But Why Do You Call Me “Lord, Lord” and Do Not the Things that I Say?
According to researchers about 33% of the world’s population claims to be Christian. That number is declining, as is the number of individuals who claim no religious affiliation whatsoever. All the while Islam is growing and the number of Hindus and Buddhists are remaining constant. However, in the United States, according to a 2009 study by the American Religious Identification Survey, “Seventy-five percent of Americans call themselves Christian.” Yet they go on to note that in 1990 that figure was 86 percent. (http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-09/living/us.religion.less.christian_1_american-religious-identification-survey-christian-nationevangelical?_s=PM:LIVING). More than a 10% fall off in the past 20 years.
Now obviously this number includes the hundreds of fractured denominational groups currently littering our religious landscape. And the Lord’s church makes up only about 1% of the overall population of the “Christian” community. When you whittle that number down to those who are really faithful the numbers are staggering, depressing and certainly cause for alarm.
Now this will certainly come as no surprise to those who are faithful to Christ and His church. We remember that the Lord said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). My purpose here is not to focus on the hypocritical masses, but to draw attention to what may be our hypocritical selves.
We are often so preoccupied and critical of those worldly masses that don’t care enough to come together with the church and worship God that we forget to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). I have said on numerous occasions (and I am sure I am not the first to do so) that, “if the Lord returns on Sunday morning there will be a lot of folks left sitting in their pews.” (Add to that number and the heathen, many preachers in pulpits, Christians at home in bed, at a ball game, the lake or on the golf course). In the Judgment scene of Matthew 25 many of the religious are left wondering why they have been commanded to depart into everlasting fire (v. 41). The Lord tells them it was simply because they hadn’t done
what he had told them to do (v. 45).
Jesus said the wise man hear his words and does what He says (Matthew 7:24). James writes, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25).
Now I don’t want anyone to think that I am saying we should be unconcerned about the lost and only about ourselves. But if our hearts aren’t right with God then WE are lost and won’t be able to help anyone else go to heaven with us. Christ teaching of the “speck” and the “plank” (Matthew 7:3-5) is certainly applicable here. As is His instruction to let our light shine before men (Matthew 5:16). Remember the first and great commandment, “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). And, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Be faithful!