Here in these verses Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount.
- And if you look at verses 15-20 He has talked about “false prophets” and “unsound teachers” but now He is going to talk to us about “false professors” and “unsound hearers.”
- And there is a connection between the two.
- False prophets told lies while pretending to tell the truth.
- But now Jesus tells us that some people tell the truth but live a lie.
Look at vs. 21. Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”…
And look at the beginning of verse 22: “On that day many will say to me…”
- The people that Jesus is describing here are relying on what they “say” to or about Christ for their salvation.
But, Jesus says here that our final destiny…our salvation will not be determined by what we are saying about Him today…or by what we say to Him on the day of judgment…but by whether we do “the will of the Father who is in heaven.”
Now a verbal profession of Christ is indispensable.
- In order to be saved the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-10 that we have to confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe that He has been raised from the dead.
- And the profession that Jesus speaks of here in Matthew 7:21ff at first glance seems to be sincere and valid.
First it is polite…it addresses Jesus as “Lord”…which is a respectful and courteous way of addressing Him.
It is an accurate, customary confession of Jesus.
- The early Christians called Him “Lord”…so to call Him “Lord” was the standard practice.
Third, their profession of Jesus as “Lord, Lord” was fervent…it is not a cold or formal “Lord”…it is instead an enthusiastic “Lord, Lord”, as if the speaker wanted to draw attention to his zeal and devotion to Christ.
Fourth, it was a public confession…this wasn’t done in private.
- Jesus says that “some” of these people had even “prophesied” in His name…claiming to preach publicly by His authority and inspiration.
And, at times, the profession was spectacular.
- Some of these people “cast out demons” in His name and performed miracles.
You see, the thing they stress as they speak to Christ on the judgment day is the fact that they did everything in His name.
- Three times they utilize His name…and each time they put it first for emphasis.
- They claim that in the name of Christ, openly and public confessed, that they have prophesied, cast out demons, and done mighty works.
- And there is no need to doubt that because Matthew 24:24 that there would be those who would so such things: “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
- And if you look at 2 Thess. 2:9-10 you find that some would come in accordance to the “activity of Satan and will perform great signs and false wonders.”
- So, there is no reason to doubt their claims.
So on the surface this all looks as though they have a genuine relationship with Christ…and their profession of Christ looks great…it is courteous, it is customary, it is enthusiastic, it is public, and at times it was spectacular.
- So, what is wrong with this?
In itself nothing…and yet everything is wrong because it is talk without truth; profession without real substance….they say one thing but do another.
- Look at verse 21: “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
The reason Jesus rejects them is that their profession was nothing more than lip service.
- They called Him “Lord, Lord” but they never submitted to his lordship and they never obeyed the will of His heavenly Father.
Look at how Luke says it in Luke 6:46: “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
- You see, there is more to following Christ than just saying it…a lot of people will call Him Lord…and a lot of people will speak well of Jesus…and they will call on His name in times of need…they will even teach and speak the things He teaches.
- But look at verse 23…look at Jesus’ response to them: 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (or evil)’
- They may say they are following Jesus…they may call Him “Lord, Lord”…they may speak as though they are His friend…
- But Jesus says, “Not for a single moment have I ever acknowledged you to be my friend.”
- In essence He is dooming them to eternal destruction away from His loving presence.
There are a lot of people who have publicly confessed Jesus as Lord and have been baptized.
- And if you visit with them they will refer to Jesus as “Lord.”
- And some will quote the scriptures, they can recite the 23 Psalm, the Lord’s prayer, and even tell you what the Bible teaches for salvation.
- And they will even sing the songs we sing.
- But their everyday living…the words they say, their conduct, their actions are not in keeping with the will of God…
- Their profession of Christ is nothing more than lip service…and as a result they will not enter into heaven.
- They are not “false prophets” who tell lies while pretending to tell the truth…instead they tell the truth but live a lie.
- You see, there is much, much more to being a Christian than just saying you are one and we each one need to examine ourselves and discern if our walk matches our talk.
Now before we go to the next paragraph it is important for us to notice the honors that Jesus claims.
- First He is Lord. These people may have lived a lie but they spoke the truth when they said, “Lord, Lord”…Jesus is Lord.
- Notice also that He is the One who determines who will “enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
- And, He is also the One who will judge all men; “Many will say to me on that day…” (Judgment day.)
- And then He pronounces that He is the “Son of God” when He says, “My Father.”
- Jesus is not only worthy of our praise but also our obedience.
Now, let’s look at verses 24-27.
- In the previous verses the contrast has been between “saying” and “doing”…the contrast that Jesus makes now is between “hearing” and “doing.”
- In verse 24 Jesus says there is a person “who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them” and in verse 26 there is another person “who hears these words of Mine and does not do them.”
And you know the parable and what happens.
- The man who hears Jesus’ words and acts on them is compared to a wise man who builds his house on the rock…and the winds come and burst against his house…and his house did not fall.
- And the man who hears and does not act on Jesus’ words is compared to the foolish man who builds his house on the sand and when the rains fell, and the floods came, and when the winds blew against it…it fell.
- So both men heard the words of Jesus…but what made the difference was one man “acted” on those words while the other “did not act.”
So a lot of people “hear” what Jesus says…and they know what the word says…they may even have a great knowledge….they have heard the 23 Psalm, they know the Lord’s Prayer, they know what the Bible says about salvation…they have heard it and they know it.
- But just hearing it…just knowing it will not get them through on the Day of Judgment.
- What will get them through is their obedience to what they have heard.
1 John 1:5-7
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1 John 2:4
4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
In applying these teachings to ourselves, we need to consider that the Bible is a dangerous book to read, and that the church is a dangerous society to be a member of.
- For in reading the Bible we hear the words of Christ, and in becoming a member of the church we say we believe in Christ.
- As a result, we belong to the company described by Jesus as both hearing His teaching and calling Him Lord.
- Our membership therefore lays upon us the serious responsibility of ensuring that what we know and what we say is translated into what we do.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023