02 April, 2012

Keeping It Real

“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.”
Matthew 7:21 

One of my biggest concerns when it comes to the church today is that so many people sitting in churches all over the world have paid lip service to the lordship of Jesus Christ, but have never put him in his rightful place. Oh, I believe that they really want the benefits of going to heaven and that they love the good feelings that come with being a part of a church family, but they have never really surrendered their lives to the authority of Jesus Christ. This way of thinking and acting is dangerous for a two reasons. First of all, if Jesus isn’t Lord of your life, then what are you living for? One has to honestly ask themselves if they are still following old patterns of sin in your life and dishonoring God with the way you live? Is lying and deception still a regular part of your life? If so, that’s not biblical Christianity. Let's be clear about something... if you knowingly give people the impression or even outright say that you are doing certain things for God and his church, but you have not actually done them... that is lip service... or to be blunt, it is a lie! When you tell someone you've been witnessing, and you haven't... it's a lie. When you give the impression that you are doing things for God and his church, but in reality, you have not been... it is a lie, no matter how you twist it. 

In Matthew, the 7th chapter, Jesus talks about how on the day of judgment there will be those that said, "Lord, lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, 'away from me you evildoers, I never knew you."  I've always questioned how this could be, but recently in my studies I discovered something that brought clarity and light to this passage.  The word "knew" in this passage literally means "approved".  What Jesus is saying is, "I never approved of what you were doing." In other words, you can be out doing "the Lord's work" but be doing it with the wrong motive of heart, and while God's Word still is true and powerful and the forces of Satan must obey the Word of God, Jesus said, "I never approved of YOU."  That's something to stop and give serious thought to. Does God approve of you? Does he agree with your heart, your attitude and your motives? If not, then, my friend, you are in serious trouble. Many folks are involved in ministry with impure motives and purpose. Many sit in churches and teach classes and "lead" others... and their heart is not approved of by God. That is a dangerous place to be. We can be self disillusioned and convince ourselves that we are "doing the Lord's work" when in reality, we are doing it for selfish reasons, motives and intentions. 

The second reason this is so dangerous is because it’s possible that those who haven’t surrendered to Christ were never truly saved in the first place. Take that  passage of scripture I opened with for example, which says that not everyone who claims Jesus with their lips will enter God’s Kingdom.  Now I want you to know that if you’ve truly placed your faith in Christ, you are secure in Him. But if you’ve simply paid lip service to the Gospel and have never truly given Christ your heart, then surrender to Him today because it’s never too late to make Jesus Lord of your life. Don't worry about the past... it's behind you. Start fresh today, and KNOW that Jesus is the Lord of your life and that your hope is secure. No more pretending... no illusions... just keeping it real.

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