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. 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.'” (Matt 7:21-23)
I don’t know about you, but when I read that, I can’t help feeling just a little uncomfortable. After all, don’t’ the people Jesus is talking about here sound like pretty amazing Christians? How many people do you know who go around casting out demons and performing miracles in the name of Jesus? How many of them are sane? Don’t misunderstand me. Jesus gave us the power to do those things when they fall within His plan, but I don’t think He has much to do with some of the things we see.
Yet it would seem these folks are really committed. If Jesus would say to them, “I never knew you,” what would He say to me? Never mind the showy stuff. I wonder if I even get the basics right. Do I pray enough? Do I study the Bible enough? How many have I helped to come to Jesus?
I’m so thankful that He is love. He needs all those attributes that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 just to put up with me. The amazing thing is that He doesn’t see it that way. He doesn’t have to try to love us. That is who He is.
I have the pleasure of speaking at our church this week as we’re wrapping up a six week study designed to help us move from being merely fans of Jesus to being true followers. I hope we have come to see that it means we will have to make some changes in our lives. Why? It’s not because we didn’t’ check off all the to-dos in our holy day planner. It’s not that we missed church last Sunday or didn’t put anything in the offering plate. It’s that we haven’t paid enough attention to what He really wants. He may want us to do those other things, but He wants our love first.
When we love someone, we do everything we can to please them. We don’t do it because we’re afraid of what will happen if we don’t. We do it because it brings us joy to make them happy. We sacrifice willingly, and their pleasure is our reward. Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us. Are we willing to love Him back that much? It’s a choice we will have to make every day of our lives.
I hope you will join us as we wrap up our study. Even if you have never been there before, I know that God has a message just for you this Sunday. See you there!
Bartimaeus Baptist Temple
6929 Day St.
Dallas, TX 75227