Ever have a passage of Scripture that stopped you in your tracks and took your breath away? The following passage is from the final portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23
The type of people who Jesus is referring to call Him “Lord” and do amazing things – like prophesy, drive out demons and perform miracles; and yet they will not be allowed into heaven! Wow! That’s pretty sobering!
So what does it take? What are we to do? Can we be sure that we are headed for heaven? John seemed to think so.
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” ~ 1 John 5:11-13
The key is being in a relationship with Jesus. That’s what’s missing in the Matthew 7 scenario that Jesus paints. He won’t refuse them entrance to heaven because they didn’t do enough but because they were treating it all like a “to do” list rather than a relationship.
Some people want Jesus as Savior, someone to rescue them from the penalty of sin and guarantee safe passage into heaven; but not also as Lord, the one in charge who wants to teach us how to live life as the Father intended. But Jesus never offers us that option.
If you surrender to Him as Lord, you will also experience Him as your Savior; they flow naturally together in that order. But to take Him as Savior – following a few “to do” items like believe, confess, repent and being baptized – does not necessarily mean that you are surrendered to Him as Lord.
When John mentions “these things” (v. 13) he’s talking about all that he describes in his letter leading up to chapter 5. Things like walking in the light and confessing our sins and meeting the needs of others and not loving the world… These things reflect doing life relating to Jesus as Lord.
Don’t get me wrong! Believing, confessing, repenting and being baptized are essential; but they only get us into the relationship with Jesus. It’s how we do life after that – doing “these things,” that allows us to be sure about our place in heaven.
That’s what we’ll be exploring together tomorrow with our H’town church family. Are you making it a priority to gather with other believers on a weekly basis? And most importantly…
Are you sure about where you’ll be spending eternity?