Why Do You Call Me "Lord, Lord" and Not Do What I Tell You?

Is Jesus really your boss?

Luke 6:43-49 (ESV)

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

If I call someone my boss and he tells me to do something and I don’t do it, is he really my boss? If we say, “Jesus is Lord,” but we don’t do what he wants us to do, is He really our Lord?

This pretty much sums up many people today who call themselves Christians. They say they are Christians but they sure don’t act like it. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was the name of a fraternity or something. How did it get this bad? Do they not understand that “Lord” means “boss”? Do they not see the contradiction?

Maybe the problem is that they never said, “Jesus is Lord,” in the first place. Maybe all they did was claim Jesus as their savior and they didn’t say He’s their Lord. This happens a lot more often than you might think. We sing about Jesus as our Lord and we teach about Jesus as our Lord but when we ask someone to give a confession of faith the word “Lord” is left out frighteningly often.

Now, this isn’t about magic words. People can recite a confession that leaves out the word “Lord” but still understand and follow Jesus as Lord. They’re not the problem.

But there is a problem. We often sell Christianity as being all about getting into heaven. By not reminding people enough of Jesus’ Lordship, and the job we have to do in this life, we set them up for the flabby, useless style of Christianity that may not be Christianity at all.

“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.” – Matthew 7:21

Most evangelism in America is too selfishly focused. We regularly leave out the Lord part because it’s more upbeat to talk about Christianity a just a great way to get into heaven.

Also, we tend to think of evangelism only in terms of the “close the deal” step – when someone accepts Jesus as their savior. (Note: I deliberately said this wrong; it should be, “accepts Jesus as their Lord.”)

Evangelism includes all aspects of making disciples – including, for example, practicing charity.

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Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.