Summary: Done in "Jeff Foxworthy" style: If your religion is all in the head, if you think your good deeds mask your sin, you may be a lost person.
Jesus said some very tough things. He could be very demanding, very harsh. Jesus could also be funny. He didn’t draw back from using humor if it would make his point. He was tough! He was blunt! He minced no words! And so if your image of Jesus is Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ”, bland and passive; and if your song is, “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”, then think again. Think again. Because he could be tough. And he could be funny. He could probe and make you hurt and make you smile, all at the same time. That saying about a camel going through the eye of a needle, for example, is Jesus’ way of making you smile and still getting his point across.
Nowhere is he any tougher or more blunt than in the passage for today. Nowhere is he more uncompromising or more challenging than in this passage. Who can possibly read this without feeling anxious? How can we get hold of it? I’m going to try something different.
One of the hot names on the comedy circuit these days is Jeff Foxworthy. You might have seen him on cable TV or might have heard his recording. Jeff Foxworthy gets us laughing at the stereotypes of one particular group of people. The rednecks. The rednecks. Do you know that phrase? Of course you do! Now doesn’t that sound like a winner for Black History Month? Well, but Foxworthy also teaches us how to make a point with humor. He shows us how to learn as well as to laugh.
Jeff Foxworthy puts out all these tests to see if his listeners are what southern folk call rednecks. The formula is, “If you .. then you might be a redneck.”
Like, “if you’ve got a giant screen TV in your house but have to go outside to use the bathroom, you might be a redneck.”
Or, “If when you tell somebody how to reach your house, you mention ‘trailer park’, ‘piney woods’, or ‘turning left at the scrap yard’, you might be a redneck.”
Or, “if when your wife gives birth to a son, you have an irresistible urge to give name him ‘Billy Bob’, ‘Jimmy Lee’, or ‘Johnny Reb’, you might be a redneck.”
Or, “if you have two brothers named Bubba and Junior, you might be a redneck.”
Or, “if even your bicycle carries a gunrack, you might be a redneck.” Got the idea?
Or, “if your baby’s first words were, ‘Attention, K-Mart shoppers,’ you might be a redneck.”
Well, this morning, I want to take Jeff Foxworthy’s formula, and let it carry Jesus’ tough saying, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. “ Let’s give it a whirl.
First, if you are real good at saying, “Lord, Lord”, but you don’t follow through, you might be misinformed. If you believe that saying the right words gets you right with God, you might be misinformed. If you believe that holding correct doctrinal positions saves you, you might be sadly misinformed.
Did you know that a lot of us think that religion is all up here, in the head, the intellect? Do you know that a whole host of people suppose that if their belief system is correct, they are on their way to salvation? But Jesus insists that even though you might know how to say, “Lord, Lord”, you might not enter the Kingdom of heaven. You might have all kinds of theological propositions running around loose in your head, but still you might be misinformed.
What does the Bible really say? Some are misinformed. Jeff Foxworthy might put it:
If you think that Sodom and Gomorra were two lovebirds who just didn’t get it together, you might be misinformed.
If you can’t figure out how Jonah could possibly have swallowed that whale, you might be misinformed.
If you think that the Bible tells you to praise the Lord with a funny plant called the pesal tree -- you know, praise Him with the harp and pesal tree -- you might be misinformed.
If you think that baseball was mentioned in the Bible, because it says right here, “in the big inning”, you might be misinformed.
If you went car shopping right after I told you about the largest automobile in the Bible .. you know, when I reported that the Lord added three thousand to the church, and they were all together in one Accord ... if you went car shopping after that, you might be misinformed.
If when you sing the hymn, “Gladly the Cross I’d Bear”, you believe you are singing about a big brown woodsy creature with poor eyesight, you might be misinformed.