No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We misunderstand the Holy Spirit. We try and put Him in a box that He doesn’t fit in. We look for Him to be big and flashy. If there’s not a spectacle, we don’t think the Spirit’s there and working. We want Him to make Himself known in every possible way except how He wants to be known. We want Him to do things differently than how He wants to do them. We want to run the show.
But the Spirit won’t be bound by us. He works as He wills. “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” This is how the Spirit chooses to work. He calls us through the Word. He turns the lights on. We were in darkness but not anymore. The Spirit-filled Word made sure of that.
Only through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in the Word can we say “Jesus is Lord. He’s my Savior. He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.” That’s the Spirit’s work. It’s not flashy or a spectacle, but He delivers Jesus to you, His forgiveness, life, and salvation. He pours it over you at the font, He absolves it over you, He gives it through Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Supper. Those are the Spirit’s gifts, too. When you hear the Spirit-filled Word, when it was washed over you, when it’s fed to you, you then have the Spirit.
You can say, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior” because you’ve received the Spirit. He gives you Jesus, and He works in you to confess and speak of Jesus. It’s His work that does it, and it’s His work that saves you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, ’tis not that I did choose Thee; That, I know, could never be; For this heart would still refuse Thee Had Thy grace not chosen me. Thou hast from the sin that stained me Washed and cleansed and set me free And unto this end ordained me, That I ever live to Thee. (Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee, LSB 573:1)