- Matthew 7:21–“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
- Luke 6:46–“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
- John 8:31–Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
- John 13:35–“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- John 14:15–“If you love Me, keepMy commandments”
- John 14:21–“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
- John 14:23–Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
- John 15:8–“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, “LORD, LORD” WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
This statement can be scary business. For some, it strikes fear that they are not good enough. Others use it as a stick to beat others, telling them that they are not good enough. And still others use it to raise questions in people’s minds about their salvation, the dedication, and their eternal future.
There’s trouble brewing when we rely on those things to gauge our spiritual health. Trouble brews when we gauge our spiritual health on anything but your faithfulness to God, measured by His requests of you. Nobody else can determine your eternal future. Take great comfort in that. We are all just trying to figure out faith. What does it look like? How do we know if we are in good with God? How do we know if others are in good with God?
And because we have these questions, we begin to put external indicators on an internal issue.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. What stands out to you?
A king was to be anointed, chosen from the sons of Jesse. Jesse brought most of his sons and even Samuel believed he stood in front of the next king of Israel before God corrected his thought process.
God does not see as man sees. Nor does He always explain Himself. This passage in 1 Samuel simply says that Eliab was not to be king because God sees the heart. We do not know Eliab’s deal. We do not know if there was a character flaw or if God simply had a different plan for him that would not include kingship–or both. God did not explain Himself. And because god does not always explain everything, we need to go with what He does explain.
Read Psalm 51:14-19. What stands out to you?
You may notice in verse 15 that praise comes from the lips. But what comes in verst 14 prior to that praise springing forth?
Salvation. God isn’t interested in your praise when you aren’t even part of His family. Yippy-ding that you can verbally say words of praise. If you do not accept all that He had done, then what good is it to say words that you can’t possibly actually believe? For if you believed He was the Holy One, you would accept your lack of holiness and therefore have reason to praise.
Review Psalm 51:16-1-7. What is God interested in?
And reading on through verses 18 and 19, what comes after the broken and contrite heart?
In verse 17, notice Who builds the walls in Jerusalem. It is God. He builds the walls. Though the hands of man may have participated, the Psalmist is clear that our contribution is a broken and contrite heart. God’s contribution is everything else. “But what about man’s willingness to participate.” Again, yippy-ding. God doesn’t need you. He can use someone else’s hands. True participation in the work of God comes from the humble submission to Him through a broken and contrite heart. It is not crystal clear that two people performing the same sacrifice will have the same eternal reward.
You see, God isn’t interested in your praise, your worship, your service, your money, or your efforts to glorify His name. Those things are nice, but He is first and foremost interested in the state of your heart. You can have all the fame in the world, give all your money to His church, take care of widows and orphans, sing praises to His name, and plant churches that preach the gospel. But if your heart does not rely on Him, if your mind is set on “doing” for God rather than “being” with God, He doesn’t want your stuff.
You may be experiencing a furrowed brow. You are hanging in there, but feeling a bit disturbed. After all, how can you possibly tell of the Sunday School teacher leading your children is actually doing things from a heart resting in God?!? You may be questioning those around you, wondering about their genuineness or asking if they are hypocrites. You may be even wondering about the person writing these words! How can you trust anyone if you can’t trust their actions?!?
Knock it off. Seriously.
Here’s the deal: your relationship with God is between you and God. My relationship with God has absolutely nothing to do with you. And the Sunday School teacher’s relationship with God has nothing to do with you. Yes, we all interact with each other. yes, we rub off on each other. But frankly, I have no concept of your life, what you have been through, what God is teaching you, or where you are going. And the same is true the other way around., We cannot every fully know God’s work in another person’s heart–frankly, most the time we don’t understand what He is doing in our own! Why would we think we can determine His work in another?
Go to Him now, set aside your external focus.
Ask Him to show you the internal importance of His calling. Follow wherever He leads.
WHY DO YOU CALL ME, “LORD, LORD,” AND DO NOT DO WHAT I SAY?
So rather than speak in generalities and externals, we need to speak in personal pronouns. Forget the notion that this lesson is for other people. This lesson is for you. Calm your heart and know, this lesson is for you.
What actions/services/sacrifices are you making that are not rooted directly in god’s leading in your life? For example, God has called me to write. Int he past He called me to children’s ministry, ministry leadership, and serving the needs of others. But now, in this time of my life, He wants me writing as must and as often as I possibly can. It is my act of service to Him. It is my praise to him. And it is all He has asked of me. If I join the children’s ministry team, I am sinning against God. If I join the worship team, I am deciding that He request of me is not really what He actually meant and I must know better. And if I join a ministry leadership team or launch a new ministry, I am defying what my Creator has asked of me. He has asked me to write. It has taken discipline and letting go my my desire to please people in order to strip away everything else so that I can write.
In your life, are there things you have put in the way of following what God is asking you to do? What are they?
Why have you chosen those things?
What stands in your way of getting rid of those things?
What is He asking to you do?
What help do you need?
Forget about the external. Focus on the internal, and the external will come. Cry out, “Lord, Lord” from a broken and contrite heart, and He will fill in the rest.
YOU BEAR MUCH FRUIT, AND SO PROVE TO BE MY DISCIPLES
A broken and contrite heart creates fertile soil for the seeds of the Father. I grew up surrounded by some of the richest topsoil in the world. Wheat, lentils, barley, peas–and if local folklore is to be believed, the highest producing wheat and lentil crops in the world.
Read Luke 6:43-46. What stands out to you?
Fruit comes from the seed that is planted. My parents purchased a house whose previous owner had that very rich, world class topsoil from the richest of fields spread in the yard before he planted the grass. The same soil with two different seeds planted will produce two different crops.
It is not the soil that produces the crop. It is the seed. This seems like an obvious point. Of course you wouldn’t expect barley to grow where you planted rose bushes. Yet in the life of faith, we do this all the time. We plant seeds of bitterness and think that forcing ourselves to be nice will produce nice behavior. We refuse to seek God’s desire on things, but expect His blessing when we decide to go our own way. We harden our hearts to His leading, and expect fruitful harvests.
What seeds have you planted in your heart that need to be dug up?
With a cleared heart, what kind of fruit do you want to produce in your life?
What seeds need to be planted in order to have a chance at that harvest?
Remember, all seeds do not sprout. This does not mean the seed shouldn’t have been planted. If you do not see the fruit you are wanting, the soil may needs some work, the seed may need to be more hearty. And only God can show you the issue standing in the way of that harvest.
What seeds, if any, have you tried to plant over and over that still do not seem to be producing a fruitful harvest?
Bring those seeds ot God. What is He telling you about them?
Till the soil by getting your heart straight with God. Focus on the internal. Seek His face to choose the right seeds to plant. Keep the soil fertile by keeping your focus between you and God. And when the harvest comes, you will be amazed at the bounty.