Not Everyone Who Says to Me, 'Lord, Lord'...
All Christians at some point in their lives have said to themselves, "Am I really saved? Will I go to Heaven when I die? How do I know if God is with me?"
Jesus says: "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 7:21
This is a little unsettling. What are the criteria? Who are the people Jesus is talking about? Could he be talking about me? What does it mean when He says we must do the will of the Father?
Many believe that if you attend church, are involved in their activities and follow their teachings, it is a sign that you are faithful.
But those who follow the rules and traditions of their church denominations may only be following manmade rules. They are faithful to the church, but are they really faithful to God? It's not the same thing.
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules." - Matthew 15:8-9
Many mistakenly believe that if you know the Bible backwards and forwards that you must be right with God, but anyone can be a Bible scholar, and still not know God.
Jesus said, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me for life." - John 5:39-40.
And many believe that if we do things in Jesus' name then we must be saved! You could be building a church, preaching to sinners, teaching Sunday school, but it still might not be enough.
Jesus said, "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 in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" - Matthew 7:22-23.
Well to understand better why Jesus is saying this, you must look at whom Jesus is speaking to in these verses. He was addressing the Pharisees, Sadducees and religious leaders with His harshest words because it is they who were seeking to trap and dismiss Jesus. They were the ones who twisted the Scriptures and made it difficult for the ordinary people to find God and cared only about retaining their power and control over the church. They are the "evildoers".
Jesus told them, "I never knew you."
But even though Jesus was lashing out at the corrupt religious leaders of the day, it doesn't excuse us regular folks from understanding that true spirituality must be pursued and salvation cannot be attained superficially.
We must KNOW Jesus with all of our heart.
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4:23-24
Remarkably, many people who attend churches do not have a relationship with Jesus. They go and mouth the words and play the part, but they don't feel God's presence because they have never invited God into their hearts. They never attempted to talk to Him or listen for Him or ask Him to reveal Himself in their lives.
We must be in a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus, because when we are in a relationship with Him, He can speak to us, teach us and love us and we will know His heart and experience His love. Only then can we truly say we know Him.
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep." - John 10:14-15
So the first step is to invite Jesus into your heart if you haven't already. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Get to know Him. He is a good and loving God.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me." - Revelations 3:20
Then we must fellowship with Jesus, learn His teachings, seek His ways and make a conscious decision to follow Him wherever He goes.
Unbelievably, many Christians live their lives as if they don't know God.
Ask anyone and they will tell you of someone at their work place who professes to be a Christian but who is unfriendly, holier-than thou, has no problem gossiping, boasting, getting into fights, bad mouthing, criticizing, being unethical, being negative, talking crap, lying, doing a bad job, etc.
If an outsider observed you closely for a period of time, would they see any difference between you and a non-believer? If your answer is no, then that might not be a good sign.
Our concerns about money, searching for love, self-interest, entertaining ourselves, keeping busy, materialism, comfort, wealth, working to make a reputation for ourselves; they all reveal how earthbound we are, yet we still say we are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and expect we will be with God in Heaven.
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." - Revelations 3:15-16.
When Jesus came, He showed the people how to follow God and made disciples of those people who wanted to know the TRUTH. These disciples learned all that Jesus taught and did what He commanded them to. They were disciples. TRUE DISCIPLES.
Today, we have only people who go to a church on Sunday, listen for an hour and then go back to their regular life in the world.
This is not being a disciple. It is being a spectator.
Most people point to John 3:16 as the key to their salvation.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
So many of us hold fast to this belief that faith alone is what will save us, (despite how we have lived our life).
We believe in God, we believe that Jesus died to save us and we believe that when we die, we will go to heaven.
The only thing is, most of us will not get past the believing part. We believe God exists and believe what He did for us, but we don't seem to believe enough in Jesus' teachings to change our lives and follow the path He commanded His disciples to take.
We don't believe Him ENOUGH to change ourselves.
You see, Jesus came and taught us how to worship God and to serve Him, and we all believe that what He says is true, but then we ignore His teachings. To follow Jesus means a complete overhaul of who we are, how we think and how we live.
"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'" - John 3:3
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." - 1 John 1:6-7
James clarifies that faith without works is dead. If we truly believed in Jesus as much as we say we did, we would follow His teachings.
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? can such a faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If any of you, says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds. Show me faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." - James 2:14-19
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." - James 2:26
And Jesus says our work for God are as fruits from a tree.
"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." - Matthew 7:16-20
So are you a good tree or a bad tree?
And what is this good fruit? Many take that to mean doing our job well, working hard, being a nice, not drinking or cursing, avoiding sex sin, watching our anger, trying to be friendly, not cheating, etc.
Well being a man and woman of God is more than that. It is not just avoiding sinful thoughts or being nice.
Jesus says the one who does the Father's WILL is the one who will be saved. That means ACTION. We are required to do the work of God.
But what is that? What is the Father's will?
Jesus gave us several examples of how to do the work of God, and all of them are NOT difficult or demanding, because it all comes down to GOD'S LOVE. We must have God's love in our hearts so that everything we do for God will have HIS LOVE behind it.
God's love is not a self-centered love as we humans love which always seeks to benefit and get something in return, but God's love is unconditional, generous, never ceases and is freely given.
God's love is active. God's love reaches out to touch others. It seeks to stand up against any injustices, discriminations, fear and corruptions that hurts others. It seeks to help those who need help. It offers friendship to the lonely. It seeks to live a life of truth, love and goodness in a cold, selfish and angry world.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the foreigner is the one who helped a stranger who was robbed, beaten and left for dead while the two religious leaders ignored this person and walked away.
And in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, the Sheep were the ones who entered Heaven because they were the ones who fed and clothed the hungry and naked, welcomed the stranger, and visited the sick and those in prison, while the Goats did nothing.
In both parables, the self-centered proud career religious leaders, who were supposed to represent God, ignored the very people God commanded them to take care of. They had no love or care for anyone else but themselves.
This is why Jesus called them evildoers. They taught rules, traditions and commandments, but then performed them mindlessly and robotically believing that the rituals themselves saved them, but their hearts were not in it. They did not have God's love in their hearts.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." - Luke 11:42
Jesus showed us by example how to live in God's will.
He loved those people who no one else wanted to deal with: The sick, the lepers, the outcasts, the rejects, the prostitutes, the lame, the sinners...all people whom the HIGH PRIESTS and RELIGIOUS LEADERS thought were sinful and dirty. Jesus healed, forgave and SAVED them.
Why? Because they were created by God and He has never stopped loving them.
Jesus LOVED them to God. His LOVE is what saved them.
Jesus tells the Pharisees and Sadducees the reason why they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven: "But I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts." - John 5:42.
Having the Love of God in our hearts is what Jesus is searching for.
When you know God, you will know that the WILL of the Father can only be done with HIS LOVE.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." -Matthew 22: 37-40
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for loves comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is Love." - 1 John 4:7-8
There it is in black in white: God is LOVE and whoever doesn't love DOES NOT KNOW GOD. Wow! This is how you will know you have God. If you have love in your heart.
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." - Romans 8:16
"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another." 1 John 3:9-11
That is why the person who knows God cannot sin. We cannot purposely hurt, harm or sin against anyone because of LOVE.
"We know we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death." -1 John 3:14
Love fixes all wrongs, love repairs, love heals, love improves and love changes things from bad to wonderful.
"Love covers a multitude of sins." -1 Peter 4:8
The world is starving for God's love. Our mission is to pass His Love to all the world, so the poor, the hungry, the lonely, the sick, the oppressed, the fearful, the victims, the widowed, the orphaned and the rejected can KNOW that the God of Love...loves them.
"If I speak in tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all know knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”
© 2017 Edrick
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