Contributed by Beeta Yakoob
What if, after all your hard work for the Lord in this life, “in that day” at the Throne of Judgment, you were confronted with the following expression by the Lord, “I never knew you. In “Matthew 7:23 the word “know” in Scripture is often used to mean intimate or intimacy and sometimes approved or acknowledgement. That implies a close, good working relationship. It is revealed in the relationship of Christ courting His Bride. It is revealed in Jesus’ relationship with His Father. We, who are in Christ, are one with Christ and with God the Father, doctrinally. But are we living in and experiencing that oneness? Do you really know your spouse or children? Do they really know you? Do you really acknowledge who they are? Do they have your approval? What about God? The context of Matthew’s account of the Mount Sermon and this ending Jesus gives in 7:21-27 discusses the King’s morality and ethics for the Body of Christ in His Kingdom economy and its importance to their relationship.
Since the separation of the sub-continent, Christians in Pakistan seem to be growing in number, knowledge and wealth. Because of the hardships endured by the early missionaries, who rejected their leisure, ease and comfort, thriving in misery to save as many people as they could, they were successful in bearing fruit to God by the intimate love of God’s Holy Spirit. In Romans 5:1-5 We can now see the results of their labor by the number of emerging ministers, specifically, young evangelists, pastors and leaders working day and night. These new ministers, planned seminars and non-profit ministries to help supply the needs of the poor, to hold medical or relief camps, to open education and welfare institutions, to create orphan centers or to plant new churches. They have truly brought changes in the life style of Christians in Pakistan. Large numbers of Christians have shifted their career from a blue collar to a white collar job. Every other day, people are receiving miracles that can be openly viewed on Christian channels.
Therefore, we agree that the manifestations of these emerging ministers’ hard work cannot be denied. But, wouldn’t it be dreadful to think that, after all that hard work, God does not know you? He has not acknowledged, approved or been intimately involved? Every Christian should seek for and seek to continually live in the secure answer to this question.
Yes, the busy life and hardship of every type of minister like you, impacts humanity; but wait a minute, seriously consider the following thought… “Are you intimate with God? Do you know if God really approved and confirmed you in your work for Him? Was it His life or yours, His will or yours, His Spirit or yours, His Kingdom or yours? Yes, He has to honor His name. Yes, you think you worked for Him, prophesying quite often, healing people several times but, did God approve of your ways and methods. Did God call you to do these things your way? Did you fail to also walk in the Spirit, practicing God’s morality and ethics in all of your Christian life and ministry? What eternal fruit have you produced? Will that which you built stand the test of God? If you are not secure concerning this intimacy and its approval and acknowledgment, God wants you to ponder on this.
The kingdom of God is an easy destination, because it truly is God who is working that out for you. However, not all will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is because the false motivations, teachings, methods and unethical behavior of some were not approved and will not be acknowledged by God. Though God will permit them to use His name, He will not approve or acknowledge the motivations for the work. Perhaps in modern words, He would say, “ I DON’T KNOW YOU because you were always busy in conducting seminars and ministries, using my name, staying busy in the work you thought was mine, but you were not seeking and abiding in me! I never knew you as my sheep for whom, in time, I died, and called you by name to hear my voice and follow Me. I have seen you, preaching falsely in my name, and at my table misapplying my ordinance; you approach My Judgment Throne with talk of the works you have done, but never with a single eye to my glory. Have you not read what I spoke through my servant Hosea to warn Israel? Hosea 8:1-14. Is it not written in Zechariah 4:6… ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.’ And in Phil. 2:12, 13… ‘Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.’” The leaders of Israel taught the people to look for signs and wonders and provision but they did not look for me. They struggled to obey in the flesh to achieve a destination. They went to obey but their heart was hardened. Without me the ship will sink. The house will fall.
Israel’s leaders had left the proper walk of relationship with the Lord and strove to keep that kingdom which they had thought they built and for which they were disciplined and eventually lost. Souls were not being truly saved and lead to walk in a right relationship with the Lord. They bore bad fruit. In like manner many ministers are following the same pattern to build with little or no good fruit. Deceived by false teaching, they practice false methods consuming great resources to little benefit. The blind leading the blind. They are developing a social Gospel without Christ. Their ministries are not building true strong disciples to be the temples God desires to live in. Those houses also known as the temples – souls, are not being built on the True Foundation of Jesus Christ. Judgment is against you for this.
There will come a day, when God will clearly profess that “Not everyone that says to me, Lord Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I NEVER KNEW YOU, depart from me you that work iniquity. ”Mathew 7: 21-23”For by grace you are saved through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Yes you worked for me but not with me. We didn’t have the proper CONNECTION I always strove for. I made Adam and Eve so that I could spend time with them. Genesis 3:8 So also was my purpose for you but, you gave less importance to FASTING and PRAYER, that is, SPENDING TIME WITH ME. You thought working for me most of your time would lead you to the kingdom of heaven? This is not My doctrine. Neither did I send you to build your kingdom. I called you to follow Me so I could build My church. You did not listen to My voice. I told Philip to go join the chariot and He followed. Acts 8:29 I guided Peter and He did as I said. (Acts 10) I stopped Paul on the way to Damascus and He followed Me while blinded to get My Spirit and guidance. Acts 21:4 They denied themselves and bore good fruit, exalting Me to bring souls into My Kingdom to build My Church. This is how I wanted you to work…to seek my guidance…ask from me so that the fruit you bore would be eternal…or just a few words would summarize…FAST and PRAY, listen to My Voice and walk in My ways.
But it’s very depressing to hear your Lord say, “You cannot enter my kingdom for I never knew you!”
Gill, John. “Commentary on Matthew 7:23”. “The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible”. “//www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-7.html”. 1999.
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. “Commentary on Matthew 7:23”. The Expositor’s Greek Testament. “//www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-7.html”. 1897-1910.