Swimmer Michael Fred Phelps II broke the world record in the 200 meter butterfly in 2001 when he was only 15 years old. Most recently he again made history as he won his 22nd gold medal in the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro. Reporter Eric Metaxas noted that four years ago no one would have believed Michael would have made such a come back. Michael was without purpose. Though he had won many times in the Olympics, he said “I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb waiting to go off. I had no self esteem, no self worth. There were times I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost.” Michael became suicidal. Then his friend – a former All Pro Linebacker named Ray Lewis gave him a copy of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. After Michael read it he turned to the Lord. He turned to the Lord Jesus. Repenting and following the Lord turned his life around, and he is again winning medals.
We belong to the Lord.
The name of God we’re looking at tonight is in the Old Testament the Hebrew word ADONAI and in the New Testament KURIOS. Translated “Lord” in the King James this name of God emphasizes that God is owner of all that He has created. There’s a famous poem called Invictus that ends with these words:
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
That is absolutely not true. We were all created by a Loving and All Powerful God Who gives us life day by day.
1 God Is Adonai (Kurios) – He Owns And Controls Everything That Is. The Bible says:
Psalm 24:1 (NASB) The earth is the LORD’s, and all that it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.
In America it is popular to say “It’s my body, and I’ll do with it as I wish”. Yet God says:
Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV) Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
God gives you life. Every day He allows your heart to beat, your lungs to draw air, your liver to process and filter your blood, your kidneys to cast off pollutants. He is LORD. Everything belongs to Him.
In the King James we have discussed how the word YAHWEH (the I AM name of God) is translated L-O-R-D (all capital letters). But when you see the name L-o-r-d (Large L small ord) this is in the Old Testament “Adonai”, in the New Testament “Kurios”. The Hebrew Adonai is plural, but is translated singular or “Lord”. It is plural just as Elohiym is plural because the Godhead is One but Three (Father, Son, and Spirit). This is called the Trinity, and our Triune God is Lord of all. He owns everything. In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times, 200 times in the writings of Ezekiel alone, and 11 times in Daniel chapter 9. The first use of Adonai is found in the life of Abraham in Genesis 15:2. Let’s start out there.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:6-18 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?  And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.  And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.  And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Two names of God are used throughout this Responsive Reading. Where you see the name LORD or the name GOD in all capital letters this is the eternal name of God YAHWEH. But every place where you see Lord (capital L small ord) this is the name of God ADONAI. Where Abram calls God “Lord GOD” in verses 2 and 8 this is actually ADONAI YAHWEH. Yahweh is normally translated LORD but the King James translators thought it would confuse people if they translated ADONAI YAHWEH as Lord LORD. So in instances like this they translated the name of God as Lord GOD. Here’s the key.
YAHWEH emphasizes that God is eternal without beginning or end. He is I AM.
ADONAI emphasizes that God is owner and controller of everything. He is Lord.
Notice Abram’s words. He says to the Eternal Owner of everything “What will YOU GIVE ME seeing I am without a child?” (verse 2). Then in verse 8 “how shall I know that I shall INHERIT it?” How do I know that I am going to have children and nations will come out of me? He says to God prove yourself. Promise this. And this is exactly what God did. God told Abram to take animals out of the herd:
a heifer (a female cow that has not bore a calf) of three years old
a she goat of three years old
a ram (a male sheep) of three years old
a turtledove (a dove)
a young pigeon
These were all creatures from Abram’s stock – but they were not Abram’s. God is Adonai, He is Lord. Everything that Abram had God allowed and gave. So when Abram took these animals from his herds he was giving back to Adonai what Adonai had given him. Abram took one of everything Adonai had given him. The larger animals were divided, that is they were killed and separated into two piles. The dove and the pidgeon were not separated, but they were killed. And then God told Abram what He promised to do.
God told Abram that his nation (Israel) would be in bondage 400 years
God promised Abram that his nation (Israel) would be freed from bondage
That Israel would prosper
God promised Abram that the land he stood in would be his people’s
God made all these promises to Abram because God is Adonai. God is Lord of all He created. He is owner of all that exists because God made it all. If you own it, you control it. God is Adonai. He is Lord.
2 Understanding The Lordship Of God Clears Up A Lot Of Confusion. God owns everything. He is ADONAI. He is Lord. He is the Maker and Designer. We get confused and wrapped around the axel when we don’t understand this.
God owns everything you think you possess
God owns you. There’s no need in arguing about “Free Will” verses “Sovereignty” because we are not gods. We are God’s. We are bought with a price. We belong to Him. Everything we own belongs to God.
Your homes belong to God.
Your bank accounts belong to God.
The cars you came to Church in belong to God.
The pews you’re sitting on belong to God.
The books in those book racks belong to God.
The ground you stand on belongs to God.
The air you breath belongs to God.
Your very flesh and soul belongs to God.
I have heard parents who have lost children say “I don’t understand why my baby had to die so young”. They become angered with God. I understand. I sympathize. I’ve been there. But He is Lord. He is Adonai. The soul of the child is His, not mine, and He has the right to take what He has given. He is Lord.
When God raised up the Prophet Malachi He was angry with His Old Testament people. The wife you have belongs to God. The husband you have belongs to God. The family in Israel had disintegrated. The parents were not teaching the children to love God as He commanded in …
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
The LORD thy God – YAHWEH thy Adonai – was not being honored. The family was disintegrating. The worship was polluted. They robbed God of the TITHE, which was consecrated to God.
You know what a TITHE is?
It is giving back to God a small portion – a tenth – of what is really all His.
Israel did not take animals without spot or blemish to the Temple for sacrifice. They did not take the FIRST FRUITS to God. They went through the herds and gathered out the blemished, the crippled, the blind, the diseased, the broken and brought these to the Temple. They took the least to Adonai and kept the best for themselves.
When I was at another Church we had a clean up day, hauling off all kinds of broken stuff that had accumulated in the Church. Mismatched plates and silverware that people “donated” to the Church when they bought themselves new stuff. Broken baby swings in the Church nursery. I found a vacuum cleaner that could not be used because the handle was broken off. I found out later that one of our little old ladies “donated” this vacuum when she couldn’t use it and bought herself another. God got the broken, she the new. Israel did the same thing at the altar. Crippled cattle. Blind sheep. Diseased goats. Birds that wouldn’t fly. They brought this to the altar for sacrifice – a sacrifice that was no sacrifice at all – and expected blessing from God. The Lord told Israel – let’s read this responsively:
Malachi 1:6-13 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?  Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.  And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.  And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.  Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.  For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.  But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.  Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.
What a sad statement this is! God is ADONAI, He owns everything. He raised up Israel out of nothing. From Abram and Sarai came Israel by His promise. God blessed His people, and is a Father and a Master to them. We honor Him when we give Him the best. We do not give God our leftovers and our broken, but the FIRST FRUITS, the best that we have. His name is to be honored by His people.
IIf you are parents or grandparents you have seen children at play. Two children are playing in a sandbox that they did not make. In the sandbox are toys they did not purchase nor deserve. One child sees a bright toy truck. He grabs it, saying “Mine!” The other child ignored the truck until then, but now reaches out. “No, it’s mine!” It is “mine” because the parent loved the child and gave it, but the child doesn’t own the toy. And neither do we.
We all have the mistaken idea that we own this or we own that. With ownership comes frustration. The air conditioner goes out at “my house” and then it costs more of “my money” to get it fixed. Roofs leak. Toilets plug up. We get frustrated when what is mine doesn’t go they way I want. But we are looking at things wrong.
God is ADONAI. He is Lord. He owns it all. We are simply STEWARDS of what He has let us hold. I read this suggestion in Ken Hemphill’s book The Names of God and really liked it. He wrote:
“Sit down during your devotional time, take out a piece of paper and make up a deed signigover everything to God, the rightful owner. Say ‘Lord, this has never been mine. Somehow I just took over what is yours by creation. I am excited to acknowledge that I am a steward and that You are Owner of all the possessions represented on this deed”.
When we understand that we are STEWARDS and God is ADONAI (Lord) then things get much better.
One man said that when his family washing machine quit working he and his wife knelt and prayed in front of that machine. They prayed “Lord, your washing machine has broken down. What do You want to do about it?” After praying they were told the Lord needed a new washing machine. They thanked the Lord for His provision and, instead of frustration, joy flooded their lives. God is Adonai. He is Lord!
3 If God Is Lord (Adonai) And We Are His, We Are To Serve Him Where And When He Says. When God called Moses to follow Him and to go to Pharaoh, Moses began to argue with God. Let’s read this
Exodus 4:10-16 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.  And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.  And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.  And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.  And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
Moses was frightened, and did not want to do what God wanted him to do. So God told Moses that he could speak through Aaron his brother because Aaron was eloquent. This ended up being a hindrance to Moses rather than a help. If Moses had trusted the God Who made him there would have never been an Aaron making a golden calf in the wilderness, nor an Aaron heckling him about his Ethiopian wife. In many ways Aaron was a hindrance to Moses’ ministry.
Throughout this reading we see the word LORD and Lord. Where you see LORD this is YAHWEH, the Eternal Name of God. The other occurrence – Lord – is ADONAI. Moses said to God in verse 10:
YAHWEH – Oh my ADONAI
Great I AM – My Lord
He recognized God as the Eternal Creator of all. But then Moses immediately capitalized on his perceived inabilities. Listen Beloved, what God calls you to do, God equips you to do. God told Moses “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?”
God made us on purpose the way we are. God calls us to do what He has equipped us to do. Our purpose is found in Him Who made us, not we ourselves. Our purpose is not defined by what PEOPLE think of us, but what ADONAI requires of us. Our disabilities are abilities when we live for Him. If God gave us life, He can use the lives He gave.
God’s anger burned against Moses when he kept making excuses. When we call Him Lord we are to obey Him. Jesus said:
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  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?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
There will be many who will leave this life thinking they deserve Heaven because they did good things. But did they do what the LORD told them to do? If not, we work iniquity. We are called to obey the ADONAI, the Lord Who saved us. Jesus went on to say:
Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior then you belong to God. God is our Adonai, our Lord. Our strength is found in following Him. Greatness in His Kingdom is only achieved by serving the Lord in the capacity He has made you. Jesus promised:
John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
He is Lord. He is Adonai. When we call Jesus our Lord we surrender to His ownership and commit ourselves to serving Him in the ways He has said. We are bondslaves to God in Christ. His Lordship is seen in how we live our lives.
We who are saved are to live as His Stewards.
He is Lord!
Adrian Rogers put it this way:
“Well, suppose I perform a wedding ceremony and say to the young man, “Would you take Susan to be your lawfully wedded wife?” And he responds, “Well, I’ll take Susan as housekeeper.” And then I say to her, “Would you take John to be your lawfully wedded husband?” And she says, “Well, I’ll take him as provider.” We can’t pick and choose what we want from Jesus. We take Jesus as Lord over all!”
May God touch your hearts with His Word.