A Life Well Deceived
A Life Well Lived
Not everyone that says to me Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of My Father in the heavens
Many will say to me on that day “Lord Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and do many miracle in your name
And then I will declare to them that I never knew you, Depart from Me, ones working lawlessness.
Stephen L. Carter Yale Law School book Integrity, defines this characteristics as “discerning what is right and what is wrong;… acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and … saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong” New York: Basic Books, 1996 p.7
Bill Hybel –who you are when no one else is looking
Integrity making sure that who you say you are and who you really are, are one and the same
As Adventist we have tended to view this verse on other denominations, when they have rejected the truths of the Bibles and have clearly heard the Spirit in convicting fashion point to the Biblical truths.
But as in any situation before we point fingers we should first examine our own lives and motives.
Today we will look at this passage in relationship to ourselves.
Grasping the Text in Their Town:
Jesus is wrapping up a long sermon, which is filled with astonishing sayings and teachings (Matt. 7:28), today we would more likely call this a seminar rather than a sermon. This talk by Jesus could have very well taken a few hours long.
Just right before Jesus had mentioned the warning of false teachers and producing good fruit. Now he come with this radical saying that not everyone that calls him Lord will be in the kingdom of heaven… but the one doing the will of my father in the heavens
Now what do we get from the first part of our passage?
To Jesus’ audience the word we read Lord, they would understand as Master. Today in much of our modern Christian culture we water down the word Lord. We almost equate it to the word Savior. While Jesus is both, the function of Lord is different than Savior. Here the Jews would understand Jesus saying Master, and we should too.
A Master you serve, a master you do what they tell you to do, you are subject to him and not him to you. If would be wise if we act our lives according to this principles and we would much more cherish when at our failing we can see Jesus as our Savior and better grasp the immense sacrifice that he has done for us rather than unconsciously say Jesus saves me.
The question no that I must ask myself, is how am I living my life. According to God’s standards or my standards. Do I do the work of Christ, with the Attitude of Christ.
It is said that the biggest competition to devotion to Christ, is service to Christ.
“but the one doing the will of my father in the heavens
many text can be used as to what is the will of God, but to get an overall text that comes close to summarizing it all up is
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
The Bible in numerous occasions speaks of social justice etc., it’s is a big part of the Christian life, including in fasting, and also how Jesus tells us to treat others, mercy, is spoken abundantly, unfortunately we tend to put all mercy on God, or others to have mercy on us, and rarely do we show any personal mercy.
But the important phrase today is to walk humbly with thy God.
We like to talk about being humble, we seek and ask God for humbleness, but how many times do we seek to walk humbly before our God. A key word here is “your” not just walk humble with God, but in this text is it putting it personal, your God.
In this usage of the world humbly, to put it into more tangible language, in the Hebrew it can mean loyalty.
Do we show the world that we are being loyal to God, do we walk with God being loyal, or are we stabbing God behind his back if it were possible since he knows all.
Matthew 7:22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
In these verses we move from confession to works.
We can see here that at 1. We need confession of who is our God and our Lord, but we are lost if we leave it at that. V. 22 tells us that a true Christian will have works, but likely while as the former if we leave it at that, or even just these two we are still lost.
Regretfully, all throughout history, man has never been able to escape a works based salvation. While mentality this seems like the easy way to heaven, many fool themselves into this trap. While they think they are okay, are a good person, help who ever is in need and more, the reality is that the gospel points to us that we are more flowed and more sinful than we even want to dare believe.
Those who have actually understood this few have stayed there, and fill themselves with despair and reject God because they see themselves as hypocrites or unworthy.
But the Word tells us that we are more loved and more accepted that we ever dared to hope.
How many times do we excuse our bad behavior? How many times have we excused a lie, so we wouldn’t suffer hurt, pain, embarrassment? How many times do we justify a friends position because we mistakenly thing that friends must always stick together?
Yet those are clear negatives, what about the more obscure facts. Have you ever excused an absence from church because last night you were up really late helping someone out, or not give money to this one homeless because you already gave to the other one?
What about ministry? How is your ministry for Jesus? Whether public or more private and intimate? Have you been doing it because the board asked you? Are you doing ministry because you enjoy it, because your good at it or no one else will do it. DO you do it out of guilt that you should be doing something because you are a church member and more importantly a Christian. Ministry comes from being not from doing.
In a Politically correct world, and a system or status quo’s, and follow the crowd, how does one draw the line.
With so much differentiating theologies, how do you make sense of it all? What to believe, what to do, what to say, how to react, how to listen?
With some many options, one can end up clueless, and because of it we go at it our own way, and wish to seclude all others from what we are doing, including the work of the Lord.
Can you remember a time when you had the perfect Christian face, had the wonderful reputation, had everyone confidence, and the best part, everything was going good. Yet you know that in your personal life, your inside you were quite far from good. Yet out of guilt you maintained what you were doing. You greeted everyone with the Christian touch, except those that you were closest too, because you know they’d stick with you.
Since your success kept growing, internally you were going down. How could you ever admit and risk it all, tarnish your own reputation and the reputation of whatever ministry you might have or are involved with.
Then later on you figure out that you are filled indeed with gifts and abilities but your ministry is hollow. Your life is hollow because while the facts of Christ are there, Christ is not in you. While you have memorized how the Spirit has told you to walk, you don’t even hear his voice.
You try to enter someone else’s life to help them, but you have not entered your own.
Of course the best part and the way one fools themselves is that you’re still a good Christian and good standing with your local congregation.
You’re not caught in a scandal, but how you live is a disaster. The abundant joy you talk about is the frustration you are living. Instead of living, you’re being dragged.
This is not an imaged experience, not someone else experience (thought it may indeed be yours); it is not perception nor conception. It is real, a confession, which many of us here today need to lay down. To let down the burden on our shoulders, which we’ve carried needlessly for too long… for…
Matthew 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
In concluding this paragraph Jesus gives a somber statement of so many Christian today and throughout history.
The most interesting word here is the word knew. Jesus says I never knew you. IN the Greek the way this word is used is know as family. This is not just knowing a friend, a person, or anyone else. This is knowing as a brother, as a sister, mother father. This is an intimate knowing. That you know how each other thinks why they do what they do.
What a sad picture, living your life thinking, believing you’re a Christian, even your even sure that you are, but Jesus could say I never knew you, to even say that you are practicing lawlessness.
It must be time we take a hard look at our lives and see if we are truly walking humbly with our God and not just with God.
If you’re living a life of pain because of your double life, your double thoughts, your regular inconsistencies, it’s time you change.
Most people only change their lives and behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.
Why wait for that, why wait until your family and friends have left you, until you are alone, if this is you change right now.
So how can you tell if you need to change?
As in the beginning. It depends on your character.
Who are you when no one is looking? Are those little sins pretty consistent, are they making regular appearance? When you’re with close people how do you react, when they do something you don’t like. How are you when you are having a bad day?
Who are you when knowing is looking?
It must be a fundamental question we must all ask because all of us to some degree live a different life. All of us are sinners, all of us fail God.
How many want to decide to day to walk humbly with our God. How many want to live the Christian life, of confession of who is Lord, doing God will, and also knowing God.