Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

We’re  going to be looking at Matthew chapter seven before we do. I’d like to pray together this morning.

Father, we gather in this room, gather with others that are watching and worshiping with us online.

Lord, we glory in the truth. We’ve just sung. You are worthy. Lord, this people in this room right now, to whom those words cost, because there’s things going on in their lives. There’s losses, they’ve experienced there’s pain. And so when they say is he worthy? He is there’s weight behind it. I think of Nick Rehmann TOF this morning Lord in the hospital and the long road that he’s been on.

God, I pray that you would come alongside of Nick this morning, bringing again the affirmation of your presence of your guidance. I pray with the sommeliers. Show him signs of your favor. Lord may be the expression of his heart. Also, Lord you’re worthy. Lord. We proclaim your worthiness from the last two days for women’s lives that were impacted to love you more, to trust you more, to yield to you more for women who were born again at the retreat for all those things.

Lord, we gathered today and by our corporate presence, we’d declare it’s true. There’s a God that’s big and a God, that’s good. And a God that’s present than a God. That’s active. And we proclaimed together. He is a God that is worthy of our honor and our worship and our praise and our obedience. So God, we come to your word.

We ask you to teach us. You’ve led us today to a challenging solemn passage, but also one that is beautiful with invitation. So teach us Lord, cause we want to know you more in Jesus name. Amen. Matthew chapter seven. We’re going to be looking at verses 21 to 23. We’ve been studying the upside down life.

The sermon on the Mount. We’ve been spending many weeks together, reflecting on these. Kingdom life teaching of Jesus, what it means to live as a member of the family, of God, of the kingdom of Jesus, what life looks like when Jesus is at the center of our lives. We’ve come now to this last portion. And as we’re going through this section, we’re actually looking at four different comparisons that Jesus is making.

And in a sense on the negative side, they’re all warnings on the positive side, they’re all invitations that he is speaking about a comparison in each of these four things I’d like to just highlight them quickly. He’s talked about two gates to make sure that you have entered into spiritual life. I think, do we have a picture there?

Okay. We’ve secondly, there are two trees. To make sure you’re influenced by the right things in your spiritual life. The reason for that is the two gates. It’s how you become a citizen of his kingdom that you enter by the right gate, the two trees. It’s how you live the Christian life, the kingdom life.

This morning, there are two claims to make sure that you’re using the right criteria to evaluate your spiritual life. And it’s how you will know you are a member of the kingdom next time to foundations to make sure you are building your spiritual life on the right infrastructure. I’d like to read Matthew chapter seven, verse 21 to 23.

As we consider these two claims, making sure you’re using the right criteria to evaluate your spiritual life. Here’s what he says in verse 21. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. But the one who does the will of my father, who is in heaven on that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do mighty works in your name?

And then I will declare to them. I never knew you depart from me. You workers of lawlessness this morning, we’re looking at this passage and it is the most solemn warning of the four. Jesus is talking about the criteria by which we evaluate our standing in our spiritual lives, particularly in our membership, in the kingdom of God.

He’s talking here. He says on that day, that day is talking about a future. Real moment in chronological history. When the eternal destiny of people will be declared and affirmed, it’s described in revelation 20, where individuals will go into eternal life in heaven, and others will go into what is called eternal separation or death in hell.

It’s a somber conversation that Jesus has here, although filled with a beautiful invitation. It’s a striking passage as we’ll see, because the criteria that he’s comparing of these two different groups that he’s going to talk about on the face they’re standing in their mind seems to be the same that both of these groups believe they are members of Jesus’ kingdom.

Both of these groups believe. That they will go to heaven. Both of these groups believe that they have claim on Jesus Christ in their lives. Now it’s somewhat shocking that Jesus makes this statement because what he’s actually saying is there are people that know a lot of the gospel. There are people that know a lot of my teaching.

There are people that are even in the group that are around me. You know, the, the, the masses that are following me, those, some of them, even that are working for me, you’ll see that in verse 22. And he says, but many of them

are not actually a part of my kingdom. The reason it’s shocking is because who would do that in Jesus. I mean, who wants to associate with Jesus with the, the obvious opposition of the religious leaders that is growing, and this is a hot place to be, to be among the followers of Christ. So we say, why, why would anybody?

And I think there’s two answers to two. Maybe the dilemma of that one is there are always hangers on, there are always people that, that, uh, feel their part, but I would also suggest that Jesus is talking with this warning, not only to those he’s directly addressing, but he is talking about all of those through world history through the millennia of time, from that moment until the great judgment day and saying there will be many, the name, the name that associate with the movement that seemed to feel they are Christian that are not.

So he gives us this warning. It’s a warning that is certainly relevant to us. Culturally, we’ll look at that in a moment, but he’s going to give here a brief overview of what professing Christians might use. One, the criteria of false disciples. We’ll look at verse 22 and 23 first, and then the criteria of true disciples.

The criteria faults disciples is found in verse 22 and 23. Can I just read it again quickly? He says this, he says on that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name too many mighty works in your name. And then I will declare to them depart from me. I never knew you.

The first thing we find about the criteria false disciples is that it is common for this criteria to be used, that they’re going to use. Lord Lord is he says, is used by both groups. The ch the faults and the true those that are actually members of the kingdom and those that are actually not members of the kingdom and the criteria being Lord, Lord, we’ve made you, you know, we’ve associated you, you mean, you’re the guy for us.

In other words, these are not people that would say, um, Mohammed is my Lord. I he’s my master. I’m a follower of Mohammed. They would not say I’m a, I’m a follower of Buddha. They would not say I’m a follower of Moses. They would not be agnostics. They would not be atheists. They would be people that said, if they got a registration form and it said, what religion are you?

They would say. They would be among the 70% in the United States. That would take that title. According to the, uh, public religion research institutes, 2020 census of American religion, which was a six year study. They, they summarize and they did an annual each. He was a little bit up and down, but the average for the seven years was that 70% of Americans said their religion was Christian.

Now it’s interesting that that number in 1990 was 85%, but 70% of Christians of Americans would still identify the same EFI, my religious position. And of course the, the number of nones has gone up significantly, but would still say Christian of that 48% identified as Protestants 22% identified as Catholic, as far as the biggest categories.

And Jesus says, this many will say to me, Lord, we did all this for you. We w w w you were our guy. I mean, we said we were Christian. We didn’t say we were Jewish or Islamic or, or, or Buddhist or, or animistic. I didn’t even say I was an agnostic or an atheist. I said, I’m not a non I’m a Christian. And Jesus says many will say that it’s easy to think.

Well, you know, you listen to those numbers. And I said, the 70%, and it’s easy to think of. Of course of the 70%. I mean, think of it. I mean, think of how many of those people are in liberal churches. How many of those people are, you know, that don’t preach the gospel that don’t even believe the Bible swear to God.

Think of how many of those people are in, in, uh, churches and denominations. That really it’s all about works. It’s not about faith and sure. I get all that. But when we really hear what Jesus is saying here, Jesus is also talking to the evangelical church. And he’s saying there are people that deed to do some serious, honest heart examination.

There are many, it is based on external activities, not internal yieldedness is the second characteristic he says on that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesied didn’t we cast out demons didn’t we do mighty works all in your name. I mean, it was in association with. Prophesied means too.

There is both foretelling, which means telling things ahead of time. There’s also forthtelling, which means it was a prophetic message. Preaching today would be a form of, of, of prophetic preaching. It’s admonition, it’s exhortation, as well as teaching. And you say, wait, man, we’ve been out there preaching, you know, we were preaching for you.

We’re doing it in your name. Others said that we’re casting out demons, whether they actually had the power to do this or not. I honestly don’t know, but it certainly, they felt they did. They would end there when they were casting out demons or trying to do exorcism, they felt they were doing it in Jesus name.

Others said we did many mighty works in your name. Interestingly, in the book of acts, that term mighty works dunemas actually were, were works. The apostles did miraculous things. I don’t know. Honestly, if that meant some of these people did spectacular things, maybe by the power of darkness when they thought it was, I don’t know, but what we do.

Is that these individuals in there thinking we’re doing this stuff that should have been getting some brownie points and should have been helping them to say, yeah, I’m, I’m Christian. It’s a, it’s a big statement. Jesus talks in a, a parable and the like, just read it quickly for you. Matthew chapter 13, it’s later on in the book of Matthew and here’s what he says in verse 24.

And following he put another parable before them saying the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while these men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, master went, did you not sow good seed in your field?

How then does it have weeds? He said to them, an enemy has done this. So the servant said to him, then do you want us to go and gather them, get the weeds out in other words. But he said no less than gathering the weeds. You wrote up the wheat of all, along with them, let us let both grow together until the harvest.

And at harvest time, I’ll tell the reapers, gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned. Then gather the wheat into my barn. It’s a SOP somber picture, but he’s saying again, this is in the field of the people of God. And he says, is wheat growing up and bearing fruit? But he says, it’s also those that are not truly the plant of faith.

So the second thing we know here is that there are individuals. Even among the people of God that he is speaking to here, Jesus is doing this the same way that a Puritan Richard Baxter used to say that anybody was, he made this startling statement. He says, anybody that can preach on hell without tears in his eyes is disqualified from preaching.

That’s how I hear Jesus here. This is a serious message that he’s raising for all of us. The third characteristic is he says it results in eternal separation depart from me. I never knew, you know, that Jesus knows them. Jesus knows. He says, I know the hair. I know the number of hairs on your head. I knew everything about you.

I know you, I know you infinitely better than you know yourself. So what’s your. Well, the word here is good. Nosco and the original, it actually is the word that means relational knowledge. You could say to me, mark, your shirt is wrinkled this morning. And I could say, I know that my wife told me and I should’ve listened to her, but now it’s too late because I’m in the spotlight.

I know that, but that’s a whole different thing than the term is used here. That’s cognitive knowledge. I have information the know here is I know this person I’m in, I’m doing life with them. I’m in relationship with him. And Jesus is saying basically, uh, I don’t have a relationship with you. You never allowed me to have that relationship with you.

And now you have to depart from me. This is heavy-hitting stuff. I mean, this is. Jesus’s and Thompson softballs here. This is the heat. So let’s get to the good news. What is the criteria of true disciples? Verse 21. Okay. So here’s where we are right on the one side. He’s saying people that believe or think they’re Christians, they certainly would put that on a, on a registration form.

Uh, they, they, they have some degree of familiarity with Christian teaching Christian experience, but what they have is not what is needed to enter heaven. It’s not real. So here’s what he does. He says on the other hand, he says, first of all, in verse 21, he says it this way. Let me just read it. Verse 21, not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.

But so now he’s going to say, Bob, On the other hand are the group of people that are going to enter the kingdom of heaven that already a part of the kingdom of heaven are going to eternally be a part of the kingdom. Now, if you were there and you had, I just wrote about this in my musings and you were writing in the scripture, you know, you’re writing the scripture out and you write all the phrase you can remember and you say, um, uh, Jesus says, you know, some of them are going to say this and this, and they’re not going to be in heaven, but on the other hand, and you just wrote all that.

And now you’re going to think, what are you going to say about those other people? What would go through your mind? I’ll get you a bed. It would be like this. If you, if you know the gospel of Christ, you would think, well, what Jesus is about to say is this, but on the other hand is the person who believes on me as the person.

Or maybe better theology and say, but on the other hand is the person who has repented of their sins and claim my forgiveness that the Jesus provided and received me as Lord and savior of their life. Right? I mean, isn’t that? What do we expect? That’s not what he says. How do we understand that? Here’s what Jesus says.

He kind of shocks us. He says, but on the other hand is the person that does the will of my father. Who’s in heaven. I mean, did all of a sudden Jesus changes, theology and become work salvation. You need to earn your way. It’s gotta be, what’s he doing here? What’s happening. Jesus. Do you know the gospel?

Well, what we find and I’m going to take you to another passage that I think is going to illustrate. This is not talking here about the basis. Of their relationship with Christ. He is talking about the fruit of their life. That’s the same thing he’s talking about. The other guys, these guys think because they have this fruit in their lives, that it means that they have actually become members of my kingdom.

And he says, no, the people that have actually become members of my kingdom have this fruit in their lives. He still remembers that entrance to heaven is by grace alone. That entrance to heaven is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. He still remembers the verse for by grace. Are you saved through faith? Not by works so that no one can boast, but what are you saying is that a person that has put their faith in Christ has embraced Jesus into their life as savior and Lord will have evidences in his or her life that there will be fruit.

And he is now saying what that evidence is. It is the person that does the will of my father. The word does is in the present tense in the original, which simply means it’s continuous action. It does not mean he will without fail, never screw up in doing the will of his father. My father. He’s not saying you’ll never sin.

He’s not saying you never really have things you are ashamed of that you do even as a, a member of Christ kingdom, but he is saying this the habitual life, the trajectory of the life is going towards the will of father. More and more, there is the desire to do the will of my father to find out the will of my father.

So what does that mean? And I’d like to suggest two things doing the will of my father is to embrace the reality that what the world offers is not what I most want. Now here, I want to go to another passage because I actually believe the apostle John was influenced by Jesus teaching in this passage when he speaks something in first, John chapter five.

And so I’d like to read this for you first, John chapter five, it’s up on the screen, do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him for all that is in the father, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the father, but it’s from the world and the world is passing away.

Along with us desires. Here we are. Whoever does the will of God abides forever. Same thing. I mean, you want to say to John, John, did you forget the gospel? What do you mean? Whoever does the will of God abides forever. What you mean to say is we’ve embraced Jesus Christ as your savior is the one that will live forever because that’s heaven and that’s what life is.

And, and that’s what this is about. I mean, no he’s saying it in the same way. Jesus saying it. He’s saying the one who has chosen in their life to not love the things of the world, but to rather love the will of the father demonstrates.

And for them, Jesus has. Entered their lives, that he has become their center, that they have received the transformation of the new birth that they have been born. Again are literally born above as the term means from God that the will of God is the driving passion of their lives. Does it mean they never screw up?

Of course not, but it does mean the continual trajectory of their lives is to say, I want God. I want God’s purposes for my life. And in first John chapter five, John is saying there are three things that will constantly vie for those things. If the will of God is not your driving passion, one of these things.

That’s what he’s saying. It could be all three, but one of these things, at least these are things that become central to us. And what are you saying? Even people doing cool spiritual activities who are devout in terms of faithful church attendance and, and everything else that might go with that. If those things are what they love, if those things are the driving center and passion of their lives, not the will of the father, they have every reason to question if they actually, apart of the kingdom.

It’s interesting that John here is talking as much of the new Testament does in what we might call the language of love. If you notice first on five, I’ll read it to you. Do not love the world of the things that are in the world. He concludes an. Whoever does the will of God abides forever the scriptures regularly.

Talk about our relationship with God in love language. It’s a relationship. It’s why turning from God to these other things is called often in the scripture, spiritual adultery. It is betrayal. It is turning away from, from the relationship. And what he’s talking about here is what grabs our heart and what are these things.

So I’d like to look at them quickly here in first, John chapter five, just again, because I believe it is a commentary on our texts this morning in Matthew seven, there are three things he highlights that can be our heart love and be a center of our lives. One is he says the desires of the flesh pleasures.

Gluttony can be there. And he said, I’ll come on. I mean, gluttony, Paul said it this way and Philippians whose God is their stomach. It’s talking about people who say, ah, that’s ridiculous. It wasn’t my idea. It’s what he says. He says now, does that mean if you overeat, you can’t go to heaven? No, I’m just saying that he’s talking about pleasures that we can, we can allow things.

Pornography certainly can be things that, that we find pleasure and we look towards to satisfy and they can become central. They can be a love relationship. Gossip, you know, Proverbs constantly talks about gossip in terms like this gossip is listen to gossip is, is like, it’s like eating choice. Morsels of food.

I mean, it’s like, it’s like caviar. If you like caviar it’s shrimp cocktail. It’s it’s whatever it’s man, it’s the lash stubble. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s appealing because to be brought in, but he says, man, to just be continually giving way to the pleasure of listening and supporting and promoting gossip, he said, it’s, it’s, it’s making something else.

Central. There are all kinds of illustrations. Titus chapter two says this, the grace of God teaches us to say no, literally it makes this statement. The grace of God, trains us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.

Told about this commercial probably years ago now. But I remember used to watch this during the football games. And there was a commercial where a guy was sitting out at an outdoor table and it downtown in a city and they’re sitting there and they’re both having a beer, he and his girlfriend, and he’s got his dog line at his feet and he turns to his girlfriend, talks to him and she’s real serious.

And she says, John, if, if a fire came, who would you safe? Would you save me or your mother? And he says, well, I don’t really want this to go very far, babe, but you I’d say to you, she said, if you, if we were in a fire and you could only save me or your dog. Which the dog sort of looks up. Who would you say if, and he says, well, I see you.

And then she says, John, if you could save me or your beer, who would you save? And for way too long, there’s silence. At which point she gets up and storms out. Why? Because she concluded what really held his heart.

The question is in our lives, do you love it more than Christ? And that is really the only question that matters. Second Timothy, one five says this God has not given us a spirit of fear. Well, what has he given us? He says this, but a spirit of power and love and self care. That he says those who have the spirit of God within them can turn from habitual lifestyle, enslavement of other pleasures through the power of Christ.

He says, our lives can be changed and transformed, but he says, if we’re living for that pleasure, if we’re, if we’re living towards that pleasure, if, if comfort and, and, and security and all the things that come with pleasures of life, if that’s really what’s driving me, he says, that’s probably what you love.

And that’s an option, but that’s not the picture of a person. That’s a member of the kingdom. The second one I’ll move faster is desires of the eyes. He says here in first John chapter, I mean, we already saw the false teachers are driven by grade. We talked about that last week. Fear of man, we could put here possessions position, people, uh, control by other people’s opinion.

I want the approval of others more than the approval of God. I think John would say, that’s your choice. That’s your option. But you need to understand you’ve declared who you’d save in the fire. You declared whose approval you laugh, you live for. He says the pride of life, prideful accomplishments. I mean, this hits everybody even hit the disciples.

You may remember the story of, uh, before Jesus was at the cross, he was still teaching the disciples and, and, uh, he’s talking more and more about coming into his kingdom and John and James, two of the hero. Uh, came to him and they said, Lord, Lord, you know, we’re excited and we’re with you, we’re with you to the end.

And when you come into your kingdom, could we be on one of us on the right side? And one of us on the left side, it’s interesting in a parallel passage, their mother actually brought the same. It’s an awesome fixer, this little Jewish mother coming up to Jesus and saying, Jesus, when you come into your kingdom, can you have my boy, John on the left and James on the right.

You’ll still be in the middle, but always. So we all have it, the desire to be somebody, the desire to, but when that is the passion of her life, when that is what is driving our schedule, our energy, our thinking.

It displaces the capacity to say, Lord, I want everything. Whether my career goes forward, whether it’s stagnates, whether it diminishes, I want to be like John, the Baptist that says he must increase. Absolutely ready to decrease that the driving passion of our lives is Christ. Now the seed of every known sin is in all of us and the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the pride of life are battling in all of us.

The quest in Jesus and later, John here in first, John is asking is what is your life center? What is the consuming passion? Is it Christ and what he wants from your life? That’s what he’s talking about. The will of my father, is that the driving reality of your life. He says, if not, you may have cast out demons.

You may have preached the gospel to people. You may have done wondrous works in my name,

but are you sure that I know you and you know me,

the other thing that I think is involved here is this what Jesus commands is what I most seek to live. He’s talking in the context of Matthew five through seven. It’s interesting in Luke’s gospel in Luke chapter six, when Jesus gives this teaching and he says, doing the will of my father, he actually changed it to doing my will.

The idea, is there one in the same and in the context there, it’s clearly the sermon on the Mount. He’s talking about this life of Jesus. It is what the life that the life of Jesus lived within us is a life that is lived for the will of the father. And it is a life. If you look at John, if you’ve been reflecting in Matthew five through seven at all, you notice a life that is way beyond you.

It is impossible to live apart from Jesus Christ. He’s the only one that can live it, but he will live it through you. It’s striking that it is the Jesus life. Here’s what it says in John five 30. I can do nothing on my own. I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me John 6 38 for I’ve come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me, it is the life.

That is the truest form of worship. Romans 12 one. I appeal to you, therefore brothers by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual. To doing the will of God to, to yielding ourselves to the Lord is our ultimate form of worship is as the songwriter says it this way, the child of God, the born, again, believer the redeemed man or woman or child says with the songwriter, this, if the stars were made to worship so alive, if the mountains bow to reverence.

So ally, if the oceans roar with greatness. So will I for if everything exists to lift you high? So will I,

we sang, is he worthy? We declare it not only by our songs. We declare it most prominently by our lives, by our choices. Do I want Christ? Do I want his pleasure, his glory, his will in.

He says it matters. It matters. It is the recognition that my greatest expression of worship is SU is seeking to do his will in my life. I don’t know where you are today or what God is speaking into your life. But this text is certainly intended to prompt. Self-examination it’s designed to compel us to ask which of these professed Christians we are.

And our experience with Christ, he says is our best indicator. Are you embracing Jesus Christ as savior and Lord in the choices you’re making day by day because embracing Jesus Christ as savior and Lord is not simply securing a plane ticket to heaven in a life to come. It is the entering into a life of transformation and surrender.

It is as Roman six saying Romans six says when we tr when we were translated from the kingdom of death, as he called it, where sin was our master, we transferred to a life where we said, righteousness is our master and Christ is our ma. And he actually says there, we begin to say yes to Jesus. That’s actually a Roman success that we now affirm.

Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes.

If you’re here and you’re listening online this morning, and God’s speaking to your heart, I’d love the chance to process this out with you sometime in the scripture. Or maybe you’ve got enough this morning and you just say, Lord, man, I thank God for this, this study this morning, because it was for me because.

I’m on that person. I’m not sure that the trajectory of my life, again, not sinlessness and some of you with real strong conscience, these are the ones I’m worried about. But by this message, because some of you that are the best livers are going to be beating yourself up by this, but just wreck. Yeah.

Maybe the Lord is speaking and saying, are you sure that you’ve embraced Jesus Christ as your savior and as the Lord of your life for others, maybe it’s just a reminder Lord, by your grace. The trajectory of my life has been in is towards you, but I’m not sure it is right now, the way I’m living there’s stuff going on.

There’s there’s a coldness. There’s a distance. There’s an aloofness. Well, his invitation to you is to just come again. The beauty of repentance is we, we changed tracks in a moment of time. As we yield ourselves again to the Lord, let’s pray together.

Lord. I want to thank you that you love us enough to speak Turkey with us at the share you share with us the challenging, confrontational messages, as well as the beautiful invitations and the encouraging words.

Lord, I wanted to know,

and I know I won’t know till glory, but I want every person in this room to be there one day,

hearing the voice enter now into the joy of the Lord.

I want every person in my family, in my church, family.

To know you,

I believe

with every part of my being that you are worthy of giving our lives to have interesting our destiny, to

pleasures position, all this other stuff that’s here.

It’s just going to burn. Lord, may we be drawn to Christ? May we join with all creation and say, as the songwriter said, man, everything in creation is designed to live for the glory of God and to proclaim the glory of God. Uh, a lie, God close to that this morning, I pray in Jesus name. Amen.