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Experiencing God 17 - Joining God Requires Obedience

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Reading: Matt 7:15-29
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. Matthew 7:21 (NIV)

I.   Distinguish False devotion from True

     A.  False prophets look Real

           1.  We are to be a discerning people.

                 a.  Prophets=those who bring God’s message: preachers & teachers.

                 b.  They use religion to get personal power over people, or to satisfy weak egos.

           2.  Sheep on the outside, wolves on the inside

                 a.  They walk like a duck and quack like a duck, but they aren’t ducks. (!)

                 b.  They appear innocent enough, yet they prey on the helpless.

           3.  A few bad apples . . .

                 a.  They damage the Church’s reputation.

                 b.  Worse, lives, even spiritual lives have been damaged because of them.

     B.  Rotting trees yield Yucky fruit

           1.  Bad tree=rotting, unwholesome tree.

                 a.  But some trees rot from the inside, you can’t tell they’re rotten just by looking.

           2.  You can tell a tree is diseased by examining what it produces.

                 a.  “Fruit”=whatever the tree produces.

                 b.  An experienced person can look at a tree’s leaves and fruit and tell it’s sick.

           3.  The false teacher produces fruit unfit for consumption.

                 a.  Their ministries yield harmful results.

     C.  It’s not about words, but Living

           1.  False teachers know the lingo

                 a.  But real devotion isn’t about using religious words (incantations?)

                 b.  They know the lingo, but not the Lord

           2.  Real devotion is about living a devoted life.

                 a.  What we do says a lot about what we believe is most important.

                 b.  Our faith must be a faith in action, or it is an inactive faith.

II.  Enter the Kingdom of Heaven

     A.  Jesus taught the Kingdom

           1.  The Kingdom of Heaven (or “of God”) is central to Jesus teaching.

                 a.  Most of his parables start out the Kingdom of Heaven (God) is like. . .

                 b.  In the Lord’s prayer: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. . .

           2.  Jesus wants his followers to enter, receive or inherit the Kingdom.

                 a.  We can enter it now—it’s among us.

                 b.  It is coming still in greater fullness.

B.  We enter through Obedience

           1.  We don’t enter the Kingdom by knowing a password.

                 a.  Obedience is the door to the kingdom.

                 b.  It’s not a head thing, but a life thing.

           2.  Obedience is faith expressed in living

                 a.  To have faith in God is to trust His will

                 b.  We are in the kingdom to the degree we submit to God’s will out of faith

           3.  Knowing and being known by Jesus is the key to the door of heaven (v.23)

                 a.  Jesus response to the false teachers: “I never knew you.”

                 b.  If obedience is the door, knowing Jesus and being known by Him is the key.

     C.  God gives us Grace to enter

           1.  We feel an uncomfortable tension between obedience and grace.

                 a.  That’s a part of our Reformation history

                 b.  We stress salvation by faith not works

                 c.  Sometimes we leave the impression that works is unimportant.

           2.  It’s a false tension: grace produces the ability to obey.

                 a.  We are saved by grace (Eph.2:8-9)

                 b.  We are saved for obedience (Eph.2:10)

           3.  Grace converts; conversion means change.

                 a.  God’s grace always changes us.

III. Build on something Solid

     A.  Don’t remodel, Rebuild

           1.  The building is condemned

                 a.  Your life has been declared unfit for human habitation.

                 b.  Adding a new room, won’t change that

           2.  Unseen structural weaknesses

                 a.  Like the apartment building in Taiwan, your life is ready to collapse.

           3.  Tear down the old, start anew.

     B.  Build on God’s Will for you

           1.  Doing God’s will is the foundation for abundant life.

                 a.  Christianity seems so powerless because it so seldom attempted.

                 b.  We don’t experience the abundant life Jesus offers because we don’t try it.

           2.  The heart of God’s will is love

                 a.  Whatever else you understand about God’s will, understand it’s about love

                 b.  The foundation is love God with your whole self and your neighbor as yourself

           3.  In the more specific sense: build on God’s calling for your life.

                 a.  God’s call on you isn’t an addition, but a foundation.

     C.  A life built on God’s Word can’t Fall

           1.  The storms may (will?) still come.

                 a.  He was wise, not because he knew how to avoid, but survive the storms.

                 b.  Good Christian people don’t get vaccinated from painful circumstances

           2.  In all these things we are more than conquerors. (Rom 8:37)

                 a.  The storms will come, but the foundation cannot be moved.

                 b.  Whatever is securely fastened to the foundation can’t be move either.

           3.  What is your life based on?

                 a.  If it’s the foundation of your own strength, it is a foundation of sand.

                 b.  If the foundation is yielding allegiance to the King’s will, it is solid rock.

The Bottom Line:

Live a life of True devotion: Yield Allegiance to the King; Build your life on His Foundation

Hymn: R#92 The Solid Rock vv.1-2

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