I want to start with a couple of questions today. Let’s start here: Are you good at following instructions? If your boss comes up to you at the beginning of the day and gives you some things to do, will you hear it and then follow through?  How do you handle someone telling you what to do?  Maybe you can do it, but you need to know why you have to do it.  Maybe you will do it, but you won’t put all of yourself into it because the boss always tells you what to do…I mean, the audacity of your boss to, well, boss you around!  Maybe you struggle with people telling you what to do, and when it happens, you just feel this emotion well up in you that says, I will not follow.  I will tell you, the other side of that is I can really relate to that poor leader asking people to do things, even good and helpful things in their lives, often knowing, even as I suggest to them, that it isn’t going to happen.  Even at home, as a dad, this is challenging for me as a father of four young adults and teenagers, where my words often feel like they are mere noises thrown out into the air with no use other than to amuse my children and are just not heard at all.  Funny how grumpy my children think I am when I ask them to do things that go undone, especially when life unfolds in a way that could have gone so much better if they had done what I asked!  Sometimes, I think a better strategy would be to tell them to do the opposite!  I mean the audacity of a father to try to lead their children to health and their best life possible.  It’s Better Together, so let’s stick with the family and kids. Hey kids, how do you feel when your parents tell you to do things?  Are you good at following those instructions?  Can you follow?  What about your teachers or your coaches?  When they tell you what to do…do you do it?  Can you follow your authority figures?

Ok, one more question as we get started today.  Have you ever seen someone who is successful at something, truly great at it, and they inspired you?  How many of you have been inspired or looked up to someone who is great at something?  Maybe it is an athlete.  Whether it’s football, running, or swimming, whatever the sport may be, it’s inspiring to see true greatness in something, isn’t it?  Maybe it’s not sports; maybe it’s business, finances, art, or music, academics…whatever it may be, it’s inspiring to see true greatness.  You see someone who is great, and it is awesome.  Definitely inspiring and worth looking up to those who truly are great at something.  We look up to them.  They could be a great parent, worker, student, athlete, or just a great human.  Maybe you look up to them because they are so healthy physically, or maybe they are someone you look up to because they seem to be doing so well spiritually.  Whatever it may be, have you ever stopped and thought about why they are so great or successful at something?  Why do you think they are so great at it?  What does it take to achieve greatness at anything in this world?  Are they just lucky?  Do you think “it must be nice to be them?”  Ever thought about it?  Keep processing this. What does it take to be really good or great at something?

Today, we continue our Summer Bible Study called The Simple Questions of Jesus.  This is a big deal because Jesus asked a lot of questions, and when we slow down, focus on what He is asking, and try to answer these questions for ourselves, it can be absolutely life-changing.  Now, a few questions into this study, I think we understand that just because these questions are simple when we take them seriously and try to answer them, they aren’t simple at all.  Simple doesn’t mean easy!  Last week, it was so awesome to have Ken back with us, wasn’t it?  And Ken had a very powerful question that Jesus asked his disciples at The Last Supper after washing their feet.  Jesus asked, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”  The answer was no, they really didn’t, but Ken was helping us see that understanding what Jesus did for us would radically change our lives.  He said that understanding what He has done for us would remove fear from our lives, elevating hope and trust in God in our lives.  If we understood what Jesus did for us, it would radically change our attitude because of the new life of freedom and healing we would be experiencing, and we would also treat others differently.  It’s amazing, but life-change will always be seen, felt, and heard in our relationships and how we treat others!  What a great talk! Today, we get to look at another question from Jesus.  And this question is a big deal because our faith is all about how we live our lives.  Our faith is not about what we know about God or who we say we are; it is all about what we do and how we live our lives.  I will give you the question, and then Kim and I will dive into our study.

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?

We find this question in Luke 6:46, in Luke’s version of The Sermon on The Mount.  It comes right after Jesus walks through a long list of challenges on how we live that I’m looking forward to walking through with you, but one last question before Kim comes up and helps us see this concept.  Have you ever heard people call Jesus their Lord and Savior?  We say this a lot in church, don’t we?  We say Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  It’s a beautiful sentiment, for sure!  We may say these words, but they aren’t necessarily part of our lives.  We love the idea of Jesus as our Savior, but if we are honest, it can be a struggle to place Jesus as the Lord of our lives.  I mean, it’s one thing to ask Jesus into our lives and have Him forgive our sins so that we can experience eternal paradise, but it’s a whole other thing to allow Jesus to be “Lord” of our lives because that would mean He is the master of our lives and we listen to His teachings, apply His teachings to our lives, and do what He says!  This means allowing Jesus to disrupt our lives to live for Him instead of ourselves.  Now, we may be ok doing what He says when it lines up with our wants and desires and isn’t necessarily interrupting our regularly scheduled programming in life, but it is a whole other thing to follow Him and place Him as Lord of our lives, listening and doing what He says no matter what.  It’s challenging for us to follow Him, allowing Him to truly be the Lord of our lives, even when we know it will help us and lead to a better life!  Well, that is what we are jumping into today!  After Jesus asks the question, He gives us an illustration of what life can look like if we do what He says and what it will look like if we don’t.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” NIV

I love this question from Jesus, and as a father of teenagers and young adults and as someone who often finds themselves in leadership spots, I can relate to it and verify the tension we feel when someone tells us what to do and Jesus’ tension as He asks this question.

Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?

What a great question and an awesome illustration of what life looks like when we aren’t willing to do what Jesus says.  We are on solid ground when we hear his words and live them out.  As I was putting this talk together, I found a different version of this verse, one I hadn’t read this version before.

Luke 6:46 “What good does it do for you to say I am your Lord and Master if you don’t put into practice what I teach you?”  The Passion Translation

Wow, that is a big question, isn’t it? So, let’s slow down and really think through this piercing question from Jesus.  Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?  Well, maybe we should start by looking at what Jesus said we should do because in this teaching, Jesus lays out how we should live our lives, and it isn’t all that easy to live out.  He seems to just keep making things more challenging, and a great place to start will be verse 27, which starts with this statement…

Luke 6:27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say…” NLT  

I love this, and it hits the heart, doesn’t it? For those who are willing to listen, I say.  In the NIV, it reads, “But I tell you who hear me:” and in the Message Version, it says, “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this,” taking us right back to this openness to do what He says, to those ready hearts we speak of so often, and this is what He tells those who are willing to listen to do.   We will walk through it and talk a bit as we go.

Luke 6:27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. NLT

Okay, can we just talk here? This is already a very challenging way to live, isn’t it?  Love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you?  Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who hurt you.  Whew, this isn’t easy, is it?  Before we move on, I would like you to process what Jesus is doing here.  Not only is He raising the bar on what it means to truly love others, but He is also giving us a way to find freedom from so much pain in our lives!  Doing what He says can be so healthy and good in our lives, yet so few will do what He says!  Loving those who aren’t easy to love, blessing those who talk junk to you, and praying for those who hurt you.  Have you ever tried praying for someone who hurts you?  It’s an awesome exercise for your heart condition and attitude for sure, yet not something our human hearts would instinctively do, is it?  Doing this is a game-changer, but it would take listening to your Lord and doing what He said.  Let’s keep going.

29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

I don’t know about you, but turning the other cheek isn’t easy.  Frankly, most of us in life may think God, I don’t have any more cheeks left to turn to because life is so hard and painful, and people can be so rough.  Yet again, following our Lord and doing what He says isn’t easy, but it is so important!  Then, we are challenged to be generous, giving without expecting anything back, and treating people how we want to be treated.  Huge lessons in life, but again pushing against our human instincts, then He presses in harder on loving your enemies.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. NLT

If we are truly living transformed lives, we will live in love and treat people as God does.  We won’t just love the people that are easy to love.  Remember what Ken told us last week: if we understand what Jesus did for us, we will treat people differently.  We then understand that we were loved at our worst and can do the same for others, loving people where they are rather than where we want them to be because we know God did that for us!  We won’t just do good to those who do good to us.  Anybody can do that; our Lord is telling us to love everyone, even those who aren’t easy to love, to be compassionate and generous to those who can’t repay it, just like your Heavenly Father does for you!  How do you with this?  Are you able to love this way?  Can you only love and treat people with compassion who agree with you, think like you, look like you, and vote like you?  This is important. Jesus asked us to do these things, and we can’t call Him Lord if we aren’t willing to do them!

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” NLT

We aren’t to judge; that isn’t our job; our job is to love.  We are to forgive, which is important because, as imperfect people who mess up, we all need that!  And then Jesus tells a couple of parables, the first one really stands out to me and is another great instruction from our Lord.

Luke 6:39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? NLT

This is a profound warning. It’s so interesting here. Remember how this section of the teaching started, for those who can hear me and are open to what I say.  Then, it ends with Him asking why people would call Him Lord and not do what He said.  Here, he brings up the blind leading the blind and how poorly that will go!  Think about how easy it is for us to allow people to lead us around in life.  We do what they want.  We act and dress how they want us to act and dress.  We feel pressure to be like them.  We see this in life, and we see this in our Faith.  And Jesus is warning us here not to allow the blind to lead us around or we will end up in a bad spot…yet, so often, that is exactly what we do.  We seem to feel more pressure or listen to those who can’t see rather than to our Lord who does see!  We feel pressured or pulled to do what they want rather than listening to what Jesus says and doing that.  It’s a great illustration and gives us an idea of how Jesus sees the people pressure we face!  Then we get this famous moment where Jesus talks of specks in our friend’s eyes with planks in ours!

Luke 6:41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. NLT

Most of us know this scripture, but in some ways it’s just easier to look at other people’s issues rather than dealing with our own.  And Jesus says you won’t do that if I’m your Lord.  Jesus then gives another illustration about the kind of fruit a tree will bear, letting us know that who we are on the inside will come out of our lives; a good person brings good out of their heart, and an evil person will produce evil.  Leading to the question we are focused on today.

Luke 6:46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?  NLT

I loved that wording in the Passion version we read earlier…

Luke 6:46 “What good does it do for you to say I am your Lord and Master if you don’t put into practice what I teach you?”  The Passion Translation

So, we worked through a lot of Scripture there, but I want you to think about what Jesus just did. He gave us a very challenging list of things to do.  These are things that can help us so much in life.  These are things that should be seen in the lives of His followers. When you think about the list, it really goes against our human instincts.  Let me “Samify” this list for you in a way that I think can make clear what He is asking of us.  Love your enemies and do good to your haters.  Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who hurt you.  Be peaceful to the violent and generous to the takers.  Give without needing something back. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Love those that are hard to love, those that don’t think, look, believe, and act like you do!  Be kind to rough people, don’t judge others, and forgive because we all need forgiveness.  Don’t allow the people of this world to pull you around in life; follow Jesus, He knows best!  Remember, who you are on the inside is what comes out on the outside, no matter how hard you try to hide it!

That is quite a list!  It’s so opposite to our instincts as people, so how do we live out this challenging list?  How do we become those who listen and put into practice the life Jesus challenges us to live?  I prayed a lot about how to answer that and this, and two words came to my mind.


One of the questions I asked you at the beginning of this talk was if you ever were inspired by someone who is great at something, do you remember that?  There is something truly inspiring about someone who is truly great at something, right?  Well, what is interesting is if you went up to a gold medalist in the Olympics or a champion in any sport and you said what makes you great at what you do, the answer at its deepest level would be, they are all in, 110% committed to their craft.  If you asked a runner what they do to be the best runner in the world, you know what they are going to tell you?  They run…a lot. They aren’t just lucky; they just didn’t think of getting into shape the day before the big race.  It’s not just their ability and talent, a lot of people have ability and talent and never achieve greatness.  They work, and work and work at it.  They are entirely, ALL IN, on the thing they do.  That’s what it takes to do challenging things and succeed.  If you want to do something to the best of your ability, you work at it…it’s all in…and you know what? It’s no different from our faith.  We have such a benefit because God came to Earth and taught, spoke, and modeled how to live our best lives.  He does everything so intentionally and we get to learn from all of it, and if there is one thing Jesus taught us, it’s that He was ALL IN.  He was not half in and half out. He wasn’t in when it was convenient for Him.  He wasn’t in when people weren’t pestering him or challenging God’s will for His life.  He wasn’t in only when people agreed fully with Him…no Jesus was ALL IN.  That is what He modeled; quite frankly, it is the only way to do the hard things in life and succeed.  What Jesus asked of us is not easy to do without God’s transforming power, and we won’t do it if we aren’t fully committed to it. We can change some behaviors and seem a little nicer around the edges, but to truly live this way…we have to be all in.  You know, so many of us stay kind of half in and half out, but if you slow down and think that through, half committed to God is still you controlling how you will live, and doing what Jesus takes will require ALL of us.  As I write this, I keep thinking about this powerful and popular quote from Hudson Taylor.

“Christ is either Lord of All, or He isn’t Lord at all.” Hudson Taylor

We all want to live our best lives.  We want to experience everything that Jesus came to provide for us; the problem is we often aren’t willing or haven’t fully surrendered to God’s Will over our own.  We just aren’t ALL IN.  This happens in all aspects of life.  It’s a tragedy when a talented person doesn’t reach their full potential, especially because they can do it; they just do not have the desire or hunger to go all in.  It happens all the time and is sad in sports and business, but it is a tragedy when it comes to our Spiritual Lives.  We get frustrated when our version of Christianity isn’t working, but we aren’t willing to go ALL IN!  As I say that, you may be thinking, “Sam, this isn’t fair; I may not be all in, but I do a lot of good things in my life.”  And hey, that is great, and I’m sure you do, but to be great at something, anything…it’s ALL IN.  I remember years ago listening to an old revival sermon by Stephen Manely, and he shared something his father told him that has always stuck with me.

“It doesn’t take much of a person to be a Christian.  It just takes all of them.” Stephen Manley’s Dad

So, what does ALL IN look like? What does it really mean to be ALL IN?  It means that Jesus is not just our Savior but our Lord and Savior.  It means we will do what He says.  We will love as he told us to love and live as He told us to live, which we see today isn’t easy for us humans to do.  It cannot and will not happen if we aren’t committing and prioritizing our lives, our time, each day, each hour, and every moment to Him.  We can’t do this if we aren’t spending time with Him so that what matters to God matters to us.  We need Him to shape our thoughts, values, and lives.  Remember the last time I was with you; we spoke of this idea of radically lining our lives up with God.  That was just one chapter before this in Luke, where we saw Jesus showing us what to do.  Remember that word “often?”

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. NLT

If we are going to live out God’s will for our lives, we must spend time with God, often, just like Jesus modeled.  So, a couple of questions as we close.

What challenges you the most regarding this list of things Jesus challenges us to do?  Was it in the way he raises the bar on love?  Was it in forgiveness?  Maybe how we treat those who hurt us?  Generosity?  Compassion?  Was it in allowing people of this world who can’t see to lead you rather than God?  What was it?  Act on whatever stood out as a challenge to you this week.  If you struggle to love those who think and act differently than you make a point to do that this week.  If you struggle with those who hurt you, take some time this week and pray for them.  If you struggle to be generous and give with no strings attached, try that this week.  Maybe you just aren’t kind to people and struggle to treat people the way you want to be treated. Do that this week.  There is a reason that particular challenge from Jesus is hitting your heart right now; act on that!

Would you say that Jesus is the Lord of your life?  We all like Him as our Savior, but do you follow His lead in your life?  If He is, that is awesome; if the answer is no, then the follow-up is, what or who is the lord of your life?

When you see someone succeeding in life, how do you think that happened?  Are they lucky?  Do you think it just must be nice to be them?  Or could it be that they have gone ALL IN?  Seeing someone go all in and be great at something is inspiring. What is more important than reaching our fullest potential for God?  So, we end with one last question…

How would you describe your Spiritual Life?  Are you ALL IN?  Are you fully committed to following Jesus?  Why, or why not?

This is another important question we are answering today, so let’s end by personalizing it.  Picture it.  It’s just you and Jesus.  He clearly has shown you how to live.  He clearly has taught you how to live.  He is now asking you to live it out…and we must wrestle with this question if we are unwilling to go ALL IN for Him.

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