“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Jesus continues to speak concerning those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. This is a continuation of His thought concerning wolves in sheep’s clothing. These are people who outwardly profess Christ but inwardly deny Him with their lack of godly character.
In the end, these people will stand before Christ and recount all their religious (external) deeds. They will even address Jesus as Lord! Then Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evil-doers!” In the end, the mask comes off. There is no fooling the Son of God. In the end, “the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).
So why then do people wear the mask? Paul answers this question in Galatians chapter one. There are times when we are more concerned with pleasing men than pleasing God. We sometimes put on the mask in order to win the approval of men. The desire to be loved and accepted by others will cause us to act in certain ways that are not always congruent with God’s Word.
Keep in mind, God looks at the heart! He looks at the inward motivations and desires that drive our actions. In the end, we don’t have to win God’s love and acceptance. He proved He loved us by sending His Son to die for us (see Romans 5:8). Our actions should be motivated by God’s love and affection for us. We don’t do anything to earn God’s love. We do in order to express our love for God. You see, God’s love is the motivation. Everything we do and say should spring forth from the assurance that we are loved by God.
In the end, what really matters is that you know (personal experience) Jesus and that He knows you intimately. There is a difference between knowing about Jesus (head knowledge) and knowing Jesus (heart knowledge). In John chapter ten, Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” Many religious people are going to be shocked one day when they hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers!”
Questions to Ponder:
So, do you KNOW the Good Shepherd? Have you trusted in the person and work of Christ for your salvation? Do you find yourself wanting to please others more than wanting to please God? Has this passage of Scripture challenged you today? If so, how?
- Tell Abba how you feel right now, just from reading the above verses and from the devotional that Pastor Dave wrote. Pour your heart out to God using your own words right now.
- Ask Abba to reveal to you right now (and to your brothers and sisters in the faith) any people-pleasing tendencies or any habits that have been formed that are not healthy.
- Tell Holy Spirit you want Him to point out to you (and our church family) all throughout the day today any time when our inward desires and motives are selfish.
- Ask the Lord to slow us all down today and this week to really pay attention to Him throughout each day and yield to Him and His ways.
- Pray for all those who talk about Jesus but don’t know Him. Pray they will know Him as their personal Lord and Savior – knowing Him as Savior (accepting Him into their heart) and knowing Him as LORD of their life – and walk a surrendered life to Him in step with the Spirit of God.
Sovereign Lord, Redeemer, Savior, Slain Lamb, Son of God, and Son of Man, I praise You for being my Kinsman-Redeemer. I praise You for being my Defender, Mediator, Advocate, Perfect Sacrifice. Thank You that what I deserved – death and eternal separation from You, Eternal God, because of my sin – You paid for as the perfect Spotless Lamb, and laid Your life down for me. You who knew no sin took my sin upon Yourself so that I may be with You, not only where You are now, here on earth, but also for all of eternity, ruling and reigning with You in the next age. Oh, what riches; what an inheritance; what glory!
Who am I, LORD, that You would be mindful of me? Who am I that You would lavish Your love upon me, reconciling me to God so that when He looks at me He sees You? For I have been born again by Your Holy Spirit, and so You have washed me with Your Word. Oh God, I bow down and tremble before Your Holy Throne.
You are worthy of all my affections, all my praise, all my life. I offer to You today afresh every part of my body, mind, and soul, and I ask that I be a living testimony for You. I ask that You make me a trophy of Your Grace. Help me to offer my body to You as an instrument of righteousness, and that You would lead me out of temptation when I want to offer those parts of my body to sin. For I am no longer a slave to sin, but rather a slave to righteousness. I am a bondservant of Yours and a yolk-fellow to the saints in the land. Here I am, LORD, I lay my life afresh on Your alter. Have Your way. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask. Amen.