Friday, January 20, 2012

Is Jesus Looking for Rock Stars?

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness."

Did you catch that?  I have read this hundreds of times and it has always just blown right by me before.  Jesus says that only those who do the will of his Father will enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Then he says that some who prophesy, cast out demons and perform miracles will not enter that kingdom.  So what does this say about how serious Jesus is about the true will of God, and our call to carry it out that some who actually exhibit the gifts of the Spirit are left outside kingdom of heaven?!  Wow!

We humans are infatuated with the sensational.  This explains in part, the popularity of the celebrity preachers I referred to yesterday.  It is interesting that Jesus, who was in danger of becoming a celebrity preacher of sorts himself, spoke these words while concluding his Sermon on the Mount.  No doubt some followers were looking for a kind of religious rock star to follow.  

And Jesus was saying here, "That's not what my kingdom is about.  And these are not the kinds of followers I am looking for.  My kingdom is made for those who would be light-bearing, mercy-showing, poor in spirit kinds of people that are willing to be transformed into ones who give their lives away for the sake of others."

We want to display the gifts of the Spirit far more than we want to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  And Jesus calls this lawlessness. The exercise of the gifts without the exhibition of the fruit is of no value in the kingdom of heaven.

May you take joy in being known for exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.  May you be like the wise one who heard the words of Jesus and then did them (Mt 7:24).  And may you find yourself being welcomed by God in this life, into the kingdom that is already at hand and among you - the kingdom of heaven.  

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