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Devotional - Lip Servants And Life Servants

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’– Matthew 7: 21-23 (NKJV)

    The key verses today should be some of the most sobering and frightening for believers today. I have written about them before but during my devotional time last week God revealed more to me as I was considering these verses from Psalm 91:

    You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. – Psalm 91: 13-14 (NIV)

    Verse 13 here speaks to the power we are to be walking under as followers of Jesus Christ. Treading upon the lion and the cobra speaks to the daily things our lives run into which would cripple the average person with fear. Trampling upon the great lion and serpent, which is also translated as dragon, speaks to how we should be living our lives to begin with so that nothing that comes against us should ever give us pause. The example I gave before was of David when he came across the situation in the Valley of Elah where Goliath was terrorizing Israel. Translated this valley is known as the Valley of the Oak, because of the 55 foot high Oak tree that sits on the west side of the valley. The oak is a common symbol for strength and endurance – two things the Israelites were sorely lacking when David came upon the camp to deliver cheese to his “fighting” brothers. David did not even consider that all the mighty men of Israel were cowering in fear. He apparently did not even consider the ten foot tall giant that was opposing them. He only saw the problem in relation to the God that He served:

    David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” – 1 Samuel 17: 26 (NIV)

    David, having remembered how God had previously delivered him from the lion and the bear while guarding his sheep, says that he will fight Goliath and armed only with a slingshot and faith – he defeats him! Now, what does this have to do with the admonition from Jesus in our key verses? Well, while Psalm 91: 13 explains the power of God we are supposed to walk under, verse 14 contains the secret for walking in that power. God will rescue us if we are treading or protect us if we are trampling specifically because we love Him and acknowledge His name. The dictionary defines acknowledge as

    To show or express recognition or realization of and to recognize the authority, validity, or claims of.

    Note the usage of the words show and express. Our lives are supposed to show and express the recognition, realization, authority, and validity of Almighty God. Not just our words beloved. The truth is we can talk a good game sometimes but lining up our lives with what we believe is another matter. The fighting men of Israel that day in the Valley of the Oak were not leading their lives as a testimony to the recognition, realization, authority, and validity of Almighty God. No, instead their lives had become a testimony to the strength, size and power of Goliath! When our lives come across the Goliath’s of this world we better have a faith that goes beyond mere words and that is what led me back to the key verses from Matthew’s Gospel. Within these verses are several truths to reexamine under this light.
    The first fact presented by Christ is that not everyone who says “Lord Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. In modern Christianity we have become terrible discerners. We base what we follow upon spoken words instead of borne fruit. We even are willing to look the other way on some of the spoken words! We do not act as the Bereans and weigh everything against the Word of God anymore as long as the heresy we are swallowing sounds nice to the ears and is wrapped up in the name of Jesus. We allow the secularization of the church under the absurd notion that the next generation cannot be reached otherwise. As if the Gospel of Jesus Christ has lost its sufficiency!

    Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. – Colossians 2: 8-10 (NLT)

    The theories of modern church growth are empty philosophies at best and high sounding nonsense in most cases that are derived from human secular thinking and the spiritual powers of this world – not Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul said that all he had to know was Christ and Him crucified. Instead we see one lump of leaven here and another there until you can no longer tell the difference between the church and the world. I have heard Christian leaders defend such as saying they don’t want to be irrelevant to the culture they are trying reach. We are not trying to reach a culture! We are trying to present the Gospel to save people from a culture that is killing them and leading them to an eternity separated from God! I have written about this before but when Paul was on his missionary journeys he came to some Greek cities that would make modern day San Francisco blush in their decadence. Do you think he tried to be relevant to those cultures? Why in the world would he want to? No beloved, he preached Christ and Him crucified and at the end of the day people had to make their choices.

    The overarching point here is that these schemes within the church are always defended by using the name of Christ. But wielding the name of God does not mean you are working under His power or His approval. This was a lesson the seven sons of Sceva learned the hard way. In the Book of Acts we find these sons of a local Jewish priest were going around trying to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, who Paul preaches. But they didn’t have a relationship with Jesus – they only used His name. One day the demons answered:

    One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. – Acts 19: 15-16 (NIV)

    They wanted the power without the sacrifice. They wanted the name without the relationship. Too often this is what we see in the modern church as well. Quick to use the name but lacking in the relationship. The Prophet Amos once was delivering a similar message to a backslidden Israel. Here was the Word of the Lord:

    “I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living. Amos 5: 21-24 (NLT)

    Show and pretense – so much of what you see on religious television these days. The hypocrisy of our religiosity. Our praise has become noise before the Lord if our lives are not aligned with our words. Where is the justice? Where is the righteous living? We cannot just say – “in the name of Jesus” - if we are not acknowledging Him in our lives! The lion will have us for lunch beloved. The cobra will poison us for sure. There is no power in a poisoned life, just the empty words – “Lord Lord.”

    The second reality from the key verses today is that we cannot assume something is from God just because it appears supernatural. These people who will stand before God clearly thought they had served God their entire life! Not only that but signs and wonders accompanied them! Didn’t we cast out demons and perform miracles in Your name? There are other spirits in this world but only one is from God. Remember that the magicians of Pharaoh were able to mimic the signs and wonders of Moses and even were able to replicate the first two plagues of Egypt! Another example is found in a different portion of the Book of Acts, where we find Simon the Sorcerer:

    A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. – Acts 8: 9-11 (NLT)

    They spoke of him as the Great One – the Power of God! Lord – did we not cast out demons in Your name? They listened to him closely and he astounded them with his magic! Lord – did we not perform many miracles in Your name? As our discernment continues to erode we see more and more nonsense being accepted by the body of Christ. Gold dust and gem stones floating down from heaven during worship services. Angelic feathers falling from the skies. Holy laughter where people roll around on the ground making animal noises. Glory clouds emanating from the ventilation systems of bogus churches. God is putting the Apostles back together! Todd Bentley kicking people in the face for Jesus! Drunkenness in the Holy Spirit. Jesus Culture fire tunnels where people with no authority lay hands on you until you collapse in a laughing heap. Schools of the Supernatural where churches teach you what are supposed to be gifts given by God. Enough beloved! Enough.

    You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” – Matthew 5: 7-9 (NLT)

    Their worship is a farce. How sad. There has been too much lip honoring with far away hearts. We have no problem saying His name but acknowledging it? Still a different story. The final truth for us today from the key verses reveals the truth behind all of this. The problem is not that people say the name of Jesus it is that they practice lawlessness at the same time. This is where the tie in is to Psalm 91. If we expect to be able to walk under the power God has for us than we must acknowledge His name with our lives! The lip servants find themselves cowering in fear when a giant enters their path. Life servants trample upon him as they would the great lion or the dragon. They pick up their slingshot and march off to settle accounts for God. When the twelve spies were sent out and they too saw giants before them – 10 of them were lip servants to God but Joshua and Caleb were life servants!

    Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” – Numbers 14: 6-9 (NLT)

    When you are a life servant of Jesus Christ the giants of this world are but your prey. The great lion and cobra? You trample them. A thousand lip servants may fall at your side and 10,000 at your right hand but it will not come near you.
    We live in very dangerous times spiritually. Jesus is coming back soon and the signs of the times seem to indicate sooner than we might even think. We cannot afford to be lip servants for Jesus. Quick to cite His name but slow to live by His decrees. There are a lot of dangerous theologies sprouting up that seek to draw God’s people away from living a life set apart for God. Instead of sojourners and pilgrims we have become residents in this world desperately trying to fit our little slice of church into it. The object is not to draw people into a building with fancy music, gifted speaking, and slick marketing. We hear a lot of false doctrine these days which seeks to minimize the law but what are the words of Jesus to those who stand before Him saying Lord Lord? Away from me you who practice lawlessness!

    Enough! Enough with the itching ear doctrines based upon human reasoning! Enough watering down the Gospel to the point where what you are selling is a false salvation. Enough man-worshipping, man-centered church that relies upon secular leadership principles and secular theories of growth. Enough using carnal metrics to measure spiritual success. Enough with purpose driven, seeker friendly, emergent, circle drawing, high sounding nonsense. Read the key verses beloved. These are the Words of Jesus Christ warning us that on the last day there will be many who will stand before Him as lip servants when it requires a life servant to enter the Kingdom of God. Not some. Not a few. MANY say to Him on that day – “Lord Lord.” Saying His name will not be enough. Our life must acknowledge His name. When we stand in our Valley of Elah let us stand as David, a mighty oak of righteousness, and not like the “fighting” men of Israel, cowering in fear over that which we should trample over. Salvation hangs in the balance. For our family and friends. For ourselves. There is still time but it is running out.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – February 18, 2013

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