Whose Kingdom Are We Building?- Matthew 7:21

As we continue in our examination of the conclusion of Jesus Sermon on the Mount, we find that Jesus now continues on in the theme of recognizing someone by their “fruit”, or by their lifestyle. He begins by saying that “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father”. Many who now say “Jesus is Lord” will not enter the kingdom of heaven, for Jesus tells us here that only those who live with Jesus as Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus tells us here that God operates by the same standards He sets forth for us, that by their fruit He will identify them. Jesus tells us here that there will be many false converts, many who will make a profession of faith without having possession of faith, and His words here are intended as a warning to those for whom that is the case. He again tells them to examine the fruit of their lives. They have claimed Christ is Lord, but does their lifestyle reflect the fact that Christ is Lord? The Greek word translated “does” here is the present active participle of poieo- to do. The use of the present tense here points to a continual doing, one who “is continually doing” the will of the Father, again here a reference to lifestyle. The term “will” here is thelema, a Greek word used to express desire. There is a way which God desires for us to respond in every circumstance we encounter, and thelema does not express some predetermined “will” of God, but expresses the fact that God desires that we live with Him as King, that we live continually in His kingdom, with all of our lives subjected to His kingship, all of our decisions informed by His word. The Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is the realm where God is king, and does not refer to any physical location, but to a metaphysical one. One who lives in the kingdom of God is one who lives with God as King, whose lifestyle is chatracterized by the fruit of obedience to Jesus as Lord, not merely expressed in words, but also in deeds. It is also of interest to note here Jesus use of Father rather than God. This usage is a reference to an understanding of father which is common in the New Testament but generally foreign to our current understanding. In the New Testament, a child does what his or her father does, the Scribes and Pharisees were children of their father the devil because they did what their father does (John 8:42-45), they carried out the will of the devil. Jesus was God’s one and only Son (John 3:16) because He was the only one who always did what His Father does, who always did His Father’s will. True disciples, true children of God, true citizens of the kingdom of Heaven will be those who do what the Father does, who do His will and seek to build His kingdom. False disciples will not live with God as King, with God as their “Father”, but will do their own will and seek to build their own kingdom. According to Jesus own words here, there are “many” (verse 22) who will say Jesus is Lord but will not live that way, their lifestyles will not refelect the fact that Jesus is Lord. Many of them will likely be faithful church attenders (just like the false prophets of the preceding passage), and Jesus words here are intended as a warning to those to whom this applies, to those who claim Jesus as Lord but whose lifestyles are no different than the lost world around them, to those who talk like the world, think like the world, act like the world and desire what the world desires. Those who “enter the kingdom of heaven” are those who live with God as their king, whose words and actions are motivated by the desire to build God’s kingdom. Those who fail to enter are those whose words and actions are motivated by the desire to build their own kingdom. Jesus words here are intended to get the attention of those of whom this is true, and, having gotten their attention, Jesus then goes on to warn them of the dire circumstances which await those who fail to take His words to heart, to add living with Jesus as Lord to professing Jesus as Lord. This warning (and whether Jesus may be teaching a “works salvation” here) will be the subject of our next post.

No Comments Gospels and Acts  //  Judgment  //  Salvation and Redemption

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