Reading the Word
Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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 mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Understanding and Applying the Word
Many claim to follow the Lord, but many are only counterfeits. They may say all of the right things, even calling Jesus “Lord”, as he is. They may even do many good things. However, the true disciple not only says the right things and performs certain works, but is obedient to the will of the Father. The true disciple has a changed life that is centered on living for God, not self.
This passage serves as a warning for those who would fool themselves into thinking that they can say the right things and even do certain religious works (e.g. go to church, give lots of money, teach Sunday school, serve as a deacon, etc.) to be counted among God’s people. It is possible to do all of that and still not really know the Lord. Jesus tells us in John 15:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In Luke 6:46 he says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” And we read the following in 1 John:
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3–6, ESV)
Are you living your life for the Lord? Do you truly know him?
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