Daily Scripture Reading: Colossians 1
Verse for the Day: Matthew 7:21-22
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’”
Not everyone who claims to believe that Jesus is Lord is saved! Let me repeat what Jesus just said – even if one calls Him “LORD!” over and over again, that is not a fruit or evidence of salvation. A person can believe (mentally assent to) the teachings of a religious figure or teacher without actually having faith. Just to say that Jesus is Lord is not a reason to have assurance of salvation.
Jesus is making a point here that just as there are false teachers, there are the professors who do not have possession of the truth as they claim. Those who insist that they know God but in fact are lost – those often who buy into the false teachers doctrines of demons and try to use faith as a force for prosperity- or a fire insurance policy from hell.
So Jesus gives a proof of salvation – the saved will do His will! If a person claims to belong to Christ yet they are totally disobedient to His Word and His will – the fact is they are not saved at all, but deceived and living in bondage to their sin. Were the Pharisees saved? A few were and they subsequently left the group! You cannot become a Christian and stay the same – you are new if you are saved – you have taken off the old man and put on Christ, the new man. (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:17-24).
If we are indeed saved (redeemed, converted, born again) then we were once dead in sin, and now we are alive in Christ. How can we know? Follow Jesus’ instructions in this sermon and inspect the fruit in your own life! If we walk with Him, yielded to Him, His Spirit lets us know we are His. His sheep hear and know His voice. Goats on the other hand, are not sheep. They do whatever they want.
Manly Beasley, a great man of God and evangelist and preacher who was called to heaven several years ago, said that the problem with the church today in America is that we all are taught how to think, talk, and live like Christians but we aren’t taught how to BE Christians! It is not enough to say He is Lord, go to church, fit in the religious crowd, pray, tithe, worship, fast, minister to the hungry and the poor, and die trying to ease the sufferings of others. No! To be a Christian is to follow Christ – it is not what you have, do, think, or say. It’s who you are! We must learn that we must BE a Christian. Even if we do what’s right, but are not doing it because of what we ARE by nature (a disciple of Jesus Christ) then even good things will have bad motives behind them! It is all about who we are. We are HIS if we are saved. We must BE His purchased slave (1 Cor 6:20) and His disciple.
Being a Christian is not something we can take off for work, or lay aside to partake in sin. It is not a Sunday ritual and a shelved item the rest of the week. We either ARE Christians or we aren’t! We must BE His, and then what we do we will do in order to please Him. We must BE followers – BE obedient – BE fruitful – BE loving and BE forgiving and BE poor in spirit, etc.
The truth about fruit is that the fruit might be false and fake and plastic – but whatever the fruit is will be a direct result of what the heart is. We might be able to fool others, even deceiving mature Christians, but we will never fool God. He knows who we are and what we are. If you aren’t sure about yourself ask Him! HE KNOWS.
There are those who teach lies and minister the gospel for their own benefit. Then there are those who believe lies and embrace the Christian life for their own benefit. But those benefits are usually for the here and now and not for Him for eternity! Listen to Jesus! Just because you call Him by name does not mean you know Him or that He knows you! When we ARE believers and we are BEcoming more and more like Jesus, then we know and are assured of our relationship with Him. When we do what He says out of love then those who are His will find and do His will. Otherwise, the lost might look religious and righteous, but in time the truth will show and their hearts will be revealed.
Today – don’ just say He is Lord – believe it and act like it because the truth of the matter is quite simple, He is Lord! We can proclaim that willingly and humbly NOW or we will be forced to bow before Him later at the judgment. Either way HE IS LORD!
Is He Lord in your life today? (trick question).
Yes, He is always Lord. The real question is, “Are you an obedient child today?” Walk by faith today and please Him or walk by sight today and suffer the consequences. Remember, it’s not what you think, say, or do – it’s who you are today. Are you His? Prove it!
Continuing in our text, Jesus is teaching us that not everyone who claims to be His follower is actually His follower. In the last verse He let us know that only those who OBEY, those who do His will, are His. True faith will always produce obedience and if a person’s faith does not produce obedience then it is not real, saving faith. It is just willpower and mind games!
Now Jesus is going to spend some time on those who claim to know Him but don’t, and understand, true followers of Jesus have and will do the things He talks about. But His focus is on those who are self centered, lost, and fooling themselves and those around them about their relationship with God.
Many will say in that day (that day is the day of judgment) that He is Lord. Many will claim to have preached and taught the truth and the gospel. Many will say that they cast out demonic forces and did wonders. And they claim to have done it all in “Jesus Name.”
Interestingly, when we pray in His name and minister in His name that does not mean that we simply add “In Jesus Name” at the end of a prayer. It means that we are praying according to His revealed will in the Word of God, and that we are praying for His will and are willing to yield to His decision and direction. Just adding a few simple words at the end of a prayer does not mean we prayed in Jesus Name or according to His will or that God will hear or answer those prayers. I believe that many today in the church actually use His name in vain when they expect that saying His name will bring heavenly endorsement to the selfish, proud, sinful things they pray for!
So why can the lost, those who don’t belong to God, do these marvelous works? There are three reasons I believe these things happen –
1. God can use anyone and anything to preach and present the Word, the truth, and the gospel. Even demons cry out the truth about Christ when confronted by Him. Does that make them redeemed preachers and teachers of the gospel? Of course not. God can use all of Creation to declare His glory and truth. He even uses donkeys and tax collectors!
2. Miracles and wonders can be produced by the devil. Remember the priests of Pharaoh? Their staffs turned into snakes just like Moses’ did! Satan is very powerful and he can create illusions and wonders! In the end times he will deceive many with his lies and deceits (Matthew 24:24). Satan always has a counterfeit for God’s plan and God’s will!
3. Miracles can be faked and false!! I actually saw with my own eyes a false teacher “grow” a man’s leg! One leg was shorter than the other, so he was called on stage and in “the Name of Jesus” his leg was grown out PAST the other and then put back in place where it had been! I wondered about this later – why would God grow a short leg out longer than the other and then put it back? Wouldn’t the power of God to heal be shown if the leg grew out to be even with the other and STAYED there? (Later I found out that it was all a deceit to manipulate giving to a church – the short leg was not actually shorter and the growing of the leg was an illusion planned by the minister as one of the guys shoes was larger than the other and was pulled off the heel to make it look like a short leg grew!)
Scripture gives us several examples of those who did things in Jesus name but were not followers of Christ. In Acts 19:13-16 we find my favorite account. The sons of Sceva tried to cast out demons in the name of Paul and Jesus. The demons replied, “Paul we know, and Jesus we know – but WHO ARE YOU?” Then the demonic man jumped them and beat them up and sent them running through the streets wounded and naked!!! HA!
Signs and wonders do not prove anything about one’s relationship to God! Beware those who think that miracles MUST be accomplished or else God is not present in one’s life. The true power of God is that He forgave all our sin and empoers us to desire and do His will! And yes God still works wonders and heals, but you won’t find them on the tv every day and night (as the ministers, I use the term lightly, beg for more money)! Men who obey God and know God and are known by God give Him all the credit instead of using signs and wonders (and using God’s name) to fill their own bellies with the gifts of the deceived!
True believers will do these things, but false believers may , too. In that day of judgment they will be so surprised that they are not know by Christ. They will see first hand that works don’t make you a Christian, Christ does! Works don’t save, but as one of my professors said, “Faith that works now that is saving faith!”
I want to close with a brief quote of a saying that is engraved at the cathedral at Lubeck, Germany. The inscription reads, “Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us, You call Me master and obey Me not, you call Me light and see Me not, you call Me the way and walk in Me not, you call Me life and live Me not, you call Me wise and follow Me not, you call Me fair and love Me not, you call Me rich and ask Me not, you call Me eternal and seek Me not, if I condemn thee, blame Me not.” What a powerful word picture.
Think about your life today and think about your church today and the Spiritual leaders by whom you are taught. Will you or they be surprised to say “Lord, Lord” and be turned away because all that was done in this life was for self and not for God. Over and over in the Psalms we will find the word “iniquity’. That word refers to anything that is done for self or in the self will instead of for God in submission to Him. Good things can be made iniquity! We can pray for self glorification, we can give to be seen by others, we can put on a show of spirituality for our pride’s sake! Anything God asks of us must be done in loving submission and obedience to Him otherwise we serve self and dishonor Him! Look through the wonders to the God who Loves you and gave Himself for you and give yourself back to Him! If the wonders are of Him, Praise Him. If not, learn to see the deception! Learn to find Christ. Learn to discern when He’s in it and when He isn’t!