On Thursday of this week I looked again at the statement of Jesus in Matthew 7:20-23: “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. 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 miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’”.
In thinking of the church, we very often do so in a collective sense. And it is easy to do so because we visualize the church as the gathering of people. But as we do so, we need to remind ourselves that salvation is not a corporate matter. It is an individual personal experience. The promise is to everyone who calls on the name of the Lord who will be saved. Here Jesus states that not “everyone” who says to Him “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven but he (the one) who does the will of the heavenly Father.
Thousands of people, over the past sixty years to the present, have been a part of the life of Metro West Church of the Nazarene. They have engaged at various levels in various forms. Persons have championed their passions, and have shared their resources. The opportunity to be a part of something that is much bigger than you is rather humbling. For many, this was, and still is, the way they experience satisfaction and significance. It is my hope that everyone who has labored and contributed to the life of this movement through these sixty years feels that it was worthwhile.
But the warning of Jesus cannot be ignored. It is possible to do a lot of things in the name of the Lord; engage in spectacular activities; do pious deeds of services and amazing performances without being in the kingdom of heaven nor doing the will of the Father. The non-negotiable for the church and the Christian is the will of God. It has never been up to the church to determine and decide what is the will of the heavenly Father. The church is to discover and do the will of the heavenly Father. The will of the Father is not the same as a program or a ministry that we implement. There is a big difference between God being glorified and we being satisfied.
The will of God can only be known when we refuse to conform to the world and when we present our bodies as holy and acceptable and pleasing sacrifices to the Lord. If it has been sixty years of doing God’s will, heaven is rejoicing. “Our Father who is in heaven…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, Mat. 6:9-10. What will it be for you, your way or the heavenly Father’s will?