Sunday, September 8th, 2013
Sermon On The Mount (Part 30)
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. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your Name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
Actors, models and talent for Christ: you have a dual casting call: to witness the truth in Hollywood and holy wood, a.k.a. the church. Because in some congregations, the truth has been cut into sound bites; they're easy to hear and go down fast. Add in a few good stories by skilled speakers and... Voila!
God's Word begins to look like a cross between Little House on the Prairie and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But what about the real Cross? The One on which Jesus was nailed? If we reconstruct It (or the Word It carries) to fit our storyline, the penalty is harsh. God won't overlook the attempted edit.
'You shall not add to the Word which I command you, nor take from it' (Deuteronomy 4:2).*
I haven't heard many sermons on the 'Lord, Lord' message. Then again, who wants to consider church leaders going to hell at the end of a spirit-filled life? Certainly, it was the wrong spirit. But from a pulpit point of view, questioning the legitimacy of fellow-preachers is not savvy. Suspicion may spread like a blowing fire.
But what about God's point of view? Maybe that fire needs to come. Maybe God's performers need to strike a match of truth. Because every believer will be 'Tested by fire' (1 Peter 1:7).** For deceived believers and false prophets, perhaps it's better to be burned now than roasted later.
Because while we're still here, God offers hope--even redemption. ' 'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow' ' (Isaiah 1:18).
But if Christians cover up in a cloak of complacency, are they helping or hurting their brethren? Jesus is clear about what to wear, because He gave it to us. 'For He has clothed me with garments of salvation; He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness' (Isaiah 61:10).
Jesus is clear about what not to wear, because He hated it: 'You also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness' (Matthew 23:28). Because when our leaders look good--but aren't, it's confusing. Therefore, He warned us about false prophets--repeatedly, as did Luke, Paul, Peter and Jude. Why?
So the practice of lawlessness might be stomped out like a brush fire by brave and humble saints--shod with the footgear of peace. So the practice of righteousness might be ignited like a bonfire by these same saints--holding a candle of truth.***
To Be Continued...
* Adding or editing the Word of God: http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp117.htm
** 'That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1 Peter 1:7).
*** 'Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire' (Hebrews 1:7).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.