I never knew you
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
The verse above is very interesting. Jesus is saying that doing things in his name isn’t the same thing as knowing him. This implies that someone may be able to cast out demons and do miracles in the name of Jesus and not really know who Jesus is or have accepted him as their savior.
I think what he’s describing is a case of identity theft. It’s a lot like if someone were to steal someone’s debit card or birth certificate and claim to be someone they are not. Eventually they would be caught. If some strange woman decided to steal my mother’s stuff and pretend to be her, then it would not likely work very long. On the other hand, when I go to the HyVee pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for my mom, I usually have some identification with me, but they don’t even need to see it anymore because everyone knows by now that I’m her son and that she called and said she was sending me.
In the same way, since born again christians are God’s children, wherever we go and whatever we do should have the same effect as if Jesus was here. Why then don’t we see christians walking around teaching, healing, casting out demons, walking on water, or feeding fish and bread to thousands of people? I guess it’s really quite simple, we haven’t really spent enough time with Jesus to learn how. It’s directly a result of how well we know Jesus. People shouldn’t have to ask the question “what would Jesus do?” because we should already know.
But then again, not all of us had the same advantage of being with Jesus while he was on earth in his own body. The people who knew him then were able to see with their own eyes the type of person he was and couldn’t doubt that he was God in the flesh.
However, there have been other people long before that in the old testament who clearly knew more about God than people in our day do.
One of my favorite examples is Noah. Genesis 6 tells the story of Noah and how God told him to build a boat to protect him and his family from the flood. We don’t know much about Noah except that he found favor in the sight of God, that he was blameless, and had a wife and three sons. God spoke to him very specific directions on how to build a gigantic boat. How many of us if we heard a voice telling us to build a gigantic boat would know it was God?
Noah must have talked to God enough in his life to know God’s voice and believed him about the flood. Either this or he was crazy and planned on turning the ark into a petting zoo if the flood never came. Still, it must have been a lot of work, but he still finished it by the time he was 600 years old. It’s amazing that he didn’t even have the Bible to read back then but he must have been able to listen to God. Then again, he didn’t have anything else to do since the internet hadn’t been invented yet.
But today, while many people not only don’t know the difference between God and a squirrel, there are some who think he doesn’t exist.
This is very silly, even the demons know who God is.
Mark 1:34 So he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. But he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Luke 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 4:34 “Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.
And because the demons know very well who God/Jesus is, they can also tell when those who don’t really know Jesus try to use his name.
Acts 19:11 God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, 19:12 so that when even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his body were brought to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 19:13 But some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, “I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 19:14 (Now seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this.) 19:15 But the evil spirit replied to them, “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” 19:16 Then the man who was possessed by the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them all into submission. He prevailed against them so that they fled from that house naked and wounded.
And so apparently, even the name of Jesus is rather useless when the demons know who he is more than the humans who speak about Jesus.
Isaiah 29:13 The sovereign master says, “These people say they are loyal to me; they say wonderful things about me, but they are not really loyal to me. Their worship consists of nothing but man-made ritual 29:14 Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people – an absolutely extraordinary deed. Wise men will have nothing to say, the sages will have no explanations.”
Make sure that you really know who you’re talking about when you talk about God, whether the father, son, or holy spirit. You don’t want to hear Jesus say “I never knew you”.