Stuck by Jesus (Matthew 7:21-27)

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This past week we have had some great storms with much thunder and lightning. Many families looked outside and were glad they had a home they could sleep in to be safe and secure. It reminds me a story about the 3 little pigs. Almost everyone has heard the story of the 3 little pigs.
Mother pig sent them out; it was time for them to build their own houses.
Pig #1 built his house of straw.
Pig #2 built his house with sticks.
Pig #3 built his house out of bricks.
Along came the wolf who demanded entrance into their homes. He wasn’t invited but just decided that he wanted enter the lives of these little pigs.
Pig #1 said, “Not by the hair of my chin-ee-chin-chin.”
So the wolf huffed and he puffed and he blew the straw house in, the entire house of Pig #1 fell down.
So he hurried over to Pig #2 house. The wolf followed him and knocked on the door of the stick house. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”
Pig #2 said, “Not by the hair of my chin-ee-chin-chin.”
So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew his house in. So Pig #1 and Pig #2 raced as fast as they could to Pig #3 house. Now, Pig #3 built his house differently than the others. Pig #3 built his house of bricks.
When the wolf came he said, “Little Pigs, little Pigs, let me in.” All the Pig’s said, “Not by the hairs of our chin-ee-chin-chin.” So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew but the house did not fall apart because it was built by bricks to sustain the wind of wolves and other stresses of storms.

Normally nursery rhyme books often have the wolf blowing and the winds howling and stirring around the house. The house stands strong but the wolf tires out and eventually leaves.
Unfortunately, the end of this story has been altered by many of us American Christians. The wolf says “Little Pig, little Pig, let me in” and many of us have responded “Come wolf, come wolf, let’s play together in a life of sin.”

Despite our brick church buildings, despite the declarations of our belief, we have allowed the wolf to play inside and perform untold damage.

We have minimized Jesus to a feeble and fragile god who is begging for us to accept Him; as if Jesus couldn’t go on in life if we failed to accept Him. This could not be further from the truth. Jesus does not need our acceptance, we need His. He is infinitely worthy of multitudes of angels worshipping Him. If we were to see the crowds of angels celebrating and bowing to their Creator God we would be in absolute jaw-dropping awe. We need Jesus much more than we realize but instead we have compromised our convictions of the narrow gate for the rather broad path that is easy and leading to destruction.

We toy with temptation and worldliness instead of having gravity and intensity about Jesus and His kingdom. We substitute worship the created instead of the Creator. We spend time on so many things of lesser worth. Oh, that God would grant a clearer vision of God’s holy greatness and rend the heavens and come down (Isaiah 6:3; 64:1).

We undervalue Scriptures warning to be watchful against an eager enemy (Ephesians 6:11, 16; 1Peter 5:8-9). It’s no game when Scripture says the devil is a roaring lion ready to devour you. If that doesn’t keep you awake for your own soul then for God’s sake be alert for your children. Our children have become easy prey and the enemy is well-educated, well-equipped and well-enthused to steal, kill and destroy every one of them.
– Satan’s scariest work was when he looks sane: The Serpent (resulted in The Fall); Judas (resulted in the Cross); The Antichrist (result in eternal damnation).

We underestimate Jesus when He says that Satan is a liar (John 8:44). Satan is constantly twisting the truth and deceiving us with lies. He promises to please but always fails to fulfill. We buy into lies about what will satisfy our wishes and soothe our worries.
We must realize there is nothing more weighty and worthy of our attention then Jesus. Only Jesus will do, only Jesus. We must recognize our great need for Him by repenting of sin and with a childlike faith run into His arms.

Today’s message is the last in the series Stuck. This message will examine why we can be stuck with Jesus. How can a person move from complacency to commitment with Jesus. stuck sermon logo 2

EXAMINE Matthew 7:21-27; 8:18-22 Title: Stuck with Jesus – How can we get unstuck?
This is the end of a large teaching section from Jesus known as the Sermon on the Mount. In these passages Jesus is not speaking to atheists or agnostics. Jesus is not speaking to irreligious people but religious people. He is not speaking to pagans but pew-attenders. Much of Jesus’ teaching is directed toward those who are deluded into thinking they are on the narrow pathway to the kingdom of God when instead they are on the broad highway to hell. Back then and just as now, we are good at creating crowds but not devoted disciples.

We get stuck with Jesus when our words are empty affirmations (7:21)
Jesus references people’s empty claims when he tires of people calling Him “Lord” but does not do what He instructs. “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Some people may give mental assent to Jesus but it is an empty affirmation to call Him Lord if we are not willing to submit our lives to Him. If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.

Jesus and the Bible speak to the fact that our faith must be more than words:
Matthew 6:5-9 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the pagans do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

cf. 1Kings 18:20-39 – “they called upon Baal from morning until noon saying, ‘O Baal answer us!’ But there was no voice and no one answered… Elijah mocked them saying, ‘Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.’ And they cried aloud… raved on… but there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.”

Such can be described as “having the appearance of godliness but denying [gospel] power” 2Tim 3:5

 The reality is that awareness of God is no substitute for agreement with God; and religion is no replacement for relationship with God.
o Since we live in America we are tempted to walk in the presence of the supernatural and give a cultural nod to Jesus without a convincing belief in Jesus.
o Faith = Followership. If you say you have faith, are you following Jesus? Where did Jesus go? Who did He spend time with? What is Jesus doing in the world today?
 James 2:17, 22 “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead… faith is active along with works and faith is completed by works”
o  What promises have you told God that have been left uncommitted? God forgives failure, but what steps do you need to take to put feet to your faith?
o  When you sing in worship or pray privately, are they empty words or are they reflective of your heart and sincerity of faith?

 The one who will enter God’s kingdom is the one who’s right creeds are supported by right deeds – “doing the will of the Father”

We get stuck with Jesus when our deeds are empty actions (7:22-23)
Jesus says that not only can our words be empty but so can our actions. He says, “many will say Lord, did we not [perform actions] in your name” – these are charismatic actions of prophesying and casting demons and performing miracles. Externally these would seem exceptionally spiritual yet Jesus views them as empty. Jesus’ response is “I never knew you; depart from me”.

The challenge and difficulty with this passage is that these are individuals who believe they are heading to heaven. According to the language they expect a positive response from the Lord Jesus. It seems that it is possible to deceive ourselves as we live outwardly what is not true inwardly.

What I believe happens is that these are people who substitute service for salvation. They realize that faith is more than words and so they fill their time performing good deeds to overshadow their bad deeds. They are workers of lawlessness/wickedness.

Jesus rebuked the church in Ephesus for a similar symptom: “I know your works, your toil, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil but have tested those who call themselves apostles an d are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:2-4).

 Review your calendar. Is it filled with activity without spiritual authenticity?
o “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary…” (Luke 10:41-42)
o “rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13)
 Is there something you need to stop and something else you need to start?

We get unstuck with Jesus when our faith moves from hearing to heart and to hands (7:24-27).heart_4
Jesus tells a closing story to help those shift from being stuck to unstuck. Everyone who hears Jesus’ words and obeys them will be like a wise man who built his house upon a solid foundation. However, those who do not obey are like a foolish man who built his house upon sinking sand.
Unsettling Element with Unreliable Expressions
– In the context of this passage persons hear Jesus’ teachings and initially respond in a visible manner.

Both persons hear Jesus’ teachings. However, they respond differently with different foundations. The person with a sand foundation does not forecast his own house will collapse, but he has built according to his own knowledge apart from faith in Jesus.
– When I realize I have to give instructions to my daughters more than once, I call them by name and say “give me your eyes” so they look at me and then listen to my voice.
• Likewise, there is a difference between hearing and listening. We must give Jesus full attention.
o James 1:22 “be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”

Both persons will experience stuckness and storms. It is not a matter of if the rain will drop, or if the wind will roar or if the floods will rise; it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN. So what is your foundation?

APPLY/THINK
 SPBC, please examine your soul. Do not be self-deceived. If you have questions or would like to discuss, your pastor & deacons are prepared to meet with you on this matter.

 SPBC, please engage other’s souls with truth in love. Look around to see who’s missed past several months, look through our church directory & Bible Groups…

 SPBC, only the gospel is worthy of gossip. We must minimize chatter about trivial news and maximize chatter about the eternal good news to each other and we must amplify this news with our lives, – growing godly generations.

 

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