9-27-15 MY LORD
September 27, 2015
Last Sunday's message, "My Savior", outlined what it means to truly have faith in Jesus as your personal Savior. This Sunday we are going to focus on the second half of the equation - what it means to truly make Jesus the Lord of your life.
Unfortunately, as I just read in our Gospel reading (Matthew 7:15-23), there are many people who, for various reasons, masquerade as Christians, but to whom one day the Lord will say, "I never knew you". A member of our congregation once confided in me that they thought this was a particularly scary verse in the Bible. Imagine what it would be like to go your entire lifetime thinking you were a Christian, but then hearing Jesus say to you, "I never knew you. What is even scarier is the words that will follow after that, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)
How many of these will say, "But Lord! But Lord I was a pastor! But Lord I taught Sunday School! But Lord I went to church every Sunday! But Lord I gave more money to our church than anyone else!" Now I'm not saying any of those things are bad. And the Bible does say, "By their fruits you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:20) But right before that it also says to watch out for false prophets. So how do you tell real fruit from artificial fruit? The fruit must be the fruit of the Spirit! And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You can preach, teach, attend, and give til the cows come home, but if your life isn't bearing the fruit of the Spirit, you might have called Jesus 'Lord' with your mouth, but more than likely your heart hasn't.
When you truly make Jesus your Lord, you don't just act like a Christian. You don't come to church for the wrong reasons - be it to maintain a good image in the community, because your friends do, because you think it will earn you a place in heaven, or any other selfish motive. You come to church because you want to worship the God who created you, and sent His beloved Son to die for your sins. You want to thank the Lord Jesus who loved you so much He willingly took the punishment you deserve. You come to church to feel the power of the Holy Spirt moving in the lives of true believers.
When you truly make Jesus your Savior - and your Lord - every day you should become more and more like Him because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Have your values changed? Is what used to be important in your life taken a back seat to Jesus? Has your outlook on life, your goals, and your feelings about other people changed? Have other people commented on how different you've become from the person they once knew? Or do you still commit the same sins without a second thought? Are you concerned about those who don't yet know Jesus, or do you just figure they'll get to heaven in their own way - or they won't - whatever... If as you ponder these questions, you inwardly realize that perhaps Jesus doesn't hold the position in your heart and life that He should, you need to consider three possibilities: 1. That you never really accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and you need to do that now. 2. That you asked Jesus to be your Savior, and you have a saving faith in Him, but you have remained a 'baby' Christian and never allowed the Holy Spirit to work in your life (Hebrews 5:12-14). 3. You have become what is known as a backslidden Christian - once on fire for the Lord, but now lukewarm at best (Revelation 3:15-19). And this is the topic of next Sunday's message!
In our Old Testament reading (Daniel 6), Daniel exemplified what it means to make God no. 1. He held a powerful position and had everything he could want. But his heart belonged to God. Nothing was more important to him. Not even his very life. He would rather face death than put anything above God. And because of it, even the heart of the very king who demanded to be worshipped was changed. False prophets can build big churches. They can fill big churches. But those who have truly given their hearts and lives to Jesus can change hearts, and lives, and eternities for lost souls. God will honor those who honor Him, as Daniel did.
If your faith was put to the test, would it pass? Is God more important to you than anything else? If you would sin, or dishonor God in any way, because your friends might reject you if you don't, then is Jesus really your Lord? If your job called for doing something that you know God would not approve of, what would you do? Would you risk your job to be true to your Lord? More and more our country is moving away from honoring God. It is going to become increasingly more difficult to be a true Christian in our nation as time goes by. It hasn't gotten to the point of actually being thrown into a lion's den yet, but in other countries it already has. If ISIS threatened you to convert or die, would you be able to make the ultimate sacrifice for your Lord?
God calls for complete dedication to Him and His Word. You will have to decide in your hearts who you will follow. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!