P. G. Mathew | Sunday, October 12, 1997
Copyright © 1997, P. G. Mathew
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then will I tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
Matthew 7:21-23 occurs at the end of the Sermon on the Mount and is one of the most dreadful and terrifying statements to come from the lips of Jesus. It is a pronouncement of curse, not upon wicked pagans, who we know will be judged, but upon wicked professors of Christianity.
Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount, you remember, by pronouncing blessings on the citizens of the kingdom: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3-10).
But here in Matthew 7:21-23 the Lord Jesus Christ pronounces a sentence of final doom upon people who were deceived all their lives in terms of their relationship to him. So this passage must serve as a warning to each of us who call ourselves Christians. We must examine ourselves to see whether we are genuine Christians who are characterized by the blessings of the beatitudes. If we are, then on the day of our final judgment, we will hear the Lord Jesus Christ, our Judge, say: "Come, you who are blessed by the Father! Take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." But if we are not, we will hear these terrible words of doom: "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
First, then, we want to consider the expression of the faith of these wicked professors. Their profession, of course, was all delusion. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." Here Jesus was giving a clear warning to all professing Christians that the confession, "Jesus is Lord," is not enough. Jesus was saying that one's confession must be matched by the practice of righteousness in one's life. In other words, a Christian confession must be matched by Christian conduct. It is true that without the confession "Jesus is Lord" no one will enter into the kingdom of God. But here Jesus says that not all who so confess will enter.
It is true that one who is a Christian must believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He must confess that Jesus is Lord, that he is divine, that he is God, that he is King of kings and Lord of lords, that he alone is the Savior, and that he alone is the Judge of the whole world. But A. W. Pink tells us that it is also true that the vast majority of those who confess the faith "Jesus is Lord" are phony believers who will not enter into the kingdom of God. This passage proves that statement.
Who are these phony believers? They are people who are very confident of easy entry into the kingdom of heaven. They seem to have great assurance of their salvation and possess no doubt at all that the Judge would welcome them into everlasting happiness. Yet Jesus says, ou pas , meaning not all who are orthodox in doctrine, will enter. In fact, many will not enter.
Oh, such people are confident of salvation while they live and confident of salvation when they die. But the moment they die, their spirits do not go into the presence of God as Lazarus' did in Luke 16. No, their spirits go into hell, just as the spirit of the rich man of Luke 16 went. There in hell they will experience great discomfort, torment, and agony, and on the day of judgment they will be raised up with their bodies and brought before the Judge of the whole earth, Jesus Christ.
The Reality of Judgment
This passage speaks about the reality of the final judgment. Jesus spoke of this judgment in John 5:22: "The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son." And in John 5:27 we read, "And he has given him [Jesus Christ] authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
In Acts 17:31 St. Paul said, "For God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice." You see, there is no perfect justice in this world as we know it. But there is a day coming when judgment will be carried out with justice and it will be done by the Lord Jesus Christ. So Paul says, "For [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
In Hebrews 9:27 the writer to the Hebrews also tells us, "Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment. . . ." All people must face judgment.
The Confidence of Delusion
As I said before, false professors are characterized by a confidence that they will go to heaven. On the day of judgment, Jesus declared, such people will boldly assert, "Lord, Lord, we know you will bring us into heaven. Why? We were orthodox. We believed in the Bible and in the creeds. We were baptized. We worshiped regularly and gave to the church. We were evangelistic and worked very hard for you, doing a lot of good things. We preached in your name, meaning by your authority, power, and revelation. We cast out demons by your name and even performed, not one, but many miracles in your name."
Do you see the easy confidence of these people? They were counting on their orthodox beliefs and the multitude of their activities to gain them entrance into heaven. But Jesus had just said, "Every good tree bears good fruit. . . A good tree cannot bear bad fruit" (Matt. 7:17-18). So the issue here is not the amount of activities or even how orthodox one's belief is. The issue is what type of a person you are. That will determine the nature of your labor for God.
These people cried, "Lord, Lord." The repetition indicates that they were zealous and earnest. "Lord, Lord" which, in the Greek is "Kurie, Kurie," also means they claimed intimate knowledge of Jesus. "We are your friends," they were saying. "Lord, you know us, don't you?"
But all their confidence was based on delusion. These people were like those spoken of in Hosea 8:2-3. There we read, "Israel cries out to me, 'O our God, we acknowledge you!'" meaning, "God, we know you! We love you!" But what did God say about these people? "Israel has rejected what is good. . ." They didn't really know God.
What happened when these people stood before Jesus? Their delusion was exposed. Jesus Christ, who is the only Savior, the King of kings and Lord of lords, God Almighty and the Judge of all the earth, exposed the phoniness of these people. Their very claims were phony. They said they were orthodox, but in James 2:19 we read that even demons can be orthodox: "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder."
In other words, orthodoxy is not enough. Even demons acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, the Holy One of God and the true God. But there is one thing demons will not and cannot do. They will not repent and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. They refuse to submit to him and obey him. They will not do God's works. So James tells us that faith without works is dead. We might say, therefore, that justification without sanctification is not salvation. What matters in the kingdom of God is the character of the individual, the character expressed in the introduction of this sermon, the character of the beatitudes--the Spirit-wrought character of the Christian.
In his first epistle the apostle John exposes the phoniness of mere professors of Christianity. In 1 John 1:6 we read, "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." Notice, the talk, the saying, the confession, the affirmation, the claim can be made but our conduct must go along with it. In verse 8 we read, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us," and in verse 10, "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be liar and his word has no place in our lives." In 1 John 2:4 we also read, "The man who says, 'I know him"--in other words, the articulate man who will stand up and affirm his orthodoxy with great confidence--"but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him." Look at verse 6 of chapter 2: "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." And in 1 John 2:9 we read, "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness."
But then in 1 John 3:1-3 we get a picture of those who are true professors. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" Who will enter into heaven? Those who have a relationship with the Father, those who have been born by the miracle of regeneration through the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit. John continues, "And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not been made known, but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." And then verse 3 tells us, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." This is authentic Christianity. Everything else is phony.
Righteousness Is Essential
Our conduct, therefore, must match our confession. If we truly have relationship with our heavenly Father, that relationship will produce righteousness in our lives. And such righteousness is required for entrance into the kingdom of God. Obedience will not get a person to heaven, but at the same time, no one enters heaven without obedience--Spirit-wrought, Spirit-produced righteousness.
In Matthew 5:6 we read, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." And in Matthew 5:20 we read, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter into the kingdom of heaven." If Jesus is truly Lord, his disciples should submit to him and live by his law. Why? "Without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).
What type of righteousness is required? First, there is imputed righteousness, that righteousness of Jesus Christ which he gives to us freely. Paul spoke of this righteousness in many places. In Philippians 3:7-9 he said, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul describes this transfer, this imputation, of righteousness: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." And in 1 Corinthians 1:30 we read, "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."
If, then, you are an authentic Christian, you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ and his perfect righteousness has been credited to your account. You are now clothed with his perfect righteousness. That is imputed righteousness. But there is something else called sanctification, which means imparted righteousness. It means that we who have been born of God, justified, and given freely the divine righteousness of God, will live righteously before God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul also spoke about this imparted righteousness. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we read, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." In Colossians 3:17 he wrote, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." And in Ephesians 5:8,9 we read, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."
Those who are saved by God will seek and do the will of God. In fact, it will be their passion to please God. So we see that true Christians are given free righteousness by God, but they also practice righteousness by doing the will of the Father.
What does a true child of God say to his heavenly Father? First, he will ask, "Father, what is your will?" and then he will say, "I want to do your will." This is what distinguishes a true Christian from a false professor of Christianity. Anyone can claim, "I am a Christian," "I belong to the Father," and "Jesus Christ is Lord of my life." Yet if such a person does not practice righteousness, he is a phony. The falsehood of his claims will be exposed by the Judge of all the earth.
Practical righteousness is essential for a true Christian. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8 Satan is called the lawless one, and so we know that his children will practice lawlessness. But children of God are righteous and they practice righteousness. That is the difference between true and false professors.
Now, you do not hear much about practical righteousness from today's evangelists. Much modern evangelism has been discounted and watered down because the evangelists understand that people do not like repentance. They know that Americans like to sin and, therefore, they have come up with a gospel that accommodates a lack of repentance and a lot of sinning. No doubt you have heard such a gospel message: "Receive Jesus Christ as Savior but don't worry about receiving him as Lord." But that is not the biblical gospel and it is not the gospel God commissioned the apostle Paul to preach. The true gospel includes a call to practical righteousness.
We read about this in Romans 1:5 where Paul says, "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith." If you and I call ourselves Christians and believers in the gospel, then we are called to render obedience to the Lord.
In Romans 15:18 Paul describes his ministry: "I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done." That is the essence of evangelism--to lead the Gentiles to obey God by what we say and do. And in Romans 16:25-26 we read, "Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him."
The Lordship of Christ
Obedience to God, therefore, is crucial for a disciple. The day is coming when people will express their delusionary faith, saying, "Lord, Lord," but the Judge of all the earth will expose that faith to be inauthentic, synthetic folly. And so in verse 21 of Matthew 7 Jesus Christ is giving a gracious warning to us who are still alive. What is he saying? "Take my warning. Examine yourselves and see if you not only believe but also do what I say."
What does it mean when we confess, "Jesus is Lord"? That confession means that we are the servants of Christ. "Jesus is Lord" means that we have surrendered ourselves to his rule and are submitting to his laws. It means that we are obeying Jesus Christ in our daily lives and submitting to his law book, the Bible, even when no one is watching us. For example, if you are a Christian man and you get a telephone call from pagan woman, saying, "Come and eat with me,"--and you know what she has in mind--if you are a Christian then you will say, "No!" That response will prove that you are an authentic Christian. Obedience to Christ, not preaching or prophesying or performing miracles, proves authentic Christianity.
In fact, there were many times in the Scriptures that God used unbelievers to preach, prophesy and perform miracles. In the book of Numbers, chapters 22 through 24, we read about Balaam whom God used to correctly prophesy his will to Balak. Did that mean Balaam was an authentic servant of God? No. Balaam was an apostate who went to hell.
What about King Saul? He was an apostate, but in several places in 1 Samuel we read that Saul prophesied. What about Judas Iscariot, one of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ? In Luke 9:1,2 we read, "When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." Not only were Peter, Matthew and Bartholomew enabled to do these things, but also Judas Iscariot was given power to heal, to cast out demons, to perform miracles, and to preach the kingdom of God. But unlike the others, Judas went to hell.
What about Demas? He was a close friend of St. Paul. I am sure he preached with Paul and taught the gospel. Yet Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:10, "Demas . . has deserted me," and that meant not only deserting the apostle Paul but also deserting the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Demas abandoned Jesus Christ because he loved the present world.
So let us understand that we cannot go to God and claim, "Lord, I preached, I performed miracles, and I cast out demons in your name." We must become good trees in order to produce good fruit.
Confessing Is Not Enough
The phony professors of Matthew 7 were deluded in their thinking. In Proverbs 30:12 we read of people who see themselves as pure in their own eyes, yet in the eyes of God they are not cleansed of their filth. They think they are fine and no doubt confess orthodoxy, but they do not see themselves as God does.
In Matthew 21 Jesus told a parable of two sons. He said, "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered." You see, this son was an honest man. He did not know how to confess orthodoxy when he did not mean it. "Oh, no, I am not going," he told his father. But then Jesus says he later changed his mind and went to do what his father had asked him to do. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir.'" This son knew profess correctly. But then Jesus says, "but he did not go." His profession was just words. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" Jesus asked his disciples. "'The first,' they answered'" (Matt. 21:28-31).
God is not impressed with a profusion of confession unless that confession is followed by Christian conduct. It is not enough to simulate and feign piety. God will only commend those who do the will of the Father.
What is the problem with phony people? They lack relationship with Jesus Christ. Though they pretend to know him intimately, the truth is, they lack love for Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 we read, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." Love means relationship, and without love, there is nothing.
The phony professors of Matthew 7 can be likened to the majority of people described in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5. There Paul wrote, "For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." Notice Paul's emphasis on all--all were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized, all ate and drank. What was the problem? "Nevertheless," Paul says, "God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert."
We Must Do God's Will
Orthodox confession is not enough. So Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but" and he uses the word alla for "but," which is a strong adversative, "only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." And we can see how Jesus Christ himself did the will of the Father. He said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." And in Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17 he told God that he had finished what the Father wanted him to do.
We must do God's will. The phony professors only confessed orthodox faith but they failed to practice it. They did not do the will of God all their lives. (PGM) Can you imagine considering yourself to be a Christian all of your life and yet you are deluded? You expect entry into heaven but you are kicked out.
It is terrifying to think that a person can profess Christianity throughout his life and not enter into the kingdom of God. So we must ask again: Who, then, will enter the kingdom of God on that day of judgment? The answer, Jesus said, is the one who does the will of God my Father who is in heaven.
We must do God's will! Remember how Jesus asked the question in Matthew 12:48, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?" In other words, he was saying, "Who can claim relationship to Jesus Christ?" And what was his answer? "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" (v. 50).
Practitioners of Lawlessness
The people Jesus spoke to in Matthew 7 were phonies. They were practitioners of lawlessness. Jesus told them, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity!" and in the Greek a present participle is used which means "you who were habitually doing and are doing wickedness." These people, therefore, never practiced the will of God. They habitually practiced lawlessness.
In Matthew 13:41 and 23:28 we read about those who practice anomia or lawlessness. Such people are not born of God. They have never truly repented and trusted in Jesus Christ. They have never loved the Lord Jesus Christ but have only given mental assent to Christian doctrine. They do not have the saving faith of trust in Jesus Christ. They believe in cheap grace, meaning forgiveness without repentance. They read the Bible to look for blessings and find passages that say God loves them. They will believe in the gospel only to get something from God by way of blessing. They look for love and forgiveness but they do not want to hear a thing about holiness, obedience, repentance, and the judgment of God. They read the Bible selectively and look for preachers who do the same. In this church we preach the Bible through, not selectively, but there are preachers who will pick texts from here and there, looking for something that will make the congregation feel good.
Do you remember what A. W. Pink said? The vast majority of evangelicals will never enter heaven. This is a serious issue. He was speaking about these phony professors. Such people preach a gospel of antinomianism, meaning a gospel that is against God's law. Now, that is a contradiction, isn't it? If we say "Jesus is Lord," we should obey his law. But these people preach a gospel that says, "You can believe in Jesus as Savior but you do not have to believe in him as Lord. You don't like submission and obedience? That is all right. Just believe. You don't have to repent; just receive forgiveness. God is love. I understand that you are Americans, that you are indulged western people with a lot of money. I know that you don't like these ideas, so don't worry about them. In fact, go ahead and sin more and more. Why? The Bible says that where sin increased, grace increased all the more. Don't we want grace to abound?"
Such people have preached about church growth at the expense of righteousness. They have preached lawlessness and practiced lawlessness. And lawlessness is a popular gospel. Crowds follow such preachers and they collect vast amounts of money. They have built fine buildings and have been invited to appear on many popular TV shows. In fact, some have been invited to the White House. They travel on the Concorde and stay in $2,000-a-day hotels. They write books and promote the gospel of lawlessness everywhere. They push people, and as they fall down, they are very happy.
I am sure such people do not feel the need to seek God. Why pray? Why study the Bible carefully? Why examine yourself? The crowds are coming--the gullible and the naive. And these crowds want to laugh and fall down. They want to feel good and experience visions and dreams. And so these false professors claim healings and miracles. Such people are quite sure that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Judge of all the earth, will admit them first even before he admits anyone else into his kingdom.
The Deluded Expelled
False professors are in for the surprise of their lives. There is a final day of judgment coming. Everyone who ever lived will be raised up by Jesus Christ and will appear before him, the Father-appointed Judge. And then these false professors will make their case: "Lord, Lord, we have done a lot of good things for you in your name."
But, notice what Jesus does in Matthew 7:23. After the false professors state their defense, Jesus says, "I will profess to them, I will declare to them, I will tell them plainly. . ." The word is homologeo , which means he will publicly and solemnly declare something to these people. This word also appears in Matthew 10:32-33: "Whoever acknowledges me" the word for acknowledge is homologeo "before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
So, false professor, go ahead and make your defense. Talk about how many people you pushed down, how much money you collected, how many fine buildings you erected, how many times you were invited to the White House, how many times you appeared on Larry King. Tell Jesus Christ about it! Tell him that you are a WASP, that you are tall, that you have degrees, that you got great grades, that you excelled in sports. Tell him! Maybe he will be impressed by all of these things.
But after all the defense, Jesus says he will publicly, solemnly, and finally make this declaration: "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
This is a sentence of doom from the Judge of the Supreme Court of the universe. It is the verdict, not of nine judges but of one--the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And this sentence cannot be appealed.
"I never knew you!" That means Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the King of kings and Savior of the world, the Supreme Judge, never knew you, false professor. Oudepote --never! That means you are not an elect. In other words, Jesus is saying, "I have no relationship with you--no loving relationship. You call me Lord, but I am not your Lord. You have never been my subject. What you said is false Now, I know the evangelist was very happy when you stood up and said you received Jesus Christ, and he made some money out of it, but that is all that happened. I never owned you, never acknowledged you, never saw you as my servant, and you never did my will."
The Lord Knows
"I never knew you." Jesus uses this word "know" in the pregnant sense of loving and choosing someone. In Amos 3:2 we read, "You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth." The word for chosen is know and is speaking about knowledge, love, and choosing. In Psalm 1:6 we read, "For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked will perish." In fact, this verse says, "The Lord knows the way of the righteous."
In 2 Timothy 2:19 we find this word "know" again: "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are his, and 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'" There is no confusion here. Didn't Jesus say, "I know my sheep and my sheep know me"? In other words, Jesus is saying, "You say you knew me and loved me and had relationship with me, but I don't know you. I never loved you or had a loving relationship with you. You say that you have called me Lord, but I never knew you as my subject. I never knew you in relation to me. Your profession is phony and without substance. In fact, you hated my heavenly Father. You did not seek his will and you did not do his will." The Lord knows those who are his.
"Away from Me!"
Now the word for depart, away is apochoreite. We find this word in the Septuagint in Psalm 6:8, where the righteous says to the wicked, "Away from me, all you who do evil." In the same language, Jesus expels the false professors from his heaven.
What is the greatest blessing? It is to be with Jesus Christ. In his presence there is fullness of joy, as we read in Psalm 16. That is what eternal life is all about, to be granted entrance into God's presence and live with him forever. So to be sent away from Christ means curse, damnation, and hell. But that is what will happen to these false professors. "Apochoreite ," Jesus will tell them. That is a command from the King of kings and Judge of all the earth. It means, "Go far away from me!"
Judgment is fearful for false professors. In Matthew 7:19 Jesus said, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." And in Matthew 25:41 he spoke this dreadful word: "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" It is a terrible thing to have a form of godliness while denying the power thereof, being ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Why? Such people will face eternal damnation and fire.
So Jesus tells all false professors, "You are practitioners of iniquity. You are not clothed in righteousness; rather, you stand stripped naked in all your filthiness. You are of your father the devil, the lawless one." What a surprise for these people! What doom! What disappointment! What pain! What curse! What damnation! What despair! What anguish! They are expelled.
We Must Examine Ourselves
What about us? Jesus is setting forth the doctrine of final judgment in this passage, and we must apply it to ourselves. Therefore, let us carefully observe what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith" and what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:10, "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." Let us join the psalmist in Psalm 26:2 and pray, "Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind," or Psalm 139: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Let us get out of irrationalism, emotionalism, a feel-good mentality and an anti-doctrine attitude that says, "Don't teach me doctrine! Tell me things that will make me feel good. Prophesy smooth things! Tell how nice and great I am." Let us get out of the habit of picking and choosing from the Bible to make up a doctrine of cheap grace. Let us tell the truth, as Jesus Christ is telling the truth, whenever we evangelize. And let us practice the lordship of Christ in our own lives. When he calls us to the obedience of faith, let us surrender to him, repent truly, believe in him and trust in him. Let us, finally, seek to please the Lord in everything we do. Amen.
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Copyright © 1997, P. G. Mathew
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