November 15, 2023 / by Doug Orner
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?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23
In Matthew 7:22-23 we have some of the most chilling verses in Scripture.
We all desire to follow the Lord and do the things He has asked us to do. We hear God’s call and desire to do His will. Often as we begin whatever ministry the Lord has for us, our hearts and desires are in tune to what God wants. If we are not careful, eventually the doing becomes more important than the being. The key to these verses is the “knowing.” God desires above all else for us to have a relationship with Him. As Paul said, “to know Him and the power of His resurrection.” We can become so busy in our work for Him that we don’t leave time to commune with Him and grow in our knowing Him. If we work at knowing Him, ministry will be a natural outflowing of our relationship.
There are two sides to every relationship. It is the same in our relationship with God. In these verses in Matthew, Jesus is talking about His relationship to us. “I never knew you.” That is first and foremost in this relationship. We must then spend time on our side of the relationship of knowing Him. Not just knowing of Him or spending time with increasing our knowledge of God. But we need to spend time investing in our personal relationship with Him. Learning to lean on Him and trust in Him in every situation. Knowing how He works and thinks, understanding His desires and ways.
Is Jesus just talking to people from His time? The context and question show us that it is individuals from all time that will stand before Him, “on that day.” You and I will be there. Where will we stand? Good works are not enough. We must do good works in the context of knowing God and God knowing us. If this is the case, then our works will reflect the love of God to those we are working with. It will be an outflowing of our relationship with Christ.The mightier the works, the more we must be in tune with God and His will.
On the mission field we face the same issue. Those who do the greatest works are in danger of being the biggest hypocrites. As a missionary and follower of Christ my greatest fear is that as I walk through this life and preach the Gospel of Christ, I will see the need for Christ in the lives of others but will fail to see the hypocrisy in my own life. Lord teach me to search my own heart, in light of the scriptures and my relationship with You, that I may clean out my heart and be a vessel fit for Your work.
Doug and his wife Lisa have served as missionaries for 38 years with Africa Inland Mission: 23 years in Tanzania and 15 in Kenya. They now serve as caregivers at Africa Inland Mission Retirement Center in Minneola, FL. They have two grown sons and 4 grandchildren.
November OakLeaf Articles:
The Cure for Hypocrisy and Pride by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Religious Pride by Richard Mayhew
Christ As Our Source of Life by Jim Simmons
Pride: A Hindrance to Revival by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
A Woman’s Struggle with Pride by Jeanette Clayton
A Sportsman’s Perspective on Hypocrisy and Pride by Pat Gregory