The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Bluebird with ruffled feathers on a wintry and windy day
(Photo taken by our neighbor, Doug. We teased that it isn't fair. They get blue birds and we don't. Lo and behold, we spotted one just outside our office window today right before we posted our message. They are beautiful birds!)
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“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 will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’" (Matthew 7:21-23).
David, a longtime reader and friend, came across our messages several years ago in the course of searching for photos of Pennsylvania, where he had once lived. He told us how, before accepting our teaching he read up on us; finding out who we were and what we believed. He thoroughly checked our teaching using the standard of Holy Scripture and I am sure he still does. That's the kind of readers we want, similar to the Bereans who were commended in Acts 17:11.
There's been a lot in the news lately about opinions and declarations about who is or isn't a Christian. There are many who profess to be a Christian. The self-identified label "Christian" can be used by anyone and those with practically opposite worldviews may even seek to identify themselves as a Christian.
Our daily text is not an obscure passage but rather a part of our Lord's famous "Sermon On The Mount". Jesus is teaching the crowd that had gathered on the hillside about the necessity of judging between genuine and false prophets. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-20).
In this context Jesus states emphatically, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven". Just as there are false teachers, it is also true that there are false professors. Jesus goes on to say that many, on the grounds of a mere profession with their tongue, saying "Lord, Lord", or even those who might demonstrate works such as prophesying in Your name, casting out demons in Your name, and in Your name performing many miracles, would expect admittance into God's kingdom. But the almighty Judge "will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"
J.C. Ryle calls this "the uselessness of a mere outward profession of Christianity" pointing out that "The day of judgment will reveal strange things. The hopes of many, who were thought great Christians while they lived, will be utterly confounded. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed and put to shame before the whole world. It will then be proved, that to be saved means something more than 'making a profession.' We must make a 'practice' of our Christianity as well as a 'profession.' Let us often think of that great day. Let us often 'judge ourselves, that we be not judged,' and condemned by the Lord. Whatever else we are, let us aim at being real, true, and sincere." (Expository Thoughts)
It won't be the profession "Lord, Lord" or demonstration of works but rather, "he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter." Pastor Steve Cole comments, "Obedience should always be the bottom line of Bible study or Biblical preaching." We need to keep before us these questions, "Am I doing the will of my Father who is in heaven?" "Am I professing and practicing?"
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your Word teaches us that the way to heaven isn't secured by what we say with our lips or the label we go by. Instead the way to heaven is found through surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As we surrender to Your will we will obey Your commands and live a life above reproach, conforming our will and desire to Yours. Spiritual showmanship will not assure us entry into heaven, for Jesus taught that some who cast out demons, perform miracles, and prophesy in His name did not gain entry into heaven since they were living double lives. Outwardly they performed great works in Your name, but inwardly they were sinful and disobedient. Hypocrites are usually exposed in time, but many will not be exposed until the final harvest. Help us to live humble lives, not seeking to impress others by our good works, but rather seeking to live earnest lives of obedience to Your commands with ever-increasing love for Your people and for the lost. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Exposition on Matthew 7:21, 22,23
What is the difference between discernment and being judgmental? A well-known passage at the beginning of chapter 7 states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (7:1). Here's a helpful teaching. Another one here.
Judging Without Being Judgmental
"Lord, Lord," Only four times in Scripture is the repetitive phrase "Lord, Lord," used (two times in the daily Scripture portion). The other two are in Matthew 25:11,12, "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But He answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’" and Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" Thus in each instance in Scripture the dual "Lord, Lord" is uttered by those who had not done the will of God.
A full sermon on today's text.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Trust And Obey" Video Acappella choir
"Sorry, I Never Knew You" Video The Browns An old southern gospel song that addresses today's theme. You've got to listen carefully for the words since the mix isn't the greatest, but it's worth the listen to hear the words of this song.
In the course of studying today's message I also came across this old hymn based on our daily text that I had never heard before:
I NEVER KNEW YOU
When the King in His beauty shall come to His throne,
And around Him are gathered His loved ones, His own;
There be some who will knock at His fair palace door,
To be answered within, "There is mercy no more."
"I have never known you,
I have never known you,
I have never, I have never,
I have never known you."
They had known whence He came, and the grace which He brought;
In their presence He healed, in their streets He had taught;
They had mentioned His name and their friendship professed;
But they never believed, for of them He confessed:
Now the righteous are reigning with Abraham there;
But for these is appointed an endless despair;
It is vain that they call: He once knocked at their gate,
But they welcomed Him not; so now this is their fate:
O sinner, give heed to this story of gloom,
For the hour is fast nearing that fixes your doom;
Will you still reject mercy? still harden your heart?
Oh, then, what will you do as the King cries, "Depart!"
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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