"I never knew you" Mt. 7:21-23
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 7:21–7:23
Mt. 7:21 - 23 “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. 22“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?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Visiting Los Angeles last year and I texted a high school friend who is a faithful christian to see if him and his wife were planning to go to worship at Grace Church.
They said, 'yes' see you in the parking lot about 10 after 8:00 and we'll get a good place inside where we can visit for a few minutes and listen to the choir and the musicians finishing their warming up.
After the service, walking over the bridge to the parking lot we were talking and Bruce's bride was saying, something to the effect of 'another who's in, who's out sermon'.
Indeed. And what could be more important, considering the consequences of getting that wrong. And again, according to this passage of the sermon on the mount, many will get it wrong.
What could be worse than going through your life thinking 'surely, I'll be OK' and then hearing those 4 words that are the most frightening in all of the Bible; I never knew you.
So, unapologetically, this is a who's in, who's out sermon based on Jesus teaching about who's in, and who's out, and how surprised the ones who are out will be.
vs. 21“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.
Have you ever noticed there are people who talk and people who Do.
In Pilgrim's Progress, Christian and his friend Faithful come upon a man named 'Talkative'.
At first Faithful is very impressed with all the knowledge and lovely conversation that takes place with talkative. He knows his stuff. He know's all the current catchwords and phrases and can converse with the most erudite and learned on all things faith.
Meanwhile Christian holds some distance. Later when Faithful questions Christian, Christian says that this man basically talks the talk, but the practice of his life is different. He doesn't walk the walk. He lives in the city of destruction and he mis-treats his children and his wife.
Notice in this first verse we have those two distinctions. Sayers, and Doers. Jesus says Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ . . . but he who does . .
Jesus had a multitude of people following Him everywhere He went. Some scholars will guess in the 20,000's based on feeding 5,000 men. They figure those men had wives and families in tow.
That was a notable event. That many people in one place at one time in that time frame in history was a huge deal. Followers.
Yet they were following to see the miracles. To get the healings. It was a traveling show.
And from time to time Jesus will say things like Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.…
And He would disperse the crowds. And they would go away. No one seemed to be getting in at a deeper level. A few. And one of the disciples says, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" Lk. 13:23
We see the mob, but we don't see many who are staying. We don't see very many who would sell everything in order to have you. The surface mob comes and goes. The "stay at any cost" er's are few.
And what was Jesus answer to them. We studied it 2 weeks ago. I hope you haven't forgotten it already. Mt. 7:13 - 14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Many are going to destruction. Few are finding Life.
So we have many who talk the talk. Few who follow through and walk the walk.
21“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.
Notice the words. The words and ideas are identical to the Lord's prayer.
Thy Kingdom come . . . The authority of God to reign, come. That's what the kindgom is. God rules, instead of Satan. This world is taken back. Satan is deposed. And the result is . . . Thy will be done on earth.
God's will is done in heaven. Everywhere in the universe, His will is done, except on earth among men. Satan has temporary control of this earth. The Kingdom of God is His will being done on earth, not Satan's.
Do you see how that fits with what He just said? 21“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.
People who DO the will of His Father are people who have come out of Satan's kingdom and fled for refuge to God's kingdom. Their sins are forgiven by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and they belong to God. They are no longer under Satan's authority, they have come out of that kingdom. Now they are under God's authority. He owns them. They obey Him. ...he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
We have then, a dichotomy. Sayers, who talk all the God talk but whose lives have never been transferred out of Satans Cosmos. They talk the talk but they still live lives ordered by this world that belongs to Satan.
And then we have the Do-ers, who have left this world behind and belong to God. They do His bidding.
In Acts 26:18, Paul is recounting his testimony to King Agrippa and he remembers his commissioning on the road to Damascus where God gloriously saved him. . . . and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
Did you see the order of salvation in that verse. God opens their eyes. They turn, (this is repentence described for us. No better explanation in the Bible) they turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan, to God.
Not everyone who claims they've made that transaction, actually have. They are the talkers. The sayers. Lord! Lord! but they still live in the city of destruction.
22“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?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Now I'll get myself in trouble here, but I don't mind being in trouble. Fools rush in. But, honestly, doesn't this description sound like our modern charismatic movement. Prophecies. Demonology. Miracles.
I want to come back to the first part of His declaration. I never knew you. in a minute or two. Let's consider the end result first, then the reason.
The frightening end result is that God sends these mistaken and misled folks away.
Hell is spending eternity apart from a Holy God. Depart from me.
Notice the terminology. You who practice Lawlessness.
This is the flip side of "Thy will be done". These are those who remained in Satan's dominion even though they were outwardly religious, and practiced what the world practices. Lawlessness.
The word practice doesn't describe sinners like you and me who are living in God's strength but who, like James says, we all stumble in many ways. Stumbling and getting up and dusting yourself off and getting back on the narrow path is one thing.
Practicing lawlessness as an unchanged lifestyle, is another. And that's what we have here.
What is the practice of your life? Is it Godliness with stumbling and bumbling. Or is it worldliness with religious talk and show.
Now, Do Not Misunderstand me.
I am not for one moment saying that works results in heaven or hell. But I am saying that what has gone on inside your heart, where no one can see except God alone, will bear either the fruit of righteousness, or the fruit of death.
And that's why the root cause analysis of this passage is what Jesus said just previously to the folks who were doing the big talking. Lord! Lord!
I * Never * Knew * You
What does that mean. What does it mean to know the Lord, and for Him to know you.
The first thing that came to my mind was a reference in Genesis. Way back in Genesis 3:8. 8They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
Here is God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day. It's that special time when friends relax together in the cool breeze after the days heat, and visit.
God was looking for His friend, Adam . . . but Adam was hiding. Something had happened, and Adam was afraid to enter into the presence of a Holy God.
The rest of this book is the story of how that friendship is repaired.
Jesus gave His life to remove the debt of sin that made us run away from His Holy presence. The veil is rent in two. Sin is removed. He gives His Holiness to us. We have the righteousness of God imputed to us. Friendship is restored.
When He says, I never knew you, that's a serious thing. That means the transaction with sin never took place. That means we have nothing but sin to offer a Holy God. And the answer is "Depart". Get out of my presence.
I've been thinking about this, this week. I've been thinking about this most of my life. Knowing God. Knowing God on a level where we would walk together in the coolness of the day. 2 friends. Enjoying company.
I don't want to blow this chance. I want to share some deep things from my heart.
Superficial religion isn't good enough. Showy religion. Talky religion. Shallow religion. Miracles and demons and prophecies religion. I want something more.
Three years ago I left the Baptist church and moved over here. It wasn't the first time I'd left. 10 years earlier I left and just dropped out. I don't have time to waste on superficial religion. Shallow low level religion. Christianity devoid of the Holy Spirit.
I'm not talking smack about my friends at the Baptist church. I love those folks. Dearly! I really do, but I want more. A LOT more.
Let me try to describe what I want by quoting 2 christians who lived what I want.
I have a presence in a couple of different places on the internet where people chatter with each other about common interests.
One is a camera site for people who use the giant rediculous antique wooden cameras that I love. The other is antique Ford people.
At either site, you are allowed to have a signature line that always appears at the bottom of the paragraph where you're making a post. It tells the world something . . or nothing . . about you. It's yours to use, and it appears with each post.
In both places, mine is the same. A one line quote written in 1949 by a man named Jim Elliot. And it says; He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose.
In 1949 Jim Elliot had no idea that 7 years later he would live out that quote. In 1956 Jim and 4 other missionary's had been dropping pamphlets and gifts from a small airplane to a tribe of auca indians in ecuador, South America.
They decided the groundwork had been laid and it was time to land the plane on a shallow strip and actually meet with the tribe first hand. All 5 were killed.
The world thought Jim Elliot was a fool. He wasted his life. He left a young wife behind, hardly lived at all.
God saw it as a seed that would germinate. 5 seeds. Elisabeth Elliot was part of the team that later led the entire tribe to Christ. The wild men with the spears became the grandfathers to the children of the fallen missionaries.
John 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.…
This is Christianity at a different level than what is common in the United States in 2015. Not normal. What David Platt termed Radical.
That's what I want. I want the miracles. Not the current crop. Legs that get lengthened. Other phony baloney.
I want the miracles where the Holy Spirit of God is doing things in peoples lives that are impossible to happen any other way. No explanation, no possibility of it ever happening, except God did it.
I want a hundred Tonopah good old boys to be stricken senseless with grief over their sin against a Holy God and quickened from the dead, made alive together with Jesus. A hundred seems like a good round number.
I want this house to burst with life. So many miracles that God is doing in so many lives we wouldn't have time to share them all. Radical Christianity that only the Spirit can cause.
One other example of what Jesus is talking about here when He says, I never knew you. You're all familiar with it because I keep going back to it over and over. Paul.
Philippians 3:7 - 11 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
This is a radical knowledge of God. A radical relationship that encompassed not just fellowship, but a fellowship that encompasses both power, and sufferings.
Paul said the same thing Jim Elliot said. Or maybe it was the other way around. Nothing this world has to offer compares with the intimate friendship with the God of the Universe. Nothing.
This knowing was the work of Paul's life and also what he prayed for us to experience. Listen as I read, or turn with me in your bibles to Ephesians 3:14 - 19. This is one of Paul's most famous prayers to us, because it is saved for us in the pages of this letter to the church at Ephesus.
And note that he isn't talking about knowledge in your head. He's talking about knowledge of a far more personal and intimate type that lives in your heart. A lovers love.
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Did you see it there. ...to know the love of Christ. A "knowing" that surpasses knowledge. This isn't knowing about Him. This is Him dwelling IN you. An intimate friendship, devoted lover, kind of knowing. This is way more than head knowledge. Intellectual ascent. This is a love affair with a person living inside your heart.
Listen to the resulting church Paul describes in the next 2 verses that immediately follow his prayer. It echo's what I was saying earlier. Radical christianity. Real Church.
20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
I hope you look at Jesus words, I never knew you, with a different set of eyes after this morning. Scary words.
The division line between the sheep that go into heaven and the goats that go into hell is here. Do you know Him? Is He living inside your heart? Christ IN you, the hope of Glory.
Last week we looked briefly at Luke's version of Ask, Seek, Knock and noted that Jesus said, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. He gives this intimate relationship through the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
He does not give His Spirit to those folks who want to remain in Satans kingdom and still have some kind of fire insurance. He gives His Spirit to those who are ready to come out of Satan's kingdom at any cost. Who want to know Him, at any cost.
Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, kids, your own skin. Whatever it costs, no matter, you want first, to know Him
In Matthew 25 at the very end of His life, Jesus gives the disciples an illustration, a parable that uses the same language exactly. Mt. 25:1 - 13
1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (Sadly, this is a picture of the church in 2015. Waiting for the bridegroom.) 2“Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3“For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6“But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7“Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8“The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9“But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
I want to submit to you that the oil is the Holy Spirit. The virgins were all friends. They all knew each other and hung out together. All in the same classes together at school. All had Mr. Sauvageau for math.
No one could look at the outside of the lamp and know there was any difference. But 5 went into the feast, and 5 did not. And notice the conversation between those 5 who come banging on the door later.
What do they say? Lord! Lord!! And what does He say? I do not know you.
I want to end our thoughts this morning with some poetry. Hebrew poetry from the prophet Hosea.
Let me preface the section I'll read and sum up what has gone on before this section.
Israel is likened to a harlot who has run after other lovers. Other gods. She thought it was these other gods, these idols who had given her the the wool and the flax. The wheat and the wine. But God says it was Him who gave her these things even though she chased after idols.
Then He takes everything away from her and she chases after her lovers in emptiness until finally she says, I'll return to my husband. It was better then.
I want you to get a sense of the intimacy our heavenly Father has for His children. His beloved. Hosea 2:14 - 23
14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
Here is a picture of God, rekindling a broken love affair after many days. He'll woo Israel, like a young lover woo's his beloved.
15“Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
This is a broken love affair, re-ignited. First love all over again.
16“It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD,
“That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
ishi denoting marriage and youthful love; baali, lordship and fear. Ishi is a term of endearment between lovers. Pet names that lovers have only for each other. Now I'll shut up and read you the rest of the poem.
17“For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
18“In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground.
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.
19“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.
21“It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the LORD. “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth,
22And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil,
And they will respond to Jezreel.
23“I will sow her for Myself in the land.
I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
And I will say to those who were not My people,
‘You are My people!’
And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”
We have a God in heaven who wants to be intimate with us. He offers you intimate friendship, freely.
It will cost you everything.
More in The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2017The Authority and Commission of Jesus Mt. 28:16 - 20
March 19, 2017Jesus IS Alive! The Tomb is Empty Mt. 28: 1 - 15
March 12, 2017The Burial of Jesus Mt. 27:55 - 66 pt. 2