There are things in the Bible that trouble us all. This does not mean we have forsaken the truth it has revealed. Only that the truth we are confronted with has us undone from time to time. For example; when Jesus says, “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.” (Matthew 7:21) Well, that is disturbing. Just because someone says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ does not mean they are heaven bound. Our relationship with God is not just about our words, but actions. Yet, our actions no matter how miraculous, or benevolent they are, they do not guarantee a happy entrance into eternity. Jesus goes on to say; “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 7:22–23) They were faking it but not going to make it.
Wait! What? They called Him Lord and did great works in His name, and yet they do not get in? Yep. The difficult truth we must wrestle with as the modern Church in the West is that before his death, Jesus says that all of this (Church stuff) can be faked. God help us to be the real deal. Consider what was going on in the Temple during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The place of holy worship and prayer had been turned into a corrupt place of business, taking advantage of God’s people for profit. No wonder Jesus made a whip, turned over tables, and drove them out not once, but twice. Jesus’ first cleansing of the Temple is described in John 2:13–16 as having occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle (the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana). The second cleansing of the Temple occurred just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the last week of His life. On both counts He makes the point that worship had been replaced with business. Can we do that too? Can we forget that this is all about Jesus, the community of His people, and the mission to which we have all been commissioned in His name? According to Jesus, yes. So, how do we not lose our way? Keep the main things, the main thing. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42).