I Never Knew You
06 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 7:21-23 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
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.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)
This is one of those cryptic statements by Jesus that we often have trouble fitting into our neatly packaged theology handbooks. It’s not the only one we’ll encounter as we travel together through the gospels on our Journey of Discovery. I’m going to tell you how this hits me at this point in my journey of faith—how it reads for me, what it says to me, and how I believe I should respond to it. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Jesus didn’t dispute their claims of prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles in his name. He disputed their motive for their actions and their right to use his name, because their motive wasn’t love and their actions were self-willed and not obedience. An earlier translation of verse 23 says, “Your actions were unauthorized!”
Our right to use Jesus’ name, to call ourselves Christians, to do ministry, is based in our relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Our ministry, if it is to be God-pleasing service and if it is to produce fruit that will last, must be based in a relationship with Jesus. It’s a relationship in which he knows us and we know him. It’s a relationship in which he directs our words and our actions, our message and our ministry.
Our motive for ministry and service must be the same as Jesus’ motive; God’s unconditional love and compassion for those in need, and a passion to bring God’s Kingdom into our lives and our families and communities. He’s not impressed by our abilities, our “gifts”, or our achievements. He’s impressed by our desire to do the Father’s work and deliver the Father’s message to our world.
Father, Once again I declare with Jesus, “I delight to do your will!” I don’t want to do a bunch of stuff and later find out it was “unauthorized”! May my motive be your love and my words and actions be your will, nothing more nothing less. In Jesus’ Name!