Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Can't Just Call Jesus Lord, You Have to Mean It

As I have alluded to in some of recent posts, there are many in the church who are not part of the Body of Christ.  They are the deceivers and the deceived.  Jesus has completed the instructional part of the Sermon on the Mount and is now giving us some warnings.  Many will listen to his words and try to mimic the ideals He taught us in the Sermon, but with no faith.  Yesterday we learned of those who are part of the church in order to destroy the church, those being the wolves in sheep's clothing.  There are also those who claim that Jesus was a good moral teacher, but not the Son of God.  Related to that, there are those who try to earn their way into Heaven but never put faith in the Savior who can take them there.  Jesus is going speak of those today.  It is not enough to do everything Jesus said in this Sermon.  We can not earn our way into Heaven by living the Sermon on the Mount or even by striving for some other high calling in God.  The only way to Heaven is through our faith in Jesus Christ and it is by that faith alone that we will be saved.  What Jesus has been talking about is not what we need to become in order to be saved, but He was talking about what we will become once we are saved.  Here is today's text.
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'  Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
This is a scary verse.  This not only implies members of a church, but also leaders of churches who will not enter the Kingdom of God.  There are so many out there calling themselves apostles (though I disagree that this office is even applicable today), prophets, miracle workers, healers, holy warriors against demons, and financial blessers.  None of that means anything.  Many of those are just as Hell bound as an unrepentant murderer.  I say "many" because Jesus says "Many."  There are not a few who are deceived or deceivers, but there are many.  Many who claim to do great works of God who are either deceiving themselves or deceiving others, but they are not deceiving God. God sees the evil that lives inside their hearts and it is for their hearts that they will be judged. 

Sadly, Jesus infers that many of them will be surprised that they are not saved.  They question how they can be judged because they did so much.  Jesus tells them "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"   Those first four words are the most heartbreaking words those people will ever hear "I never knew you."  That also shows what their error was.  Their response to Jesus confirms that error.  They were trying to earn their way into Heaven by impressing God.  They did not throw themselves onto the mercy of Jesus or claim His blood for forgiveness of their sins, they played up all they did to earn their place in Heaven.  Note also what their concern was.  Their concern was not in sharing the Gospel, their concern was not in helping the less fortunate, and their concern was not in repenting of the unrighteousness in their lives.  Their concern were those "fun" gifts.  Their concern was in not submitting to the power of God, but in trying to wield it as a tool for their own lives.  They were interested in the show and not in the substance.  It was about casting out demons, performing miracles like healing of the sick, it was about prophesying, and I imagine it was also about those many other showmanship things we see in the church today. Unfortunately, it is never about being a bondservant of Christ. 

Which brings me back to the first point Jesus made "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."  It is not enough to say Jesus is Lord, we actually have to mean it.  God is not looking for us to make shallow statements lacking any kind of faith or belief, but God wants us to call Jesus our Lord as an outpouring of something we already believe in our hearts.  Please do not think that Jesus is teaching salvation through works by that statement.  Jesus is teaching quite the opposite.  You see, if Jesus is truly your Lord then you will do the will of your Father in Heaven.  Jesus being your Lord means submitting yourself to God's authority over your life.  If you merely call Him your Lord with no real meaning, then you will not do the will of the Father.  You will merely live to satisfy your own needs and desires.  When we come to accept Jesus as our Lord, we are saved.  When we are saved and living with Jesus as our Lord, we will do the will of the Father.  If you believe someone is your lord, by definition you believe that person has authority over you.  You can not separate the two.  If Jesus is your Lord, you will follow Him. You can not call Him your Lord and mean it if there is so submission to Him. 

When we hear such a great teaching as the Sermon on the Mount there is a temptation to think that it is a pathway to salvation.  We are tempted to think that if we just do these things, we will be saved.  Some even teach that we need to do these things in order to be saved.  Jesus is using this passage as a warning against those wrong doctrines.  You see, what Jesus has been teaching us is not how to be saved, but how to live once we are saved.  The Sermon is not a road map to salvation, but a road map of the redeemed life.  What He has been teaching us is how to live as a Christian.  Living the ideals Jesus has taught us is the result of salvation and not the means to be saved.  It is only through faith in Jesus that we can be saved and it is only by His strength that we can even begin to live His teachings.

Sadly, there are many who call Jesus their Lord but have no idea what that even means.  The Gospel is simple enough as it is, but some today have made it even simpler.  The do not teach that it is not about having Jesus as Lord, but just saying it.  Jesus tells us in today's passage that just saying it is not enough.  We have to mean it.  We can not just call Him our Lord, but He actually has to be our Lord.    If Jesus is your Lord, your desire will be to submit to Him.  "Jesus is Lord" are not just words we say, but words we must live each day of our lives. 
But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?  Luke 6:26 NKJV

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