Matt. 7:21-27.


1. Years ago, Ezekiel lamented in this way; Ezk. 33:30-32.

A. How frequently I have felt just like Ezekiel.

2. I have witnessed men and women in the audience, to whom I would preach, come out and shake my hand, telling me what a fine lesson I had presented but who never did anything to live what I had just taught them.

3. People come to services expecting to hear a polished speaker.

4. When the speaker is finished, they frequently go their way for another week having no intention whatsoever to step forward in obedience to the gospel which has been preached.

5. Perhaps, we should call to mind again what Jesus said in our beginning text about obedience. Matt. 7:21-27.

6. Let's look at the verses of this text rather carefully at this time.


A. If there is one lesson which is forcefully taught in this saying of Jesus, it is that nothing can substitute for obedience to His words..

B. In this passage, there are several things specifically mentioned which show that they cannot substitute for obedience.

1. Profession of faith.

a. Every person under consideration in this verse called Jesus, "Lord, Lord."

b. So, these men were not atheists or infidels.

1) They were men who professed faith in Jesus Christ.

c. Yet, that profession of faith was insufficient to save them from their sins and to grant them an entrance into that everlasting kingdom prepared by God.

d. There are any number of people in this world today who make a profession of faith in Jesus, just as these people did, who shall not be saved, simply because they have not obeyed the Lord.

e. No, just a profession of one's faith in the Lord will not substitute for obedience.

2. Showing forth great zeal.

a. Just as profession of faith will not substitute for obedience, neither will zeal substitute for it.

b. Those under consideration in these verses were, apparently, very zealous in what they were doing.

c. Just look at all the good works they did for the Lord; they prophesied in His name, cast out demons, and performed many mighty works.

d. Frequently, however, as in this case, zeal outruns ones faith; and men begin to act without authority.

1) When this happens, they become guilty of lawlessness, just as these had done.

e. Zeal did not negate the fact that these had simply not obeyed the commandments of the Lord.

3. Being religious.

a. The fact that one is religious does not substitute for obedience to the Lord Jesus

b. Those in thes verses were quite religious.

1) Yet, they were condemned to hell despite the fact that they were religious.

c. People need to be reminded of the fact that Jesus did not come to make them religious.

1) They were religious years before Jesus came to the earth.

d. He came to help men be religiously right.

e. So, the fact that a person is religious is not sufficient in itself to save him.

1) As a matter of fact, if we studied the cases of conversion in the Book of Acts, the large majority of those who were converted to the Lord were religious before they were converted.

f. So, we simply must accept the fact that false religion is just as damning as no religion at all.

g. Religion will not substitute for obedience!


A. The only thing which was sufficient to save a man was obedience to the will of the Father, vs. 21.

1. But, how does one know the will of the Father?

a. There are some who would have us believe that we find out the will of the Father by better-felt-than-told experience.

b. Others tell us that one is doing the will of the Father when he is obeying his conscience.

c. Some are saying that we can never be sure, without a shadow of a doubt, what the will of the Father really is..

1) Especially in such areas as: the use of instrumental music in worship, institutionalism, the sponsoring church, etc.

d. Jesus, however, did not leave us in doubt as to what the will of the Father is.

B. If you will notice what these verses say, you will see that jesus associated the will of the Father with the words which He spoke.

1. In vs. 21, He said that the man who would be saved, is the man "who does the will of My Father who is in heaven."

2. Then, in vs. 24, as he illustrated the truth which He was teaching, He said, "Therefore every one who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them..."

3. The will of the Father, therefore, is revealed to us through the words of Jesus and those whom He commissioned to reveal it.

C. We do not learn the will of the Lord through some mystical witness of the Spirit.

1. We learn it through the revealed words of Jesus Christ as is recorded for us in the New Testament.

2. We do not have to wornder what is right and what is wrong.

a. We can always know and be assured that we are doing what pleases God when we are doing what His word says.


A. After Jesus had made His statement about the necessity of obedience, He illustrated it by the example of two builders.

B. From the age of small children, the song of the two builders has been sung as a lesson and as an illustration.

C. Yet, I wonder if we really get the powerful lessons intended?

1. Each of us is building a building.

a. Sometimes, I think, men hear these words and decide to be neither the wise nor the foolish builder.

b. That will not work for the simple reason that all of us are building our buildings each day of our lives.

c. The lives which we live are the buildings which are discussed in this passage.

d. So, our day to day living determines whether we are a wise or foolish builder.

e. We have not choice of whether we will be a builder or not.

1) We can only choose to be a wise builder or a foolish builder.

2. Each person's building shall be tested.

a. The same rains, floods, and wind will beat upon each house to test it.

b. Sometimes we are tested in this life to see what kind of building we have been erecting.

c. There have been men that have spent all of their lives accumulating a fortune of this world's goods.

1) Then, they turn around and offer it all for just a chance to rear their children over again.

d. Such men have built their houses upon the sand.

e. There have been mothers who have left their tiny children with baby sitters in order to have some of the luxuries of this life.

1) The same mothers cry rivers of tears later as they behold their children engaged in sinful practices.

f. Our final testing will come on the day of judgment. 2 Cor. 5:10.

3. The difference will be in whether one is obedient or disobedient to the will of God.

a. The house that stands will be the one built upon the rock.

1) This is the house of him that heard and obeyed the will of God.

b. Upon which foundation are you building?


1. From time to time, we see on TV houses being carried away with the onrushing floods of waters from torrential rains and swollen streams.

2. These things are realities that we understand.

3. Is this what lies ahead for the house that you are now building?

4. When your house is tested by the Lord, will it stand?

5. It will if it is built upon the rock.

6. No, there is no substitute for obedience.

by Jim Sasser

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