they are. As for me, I have nothing. I have surrendered all to thee!’”


D. Two things happened in the Garden of Eden.


If we want to understand the mess we are in now, we have to understand how we got in this mess. It all began in the Garden of Eden. When Adam, with his eyes fully open, ate the forbidden fruit, two things happened.


1. God’s throne was threatened by his creature.


If Adam had won, had he gotten his way, God would have been out of business. God would have ceased to rule the world. And if the sons of Adam had their way today, God would cease to rule. But that cannot be. God will never give up his dominion! Praised be his name!


2. Second, man lost his wholeness.


The Scriptures speak of the “natural man”. That is man in his fallen condition. The natural man is out of kilter. He is depraved, beside himself. He must be brought to himself, or he will never be reconciled to God. As the insane prodigal had to return to the rule of his father’s house before he could enjoy the peace of his father’s house, so you must return to the rule of God, you must bow to the dominion of Christ, before you can be made whole. The throne rights of King Jesus have to be settled and acknowledged in your heart.


If ever we come to know Christ the Lord, we will surrender everything to his dominion.


·       My Life.

·       My Home.

·       My Wife.

·       My Children.

·       My Business.

·       My Relationships.


Barnard said, “Man’s wholeness was lost in Eden. Man was made to be governed. And there’s never been any government placed on anybody’s shoulders, except Jesus Christ’s! ‘The government shall be upon his shoulder’ (Isa. 9:6). This whole outfit has been turned over to him. Nobody now has the right to make the decisions except Christ.”


E. One of these days God is going to accomplish his purpose.


He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25). Sooner or later, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:8-11).


(Phil 2:8-11)  "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. {9} Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: {10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; {11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


This is…


·       The decree of the Father (Ps. 110).

·       The promise of the covenant (Ps. 2)

·       The reward of redemption (John 17).

·       The delight of the saints (Rev. 5).

·       The end for which all things were made (Rev. 4).


Now, I have laid the foundation. The one issue between God and man is the dominion of Christ. Who is going to be boss? Man was made to be governed. An ungoverned man is an incomplete man. The only way man can be made complete is by being ruled. The personality of manhood was designed for something greater than a self-centered animal existence. Man was not made to be alone, to live unto himself, but to be lost in the purpose of God. We were made to serve God! Only in his service can we find perfect freedom. Sin is slavery. Rebellion is bondage. To be free, you and I must be brought under the yoke and dominion of the Son of God. Salvation is the restoration of God’s throne in the heart of man.


II.               If the one issue between God and man is the rule and dominion of Christ as Lord, what must our message to man be?


I am an ambassador of the King of heaven and earth. God has sent me with a message to proclaim to rebels throughout his kingdom. And that message is threefold.


A. First, God has sent me to declare to you that Jesus Christ, his Son, is the Lord and King of the universe (2 Cor. 4:5; Acts 2:36-38).


(2 Cor 4:5)  "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."


(Acts 2:36-38)  "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. {37} Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? {38} Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."


The message of the gospel is not a proposal, a plan, or a proposition, but a Person, Jesus Christ the Lord! God has not sent me to define and defend a doctrine, but to proclaim a Person. To preach the gospel is to preach him for whom, through whom and in whom God has purposed to fulfill all things.


The message which the Apostles preached, by which they turned the world upside down was the Lordship of Christ (Acts 2:36). They went everywhere preaching Jesus and the resurrection[1]. And I am telling you that one of these days, the whole creation shall be brought in subjection to his throne. God is going to redeem this world. He is going to restore everything to the rule of Christ (Eph. 1:10). The gospel is the story of how that God has put all his purposes in Christ. It is as broad as Christ and as narrow as Christ. It shuts the door of hope everywhere, except in Christ. There in Christ the door is open!


The issue of the hour is man’s rebellion to God’s throne. And the message of the gospel is Christ Jesus the Lord, the person in whom God has established and will establish his dominion over his creatures. To be saved is to be in agreement with God’s purpose. To be lost is to be in rebellion to God’s purpose. To be reconciled to God is to be reconciled to…

·       His Revelation

·       His Righteousness

·       His Redemption

·       His Rule.


B. Second, the message of the gospel is a word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-21).


To be saved is to be converted to the rule of God in Christ. To be saved is to be reconciled to the rule of God in Christ. Salvation is the free consent of my heart to the sovereign throne of almighty God. Sin is much more than an act. It is a condition, a condition of rebellion against the sovereign rule of Christ. And salvation is much more than an act. It is a condition, a condition of reconciliation to the sovereign dominion of God in Christ.


1. The message of reconciliation is redemption fully accomplished by Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).


(2 Cor 5:18-21)  "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; {19} To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {20} Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


2. The terms of reconciliation is surrender, unconditional surrender to the rule of Christ. This is faith!


·       Faith believes the record God has given of his Son.

·       And faith acts upon belief. Faith is belief in action.

·       Salvation is conversion to God. It is the life-long pursuit of God, his will, and his glory.


C. Third, the message of the gospel is a message of God’s rule restored.


I know that God rules everywhere and in all things now. He always has and always will. But one of these days, God is going to put down all rebellion and bring everything in captivity to the rule of Christ.


NOTE: If I know anything about revival, revival is God’s saints rejoicing in God’s rule. And eternity will begin with and forever be a glorious revival (Rev. 19:1-6).


(Rev 19:1-6)  "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: {2} For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. {3} And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. {4} And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. {5} And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. {6} And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."


III.           Let me bring my message to a conclusion by telling you that there are two kinds of faith.


There is a faith that centers in me, and what I can get from God. And there is a faith that centers in God and his glory. If my faith is primarily concerned with me, and what I want, then the object of my faith is me. I really worship myself. If my faith is primarily concerned with God and his glory, then God is the Object of my faith. I worship him.


Martin Luther once defined salvation as “the realization of God’s will and purpose, what ever it might be, rather than the satisfaction of human need.” He saw that true faith is not seeking something from God, but bowing to the rule of God.


Calvin said, “True faith is having confidence in God, regardless of profit or loss.” It is the heart’s willing affirmation of God’s right to be God. This is the one issue between God and man.




In the light of all that I have said this evening, I want you to turn to Luke 14:25-33. Read my text with me, and I will send you home, asking God to graciously bow us to his Son.


(Luke 14:25-33)  "And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, {26} If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. {27} And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. {28} For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? {29} Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, {30} Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. {31} Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? {32} Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. {33} So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."


Illustrations: “Chief give himself to Jesus!”

     The Pearl

     The Preacher and the Business Man


(Mat 11:28-30)  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

[1] In the Book of Acts the words “preach,” preaching,” and “preached” are used 37 times. In every place where those words are found the subject preached was Christ the Lord.