"Lord, Lord..."
by T. Austin-Sparks

Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust. Message given in May 1933.

Reading: Matt. 19:16-30.

"Not every one that saith unto Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and by Thy name do many mighty works?' And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.'" (Matt. 7:21-23).

The words of this twenty-first verse remind one very much of the cherubim standing with drawn sword, their flaming sword, guarding the way of the Tree of Life with many approaching that way seeking to reach the Tree of Life and coming with: "Lord, Lord" on their lips, prompted, provoked by various things to that utterance: "Lord, Lord", and the cherubim and the flaming sword answering back: "Not every one that saith, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter. Can you pass the second test? Can you go the rest of the way? Do you stand up to its requirement? Otherwise there is no entrance, no open way, no access. Not saying: 'Lord, Lord' alone, but doing. Not saying, but doing. Not even saying 'Lord, Lord', but doing the will of the Father in heaven."

You will immediately recognise what a very solemn test these words bring to us all, how very challenging they are. And they are calculated to find us out everywhere, to get behind every kind of disguise, to reach down beneath everything on the surface and discover something far more than words, profession, declaration; to find out how far we go with God in His will in very deed.

You will notice if you look at chapter 7 that they form the opening words of that concluding and most solemn paragraph of what is commonly called, 'The Sermon on the Mount'. It is now being brought to a close and there is a summing up, and things become solemn indeed as all these wonderful utterances are being brought to the point of direct application. And here in these opening words of the concluding part of the great discourse, the Lord applies to all would-be (and perhaps already thought to be) subjects of the kingdom of heaven, He applies to them that which He has just been saying about false prophets. That is a most startling thing. It strikes you very forcibly as you recognise that. He has been speaking about false prophets. You see verses 15-20, "Beware of false prophets... therefore by their fruits ye shall know them", and if the Lord had stopped there, everybody would have gone away with an objective consciousness, that is, having other people in mind. They would have seen that He was talking about those people whom He called 'false prophets' and that these things applied to them and obviously He had in view Scribes and Pharisees who appeared to be one thing, but were really another; appeared to be sheep and really were wolves inwardly. And so the people would have gone away with these others in their minds, with an objective consciousness, but He did not stop there. He directly, as it were, turned upon His heel to those who, not Scribes and Pharisees, not necessarily openly false prophets, but who were saying: "Lord, Lord", and applied the very principle to them and brought it right home to them. That, I said, is a startling thing as you realise that here is the Lord Jesus in one moment speaking about false prophets and saying these terrible things about these false prophets, Scribes and Pharisees, and of course everybody hated that, felt a revulsion to that. No one for a moment liked to think of themselves in that realm of things so there was stirred within them this feeling of hatred for anything like that, and suddenly He said, as it were; "But you may be like that; you may be all unconsciously right in that very category while you are saying 'Lord, Lord'". And so He searches them with this word.

The fruit which proves the genuineness of the tree is not the leaves of profession: "Lord, Lord", it is the genuine fruit of doing the will of the Father. And the tree must be a genuine, good tree to do that and not a make-believe tree. That is, there must be genuineness here. It is that that He is after. He even, mark you, includes in this searching word His own disciples. Oh yes, they are included in those who are saying: "Lord, Lord". Their subsequent history proves this, and we shall see that. Not on the rim of the crowd only but right there at the centre, near to Him, there were those closely associated, following Him about every day saying: "Lord, Lord" and He does not spare them. He says, even to them - and it was kind of Him, it was not cruel or harsh, it was good of Him to do it - the Lord has nothing to gain from having outward professions of friendship. And He knows that the individual who makes such outward profession may be living in a fool's paradise, and He wants no one to live there, and so with the faithful wounds of a friend, for their good, He says even to His disciples: "Not every one that saith unto Me 'Lord, Lord', shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." You see, that is a very sifting word, and the Lord is constantly sifting out amongst those who on the face of it are His followers. He is constantly coming to put the practical test to their profession, to apply the real test of doing to all their declarations. And the result is that we very often feel after that test that we have been saying a lot of things that would not carry the weight that we altogether made our position, and we discover that there is something more needed to be made up in what we are, to bring us abreast of all that we say; He is constantly doing that.

The Lord has no place, of course, for being patronised. He does not feel it an honour for people to say "Lord, Lord" to Him. He knows the heart far too thoroughly, and human nature far too well, to find any satisfaction or pleasure in merely "Lord, Lord". His heart can be satisfied alone by the doing of the Father's will. Superficial following is nothing to Him. Perhaps you are saying, "That is obvious, that goes without saying, that hardly needs to be mentioned, we know that quite well". Ah yes, but there are a good many, I fear, who still say: "Lord, Lord" without the adequate follow-up of the doing of the Father's will.

We read Matthew 19 and in that chapter we have a very good illustration of this very thing. You notice that the question of Life is mentioned three times. In that part of the chapter where the man who has become professionally known as 'The Rich young Ruler' is in view. Firstly he says: "Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" The Lord Jesus says: "If thou wouldest enter into Life...", and finally He says: "inherit everlasting Life". You see the three things in relation to eternal Life: have, enter in, inherit. And they represent aspects of this great question of eternal Life which go right down deep into the being and find us out as they found this man out. That man was tested out by the very thing that he himself first raised, the question of Life, and his way of approaching this matter is: "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?". "That I may have". Let us ring that out. "I", "Have" - "That I may have". Everything for this man turned upon his desire for possessions, his acquisitiveness, he was great on acquiring, on having, and with all his possessions he wanted to have still another, and to add to his possessions, perhaps give them a perpetuity, an immortality. He wanted to have eternal Life; to his adding he would have eternal Life. "That I may have". "Good Master..." that sounds very much like "Lord, Lord" doesn't it? It sounds like an acknowledgment, a recognition, but is it a patronising?

What I am getting at is this. Is the association and relationship with the Lord Jesus in which language and terms are used which recognised values in Him and would call Him "Good Master" or "Lord, Lord", is it not all with some secret desire to possess for ourselves some good? Well, that proves to be altogether beside the question for the Lord. To have eternal Life for the eternal good and blessing, for the salvation, for the benefit, for what will come to us, for that from which we shall be saved and that which will be ours because of salvation. Is that the motive? Is that behind the "Lord, Lord"? Or is there something deeper than that?

Now, I have said that these words are searching. The Lord begins His work of searching with this man and He does not say anything about having eternal Life in the sense that this man used the word, that he should acquire something for his personal good, enrichment and satisfaction. He began to test him out and the end of the next phase of things is: "If thou wilt enter into Life". Entering into Life is a very different thing. Life is something into which you enter, eternal Life is something into which you enter, but it is like this Matthew 7:13. What the Lord is saying now is only putting into other words what He said in Matthew 7:13: "Enter ye in at the straight gate; straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life...". Narrow and straightened is the way to Life, but enter in by the narrow and straight way if thou wilt enter into Life. What is the way into Life? It is the way in which we prove that we are prepared to let everything go in our estimate and valuation of the Lord Jesus Himself. "Go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor and come and follow Me." "Am I more to you than all your other having?" That is really what the thing issues in: whether the loss of all things and the gaining of a vital fellowship with the Lord Jesus is held in far greater esteem than all the possessions without Him. "He that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven." "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." You see, the will of the Father in heaven, when it is brought to some crystallised, concrete definition, is faith's living union with the Lord Jesus as something far more than all other possessions for which you are quite prepared to let everything else go. That is the crucial test. And the straightened, narrow gate just will not admit of those bundles and parcels of personal interest that so many have in coming to the Lord and in trying to serve the Lord. Oh yes, this young man came along simply bulging with his parcels of personal interest, personal possessions, and wh



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