“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21; NIV
On Sunday, we asked you the question: Are you doing the will of God? It requires a simple answer—yes or no—but according to Matthew 7:21, that answer bears so much weight. It can determine whether or not you will be welcomed into God’s kingdom once you die.
For those who think that after you’re saved that’s it, there’s so much more you could be doing. James 2:17 says faith without works is useless. We must be like the one in Jesus’ parable of the sower, who’s heart was good soil, able to receive the seed and produce a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, and thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:23). Likewise, in Jesus’ parable of the talents, a master who goes on a journey leaves his three servants in charge of his property according to their abilities. To one he gives five talents, and that servant goes out and works it and gained five more. To the second he gives two talents, and that servant goes out and works and gains two more. Upon his return, he tells these two, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:19-23).
However, the third servant, to whom the master gives just one talent, goes out and buries his, producing nothing. This is what we tend to do. As my pastor often says, we sit on our rusty dusties, content with being saved, but we do no work to promote the kingdom of heaven. What use does God have for us? In the parable, the master calls this servant “wicked” and “lazy.” He says this “worthless” servant should be thrown outside, “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:26, 30), which could be a direct correlation for where we’ll end up if we don’t do the will of God.
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:22-23; NKJV
We can’t just be hearers of the word, but doers also (James 1:22). What’s the point of going to church every Sunday, praying daily, and studying the word if you’re not applying anything that you learn to your own life? And when applying the works of our faith to our lives, we must make sure that we are always aligned with the will of God and not our own mission. This is the issue Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. They made a practice of religion for their own selfish purposes. They did works to be seen and to receive the praises of men. They held themselves up on pedestals and did nothing to serve the people in need.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13; NLT
We must be the complete opposite. Look to Jesus as our example, who did nothing on his own, but everything according to the will of the Father. John 4:34 says, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” And again in John 6:38 Jesus says, “For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Even the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak on His own authority, but only what He hears (John 16:13). In the same way, we too should act only on what we hear from God so that we don’t become self-righteous like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
Remember, we didn’t choose God, but He chose us, and He chose us for a purpose. To go out and bear good fruit that will last (John 15:16). Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 that you will know those who are true by their fruit, for a good tree will only produce good fruit, but a bad tree can only produce bad fruit and so should be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:16-20). How can we ensure that we are always producing good fruit so that we will receive our eternal reward in heaven and avoid the fire and the darkness and the gnashing of teeth? By staying aligned with God’s will and His word.
“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5; NKJV
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive us for focusing on our own desires instead of what you will for our lives. Forgive us for doing works in your name for our own selfish purposes. Forgive us for not doing what you’ve called us to do, for burying our assignments to collect dust. We desire to be your faithful servants in whom your are well pleased, producing a harvest in our hearts thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, because that is what you ask of us. We desire after your heart, Lord. Help us to be doers of your word and not our own. Help us to do your will and do it cheerfully, without complaining or arguments, so that when the day comes, we will be welcomed with open arms into your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.