“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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21- 23 (NIV)
How fast it all changes.
When the pandemic hit, there were things we had been doing in the name of Christianity under the umbrella of church that were really our way of “staging the house” to make it look good.
Then all of a sudden, we couldn’t do them anymore. Because we were, and may still be, blinded by the glitz and glamour of the things that get noticed, we have no idea how to move forward, what Christ following and the collectives of Christ followers are about without the fit and finishes that have defined church for so long.
We never realized that the blueprint we created was nothing more than a bunch of programs designed to draw attention to how things look rather than designed to point to the One we need to look at, the footing on which everything must be built: Jesus. If this is true, then in a world where we can’t do programs, dress things up, “stage the house”if you will,we are nothing anchored to nothing. There is no more than what you see. We are like the people Jesus referred to in Matthew 7:21-23. My paraphrase for these verses is:
You do all the right stuff, even use all the right words. You claim that I am in control, even say I am your Lord. But when it comes down to it, you don’t even bother to ask me what I want. You just do what you think makes you look Godly, but you don’t even know me. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you.
Wow! This should force us to take a step back.
I know it makes me “think of [myself] with sober judgement,” wondering how much I have done that is Godly in appearance without ever bothering to run it by Him. Why would I be any different than the people Jesus spoke of in this passage? What makes me think I am immune to the trapping of my sinful desire to say, “I’ve got this, God. I read your book and a bunch of other books about you, so I know what you want. Leave it to me and take a rest. I can do it on my own.”
A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing when it comes to being obedient to God. If we look at ourselves with sober judgement, most of us have undertaken a makeover of our lives based on what we read in Christian literature. We have adopted ideas from the how-to books to make things look good. This is the incomplete blueprint we are working from. I guess we figure it’s like selling a house to Jesus. If I stage it just right, Jesus will look at it and say, “This heart isn’t just a house. I could see myself living here: this will be my home.”
Still, how-to books aren’t the issue…
…any more than prophesying, driving out demons, or performing many miracles in Jesus’ name are the issue. It is the little bit of knowledge that is the dangerous thing. When it comes to a home, we know what makes it look beautiful, but we can’t do just what we know. It takes more than paint and plants to keep the house from becoming a pile of rubble. Builders, designers, architects, engineers, and tradespeople realize the importance of proper building practices. They look at the full blueprints, including the “dull and boring,” because more than nice finishes are needed. We must also look at the full blueprint for our lives and for our churches so that everything is properly supported and protected, a blueprint not limited to what we know but created by the one who knows everything.
Over the next few months I will be preaching a sermon series using my book Blueprint as a jumping off point. My posts will contain small sections from my book and a link to my sermon.