Who Can Even Know? (ATP) 

Concerning Matthew 7:21-23.

This scares me a bit, how do we know this isn’t me or you or someone we thought was following God?

Matthew 7:21-23 (NASB)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

I know the feeling. I remember times when looking at these scriptures that I wondered, “Could I be one of these people?” I’m going to put your mind at ease, you’re probably not who this is talking about, and neither am I. Now comes the task of proving this.

I want to ask a question. Do you believe that the purpose of scripture is to scare us? Does God give us knowledge of truth so that we would be afraid? I love the response to fear that you always see in the presence of godly beings. “Do not be afraid!” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB) says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” That word timidity can be also translated fear or cowardice. In other words, Gods spirit does not lead us by human fear. It is true, there is a real thing called holy fear, which is what puts someone on their knees in the presence of God or angels. But this is not the crippling or paralyzing fear that torments. This is not our God. He tells us in Romans 8:1, that there is no condemnation in Him.

So how do we know? Context is key in these scriptures. Go back to  verses 15-16. Matthew 7:15-16 (NASB) “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” Jesus tells us who these false people are. They are “godly” people whose motives are wrong, and it’s seen by what they do. These are people who profess to know God and hear from God, but are doing things the scripture clearly warns against. These are “false prophets” who use people for their gain. These are “prophets” who talk about their amazing ability to hear from God, yet don’t really know Him at all.

How, you might question, would we be able to judge this? The answer is easy and is found in Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Jesus said to judge them by their fruit. He was not talking about the size of their ministries or the amount of stuff they have. He was talking about spiritual fruit. Paul defines to the Galatians just what this fruit is. Someone who claims to hear great things from God, yet finds it very difficult to be loving (biblically) toward people, I have to question whether they’ve heard anything at all! God is not telling us what’s important only to have us ignore it. He’s not giving great revelations only to have them fail at the basic foundations of our faith!

Some people try to make these verses in Matthew about those who in modern times operate according to what is referred to as the gifts of the Spirit. Prophesying, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, casting out demons and the like but we need to look and ask, are they really about this? Sure people who do those things could be the subject but according to these scriptures don’t need to be. 

What Jesus was ultimately talking about is relationship with Him, and those in relationship with Him should look a certain way. As I said, it could refer to those who operate in such gifts, but it doesn’t by definition need to either. We need to ask ourselves, do I have a relationship with God and if so what does it look like? Is it scriptural? Is it love? Or is it selfish and using? I believe this isn’t just about people who are doing things but also for those who do nothing at all! We have a relational God, there’s no way around it. Those who desire that relationship will be by no means cast aside. Those who don’t desire, will never find entrance. 

Following God isn’t about being perfect, or about being used in magnificent ways. It’s about knowing Him. Do you know Him? If you’re not sure, do you care to? Does what He say about Himself matter to you? If you can say yes to any of these I’d say you’re on the right track. How about people? Do people matter to you? They matter to Him! People have motives for doing all kinds of things and I do think it’s important that we always evaluate the why when it comes to what we do. But we can rest in assurance when we have a relationship with our Father. He’s given us His spirit to assure it!

Romans 8:15-16 (NASB)

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

Be Blessed,

Pastor Jeff