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Archive for July, 2013

Matthew 7, v21 -22 (ESA)

Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven….On that day many will say to me ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do many might works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me you workers of lawlessness’. 

There is a common perception that Christians go to Heaven while others do not.  Actually, the truth is that all genuine followers of Jesus who have come to Him for forgiveness, will go to Heaven to spend eternity with Him.  Not everyone with the title ‘Christian’ is indeed a Christian, and there are many secret believers in parts of the world where it is not possible to openly follow Christ who have other labels.  We might be surprised to know who the real Christians are.  It is no great surprise to read this. However, the point of this message is not about those who are clearly on the fringes.

Jesus is speaking here about those who we would assume are definitely Christians.  They call Jesus ‘Lord’  (v21). I don’t know many people who refer to Jesus in this way, and those that do appear to be the most committed Christians I know.  They are also actively serving God, as evidenced by their work (v22).  They are very active Christians, and are just as likely to be Christian workers.  These verses refer to serious, committed Christians.  They refer to ministers, evangelists, theologians, academics, elders, and other serving Christians.  And what do we read?  Jesus does not know them here on earth.  They are praying, but they are not genuinely praying to Jesus.  They are working hard, but not for Jesus.  We learn one final thing about them, they genuinely believe (“did we not”) that they are Christians and that their knowledge, speech and hard work was proof of the fact.

For a Christian this must be one of the most sobering passages in the Bible.  We think we are Christians, we think we are following Jesus.  We absolutely know how much work we are doing for the one we call ‘Lord’, and we have a position.  We may even have an impressive background and training in theology.  Yet for all this, ‘many’ of us will be found to have not been followers of Jesus at all.  Many are their own followers.  They are following their own pride and egos.

How can someone be in such a situation?  How can they know the way of salvation, know all about Jesus and yet miss out on actually knowing him personally?  The Bible answers with the simple truth that “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17, v9).  We all know people who genuinely think they love their wives, while to everyone else it is clear as day they do not. It is no different with God.  We believe what we want to believe.  I actually find these verses incredibly distressing.  For people to knowingly reject God is one thing, but to think they are reaching out to Him when in fact they are not is very sad.  It is our eternal future that is at stake.

So how can we avoid this situation?  The Gospel of John has the answer (chapter 4, v 23) “the true worshippers will worship the Father in sprit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him”.  We must come to God in spirit and truth.  Put another way, we need to really, genuinely come to Jesus for a relationship with Him.  It is possible to enjoy church, or theology, or Christian work, but not actually worship Jesus.  Put another way round, lets take everything we enjoy away.  If there were no nice music, no new things to learn, no fellowship with other believers, no privileges, just Jesus.  How would we feel about that?  Is it really Jesus we are seeking to know, or is it the trappings that we enjoy more?  In response to this we need to humbly come before God and make sure we know and have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.  By doing so we will not only be assured of a warm welcome when we one day meet Him face to face, but we will also be bringing life and love into the Church.

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