Sermon for September 23, 2018, Sermon Series, The Apostles’ Creed

The Apostles’ Creed: A Sermon Series (Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

Second Article” Jesus, True God and True Man, My Lord”

Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Enfield CT

September 23, 2018


Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


          Today we begin the Second Article of the Creed in our sermon series on the Holy Trinity: “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”

          There is a great scene in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in which King Arthur approaches some peasants in the field as he inquires as to whose castle he is approaching. He identifies himself as King of the Britons. After the peasant Dennis attempts to explain how their “anarcho-syndicalist commune” works, King Arthur orders him to be quiet! A peasant woman says, “Who does he think he is?” Arthur answers, “I am your king.” She says back, “Well, I didn’t vote for you.” “You don’t vote for kings,” Arthur says. “Well, how’d you become king, then?”

Arthur explains, “The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king.” Dennis responds, “Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

          How, indeed, did Arthur become king? We’ll leave that to Arthurian legend and the rest of the knights of the round table to figure out. For our purposes this morning, this story illustrates how we might ask a similar question about the Son of God, Jesus Christ. How did He become “our Lord?” Dr. Luther leads us into that very question in the Large Catechism, “Now, if you are asked, ‘What do you believe in the Second Article about Jesus Christ?’ answer briefly, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ, God’s true Son, has become my Lord.’ ‘But what does it mean to become Lord?’ ‘It is this. He has redeemed me from sin, from the devil, from death, and from all evil. For before I did not have a Lord or King, but was captive under the devil’s power, condemned to death, stuck in sin and blindness.’”[1]

          Without Lord or King, but held captive, prisoners under the devil’s power, condemned to death, and trapped in sin and blindness. Sounds pretty bad. Perhaps you can relate to a man named Richard. “Richard felt as though he were on a treadmill, and he didn’t know how to get off. This wasn’t what he had in mind when he got his master’s degree in business. To all appearances, he was successful: a beautiful home filled with the best possessions, an imported car with all the gadgets, the most expensive clothes, a lovely wife, and two beautiful children. He had it all. He was on top of the world, or so it seemed. But that was a thin veneer.

          Inside, Richard felt imprisoned. He was burdened by bills he couldn’t keep up with—a mortgage, car payments, private school tuition, the whole nine yards. These commitments kept him in a job he didn’t like and didn’t find rewarding because he needed it to maintain his lifestyle. Richard was in the prison of his own riches, and it was beginning to show in his relationships and in his job performance. He would give anything, pay any price, to be free of these burdens. But he knew money couldn’t buy freedom. In fact, he was finding out that money can cause slavery. . . .

          Richard may not have been able to articulate it, but his sense of captivity to the things of his life was really only a window into his real situation before God: his slavery to sin and death.”[2]

          Captive spiritual slaves of the devil condemned to death. Is there anything more horrible to think about? Owned lock, stock, and barrel by Satan who uses the desires of the world the entice us further away from the God and Father who created us. Like Richard, we are constantly tempted by the devil, world, and our own corrupted flesh to lust after those things that will never be able to satisfy us and that “moth and rust destroy” and “thieves break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19 ESV). If asked, “Who is your Lord and King?” we would then have to reply, “We don’t have one. We’re slaves held tight in the chains of harsh and horrible taskmasters who are set on our eternal destruction in both body and soul.”

          Luther articulates the malady for us in simple words. “For when we had been created by God the Father and had received from Him all kinds of good, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all evil [Genesis 3]. So we fell under God’s wrath and displeasure and were doomed to eternal damnation, just as we had merited and deserved. There was no counsel, help, or comfort until this only and eternal Son of God—in His immeasurable goodness—had compassion upon our misery and wretchedness. He came from heaven to help us [John 1:9]” (Large Catechism).[3]

          God the Son, the eternal Second Person of the Holy Trinity, in the fullness of time, received into Himself a true human body and soul as, miraculously, He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power God the Holy Spirit. In the “Incarnation,” God the Son “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). From that wondrous moment on, Jesus was at the same time both true God and true Man. In the Athanasian Creed, the holy Church confesses this truth with these words, “Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man. He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh; . . . Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ: one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh but by the assumption of the humanity into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.”[4]

          It is this Christ, true God and true Man, named Jesus, who, in “everything that [He] is and does happens for our benefit; in that He was thus born, suffered, died, has been raised, He is OUR Lord” (Luther, Torgau Sermons, 1533).[5] Jesus’ becoming “our Lord” is His work to effect our salvation from Satan, sin, and death. The Son of God became fully human without sin so that He Himself would be Lord over sin. Jesus, true God and true Man, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried in the tomb. He did this so that He might purchase us by the means of His shed blood as He made the sacrifice of atonement once and for all for our sins, His sacrificial death has reconciled us to the Father by granting us forgiveness. The same Jesus is now risen from the dead. He is Lord over death. Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and lives and reigns to all eternity as Lord over Satan and all his powers. And Christ will come again as Lord and King of all so that “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11 ESV).

          In the place of our captors—the devil, the world, sin, and death—has come Jesus Christ, our Lord. He is “Lord of life, righteousness, every blessing, and salvation. He has delivered us poor, lost people from hell’s jaws, has won us, has made us free [Romans 8:1–2], and has brought us again into the Father’s favor and grace. He has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection [Psalm 61:3–4] so that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness” (Large Catechism).[6] St. Paul writes by the power of the Holy Spirit, “[The Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14 ESV). Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, has “brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and [He] preserves us in the same. . . . And He did all this in order to become my Lord” (Large Catechism).[7]

          In the first century, if you were asked, “Who is your Lord?” you were expected to answer, “Caesar is Lord.” But not for us who live by faith in the Son of God. Not for us who have been redeemed from sin, death, and the devil’s power by the all-sufficient blood and merit of Jesus Christ. “Who is your Lord?” Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is Lord! And so make it very personal, “Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is my Lord.” Will you confess that with me now as we say these words together, “Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is my Lord”? Amen.

[1] Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 401.

[2] Jacob A. O. Preus, Just Words (St. Louis: Concordia, 2000), 79-80, 83)

[3] Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 401–402.

[4] Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 17–18.

[5] Albrecht Peters, Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms: Creed (St. Louis: Concordia, 2011), 132.

[6] Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 402.

[7] Ibid., 402

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