21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Church families are always interested in increasing their attendance. This is a good concern to have.
The book of Acts several times records the number of people being saved. Numbers show us that people are responding to the Gospel.
While numbers are important, they are not what is of ultimate importance.
We also need to remember the reality that church attendance or even a confession of faith doesn’t make a person a disciple of Jesus.
It is making disciples that is of primary importance.
Some people understand the truth of the Gospel, it makes sense to them, but somewhere along the line a disconnect happens. The truth which makes sense in their heads never makes it to their hearts. While they agree with what Jesus taught, they don't live the truth.
We need to remember that to truly be a Christian requires more than verbal acknowledgement of the truth. To be a follower of Christ also requires obedience to God’s will.
I find it interesting that the false disciples Jesus mentioned in the passage above were able to do extraordinary stuff. They proclaimed a word from God (prophesying), cast out demons, and performed miracles of healing.
It would be very hard to call a person who could do such things a false disciple.
In my mind these would be signs that they had a close relationship with God—that they were the genuine article.
I think the truth Jesus wanted his followers to understand with this teaching is that these things are not the evidence of a true disciple.
I don’t know how it is possible to fake those great accomplishments without having a relationship with God, but I do know that it is easy to fake the public side of ministry. It is easy for me to wow people with a great sermon, to write words that reflect Biblical teachings, and to have a “correct” theology to make the people at church believe that I know my Bible.
It is possible to go through ministry without real faith in God.
Real faith makes us step out of our comfort zone to do the things that need to be done.
Real faith surrenders our lives to God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives.
Real faith is intentional about making changes to our life styles.
Real faith is seen in our behavior.
What makes a person a Christian is not a flourishing public ministry or correct theology, but a Christ-like life of faith. This faith is often expressed through our love for other people.
How does this truth apply to you and me?
We need to approach this passage as a warning for us.
Ask your self questions like:
- Am I too wrapped up with what other people think about me?
- Do I put on a spiritual or religious mask in front of certain people so they will think I am a good Christian person?
- Is part of my identity derived from being the spiritual person everyone talks about?
Being a follower of Jesus isn’t about doing “religious” activities and making other people believe that we are “spiritual” people.
Being a follower of Jesus is about aligning our lives with God’s will, being guided by the Spirit, and living a life of faith and love.
This is how we get to know Jesus, and it is how Jesus gets to know us.