Summary: If I want to enter the kingdom of God, it’s not enough to just “date” Jesus, I must give myself 100% to Him.
Some of you may have seen this post from Pastor and author Dave Willis which has been making its way around a lot of social media sites lately:
Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn’t dividing everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got.
I think that those of you who are married, and especially those of you who have been married for a long time, would agree with that statement. I know that after nearly 38 years of marriage, that is certainly true for Mary and me.
This morning, I am confident that we’ll see that our relationship with Jesus is a lot like that, too. If it is going to be all that Jesus intends for it to be, it must be 100-100.
We’re in the second week of an eight week series of messages on the hard sayings of Jesus. And without a doubt the words of Jesus that we’ll examine this morning are among the most haunting things He ever said. So take your Bibles and turn with me to Matthew chapter 7. You can follow along as I begin reading in verse 21:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
I wish that I could get up here this morning and say that we really don’t need to spend much time here because these words of Jesus really don’t apply to us. I’d love to think that Jesus wouldn’t tell anyone here this morning, “I never knew you,” and then command us to depart from Him.
But Jesus is not speaking here to those who don’t believe in God. He is not speaking to those who have rejected Him outright or to those who would never set foot in church. Instead, He is addressing those that claim to belong to Him and who zealously call Him “Lord, Lord”, but who have been deceived into thinking they are going to enter His kingdom when they are not. And as much as we would like to think that none of us here this morning fit into that category, it would be naïve of us to think that somehow TFC is the only church around that doesn’t have at least a few people like that in our midst.
So it is absolutely essential that all of us here this morning listen carefully to what Jesus is saying here to make sure that Jesus doesn’t one day say those scary words to us. So how do we make sure that doesn’t happen? We can summarize the main idea from this passage using the metaphor of marriage:
If I want to enter the kingdom of God,
it’s not enough to just “date” Jesus,
I must give myself 100% to Him
I think Dave Willis is right. Marriage is a 100-100 proposition. Dating, on the other hand is more of a 50-50 endeavor. When I was dating Mary, especially at first, I held my cards pretty close to the vest. My goal was to put my best foot forward so that I could impress her. The words that I spoke to her and the things that I did in our relationship at that point were much more focused on what was best for me and what I could get out of the relationship.
But as things progressed and it became apparent that our relationship was going to become more permanent, both of us had to begin to be more transparent and open with each other and let the other person see the weaknesses in our lives as well as the strengths. So the things we said and did became more and more focused on what was best for the other person and our relationship rather than being so self-focused. And it is only when our relationship advanced to that point that we really got to know each other beyond just the surface level.
In some ways, the idea that Jesus will one day say to many “I never knew you” seems almost impossible. After all Jesus created us and knows everything about us. But the verb “to know” that Jesus uses here is a word that means to know by experience. It is the very same word used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe intimate, physical intimacy between a husband and wife.
That’s why I think the marriage metaphor is so appropriate here. Those that Jesus says He does not know are those who are only “dating” Him. They are busy trying to say and do things to impress Jesus, but they never really put 100% into the relationship even though on the surface it might look like they do.