November 2020 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: Jesus Is Lord (And No One Else!)

Jesus is Lord. It was the content of the very first proclamation of the gospel message. The good news was announced after Jesus rose from the dead and returned to his Father’s side: Jesus is Lord! The suffering Messiah who was nailed to a cross—seemingly in defeat—was vindicated and declared to be Victor over death and ascended Lord over all.

Consider this: After the Holy Spirit was poured out on the newborn church on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter, empowered by that Spirit, stood up and addressed his fellow Israelites. In the conclusion of his sermon, he gave the earliest summary of the gospel that we have. “Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” (Acts 2:36)

Later on, Peter proclaimed the gospel message to some Gentiles in Caesarea. He observed that salvation is for everyone, and not just the Jews: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. (Acts 10:34b-36)

We may take this kind of declaration casually, since we’ve heard it all before. But the Jews who heard Peter’s announcement would have been shocked. This Jesus of Nazareth, who was a man powerful in word and deed, was none other than the Lord, the God of Israel, mysteriously in the flesh. “The Lord” who had made a covenant with Abraham had also spoken to them on a hillside overlooking the Lake of Galilee! The Lord who gave the Torah to Moses on Mt. Horeb had given additional teachings on the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is Lord! Jesus is THE Lord (as in, “The Lord [Jesus] is my shepherd.”).

The apostle Paul, in expounding the gospel, even went so far as to amend the foundational creed of Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) So now the new confession read: “There is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

Paul also clarified that the way of salvation was now through this Lord who had been disclosed in his resurrection. Writing to the Christians in Rome, he said forthrightly, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

When Jews heard the good news, they were able to embrace Jesus as the God who had sworn to never leave them nor forsake them. But when Gentiles—who had no knowledge of Israel’s God—heard that Jesus is Lord, they would have understood something different. Because for Romans, guess who was “lord” and “savior” and “son of a god”? None other than Caesar himself. All of the emperors started cults around themselves, announcing that they were divine—either in life or after death. So, for Gentiles, the announcement that Jesus was Lord and Savior and Son of God would have represented a challenge the authority of Caesar. Jesus was a new King, a new Ruler. In fact, he was the King of kings and Lord of lords.

So, although Jews and Gentiles heard the good news differently—that Jesus is Lord—they both got the same basic message. Jesus, who was from all eternity equal with God, was Lord over all things. And Caesar was not.

And the good news is that the same message still stands. Jesus is Lord! No matter how chaotic the world today seems—no matter how many fires burn, or how many viruses afflict—Jesus is still on the throne, governing the world until he returns to finally usher in his age of peace. Jesus is Lord now, and we confess him as such; but there will come a day when every knee will bend before him, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is truly Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

But still, even though Jesus remains Lord and God and Savior, every four years we Americans try to elect his replacement. Apparently, many have given up on Jesus as tardy and want action now—through the levers of political power. So, we say ridiculous things about this time being The Most Important Election Of All Time In The Universe. All Of Civilization Is Riding On This!

But that simply is not true. No matter how much we idolize them, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will never be Lord and God and Savior. Just like Caesar was a great pretender when he adopted the titles “lord” and “savior” and “son of a god,” so also all of our so-called leaders are but tired counterfeits compared to the King of kings and Lord of lords. No matter who is acclaimed president on Wednesday, November 4 (or possibly later), Jesus will remain King. And it’s time that we who say we trust in him started acting like it.

May Jesus always be glorified in our lives. Jesus is Lord!

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

We are open in a “new normal”! Feel free to worship in-person, with common-sense precautions (e.g., masks and keeping social distance). But if you are uncomfortable coming to worship, you may worship virtually through our YouTube channel. We will stream the service live, and the service will be archived after that.

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo7rD-aUmWcKtM6wKohlKBw

Sunday School

“Socially Distanced Sunday School” has resumed! Bring your Bible and a friend. Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

American Baptist Women’s Ministries

ABWM will meet on Wednesday, November 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Diaconate Meeting

The deacons will gather after worship (11:30 a.m.) on Sunday, November 8.

Pastor Appreciation Month: Thank You!

Dear Church Family,

Thank you so much for the Pizza Ranch gift card! You know what makes me tick! I appreciate the gift, and I am strongly considering sharing it with my children.

Ray

Atlantic Coat Drive

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is conducting a winter coat drive during November. Please bring new or clean-used winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots to St. Paul’s office before November 22. These gifts will be administered by West-Central Community Action and will benefit local and regional people.

Operation Christmas Child

Fill a shoebox for a child, and help them come to trust in Jesus Christ! We have shoeboxes available at our church office. When you have filled it/them, please return them to the Atlantic Evangelical Free Church (22nd and Chestnut) during the week of November 16-23. Watch this video for more information:

Funeral Service for David J. Maher

The memorial mass for David Maher (Duane’s youngest brother) will be Saturday, November 7, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Imogene.

Stay Connected!

Facebook: Follow our Facebook page for updates and alerts.

(https://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistatlantic)

Text: Subscribe to our text message service for prayer requests and updates: Text (712) 250-1607 to be added.

YouTube: Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/Uco7rD-aUmWcKtM6wKohlKBw

Newsletter: Visit our Web site and subscribe to receive our newsletter (blog) by email (at the bottom-left of the homepage). https://fbcatlantic.wordpress.com.

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