Jump Start # 2631
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?’
Our verse today comes from the conclusion of the sermon on the mount. The Lord ended that powerful sermon with two illustrations. They were not happy stories to warm the heart and take home with them. They were shocking, in-your-face, even a verbal slap in the face. The second story was about two men who built homes. One built on the sand. Rain, wind and rising water caused that house to be swept away. It was a total ruin. That house represented those who heard that sermon but went home unchanged. The sermon didn’t drive them to repentance and change. That illustration was pointed at some in the audience.
Our verse comes from the first illustration. Simply saying the Lord’s name doesn’t get you into the kingdom or into Heaven. Being busy doesn’t get the job done. Although three times in this one verse, “in Your name” is expressed, these people did not do what God wanted. The will of the Father was ignored. They were lawless as the context describes.
The connecting theme in both of these illustrations is obedience to what the Lord says. The sermon Jesus just preached wasn’t to be analyzed, critiqued, outlined or even memorized. It was to be obeyed. It was to change their lives, inside out. And, when that wasn’t done, doom and destruction awaited them.
Notice some observations from our verse today:
First, there is a complete shock. These people thought they had it made. They believed they were going to Heaven. The repeating, “Lord, Lord,” illustrates how surprised and shocked that they were. They even try to plead their case with the Lord. They bring up evidence of good things, and they were good things. What they missed was doing what the Lord wanted.
This reminds us that even today there are many who think they are headed to Heaven, only to be surprised and shocked that they are not. They have been good, decent people who would loan you a tool, give up a Saturday to help you move, play with the grandkids, and bake the best cookies. Great things. We love all those things. What’s missing is doing the will of God. What’s missing is obedience to Jesus.
Second, their shocking revelation is the final answer. When God says “depart from Me,” you can’t take it to God’s boss. There is no one above God. That’s hard for us to grasp. We always can go up the ladder. “Who is your manager,” we ask? “Who is in charge here?” “I’ll write a letter to the CEO.” God is the top. He answers to no one. These shocked people tried to plead their case and change the mind of the Lord, but it wasn’t working. There was no second chance. There was no make—up work to be done. No extra credit here. No mulligans. No do-overs. This was the end of the line and they didn’t make it.
Third, the will of the Father, which these folks had ignored was presented to them by the Lord. As these people are standing hearing Jesus preach, they were making up their minds whether or not they were going to do what He said. There was some tough things in that sermon. Turning the other cheek…golden rule…not worrying…doing things from the heart rather than just to be noticed…light shinning…peace making—those are the principles running through that sermon. Would they be ignored? Would they become the foundation of their lives? This audience knew. They had been told. It was a matter of doing the things Jesus said.
Most of us know as well. We’ve heard lessons every week. We read our Bibles. But in this time of social tension in the country, have we forgotten the golden rule? Are we praying for enemies? Are we trying to be peacemakers or are we part of the problem? Stirring the pot or finding solutions? It’s not a matter of not knowing…it’s a matter of doing.
Fourth, in the context Jesus reveals that “Many will say to Me on that day.” Many. This is not a few who didn’t get it, but many. I don’t know what ‘that day’ will look like. Will we all stand in line? Will it be by generations or by alphabet? When some hear that sad words, “Depart,” will they shout? Will they get angry? Will they cry? Will they fall and plead for a second chance? Will they, like our passage shows, bring up a list of things that doesn’t change the Lord’s decision?
The Lord said earlier, in this same sermon, in this same chapter, that the path to destruction is wide, broad and crowded. Many will enter the pathway to destruction. They don’t realize that they are on a dead end road. They don’t realize that their choices end in spiritual death. They are laughing their way to Hell. Having a blast. Best time ever. No one tells them what to do. They are their own boss. And, then comes the end. Then comes the surprise, the shock, the crashing of their lives. Then comes the complete ruination.
Many. We’d like to think if we were living back then and could have heard the Lord that we would have been right beside Him every step of the way. That’s a wonderful thought, but are we right beside the Lord now, every step of the way? Are our attitudes in line with Heaven? Are we being servants of God? Are we growing and sharing God’s word? Or, do we say, “It’s different.” Or, “I’m really busy now.” The many came from the audience that heard those first words. They were there, but they remained unchanged and unmoved.
The shock of their lives. It wasn’t dying. It wasn’t seeing the Lord. It was believing that they had made it when they did not. Good deeds and works will not save you. A lifetime of being busy engaged in good activities will not do it. The Lord wants you to do the will of God. The Lord wants you to do what He says, that’s it. That’s not hard to figure out. The hard thing is doing it. Our greatest enemy is not Satan, it’s self. This is why the first step in discipleship is to deny yourself. Until that is done, our foundations will always be on the sand.
Don’t be surprised at the end. Live a life that follows the Lord and does what He says.