Read Matthew 7
There are a whole bunch of people among us who think that they have learned how to play the Christianity game who might be in for a big surprise at the final buzzer.
Who among us wants to hear, “I never knew you” from the Lord Jesus Christ?
I never knew you!
But, but, but I played the game according to the rules. I gave some money. I sang some songs. I did more of my fair share of pew time. I was even awake for a lot of it. I memorized John 3:16. And I paid the price of admission! Let me into heaven.
I hope that none of us hear those words: I never knew you.
We long to hear: Well done good and faithful servant. How could we miss the boat?
Jesus said that the one who puts his words into practice is like the one who built his house upon a solid rock foundation. Storms and rain and winds and Oklahoma heat and cold would come and go but the house would still stand.
The house built on the sand is the one that represents the person who knew what Jesus told him to do but didn’t really have time for that sort of thing right now. They knew what it meant to take the yoke of the Master, but they still had some real livin’ to do.
The house built on the sand looked as good as the one built on the rock foundation, but the storm would separate them. The one built on solid rock would stand. The one who put the Master’s words into practice would endure the storm.
The one who knew the memory verse but never thought to put it into practice sees his sham of Christianity fall to pieces. The one who found countless reasons not to follow Jesus but to criticize his faithful instead will realize that his insurance doesn’t cover building in the flood plain.
But, c’mon. I did the stuff. I paid the price!
Perhaps thinking that we paid the price is why we put off professing Jesus as our Lord. When Jesus becomes our Lord, we take his yoke. We learn from him. We put his words into practice.
When we realize that Jesus paid it all, then we trust him and follow him and serve him as Lord. He is King of kings and Lord of Lords and until we get our hearts and minds wrapped around this, we can still make Christianity an academic exercise.
Do you know why so many people leave the church? They have their laundry list of reasons, all of which they would say Jesus validated, but the real reason is that did not want to exercise. They did not want to put into practice the command and counsel of our Lord because making him Lord kicked them out of the ruling seat.
Jesus is Lord. When he says go then we go or we go and make excuses why this church is not the place for me. Today I will use excuse #244.
You know the joke about prison jokes, right?
One day this young guy gets thrown into prison and during his first night of incarceration, he hears inmates calling our numbers. One would say 117 and laughter would reverberate throughout the cell block. Another would whisper 222 and the laughter went on for ten minutes.
One day during lunch, the new inmate asked an old timer about the numbers and laughter. He explained that people had been locked up so long that everyone had heard all of the same jokes a hundred times so they were all assigned numbers. You didn’t need to tell the joke, just call out the number.
That evening after the first couple of numbers had been called out and laughter ensued, the new inmate garnered his courage and call out 42.
There was dead silence for about 5 minutes. Finally, a voice in the distance said, “Some people can tell ‘em and some can’t.
We should just as well start a numbering system for why people leave church congregations. But I will tell you that most of the time, people just don’t want to put the words of the Master into practice.
You have heard it all of your lives—diet and exercise. Consume the word of God and put those words into practice.
There is a group of people today that I like to call Christian Tourists. I don’t want to ignore the direction at the beginning of this chapter, but sometimes we get enough of the splinters our of our own eye that we can spot a Christian Tourist.
What is a Christian Tourist?
One who checks out the sights of Christianity but decides that discipleship doesn’t fit into his or her comfort zone. See also arm chair Christian, sidelines commentator, and salt without saltiness.
Maybe the term lukewarm also applies.
We are to take the yoke of our Master and learn from him. We are to take what we learned and put it into practice. We are to build our house on solid rock.
A tourist doesn’t want to heed the counsel of any local authority. For us to put the words of Jesus into practice, he must be Lord of our lives.
Jesus is our authority. Jesus is Lord. His words govern our lives. We put them into practice because he is our Lord and we have taken his yoke.
Because he is Lord, we do build our houses on solid rock. We do put his words into practice!
We will never hear our Lord tell us that he never knew us.
Praise the Lord!