“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
In Luke 6 we find Jesus teaching on the ethics of the Kingdom of God. After a night of prayer, he chooses the apostles, descends down the mountain to a level place, and preaches to those gathered there. The things he teaches about at that time are as diverse as they are challenging to understand and to live out. Perhaps, we can treat those subjects in future articles.
In 6:45, after speaking about two types of trees and their fruit, he says that what a person utters with his lips is an accurate reflection of what is going on in his heart. With that sober warning still ringing in their ears, he then asks the question of 6:46: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
In Scripture, whenever we see a repetition of one’s name, it reveals a level of familiarity and intimacy. Think of some examples with me: “Abraham, Abraham” in Gen. 22:11. “Moses, Moses” in Exod. 3:14. “Samuel, Samuel” in 1 Kgs. 3. “Martha, Martha” in Lk. 10:41. “Simon, Simon” in Lk. 22:31. “My God, My God” in Matt. 27:46. While many more examples could be produced, in each case the repetition of the name shows that there is a deep, close, and personal relationship between God and the people mentioned. God knows them and they know Him. This relationship is expressed in love, intimacy, and obedience.
The word “Lord” can be translated as “Master”. A master, of course, is one who has authority over another and has the right to expect fealty and fidelity to his authority. If we confess Jesus as Lord, then He is the One to whom we owe allegiance with our lips and with our lives. Jesus has no room for mere lip service to Him and His Kingdom.
If we belong to him, Jesus says, then we do not get to pick and choose which of His words we will follow or obey. To claim to be a follower of Christ, and then to act contrarily to His word, shows that we do not belong to Him. Such a way of living forfeits the right to use terms of intimacy with the Lord. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” Perhaps, to test the level of our devotion to Him, He may ask questions like the following:
Do you spend more time listening to His voice than to the voices and opinions of others (TV, radio, internet, family, friends, etc.)?
Do you do what you want to do, even if you know it is not right?
Do you prioritize Bible reading and prayer, attending church, sharing the Gospel, serving others in Jesus’ name, etc. over all other activities and events?
Does your choice of how you utilize your time, spend your money, and use your talents square with God’s priorities of those things?
Do you treasure the LORD more than you treasure any other person or thing?
The answers you provide to these questions indicate whether Jesus is really the Lord of your life. As Jesus said in Matt. 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Today, can you really say, “Lord, Lord” to Him? Do you have that intimate relationship of love and obedience that the repetition of His name implies?
As Jesus sums up this sermon (Lk. 6:47-49), he tells of two types of people, with two types of outcomes. One builds his life on the foundation of Jesus Christ. The other builds on the “stuff” of this world. In both cases, there will be trials, challenges, difficulties, and struggles. The outcome of the “flood” of these trials reveals the true nature of the foundation. The one who is building upon Jesus and putting his hope in Jesus will be able to withstand the storms of life because the foundation is strong. By listening to Jesus, by living according to His ways and words, by doing things his way against the ways of the world, you are living on a firm foundation that will never give way, no matter what life may bring.
However, the one who builds on the surface is the one who build his life on the things of this world. This may include the latest trends of the culture, the thoughts and opinions of the world, or human strength and ingenuity instead of the strength of the Lord. If you think about it, building your trust on others instead of on God is foolish. Do not look for your friends, your family, your job, your activities, to provide for you what only Jesus can give.
The one building on the surface without a foundation will be swept away one day, suddenly and without remedy. In 30 years of ministry, I have seen this tragedy happen to many people. They claimed to be Christians and to believe in Christ, but there was little fruit in their lives because they pursued their own desires. And when trials came, they couldn’t endure them. They turned against God instead of turning to God.
The time to get ready for trials is now. Go to Christ. Put your trust in Him. Surrender your own thinking, your own desires, and your own rights to Jesus because He is the LORD. Otherwise do not waste your time, or His, by calling Him “Lord, Lord” and living the way you want to live. You’re not doing Jesus a favor by calling Him, “Lord.” He is the LORD! However, you are doing yourself a favor – an eternal favor – by living according to His Lordship, following His words, and walking in His ways.
So, dear one, what is the foundation of your life? Will that foundation hold when trials come? If I were to see you in 10 years, will you still be walking with the LORD, or will you be like so many who have left and have gone after the world? For those who are trusting in Christ, this message is a word of hope. You can have confidence, joy, and assurance, knowing that you are founded on Jesus whatever may come. For those still playing the game of Christianity, this comes as a warning. You want the benefits of Christianity without the cost of the cross. You want the fruit of blessing and righteousness, but you are not the right kind of tree. You are not willing to do the hard work of building your life on Jesus. I call upon you to repent and surrender to Jesus everything in your life. Build on the rock and you will live.