by Mike Ratliff
46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46 (NASB)
There is much controversy in the Church these days over some teaching from those who have made it a point to move their doctrine away from the Orthodox into a what used to be called liberalism. However, instead of rejecting everything spiritual as the liberals do, these new teachers claim that they are moving back to the origins of the Church with methods and doctrine that are more indicative of the early church rather than what is called Orthodox now. The followers of these teachers have, for the most part, rejected “church” with any hint orthodoxy in it.
There is a part of me that understands that very well. God has shown me much over the last several years about how foolish it is to treat a local church as our entire focus of our relationship with Him. Instead, we are supposed to seek Him, obey Him, and serve Him in and out of church. We are to be real Christians 24/7. Our lives are not to be compartmentalized with our Christian activities totally isolated from all other parts of our lives. When we err that way we are living, breathing hypocrites. That is what many of the followers of this movement have rejected. In that I say, “Count me in too!”
However, there is a problem. Many of these teachers have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. In their rejection of the Orthodox they have also seen fit to remove all adherence to obedience to the ways of God. They contend that everything is relative. With this mind set, they claim that each Christians can do what they want, they way the want and no one can rebuke them for saying or writing or preaching or teaching outright heresy. After all, there are no absolutes. This problem has resulted in an outright rejection of any teacher or preacher who does adhere to the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and that gives Him the right to command obedience from all who are His disciples. Either Christ is Lord of your life or He isn’t.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Matthew 16:24-27 (NASB)
From this passage we learn that those who are truly Christ’s disciples must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. Those who do this have saved their lives because they have given up their rights to themselves for His sake. Obedience is mandated here for all in Christ. Why is it so important? He is going to return and He will repay each person according to what he or she has done. That should be a very sobering thought for each of us. How obedient are we? Remember He isn’t mandating perfection. We can’t be perfectly obedient in this life. However, we can live lives of repentance and that is what we must do. What word does our Lord say to those who refuse to do this?
46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49 (NASB)
I am sure that many have related this passage to our salvation, but it is speaking of more than that. Those who believe on Jesus Christ are His. They are His disciples. Many call Jesus Lord, but they refuse to obey Him. Notice that standard isn’t how obedient, but whether people agree to obey Him or refuse to obey Him. Those who say that it’s okay to be partially obedient are actually rebelling against His Lordship. On the other hand, those who agree to obey Him may very well fail, but since they are genuine Disciples, they repent and get back into the race. Those who rebel and refuse to obey are not in the race. Those who agree to obey and live lives of repentance are those who have built their lives upon the Rock with deep foundations down to the bedrock of our Lord and Saviour. On the other hand, those who rebel and refuse to submit to His Lordship are those who have built their lives on their favorite “Christian” teacher who is actually a false shepherd who leads his flock astray. There is no foundation. When Jesus returns to repay everyone for their deeds, whether good or bad, those whose lives are built upon the foundation of our Lord Jesus Christ with their obedience and lives of repentance will not be swept away by the judgment. However, those with no foundation will not survive it.
Tragically, in our time, those who rebuke those who lead people astray are called divisive. Those who cry foul and claim that unity at all costs is true Christianity have taken a small part of Jesus’ teachings and made them override all of His other teachings like Luke 6:46-49 and Matthew 16:24-27. Jesus also said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34) Those who hear the truth, but reject it or refuse to obey it are those who cry foul and actually separate from the one(s) being obedient. I pray that all reading this will be struck in the heart by the Holy Spirit. I pray that all clouds of doubt and misunderstanding about the veracity of these very clear teachings by our Lord will be cast aside. I pray for brokenness and repentance by all. If we are to have unity it must be by and within our being obedient to our Lord. Any other unity is a compromise and false.
Soli Deo Gloria!