10/26/15 Depart from Me

READING: Luke 12-13

TEXTS AND APPLICATION:  My heart is alarmed today, but not because I face any great trial or opposition. It’s not because my wife and I are struggling with anything. It’s not because I fear for my life as a Christ follower. No, it’s because I read these words of Jesus:

Luke 13:24-27  “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and won’t be able once the homeowner gets up and shuts the door. Then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up for us!’ He will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets!’ But He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you’re from. Get away from Me, all you workers of unrighteousness!’

My anxiety comes from knowing many people who hang out with God’s people, participate in God’s church, and listen to God’s teachings — but who give no evidence of a life transformed by the gospel. They are banking on some previous response and their current “religious activity” more than the repentance and faith that mark the only “narrow door” to knowing God. Jesus was speaking to religious people when He spoke these words in the first century, and we in the 21st century need to hear His words as no less relevant to us. 

As a pastor and professor, I believe my responsibility is to seek those who show little evidence of conversion, invest in them if they’ll allow, and help them recognize through God's Spirit whether their lack of evidence is due to not being saved or not being discipled. Sometimes the problem is the latter, but the only way we know that is to walk beside them to find out. That’s messy — but imperative to address the alarm I feel over some folks I know. 

ACTION STEPS: Ask God to direct you to someone whose professed faith is not evident. Begin the process of developing a relationship with the Spirit-led goal of bringing him or her to repentance.     

PRAYER: “God, let me examine my own life first. If I’m showing no evidence of conversion, convict and challenge me. Direct me, God, to someone else in whose life I might invest myself. Give me wisdom to know how to connect with him and discern what I need to know.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Luke 14-15