Summary: Not everyone who uses the name of Jesus will enter into heaven. Putting into practice Jesus’ teachings to love others it what it takes. What have you got lose?
Series on the Mount
Low Risk, High Reward
November 18, 2007
Maurice Blondel said, “If you really want to understand a man, don’t just listen to what he says but watch what he does.”
We have seen over and over how Jesus wants us to put into practice his teachings. However, the great temptation in this is to believe that somehow or someway we become worthy and deserve what we already have. We start to think of ourselves more highly than we ought.
It is like the young hotshot plumber who taken aside by an older plumber and in an effort to teach the young man some humility told him, “On Saturday, I want you to come with me on a trip. I need to show you something.”
The older man took the younger man to see the great and wonderful Niagara Falls. The old man was sure that upon seeing that the young man would stop exaggerating his self-importance. As they walked up to the falls, the old man, “This is what I wanted to show you.”
They stood silently watching thousands and thousands of gallons of water pour over the edge for several minutes. Suddenly, the young man turned to the old man and said, “Yeah, I think I can fix this.”
Ok, let’s look at Matthew 7:21
"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. Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Let’s look at the text.
• We must do God’s will
This has been emphasized over and over again. Notice it is not about what one sees others doing or what you think is best. It is knowing what God desires for your context. It is also about taking action. One can know and say what is the right thing but never really do it.
• Many know about Jesus but do not know Jesus
They call out, “Lord, Lord!” They know the name of Jesus. They know what he expects but there is no relationship. “I never knew you.” John says we know God’s voice because we are His. We show we love God because of how we live out the Shema of Jesus. The reason that we do not know is that we are not His. We aren’t seeking. We aren’t trusting. We work and work and work but never take the time to stop and listen and worship and just be in God’s presence.
• Attention does not mean it’s real
Notice how sensational the three ministries are: prophesying, driving out demons, and doing miracles. Lots of attention for those!!! It’s as if the person is saying, “Look at me! Look at me! Look at what I’ve done. Ain’t I a good person? I’ve labored and advanced your kingdom.” And I hear Jesus saying, “I tell you the truth. They have received their reward in full.” You wanted the attention. You built your empire on my name. Blessings flowed. Money came. You never lacked for anything. You had all the attention, recognition, fame, prestige, power, wealth, and comforts of life but we never really spoke.
It is like Jesus is saying, “You never figured out that I am crazy in love with you.”
Mother Teresa said, “Little things done with great love!”
This is the way of the disciple. Great love poured in serving the least of these where we never really gather any attention or reward. Great love because we serve in obscurity.
• Right things done for the wrong reasons make right things wrong
Healing people and driving out demons. Lives being changed. What could be wrong with that? Yet, Jesus calls these false servants, “Evil doers!” They are doing evil. They were doing admirable deeds but for the wrong reasons. Sounds like bad trees. The fruit is not what it seems. A bad tree cannot bear bad fruit.
Here is what Jesus was probably referring to: charlatans. In fact, the miracles were probably nothing more than illusions designed to fool people to gain fame and fortune. Maybe they were even conning themselves.
Josephus describes an exorcism. In these exorcisms, the exorcist would begin uttering every phrase and combination of words hoping to get the demon to obey. I talked about this when we look at Matthew 6:7 and the pagans babbling to get what they want. Sometimes this would go on for days. However, I didn’t mentioned what was supposed to happen when they hit the magic formula. (God doesn’t operate on the basis of a magic formula of words or prayers).