Summary: More important than saying the right words is doing the right things.
“Fakes Need Not Apply”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
Jesus tells us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Well, I guess we ought to find out what the Father’s will is, wouldn’t you agree?
And Jesus is the One Who reveals to us God’s will for our lives.
As we read the stories of Jesus’ life and teachings in the Gospels several ‘key’ things stand out.
Jesus makes it clear that God’s will for our lives is to love our neighbors…
…to stand for justice…
…to serve the poor…
…to give generously of ourselves and our money…
…to have mercy…
…to oppose oppression…
…to honor truth…
…to make followers of Jesus Christ by our words, deeds, and actions.
All these things are selfless as opposed to selfish!
Many of us have heard all this stuff ever since we were little kids.
The question I’d like for us to ponder is: “Will we do it, or, Are we doing it?”
The Message puts it like this: “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance isn’t going to get you anywhere with me.
What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.”
More important than saying the right words is doing the right things!
One scholar puts it this way, “Being acquainted with Jesus is not enough to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
The deciding issue is not the profession of our lips but the profession of our lives.
What we say must be backed up by our actions.”
Again I ask, “Are we doing this?”
Right before the place in Matthew where our Gospel Lesson for this morning begins Jesus says…
….we picked up Jesus in the middle of a conversation…
…as a matter of fact, we picked up Jesus in the middle of a conversation which began way back in Matthew Chapter 5 where Jesus begins to speak to the crowds on a mountainside.
It’s called the Sermon on the Mount!
And today’s Lesson is the ending of it.
Anyhow, right before verse 21 in Matthew Jesus is talking about false prophets who wear sheep’s clothing.
Of them, Jesus warns, “they are ferocious wolves.”
Then Jesus goes on to use the example of a tree and its fruit to explain how we will know the false prophets or the false Christianity.
“By their fruit you will recognize them,” Jesus says.
“every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Then Jesus goes on to say, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Are we a good tree or a bad tree?
What kind of fruit do we bear?
Are we loving others as Christ has loved us?
Are we serving the poor; the widows and the orphans?
Are we giving generously of ourselves and of our money?
Are we quick to forgive or are we holding grudges?
Are we merciful?
Are we doing the will of the Father or are we just paying lip service to this Christianity stuff?
Being a Christian is serious business.
It means we have been called by Jesus to be a disciple of Jesus—along the same lines of Peter, James and John.
What a mighty privilege!
And what a mighty responsibility!
Nothing could be more important than this!
When Jesus found the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, they were fishing.
And Jesus said to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of [people].”
We are told that “At once they left their nets and followed him.”
Their entire lives changed in heeding the call of Christ, “Come follow me.”
When Jesus called Levi, Levi was “sitting at the tax collector’s booth.”
Levi was a turn-coat Jew who was getting rich by working for the Roman government and ripping off his own people.
And yet Jesus called him just like Jesus has called you and Jesus has called me.
And we are told that “Levi got up and followed” Jesus.
He quite everything else to follow Christ!
He left everything and headed in a completely new direction.
And nothing would ever be the same for him again!
In following Christ, he began the most exciting and most important of journeys!
He became a changed man!
He went from seeking selfish gain, to dying to self in order to live for Christ and thus help change the world!