Good morning to everyone. I’m sure um most of us have slept soundly, probably not all of us slept soundly because of the rain, probably some of us were able to sleep soundly because Gilas Filipinas claimed their first victory uh in the FIFA World Cup yesterday against China. So it was held in the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Now to watch such events, of course you need a ticket. The official websites like TicketNet would usually remind us and encourage us and at the same time gives us warning to beware of fake tickets being sold by scammers and scalpers. Obviously if at the entrance they find out that your ticket is fake, your entrance will be denied.
In our text this morning, Jesus says people will also be denied. Not just you but many will be denied their entry… not in a basketball game or a concert but in the Kingdom of Heaven because their faith is fake. Of having been deceived, we will see these people now are causing Commotion At The Entrance. So turn with me to our text this morning. We will read from Matthew chapter 7 verses 21 to 29. Matthew chapter 7 verses 21 to 29. I’ll read from ESV.
“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. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Brothers and sisters, this is the word of our living God. Most of us are familiar with this sentence, for we hear these words weekly. And if I could just borrow them “the grass withers the flowers fade, but the word of God will stand forever.” And we should say ‘Amen’ to that because God being God is always perfectly in tune with His being. What He does is always in tune with His word and therefore as God is eternal so are His words.
I want us to have that in mind and now I want to bring your attention to our last two verses. On our last two verses, it says here that the crowds were astonished with Christ’s teaching because He thought it with authority. We should also say ‘Amen’ to that because knowing Christ is the second person of the Trinity that we know that Christ is God. And as Christ taught the crowd His teachings are as absolute as His being. Therefore Christ’s teaching will stand forever and it is important that we not only hear it, but do as He says.
With that in mind, let us look at the previous verses and listen to what God has to say. The thrust of Jesus’s teachings is this: repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand which tells us that people are not fit to enter heaven. By default our place is not in a neutral area between outside the kingdom and inside the Kingdom of Heaven. By default ,our starting place is outside the kingdom of heaven. And so people being outside the kingdom of heaven, this means we are in dangerous grounds. And so with the thrust of Jesus’s teachings, it also includes exposing the human heart like when a man looks in the mirror to see his sins. Jesus exposes the human heart. He makes us reflect on what our current condition is and how we ought to be if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven.
How did Jesus expose the human heart in The Sermon on the Mount? Firstly, through the Beatitudes, He showed the character of a Christian who has been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, in Him alone. Second, by interpreting the law for what it truly means. Christ showed that sinning does not start from the act but it starts from the heart. Thirdly, that piety can be done incorrectly, in giving to the needy, in praying, in fasting. Even those things can be done incorrectly by doing it only when other people see. We do it only to fuel our vanity and not out of sincerity. Fourthly, by showing what a Christian heart should be like in anticipation of the Kingdom of Heaven knowing that their treasure is not things of Earth, knowing that their treasure is God Himself. A Christian counts everything as loss and sets his eyes on Him, God who is his true treasure. They trust God knowing God being their loving Father, He will provide for their every need, therefore they do not sinfully worry or be anxious. Lastly in chapter 7, He showed how sound judgment should be exercised in various ways. Using it to discern sin, to mortify it and to help others modify their sins as well, in discerning the narrow gate that leads to the hard path which leads to life, that way we may avoid the wide gate, which leads to an easy path, which leads to destruction. In being aware of false prophets that come and as in sheep’s clothing to deceive. But they are exposed by their fruits.
Now this morning, we see in God’s word on the day of judgment, false prophets are not the only ones who will be exposed but everyone else. All of us will be tested in the same way that a house’s sturdiness is tested by the rain, the flood, and the beating of the winds. One may think he will enter the Kingdom of Heaven because he externally walks, talks, looks like one of his citizens, but on that day the divine judgment of God will reveal the truth that probably that person was never really a Christian for he never truly obeyed God. And with the most heartbreaking words, Jesus will tell them: “I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” Who will enter the kingdom of heaven? Christ said those who do the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father? In John chapter 6 verse 40 it tells us that the will of God is for everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him to have eternal life. The problem we face in our text is many will say they believe but not everyone truly believes. For to believe in Christ, we have to trust in Him; to trust in Him is to obey Him not just in some but in all areas of our lives especially when He confronts us with our sins. Many say Christ is the Lord and Saviour when it is easy, but when things get hard, their true Lord is truly revealed and it is not Christ.
We can only enter heaven if we are in Christ and to truly be in Him is to yield to his lordship and that is my message this morning. Entering The Kingdom Of Heaven Means Yielding To Christ As Lord. Let me repeat that once more. Entering The Kingdom Of Heaven Means Yielding To Christ As Lord. Christ is both Lord and Saviour. You cannot pick and choose one from the other. And just the same, our two points this morning also pertain to not to two different individuals but to one: the Lawless Ones That Christ Denies on our first point are also the Foolish Ones Who Will Fall greatly on our second point.
But let’s first look at the first point, Denial Of The Lawless. In verse 23, Christ will tell those who supposedly worked for His name’s sake to depart from Him. So we have to bear in mind we are not dealing here with people who are the rightly reject God. We are dealing here with people who think they are of God, the people who are denied entry to the kingdom of heaven are people who have deceived themselves into thinking they are Christ’s disciples. Verse 21 shows us these people cry out: “Lord! Lord!” And those phrases, those two words are something that a true Christian actually professes. And it is right for us to profess “Lord! Lord!” Dr. RC Sproul explains that the doubling of the name is an address to intimacy. So if we really have a relationship with Christ, then yes it is just right for us to say “Lord! Lord!” It is also not wrong to say that these people are mistaken. For these people assumed they are in an intimate relationship with God when in fact they are not. Then in verse 22, they try to argue, they try to dispute. They say “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not do many mighty works in your name?” Having been rejected by Christ, this tells us one thing: their works did not work. Their works did not grant them entry to the kingdom of heaven. This is the only thing that would work if you could go back to verse 21, is by doing the will of the Father and it is the Father’s will for people to repent of their sins and believe in His Son. Unless one does the will of the Father, Christ will deny him saying I never knew you. This is not to say that Christ literally does not know them, for Christ is God and God knows everything. In fact, Christ knows the hearts of men. Christ knows Judas is really not of His own. So “I never knew you.” If I could translate that in our language today it’s like saying we’re not close; I have nothing to do with you; you’re a stranger to me; you’re not welcome here; do not enter my father’s house. The lawless ones are revealed to have obeyed the law and everything in it except for the very thing that God calls them to do which is to repent of their sins and thus, their Kingdom entry is denied.
Entry to God’s Kingdom is based on true repentance and faith that produces obedience. Entry to God’s kingdom is not based on obedience without saving works, sorry… without saving faith.
Before entering another country, usually the airport security will check the authenticity of our passports because there is a possibility that passports may be faked. But in the eyes of someone who knows the real from the fake ones, when he looks at that passport at its very core, he will discover that it is fraud and if we’re not careful, you may not realise that you have a fake passport until you reach the arrival gates and the airport security will say to you, you may not enter our country. On that day, on judgment day, many will think they can enter Heaven being deceived that their passport is obedience to the law apart from saving faith. Let me tell you brethren and guests this couldn’t be farther from the truth. On that day, your passport will not be obedience alone; your passport, our passport is obedience that springs out of saving faith. Saving faith is faith in the person and work of Christ, in knowing you must die you, deserve to die for your sins yet you are forgiven because Christ died on your place. In knowing you deserve to be outside of the kingdom of God, outside of the grace of God, you deserve to be in hell because there is nothing righteous in us that is pleasing in the eyes of God, yet Christ tells us He covers us with the righteousness that He has attained from His perfect obedience to the to the law of God. Saving faith is certain and sure. It is sure because Christ rose from the dead proving victory over sin and death and proving that God accepted his sacrifice. So ask yourselves: do you believe in this? Do you believe in the saving work of Christ in the Redemptive work of Christ? If you do, you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. You will have eternal life. How do you know if you truly believe Him? The proof will be your obedience to God. The proof will be your obedience to God because of the work of His Spirit in you. Let me say that again: the proof will be your obedience to God not because you can but because the work of His Spirit is in you.
You are obedient to the law not because by yourself you can, but because God caused you to be obedient to Him. What do I mean by this if you turn with me to Ezekiel chapter 36. Ezekiel chapter 36 and verses 26 to 27. It says here And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Now let me stop there for a second and just uh emphasize on the fact that these are one of the areas in scripture wherein the flesh is not used negatively. Usually the flesh is used to in parallel to sin, to our sinning, to our sinful flesh. But in here, it is used positively in comparison to a stone. Flesh that is living, stone that is non-living. So God is saying I will take away your non-living heart and put in you a living heart. And in verse 27 He goes saying And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Let me repeat it again, you are obedient to the law of God not because by yourself you can, but because God caused you to be obedient. So the first challenge for us is Let Our Obedience To Christ Start From Within.
In our inward acknowledgment that apart from the grace of God, we don’t have it in us to really obey. Apart from the grace of God, it is not Him who will be but ourselves, our sinful flesh, our sinful thoughts will be the evil one who by default is our father, but not because of the grace of God. By the grace of God, He has opened a way for us to be outside of the realm of death, to be not outside of the kingdom of heaven but inside in fellowship with Him through the person and work of Christ. Not because we can, but because God caused us to do so.
When you go to church, when we participate in church activities, when we faithfully do our role as a husband, as a wife, as a parent, as a child, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What is the first thing that comes your mind? Is it I, I, I? I did it I! I am a faithful member of a local church. I am a good husband, I am a good wife. Or do you ascribe your obedience to God by saying praise God for by His enabling grace alone, I was able to accomplish the task He had set before me. You know what happens when we uh when we think that our obedience to God is because by ourselves we can? We become proud, we become proud and usually this is our pitfall, this is our trap, this is where pride gets us. Take for example in marriage, though this is not just in the marriage life. This is for every aspect of our lives. Conflict starts when we often use the word “I” I did my part, I’ve been a good husband according to biblical standards, I sanctified my wife and washed her with a word through regular devotion, I am affectionate to her, I say I love her, I make sure she doesn’t have a hard time at home, I help her with a chores. Now, there’s nothing wrong with all of those things I mentioned. But here is where the problem lies: when your wife does not do her part, you begin to say I did all these but she did not do her part, therefore I am well within my rights to be frustrated, I am well within my rights to be disappointed, I am well within my rights to be angry and I have every reason to get back at her and abandon the task that God gave me to love her unconditionally like Christ loved the church because I obeyed and she did not. Even in trying to obey Christ, it does not start from within, with sincerity. If it is not gospel-driven it can spell disaster even for a Christian. Because you know what it reveals? It reveals that it was really not dying in His name. We didn’t do it for His name. We did it for our name. As an the example of Christ, the people who prophesied, could cast out demons, who did mighty works they didn’t really do it in the Name of Christ. They did it thinking their works can earn them the right to enter the kingdom of heaven in which case is a way of thinking that deceived them in the end.
The Apostle Paul said this to the Galatian church. He said a person is justified is not justified by words of the law or obedience to the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. And the Apostle Paul himself having this kind of faith, this kind of understanding of the Gospel, he acknowledges saying I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I but Christ who lives in me. Ascribe your obedience to God as Paul did. Let your obedience to Christ start from within.
My last point Fall Of The Foolish. The fall of the foolish. As I’ve said in the beginning, the lawless ones who Christ denied, these are the same ones who are foolish enough to build their house in the sand. You cannot separate the two. These are the foolish ones who also will greatly evolve. Verses 26 to 27 Christ said the fool who built his house on the sand fell greatly when it was tested by the rain, by the flood, by the beating of the winds. Christ presents to us again another illustration for comparison from the narrow gate to the wide gate, from the hard path to the easy path, the healthy tree, the deceased tree, from the good fruit to the bad fruit. Now a house built on the rock and the house built on the sand which shows us a stark contrast between good and evil, between the goat and the sheep, between those that will enter the kingdom of heaven and those that will stay outside.
Now turn your attention to the illustration of Jesus regarding the houses. Notice that everything is virtually identical. Two men built two houses. It doesn’t say that they are different houses, it doesn’t say that one is a sturdier than the other the first one is of better material than the other. It just says they build two houses. In the same way the houses are tested by the same testing. The rain fell, floods came, the winds moved beat against those houses. The only difference was their foundation. One was built on the rock and the other one was built in the sand. The house built on the rock did not fall when testing came, but the house built on the sand fell and Christ said great was its fault.
What are the Illusions pointing to brothers and sisters? The rain, flood, the wind points to the day of judgment which will happen when Christ returns. Both true disciples and fake disciples will be tested by the same divine standards. The wise man who built on the rock, Christ said this is a man who hears His word and obeys them. The foolish man built on sand, Christ said this is a man who hears His word and disobeys them. So the deciding factor then is your obedience to Christ. If you yield to Christ’s lordship, if you acknowledge Him as the Lord of all, that he truly is, then you will obey every word He says. If you do, in light of the illustration that He presented, He is your rock on which you built your house and because of it, you are wise. If you obey only the things you find easy, comfortable to obey, then that is not true obedience at all. That is disobedience. That means Christ is not your Lord even though you say it a thousand times over. Christ is not your Lord. You are your own lord for you called the shots on telling yourself what to do and when to do it. Now if this is you my friend, again in light of the illustration that Christ has presented, you are building your house on the sand. And for that, you are a fool.
When the time comes, when Christ returns, you will fall greatly because it will show if your profession of Lord, Lord is fake. And in your counterfeit faith, Christ will deny you and banish you into eternal condemnation. This is a heavy topic brothers and sisters and there is no easy way of putting it. But in our desperate condition, all the more we see the grace of God. God is gracious because He provided a way. There is only one way to avoid the fall and that is through Christ. Falling into eternal condemnation is avoided when Christ is your foundation. When you, like the wise man hear Christ and do everything He says.
James’ illustration in our scripture reading is like this: a man who does not obey Christ or yield to Him is like a man looking intently at himself in the mirror and in the moment he turns away, he forgets what he looks like. What does this illustration mean? Why does James use this illustration? This illustration goes like this: when Christ calls you to repent of your sins and trust in Him, but do not obey Him, you are like the man looking at himself in the mirror when Christ reveals to you your sinfulness and your need of Him and does not obey Him to repent like the man in the mirror forget what he looks, you turn away from Christ, forget how you look, forget your sinfulness, and do nothing about it. Even though the right thing is to clean yourself, to repent of your sins in your disobedience, you forget that you have to, and you don’t even consider what will happen to you in the end times. If you are someone who knows you are not in Christ, today, a reminder, a warning for you is do not be the man who sees his sinfulness and does nothing about it. Do not be the fool who built his house on the sand, for believe me my friends, these are not my words but the words of the Living God on that day, great will be your fall. My invitation to you is be the man who hears Christ and in his hearing, he perseveres, he acts, he obeys and as James says, that man who obeys, he will be blessed in his obedience, in his doing. Be the wise man who built his house on Christ the Rock. Trust in the person and work of Christ and let that fuel your obedience to Him. Not because he can, but because He caused you to be.
So the last challenge is Be Wise Hear Christ Yield To Him. Be wise, hear Christ and yield to Him. Let me ask you this question: do we really yield to Christ’s lordship? Is He really our Lord ? Or let me ask a different question: when Christ calls out your sin and tells you to turn away from it, what do you? Do you obey or do you disobey and do nothing?
In The Sermon on the Mount alone, so many sins have been exposed by Christ on murder, on the adultery, on retaliation, so many admonitions as well. So many exhortations as well. What do you do with His words? The problem comes when we forget whose words are these. When we forget who spoke these words, we take scripture lightly. We take it not as an absolute command. We take it as a gentle advice that we may follow or not follow. In that process, we deceive ourselves and give room for sinning. If you are a Christian who does that, my brother, I tell you to stop, for in your doing, in your act of disobedience, you make it hard for you to live the Christian life being uncertain of what will happen to you in the end. And if you are not in Christ, then certain is your end. And my invitation again is to turn away from your sins and turn to Christ, give utmost importance to His words. Brethren, these are the words again I remind you of words of the Living God: ‘grass withers, flowers fade, His word stands forever.’ Sorry that you have to hear that probably three times today, but I’m not sorry.
There is no other option but to obey absolutely and I don’t mean in a way that obey God perfectly. I mean it in a way that in our imperfection, we strive to obey all that Christ says and not just some. We will do that if He truly is our Lord. We ought to pay attention to our confession of faith uh the two purposes in God’s appointing that day of judgment. First purpose that it says is for the manifestation of His mercy in the Eternal salvation of the elect. These are for those who do the will of the Father. These are for those who listen to Christ hence acknowledging His lordship. The second purpose for the manifestation of His justice in the Eternal damnation of the reprobate who are wicked and disobedient. For those who do not do the will of the Father, these are for you, for those who do not listen to Christ hence rejecting his lordship. Again for the redeemed, they go into everlasting life and receive that fullness of joy that glory with everlasting reward in the presence of the Lord.
If we go back to our text, it’s like seeing Christ at the entrance of the gate and Christ welcoming them saying brother, you made it, welcome, enter my Father’s house. Live with me forever in glory. Before the wicked who do not know God, who does not have a personal relationship with God, and do not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torment and punished with everlasting disruption from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. In other words again, going back to our text, Christ was saying to you:”I never knew you.”
There is a poem that John MacArthur uh used in one of his sermons. The poem was written by a man named Geoffrey O’Hara. He lived in the early 1900s. He’s a Canadian American composer, singer and music professor according to Wikipedia. Now this poem uh I have a little reservation uh on probably… I, I think probably this is not his original because uh upon further um research, I was able to see that in Lübeck Cathedral in Germany, there is a poem similar as this, inscribed to one of his walls and that cathedral was built way, way, way earlier than when um when Geoffrey lived. But there are some changes in the words but I will use Geoffrey O’Hara’s um version. The title of the poem is “Ye Call Me” I’ll just use “you” You Call Me. And this is how the poem goes You call me the “Way” and walk me not. You call me the “Life” and live me not. You call me “Master” and obey me not. If I condemn You, blame me not. You call me “Bread” and eat me not. You call me “Truth” and believe me not. You call me “Lord” and serve me not. If I condemn You, blame me not.
Very scary poem. The very scary words but nonetheless true. So if I could just add a slight modification to give a silver lining to that poem, I would say you call me Lord, Lord and yet you yield to me not. Stop what you’re doing. Turn from me or turn away from your sins and to me for I am all the hope that you’ve got. The question to ask ourselves is as the hymn goes ‘when Judgment Day is drawing nigh, where shall I be? Shall I enter the kingdom of heaven or shall I be denied personally by Christ Himself who is Lord over all? That is something to ponder on and think about seriously. Because heaven is a place where our sin tainted efforts can take us. The only way to get there is by being founded in Christ the Rock which is seen in the genuineness of our obedience to Him. Entering the Kingdom of Heaven means yielding to Christ as Lord.
Let us all pray. Dear God, our heavenly Father, thank You for this wonderful truth that You have revealed to us this morning. Though heavy as it is, may it have awakened our sleeping hearts, may it have shook us to our core and open our eyes to the reality that end times will come. It will happen and the choice for us is are we outside of your kingdom or inside of it with you in eternal life. We thank You for the grace that You have given to us in our desperate situation, that in the deadness of our sins, You have given to us your Son Jesus Christ to be our representative to die for our sins and live the perfect life that we couldn’t. The the narrow path which leads to life is open for us. We should not complain that the path is narrow and the path is hard. We should be grateful that it is even open for us. Thank You Lord that You have caused us to obey You. May we, as we continue to live our lives here on Earth, live it submitting to the lordship of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We praise You Lord! All the glory is Yours Almighty Father in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.