The time Jesus told people “Depart from me!” – Becoming Disciplemakers, Part 2

What is discipleship?

It is crossing The Matthew 7 line.

Our Faith Church logo has four squares, with a vertical line in the middle.  We call that the Matthew 7 line.  Let me explain.

In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus teaches one of his most important, I think, and revealing parables.  What he says there, I call the Matthew 7 line. 

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus introduces us to people who want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  That should resonate because I suspect just about everyone reading this blog wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And yet, what Jesus says is very disappointing, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Imagine that. People there at the gates of heaven, thinking they are getting in.  Thinking they have a close enough relationship to Jesus.  They even call him “Lord, Lord,” as if he actually is their Lord. 

Jesus looks at them and says, “Wait a minute, there is a different criteria for getting into the Kingdom of heaven.”  See the end of verse 21.  Jesus says that the only people who can enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who do the will of his father in heaven. 

Well, right away, these people think, “Good, I have done God’s will!”  Those people are happy, believing they have it made because they did God’s will.  In fact they can prove it.  They can look at their lives and present the evidence of how they did God’s will.  So they start telling Jesus all about it, “Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name.  We drove out demons in your name, and we even performed miracles.”

They’re not lying.  That would be ridiculous.  Jesus could say, “Uh, no you didn’t.”  So these people truly did some pretty amazing things, and they did so in his name.  You and I, if we came across people doing miracles and exorcisms, we would think “Woah…the Holy Spirit is at work in that person’s life! They are definitely making it into the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

You can see why these people thought they were good to go.  You can see why they thought that the evidence of these miracles guaranteed that they were getting in the Kingdom of heaven.   

What Jesus says in response to them is shocking, “I got some news for you.  I never knew you.  Depart from me you evildoers.”

If I was one of those miracle workers, I would be totally surprised by this.  I’m thinking, “No way, Jesus, this cannot be.” 

You know what you and I can learn from this parable?  That there are people who will think they are absolutely positively going to heaven, and they will be shocked to learn that they are wrong. 

That freaks me out.  Let’s be frank.  This passage should give all of us cause to hit the pause button on life and ask ourselves about our relationship with God.  This is why I think this teaching is one of the most important in all of Jesus’ teachings. 

I want every reader of this blog to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.”  But I am concerned that if all we are is worshipers and fellowshipers, we will hear “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

We need to cross the Matthew 7 line.  We need to do what Jesus says here in Matthew 7:21.  If we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, what we need to do, he says, in verse 23 is to know him.  But what does that mean, “to know him”?  Those people sure seemed to know him. They even did miracles and cast demons out of people.  How can Jesus say that they didn’t know him?

In verse 21 he gives us a pretty bold clue as to what it means to know him.   He does not say “believe in your heart.”  He does not say “do religious stuff”.  That’s what the people in verse 22 think qualifies them to make it in the Kingdom.  Jesus says “Nope. There is something else.”  Look again at verse 21.  He says that the only ones who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who do the will of the father in heaven.

And what is his will? 

We’ll talk about that in the next post.

Photo by John Bussell on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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