Summary: Addressing Matthew 7:21-23 with Paul’s words from Romans 1:16-17. Christ will recognize us as his child when we live faith to its fullest, not just faithfully.
There was a tightrope walker, who did incredible aerial feats all over Paris. Many people were amazed as he did his amazing tightrope acts at tremendously scary heights. He became so accomplished at his art, that he began adding other tricks to his act: he would cross the tightrope, then he would do it blindfolded, then he would go across blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow! All to the amazement of those gathered to see him.
As you can imagine, word quickly spread. And it wasn’t long before an American promoter read about this tightrope walker! He couldn’t pass up the opportunity and quickly wrote to him saying, "Tightrope, I don’t believe you can do it, but I’m willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your transportation fees, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls."
Now, Tightrope wrote back, "Sir, although I’ve never been to America and I’ve never seen the Falls, I’d love to come."
So, after a lot of promotion and setting the whole thing up, many people came to see the event. The tightrope walker was to start on the Canadian side and come to the American side. Drums roll, and he comes across the rope which is suspended over the treacherous part of the falls! Then he did it blindfolded – making it across easily. Then he comes back across blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow. The crowds go wild, as he comes down from the rope. At this point he turns to the promoter and says, "Well, Mr. Promoter, now do you believe I can do it?"
"Of course I do. I just saw you do it."
"Good," said the tightrope walker, "then you get in the wheel barrow."
Many of us say we believe, but do we have faith enough to get into the wheelbarrow and trust our entire lives to God?
Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. This sounds quite different from the beginning of the sermon when Jesus teaches: blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, and blessed are those who are persecuted. Blessed are all of us when we live counter to the world’s ways and the ways of legalism – BUT if we say “Lord, Lord” and if we prophesy in the Lord’s name, but don’t have a life full of faith, Jesus will not recognize us as his own child!
That’s a pretty tough teaching. In fact, it’s probably one teaching of Christ that most of us would like to skip over in the gospel. Isn’t it? But, if we parallel this teaching to the story of the promoter and the tightrope walker - how many of us say “Lord, we believe” but we don’t have enough faith to get into the wheelbarrow?
Many Christians deeply want to trust Christ, but when the going gets tough, when we are called to live in a manner that is different than what we know; our faith falters. And we attempt to take our life back into our own hands. Faith is an easy way of life – as long as the sailing is smooth! But storms do come – illnesses, economic slumps, uncertainty for the futures – how we live through these storms in life is truly the mark of how full of faith we are.
If you noticed the sermon title for this morning, it is not Living Faithfully. Instead, the title is Living Faith Fully. In other words, this morning I want us to consider what it means to live not just faithfully – having a belief in Christ, being devoted to Christ, being loyal to Christ. But to really consider what life would look like if we lived a life FULL of FAITH. What would life be like if at every turn, at every fork in the road, we FULLY (without question or restraint) trusted in the Lord? What if we could FULLY follow wherever Christ led? What if we never wavered in our living righteously? That would really be living faith to its fullest!
Remember several weeks ago, on Good Shepherd Sunday, when during the children’s sermon we were seeing just how full God fills our cup with blessings? And we read from the 23rd Psalm, “my cup runs over”? Imagine how glorified Christ would be in our lives if our lives overflowed with faith! Paul writes: For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”