Who will enter the kingdom of Heaven? This is perhaps the most important question that anyone could ever ask. What could be more important than that? Because if you miss out on the kingdom of Heaven you miss out on eternity and eternal life. And it’s very clear from the scripture that there’s only one alternative to eternal life and that is eternal death.
So, when you think about that, there’s nothing that could be more important than this question. Who will enter the kingdom of Heaven?
Now, to answer that question some folks would say, “Well, whoever accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.” And that would actually be an incorrect answer. That’s not one that’s found anywhere in the New Testament.
Some folks would say, “Well, whoever is a Christian.” Okay, that’s a little bit better if we’re talking about a Biblical definition of what a Christian really is.
Some people say, “Everyone who believes in Jesus.” And that would be pretty good too, that would be true, but a lot of people say they believe in Jesus but they don’t follow Jesus and so we have to be very careful there.
Some people say, “Well, everyone who is born again.” Well I’d agree with that as long as you’re talking about people that are truly born again in a practical way and not just in a theoretical way because they prayed a prayer one time and they basically haven’t changed at all since then.
Some people say, “Whoever repents and becomes a follower of Jesus.” I think I’d like that one better than any of the ones that I’ve listed so far.
But still, that’s really not the answer that I’m looking for on today’s Little Lesson because we’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount and near the end as Jesus is summarizing everything He said, of which most of it has to do with morality, obedience, ethics, how we treat other people, and so forth.
As He summarizes it all near the end, He says here’s the people who are going to enter the kingdom of Heaven. You don’t often hear this in Christian circles even though this is fundamental stuff that Jesus said.
I’m reading now from Matthew 7:21, “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.”
So there you have it, right from the lips of Jesus, can’t get a higher authority than that can you? It’s not people who just say that Jesus is Lord and call Him Lord, it’s people who do the will of Jesus’ Father. Another way of saying that is those who obey His commandments.
Now we’ve talked about on a previous Little Lesson how to simplify your walk of holiness and that is to treat others as you want to be treated. The Golden Rule, Jesus said that sums up all the law and the prophets, so that certainly is good to know, and the person who treats others like he or she wants to be treated, he is, then, obeying the Father. He is doing the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Right? Right.
But you just want to be careful that you don’t fool yourself in that regard, that’s why it’s good to look at all the more specific commandments and make sure that you’re lining up. That’s why God didn’t just give us one commandment, He gave us many commandments, but all those many commandments are sub-commandments of the big one, love your neighbor as yourself, treat others like you want to be treated.
But, again, those are kind of general and it could be kind of easy to fool yourself in that regard. So all these sub-commandments that are saying the same thing in different words and more specific ways, we have those in the word of God. So that’s what we want to be looking at. Right? Right. Okay.
And the Sermon on the Mount is certainly chockfull of explanations of the commandments of the Father. Now this is actually said, what we just read in Matthew 7:21, is said in the context of Jesus’ warning about false prophets. And so although what he says applies to everybody because He just said, “You’ll know them by their fruits” and so forth, and now He goes on to say, “Not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom but he who does the will of the Father” so, again, He’s really talking about false teachers, false prophets, the wolves in the sheep’s clothing. And He goes on and it makes it even more clear that the topic is still warning us about spiritual leaders. Although it has application to us, every one of us, he’s really talking about false prophets, false teachers.
Jesus warns, “Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord,” so again, remember we just said in the verse above, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom.”
“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 many miracles.” So these are the kind of things that we often find in the realm of those who are the Christian, “Christian” leaders. It’s true in the Bible. Most of the miracles that were done or performed were done through the hands of the apostles or through people like Phillip the evangelist, or Stephen and so forth. Not everybody, necessarily, was being used in a marvelous way as the apostles were.
And today, let’s face up to it, ones who are claiming miracles and the ones who have the authentic miracles in their lives, they’re often those who are called to full time vocational ministry, they’re in that category. So that’s I think who Jesus is referring to here. We cast out demons, we prophesied, we perform many miracles. But Jesus is saying, that’s not the test, that’s not the proof that you’re okay with God. Because He says, “And then I will declare to them I never knew you, depart from me,” why? “You who practice lawlessness.” And so there was no holiness, there was no obedience, you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a complete and total hypocrite even though you had these miracles.
And of course the natural question to ask is, “Well how did they have these miracles?” If they really didn’t belong to the Lord. Well, there’s various possible answers to that. I can think of two possible good ones. One is that they were just phony stuff. Anybody can prophesy, can mouth off words and say, “Thus saith the Lord”. So that’s not necessarily miraculous.
And what about the casting out of demons? I’ve seen a lot of casting out of demons in my 40 or so years of being a Christian that I was convinced there was no demon anywhere near that deliverance session. It was just all just a bunch of psychological manipulation and weak-minded people and so forth who were struggling with the flesh and they find a deliverance minister who promises them that they’re going to be okay if they can just scream and froth and writhe on the ground a little bit. There will surely be a demon coming out. And it just amounts to nonsense.
And then what about “…in Your name perform many miracles”? Well, again, there could be phony miracles. We’ve seen this in our day. It’s not a miracle, for example, to push somebody over in a prayer line and say, “Woo, that was the power of God.” Yet I think some of these goofy people are convinced that it really is a miracle, even those who are doing them.
The other possibility is that these are demonic in nature. And sure, I mean the antichrist, according to scripture, is going to do signs and wonders and mislead a lot of people. So there can be the demonic element of the supernatural.
And the reason I’m reaching down here is because I’m getting bitten on my ankles by little sand fleas. The downside of filming outside.
Okay, so the important take away today from this is that truly saved people and true teachers and leaders, they’re marked by obedience to the commandments of Christ. Holiness, that’s what you ought to be looking for in others who claim to be leaders. And of course you ought to be looking at yourself as the fruit of an authentic salvation.
Thank you so much for joining me. God bless you.