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Devotionals Sermon on the Mount

Name Dropping

We have all heard people name dropping. Some are so convincing that you would believe they actually know the person whose name they are dropping. Just to name drop does not mean you know the person whose name you are using.

Years back, our presiding bishop asked me to represent him at a function where the then President, Nelson Mandela arrived in the newest Boeing South African Airways acquired. The aircraft stopped just inside the hanger where about a thousand people were seated. Seated next to Jenny was a prominent member of parliament. We were guests of the president but we did not know him. Jenny was seated next to this man who was constantly in the news as a high profiled politician … but we did not know this man. Guests of the president, seated next to an important politician, yet we knew neither personally. Yes, we told the story to others, but to name drop would be wrong because we were neither part of the political party these men represented; we were not house friends and we did not know them personally. Yes we knew about them … but that was all. There was no relationship, no friendship and no attachment. How could we name drop? You see, everyone we knew, knew that those men were not personal friends of ours.

1) Remember Jesus is addressing everyone who would be His through being adopted into His forever family. He was laying out what the requirements were and meant when being part of Him, His Cause and Kingdom. He required a far higher righteousness compared to the fake righteousness of the Pharisees. Jesus was using the same requirement for holiness that John the Baptist used:

Mt 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

To “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” is the higher righteousness Jesus required.

2) Jesus now adds that people must not name drop. Identification is through fruits of repentance, which is the will of the Father in heaven (v21).

Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Let me clarify “repentance”. Repentance is “obedience” to God’s “will”. To name drop is not obedience and to do ministry or service is not obedience. Repentance is obedience! Repentance is doing the Father’s will. How then is the “will” of the Father in heaven shaped?

(1) Before anything else, the Father’s will is that you believe He is the only True, Living God. This includes believing He is Creator and Sustainer. He is and there is no other!

(2) The Father’s will is that you accept the fact that you are lost in sin and in need of help. For most people this is hard … especially if they have not been part of a Bible Believing Church. So often sin is not mentioned and people are not told they are sinners. God the Creator is good and righteous, separated from all sin. Man through Adam is a sinner. Sin is rebellion and separation from God. This means man is annihilated from God … a rebel and enemy. Man must understand this because sin will be punished by God. His wrath is ready to deal with sin.

(3) The Father’s will is that you believe He came to this earth to redeem lost souls. He came as God Incarnate … as God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to live the life Adam should have lived. He did and taught the Scriptures like none other. He proved who He was through His teaching, healing, miracles and exorcisms and through offering Himself as the final sacrifice for the sin of all who will believe! Believe is not just believing a man Jesus existed but believing that He is everything The Bible says He is and did … culminating in His substitutional death and substitutional resurrection for those who believe. Such belief leads to confessing sin to be pardoned, receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior and proving commitment through repentant living.

4) The Father’s will is that you love Him. It is only once saved by grace that you can love God because this love is not a feeling … it is heart surrender that affects all of life, present and future. This is the way we are to love God:

Mk 12:30 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”

The greatest attraction … the most important object of worship … the most fascinating attraction in all of life needs to be God. This is only possible once you have been saved by grace through faith.

(5) The will of God is that you love His people. Here we are focusing on fellow believers, people who like you have been saved by grace.

1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Right here you need to factor in “repentance”. If you are not living in repentance you cannot say you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is your Forever Family. These people have been birthed by the same Heavenly Parent and cleansed in the same Divine Blood as you have. God pardoned and received them as He did you. If you fail to love them you don’t love God! That is challenging and needs self-examination!

(6) The will of God is that you love all people.

Mk 12:31 “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

All human beings come from Adam through Noah. Like you, all are born in sin and need a Savior. As a follower of Jesus, should you hate, reject, discriminate and behave badly towards your neighbor, he or she will never want what you have in Jesus! Why would anyone want to have what those who treat them badly have? That neighbor needs salvation like you needed it and you expressing God’s love to them might attract them to Jesus. We shall return to this, but for today, before all other things, this is God’s will for you!

Father, thank You for showing me what Your will is for me in Jesus. Amen.

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