We are about to head to the polls again. Who are you for, and who are you against? Republican? Democrat? Third-party? As the presidential race heats up, who are you for and who are you against?
“For or against” is more than just a way to approach politics. It is a common way we look at many aspects of life. Who are you for and who are you against in the World Series? The Royals or the Mets? Who are for or against in the big football game? We use “for or against” reasoning when it comes to reality TV show competitions like The Voice or The Amazing Race. We use “for or against” reasoning when it comes to our favorite brands, restaurants, and certainly, religion.
So what about Jesus? Are you for or against him?
You might think, “Against Jesus? Why would you even ask that, Joel? This is a blog introducing a sermon. People who listen to the sermon obviously come to church because they are for Jesus!” Maybe. Maybe not…
If you’re thinking something like that, then I hear you. I know that most people who read this blog and come to church are Jesus people and we are for him!
But here’s the concern I have: what if we think we are for him, but he would look at us and say “You’re not with me. You think you are with me, but you’re actually not”???
How many of us would want to be surprised when we are standing before him and hear him say that?
If you think “Well, that’s not possible, is it?”, I think it is pretty important to raise the question. Is it possible that we would be surprised to hear him say “You think you are for me, but you are actually not”???
In Matthew 7, Jesus tells the story like this: “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!’”
Jesus himself says that there will be people who will be surprised to hear him say “I never knew you.” Those people will look at him shocked, and say “Wait a minute…we prophesied in your name, we drove out demons and did miracles even. That’s a lot of great religious stuff that we did in your name. How can you possibly say that you never knew us??? That makes no sense, Jesus. That is wrong!”
But Jesus says “I never knew you.”
So this Sunday, as we continue our study in Luke, we come to a passage where Jesus addresses this very concern. And guess what? You can know whether you are for him or against him. On Sunday we find out how.