For Lord’s Day, November 12, 2023
Bonse Aba, Mu Pokelela, Ba Lipele Maka Akuba Bana.
Kuba Bana, Kuba Bana, Kuba Bana Baka Lesa.
Muya Ya Ya, Muya Ya Ya, Muya Ya Ya, Bakwa Lesa.
Don’t worry, I’m not “speaking in tongues!” 😉
I’m quoting a Zambian folk song that some of you heard at our children’s recent Heritage Christian School concert a few weeks ago to open the One Achord Choir part of the program. I mentioned it during our evening sermon last week on John 14:15, where Jesus says that if we love Him we will keep His commandments as a genuine witness of reciprocating His love first for us. I’d like to share the translation of these lyrics with you:
All people who accept his authority are his children. Are children in the power of God.
The song is a rendering of John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
While the lyrical translation given on the screen was a little different, the way I read its meaning off the cuff had me thinking while listening, “This is exactly right, but I’m not sure most American churches and Christians (even Reformed) today would consider describing Christians that way.” Maybe they would with, “Christians are those who trust in Jesus,” or, “those who are saved by Jesus,” or, “those who love Jesus.” However, what we heard Jesus emphasize as the main quality of Christians who love Him is that they are those who accept His kingly authority and thus show themselves to be His children.
Jesus said not long after in John 15:14: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. And in Matthew 12:50, He said that whoever does the will of His Father (as He does) is His brother, sister, and mother. And as we remembered in last week’s sermon, Christ’s Great Commission at the end of the Gospel of Matthew is not “evangelize” but “make disciples [the Greek for “teach”], teaching them to observe all I have commanded.” So the especially Messianic Psalm 2 speaking of God’s anointed King and Son in verses 1 and 6-7 proclaims in verses 11-12: Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
This distinction made by Ronald E. Hoch and David P. Smith in their book, Old School New Clothes: The Cultural Blindness of Christian Education, gets at the idea of describing Christians as those who have accepted God’s authority in Christ the King (which includes “obeying the Gospel” as is spoken of several times in the NT):
“[Some] state, ‘To live Christianly is to allow Jesus Christ to be Lord of every aspect of our life.’ … Jesus is Lord. We do not give Jesus his Lordship … the statement would be better along the following lines: ‘To live Christianly is to willingly and self-consciously submit to Jesus and His Lordship.’”
You see, we do not allow Jesus to be our Lord—He enables and allows us to call and serve Him as our Lord and King in His effectually saving summons. Beloved, tomorrow, come to worship Jesus as an expression of your accepting His authority over your life gladly showing you are His children as you bow before Him on His throne. And praise God that this is so because of His mighty Messianic power to make you willing and to save, deliver, and direct you (Psalm 110:3). Or, put another way as we will study soon during our Sabbath evening fellowship in the Westminster Larger Catechism 45:
How does Christ execute the office of a king? Christ executes the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.
PS: Here’s a lovely version of the song I found on YouTube: