Say What?!?!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:24-27).

Say what?!?! What you talking about Willis?!?! (If you don’t get that reference…well it’s cuz you’re too young!).

How can someone prophesy in his name, drive out demons, and even perform many miracles and not be a disciple of Jesus Christ?!?! That’s crazy.

The criteria for being a disciple is – “one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven.” Disciple literally means one who follows. A disciple of Jesus is one who follows Jesus. This means what Jesus does, says, and is about is what the disciple does, says, and is about.

What is really surprising is that Jesus is saying it’s quite possible to do all these other things (prophesy, drive out demons, and perform miracles) and still not be a disciple. You can go to worship, be a part of a small group, serve in service projects and still not be a disciple.

You see, when Jesus says, “I never knew you,” Jesus is not saying “I never knew who you were or your identity.” Of course Jesus knows. God created each and every one of us. This is not talking about knowing who an individual is.

When Jesus says, “I never knew you,” he’s saying, “I never knew you as my disciple, and you never knew me as Lord and Savior.” Because if you knew me as Lord and Savior, you would have been about accomplishing the business of my Father who is in heaven.

But your actions clearly demonstrate that you choose your own kingdom, and it is not God’s kingdom.

No one will do God’s will perfectly, 100% of the time. But, if we are disciples – followers of Jesus – then we prioritize God’s will above our own. We are about the business of “seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

So, keep on prioritizing and seeking God’s will first.

Choosing God

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

Whenever we find ourselves with competing desires demanding our loyalty and obedience, choose God.

This is so much easier said than done. Because whenever I find myself with competing desires demanding my loyalty and obedience, it’s almost always my will, my desires, my yearnings competing against God’s will. I know how this battle will end. Unless I work really hard, my will wins. Unless I really work on choosing God’s will, my will gets done.

The default mode is choosing my will, my desires, my wants, my yearnings. God’s will is such a distant third, fourth, a hundredth choice away. I have to recall God’s will and then I have to remind myself to choose God’s way. It’s hard. It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting. But if I don’t, God’s will loses. I end up sinning.

You see, disobeying God is not only a bad idea but it is the arrogant declaration that I know better than God. Why else wouldn’t I choose God’s will? Disobedience is the absurd and arrogant declaration that God is wrong about knowing what is best for me. It is the absurd and arrogant declaration that I know better what is best for me than God does.

That’s just dumb.

Of course God knows better. Of course God knows what is best. After all, he is God. He knows all things.

Look. I get it. Choosing God’s will is difficult. It’s hard work. It’s exhausting. But do it anyway. For your sake and mine.

Whenever we find ourselves with competing desire demanding our loyalty and obedience, choose God.

Pray

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 6:29).

A simple request – join me in prayer. Join me in praying:

  • For our country – our president, his cabinet, the senate and the congress, our military
  • For our city – our leaders, first responders, health care workers, schools, homeless neighbors, those battling mental health, and those battling addictions
  • For our Little Church and Lakewood Grace – for the weekend services, for small groups, youth, children, for our members

The ministry of the church is not about human innovation or effort. If the ministry is to impact lives and change the world it will because God unleashes his Holy Spirit to do that work. God promises when his church humbles themselves, pray and seek God’s face, turning from our wicked ways, God will hear from heaven and forgive our sins and heal our land.

That’s the ministry of the church. Human beings cannot make that happen. That only happens as God’s people pray and God unleashes his Holy Spirit.

Please, join me in praying. We’ve made it very easy for you. You can join me by zoom or in person in the church offices at 6:30pm on Wednesday evenings. Prayer is the backbone of ministry.

I know many of you pray on your own. I am asking that you take the time to join me in prayer so that corporately we can call upon God to do what only God can do. God loves answering prayers.

The Little Church has many important decisions to make. There is much ministry to be done.

Church, will you join your pastor in praying?

See you Wednesday.

Pastor James <><