Morning Sermon: True And False Disciples, Luke 6:46-49

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 1

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Luke 6:46–49

“‘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.’” (Luke 6:46–49, ESV)


Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.


You probably have noticed that preachers often conclude their sermons by delivering some kind of exhortation to the congregation to obey or apply what has been taught. There are good reasons for this, the most obvious being that God’s word is always to be obeyed. Yes, it is to be believed in the mind and cherished in the heart, but those with a true and lively faith are to strive to live in obedience to the Scriptures in thought, word, and deed. God’s word is to be applied – it is to be put into practice. 

And you will notice that Jesus concluded his sermon on the plane with a call to obedience. In this sermon, Jesus calls his disciples to perceive that they are blessed in him, even if they suffer in this world. He has called us to love our enemies and to do unto others as we would have them do to us. He has called us to avoid the judgmental and condemning attitude that is so common among religious people and to forgive and treat others with generosity. Jesus calls his disciples to be merciful, gracious, and kind, for God is merciful, even to those who hate him, and he has certainly been gracious to all who are in Christ Jesus. He has forgiven us all of our sins, and so we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. 

I think you would agree with me that these ethical teachings of Jesus are challenging. But Christ insists that his followers obey him. We are to obey God’s moral law in thought, word, and deed. And we are to adopt the mindset and attitude that is here prescribed in the sermon on the plane. But pay very careful attention to this: Jesus is not interested in having disciples who merely listen to him. And neither is he interested in having disciples who merely believe the doctrine he teaches. No, he insists that his followers do what he commands. 


The Question: Why Do Some Call Jesus “Lord, Lord”, And Not Do What He Tells Them? 

Notice the question that Jesus asks at the beginning of this conclusion to his sermon. Verse 46: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” 

The tone is rather confrontational, would you agree? Why this confrontational tone?

Well, let us consider Jesus’ audience again and the setting of this sermon. Jesus had just named his twelve apostles. There were others who were following him too. In fact, Luke tells us that it was a great multitude that gathered around him to hear his teachings and to be healed by him (Luke 6:17-19). Without a doubt, this was a mixed group. What did most of them share in common? They were interested in Jesus. Most of them probably claimed to be his disciples or followers. Evidently, many of them called him “Lord”. But there must have been diversity. I’m sure that there were differing levels of understanding and commitment. Some were well aware of who Jesus was and what he required of them, and they were all in. But others were undoubtedly ignorant and uncommitted. Some, I’m sure, were present on that day only because they wished to be healed by Jesus so that they might benefit from him in some way. And some were present only because they were curious to know what this Jesus was all about. In fact, we know that this was a mixed multitude because Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve, and Luke has already warned us that he would become a traitor (Luke 6:16), proving that he was no true follower of Christ, but was a false professor! 

And so Jesus spoke very directly to this mixed multitude. He warned them from the beginning that to have him as Lord and Savior would involve living in obedience to him. True disciples of Jesus will strive to keep Christ’s commandments. They will strive to live in obedience to the moral law of God. They will also strive to obey these ethical teachings of our Lord, which in no way conflict or compete with the moral law, but are a true and pure application of the moral law to the minds and hearts of those who follow Jesus.    

The question that Jesus posed to his listeners is itself powerful, rhetorically speaking. The question,  Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?, highlights the absurdity of calling someone “Lord”, and yet not obeying them. To call someone “Lord” with no intent or effort to obey them is a contradiction. Those who do this are rightly called liars and hypocrites. 

And Jesus is certainly Lord. He is Lord in that he is a master to be obeyed. And more than this, he the Lord, that is to say, the Lord God Almighty, come in the flesh. 

Luke carefully establishes this fact in his gospel. First, he uses the title “Lord” to refer to God. This he does many times in the early chapters of his gospel. For example, in 1:6 Luke speaks of Zachariah and Elizabeth as being “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (Luke 1:6, ESV). And in 1:16 it is said of John the Baptist that “he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” So then, God is the Lord. And this is, of course, consistent with the Old Testament use of that title. God is the Lord. Next, Luke shows us that Jesus Christ is the “Lord”. For example, in Luke 1:43 Elizabeth calls Mary, “the mother of my Lord”. Jesus is the Lord come in the flesh. In Luke 1:76 it is said of John the Baptist that he will “be called the prophet of the Most High; for [he] will go before the Lord to prepare his ways…”. When John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus he prepared the way for the Lord. And in Luke 2:11 the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds in the field saying, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, ESV).

Jesus is Lord. He is God with us – God incarnate. He is the Savior of all who come to him by faith. But to have him as Savior you must have him as Lord. As Paul says in Romans 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9–10, ESV).

So then, it is good and right to call Jesus “Lord”. But here in the conclusion to his sermon on the plane, Jesus warns those who would call him “Lord” with no intention or effort to obey him in their way of life. This is a contradiction, an act of hypocrisy, and a false profession. And those who call Jesus “Lord” with their lips but deny him with their lives should not be confident that they have him as Savior. The rest of the passage makes this very clear. 


Those Who Come To Christ, Hear His Words, And Obey Him Are Likened

To A House With A Strong Foundation, Which Will Surely Stand 

I have said that the question Jesus asks is powerful in and of itself for it reveals the absurdity of calling Jesus Lord while not obeying him. Lords are to be obeyed! That is the point!  But Jesus sharpens his point through the use of a pair of similies – a simile being a figure of speech that compares one thing with another.

In 6:48 we read, “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.” (Luke 6:47–48, ESV)

Here Christ describes what someone who makes a true profession of faith is like. The person who, one, comes to Christ (by faith), two, hears his words (or his commands), and three, obeys him, is compared by our Lord to a well-built house with a foundation that is strong and deep, able to endure even the floodwaters. 

In this simile, the house itself represents the very life of a person who has made a profession of faith. The digging down to the bedrock so that the foundation of the house is set on something firm and immovable represents a true and authentic faith in Christ – a faith that is accompanied by sincere repentance and heartfelt obedience. What then does the flood represent? Two things: One, the trials and tribulations of this life, including persecution. Two, the floodwaters represent the final judgment.

How will it go for the person who has true faith in Christ when the trials and tribulations of life beat against them? What will become of their profession of faith? It will stand! For it is true faith, grounded in Christ as Savior and Lord, that they have. And how will it go for the one who has true faith in Christ on the day of judgment? Again I say, they will stand. They will stand, not because they are righteous in and of themselves, but because they stand on Christ and have his righteousness as their own.   


Those Who Hear Christ’s Words But Do Not Obey Him Are Likened

To A House With No Foundation At All, Which Will Surely Fall

And what are those who hear Christ’s words but do not obey him compared to? Christ compares these to a house with no foundation at all. And we are told that this house will surely fall. 

Look at verse 49: “But the one who hears [Christ’s words] 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” (Luke 6:49, ESV). 

One thing to notice about the comparison that Jesus makes between the two houses is that they look the same (or at least similar) on the surface. If I were to show you a picture of two houses, one with a deep foundation, and the other without any foundation at all, you would probably not be able to tell the difference between the two, for they they would look the same on the surface. But there is in fact a great difference between a house with a solid foundation and a house with no foundation at all. And you would quickly see the difference when floodwaters come and beat against those houses. The one that is built atop a deep and firm foundation will not be moved. But the one that lacks a foundation will quickly begin to crumble and will be swept away. 

So you can see that Christ is here warning his audience of the possibility and great danger of making a false profession of faith. He is calling those who hear him to respond with true faith, which will always involve true repentance and a striving after an obedient and holy life. Or to put the matter in another way, to have Jesus as your Savior you must have him as your Lord. And lords are to be obeyed. Especially this one. For he is the Lord of Glory. To call Jesus Lord, but not obey him, is an empty and false profession of faith. It is a contradiction – an act of hypocrisy. Those who make such a false profession of faith will look just like those who make a true profession for a time. Both will call Jesus, “Lord, Lord” for a time. Both will walk in the company of Jesus’ disciples for a time. But the difference between the true believer and the false professor will become apparent when the floodwaters come. When trials, tribulations, and persecutions arise, those who have made a false profession will fall away. Certainly, the house of every false professor will be swept away on the day of judgment, “and the ruin of that house [will be] great”. But those who have true faith – those who have dug down deep to build their life on the bedrock of Christ Jesus the Lord will stand. They will stand, not because they are strong in themselves, but because their lives are truly built on the firm foundation of Christ the Lord. 

I do wonder how many of those who gathered around Jesus to hear his sermon on the plane were true disciples of his and how many were false. It’s impossible to know for sure. 

One thing we do know is that there were times in Jesus’ earthly ministry when great multitudes followed him. Great multitudes surrounded him here on the plane in the beginning. Later, great multitudes followed him into the desert to hear him and to eat the bread he provided. But in the end, very few stood with him.  

As I have said, we do know that Judas Iscariot was a false professor, and he was one of the twelve! He was one of those who followed Jesus superficially and for a time with the hopes of selfish gain. But when the time came for Jesus to suffer on the cross, and as Jesus spoke more and more about the suffering that his disciples would endure, Judas showed himself to be a traitor. He was a house with no foundation at all. The floodwaters swept him away. 

Now contrast Judas with Peter, the leader of the apostolic band. Peter was not perfect. In fact, he stumbled badly. For a time, it looked like he too had fallen, when he denied his Lord three times on the night of his trial — the night before his crucifixion. But Peter stood in the end. And why did he stand? Why did his house not fall? He stood because his profession of faith was rock solid and true. He stood because Jesus was truly his Savior and Lord! He stood because Jesus Christ made him stand. 

Now let us picture the church today. Here I am referring to the many thousands of visible churches that are scattered throughout this nation and world – churches just like this one here. These churches are made up of people who call Jesus “Lord” with their lips. And I do wonder how many of these are houses with a firm foundation, and how many are foundationless. God knows. And time will tell. But between now and the day of judgment the question of Jesus must be raised: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Those who have Jesus as Savior will have him as Lord, and the Lord must be obeyed. 



I do hope that the meaning is clear. I would now like to offer a few contemplation on this text. 

The first and most obvious question I must ask is, what about you? Is Jesus truly your Lord? Have you come to him in faith, heard his words, and obeyed him? Have you turned from your sin to walk in obedience?

Now the question on the minds of many will be: what is meant by obedience? Those who know God’s moral law, who understand the teachings of Jesus concerning what that law requires and forbids, and who have a clear view of themselves, will readily admit that they do not obey Christ perfectly, but daily violate his commandments in thought, word, and deed. No one obeys Christ perfectly, friends. Can we agree on that? In fact, did not Christ just warn us about seeing the specks in the eye of others while not seeing the log in our own eye? Clearly, Jesus expects that his disciples will continue to struggle with sin. Indeed, the rest of the Scriptures make this point very clear. True Christians – even the very best of them – are imperfect. We must continually war against sin, but we do not always win.  So what is meant by obedience? Or to put it another way, if it is true that disciples of Jesus will war against sin all the days of their life and will reach perfection only in the life to come, then what distinguishes the true and false believer as it pertains to obedience? 

Five things come to mind: 

Firstly, a true follower of Christ will turn from sin and to obedience initially, that is to say, from the beginning. This is why faith and repentance are often mentioned together in the Scriptures. To turn to Christ savingly involves turning from sin initially. Stated negatively, no one should think that they have Jesus as Lord and Savior if they will not turn from their sin in the beginning. 

Secondly, a true follower of Christ will turn from sin and to obedience intentionally. By this, I mean that true disciples of Christ will intend to not sinning further and they will intend to obey Christ from that day forward. Stated negatively, no true disciple of Jesus has this attitude. I’m forgiven. It does not matter if I sin. In fact, I plan to go on sinning, because Jesus is my Savior. If that is your attitude and intention, then I doubt that Jesus is really your Lord. And if he is not your Lord, then he is not your Savior.  

Thirdly, when true disciples of Jesus sin, they will do so sorrowfully. God disciplines his children. The Spirit convicts those who belong to him. Those who love Christ sincerely will be grieved when they have sinned against him. Stated negatively, false professors care little about their sin. They may be concerned about the consequences of their actions. They may worry about being caught and exposed. But they will not sorrow over their sin as a true disciple of Jesus would.  

Fourthly, true disciples of Jesus will turn from sin and walk in obedience habitually. 1 John 3:6-11 says this very clearly. “No one who abides in [Christ] keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:6–10, ESV). So then, though it is not about perfection, but habit, or practice. The true disciple of Jesus will turn from sin and obey Christ the Lord habitually. 

Fifthly, the true disciples of Jesus will grow in holiness progressively. They will mature. They will, over time, put sin to death and walk in the ways of Christ more and more.

This process of turning from sin and learning more and more to walk in obedience to the Lord is called sanctification. To be sanctified is to be set apart and made holy. God sanctifies all who are united to Christ by faith, and all who are united to Christ by faith are called by God to progress in their sanctification. 

I would like to read what our confession of faith says about sanctification. It is very helpful. If you listen carefully, you will hear support for everything I have just said about obedience. 


Paragraph 1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Paragraph 2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

Paragraph 3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ, as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed to them.

What a beautiful statement this is. And it is true. All true disciples of Jesus – all who are united to him by faith, effectually called and regenerated – are also sanctified. Though it is true that corruptions and imperfections remain and that there is a war to be fought against the sinful flesh, none who call Jesus “Lord” sincerely will go on to live a life marked by perpetual disobedience. On the contrary, all who have Jesus as Lord really and truly will live a life marked by obedience, and they will progress in it.  

Now, there is another question that must be addressed given all that has been said about obedience: Are we justified (declared innocent and made right before God) by faith in Christ alone or by our obedience? Some after hearing all of this talk about the necessity of obedience might wonder, is it our obedience that saves us then? Do you understand the question? If it is true that obedience is necessary, then is it our obedience to Christ that saves us? 

By no means. Brothers and sisters, don’t ever forget this. We are made right before God by the grace of God alone and through faith in Christ alone. It is impossible to be justified before God by our obedience for three main reasons. 

One, were all born in sin. We were born with Adam’s guilt imputed to us and with a corrupted nature. Obedience cannot fix that problem. Only Jesus can. He atoned for sins on the cross. He lived a perfect life so that he has a righteousness of his own to give. And he has sent forth the Spirit to regenerate sinners to heal their corruption. 

Two, we ourselves have committed many sins already. This means that we are lawbreakers. We are guilty sinners who deserve God’s judgment. No amount of obedience today can fix the problem of guilt from past sins. If someone commits murder, he is a murderer. The guilt of the crime stays with him, even if he is resolved to love and never murder again from that day forward. Present obedience cannot fix the problem of guilt from past sins. 

Three,  it is impossible to be justified before God by our obedience because the obedience we offer up to God now is tainted by many imperfections. We do not always obey. And even when we do obey, we find that our obedience is impure. Perhaps our motives are wrong. Perhaps our love for God and others is less than it should be. 

Brothers and sisters, we are not saved by obedience. Obedience (or good works) cannot be the reason or ground of our salvation. We are justified before God through faith in Christ alone. He has atoned for sins. He gives us his righteousness. He redeems us and makes us whole. This he does for all who trust in him. 

What then is the relationship between faith and obedience? True faith will always be accompanied by obedience. We obey because we have been forgiven. We obey because we have been cleansed. We obey because we have been regenerated and renewed. We obey because we love God, and we know that we love him only because he first loved us. We obey, brothers and sisters, not to be saved, but because God has saved us. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and has adopted us as his own. How could we not obey him, if Jesus is truly our Savior and Lord?

I have one last question to address: How can we know for sure that we are true disciples of Jesus and not false professors? Here in our passage, Jesus has warned us about the possibility and great danger of making a false profession of faith. How can we know for that we are true disciples of Jesus and not false professors?

There are two questions that we must be asked::

One, are you truly trusting in Jesus as he is offered to you in the gospel? Stated differently, do you agree that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Do I understand the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And have you turned from your sin to trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins? You can probably see that these questions all have to do with the condition of your mind and heart. How can a person know for sure that they are a true disciple of Jesus and not a false professor? I suppose the first thing they must do is look inward to examine their mind and heart and ask, am I sincere? 

But there is another question to ask, and this one is more concrete, measurable, and less subjective: Is there any external evidence that the faith that is in your mind and heart is true? Stated differently, are you producing good and godly fruit? Or to put it yet another way, is your profession of faith accompanied by a change – repentance from sin and obedience to the commandments of the Lord?   

The Apostle John says, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3, ESV). John is addressing the question of assurance here. How can we know that we really and truly have come to know Christ? How can we know that we are true disciples of his? Here him again: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3, ESV)

So then, obedience to Christ does not bring us salvation, but it does help us to be sure of our salvation, for it is an evidence that our profession of faith is true. Brothers and sisters, to have Jesus as Savior one must confess that he is Lord. And lords are to be obeyed, especially this one.

Comments are closed.

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

© 2011-2022 Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church