Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:21-23).
These are the words of Jesus. He is speaking about an event that will take place in the future. This is not guess work, this is history told before hand. These verses will be fulfilled “in that day,” that is, on judgment day.
The deception is not a slight one. It is not a minor issue that they are deceived about. The result of their deception is that they “Shall not enter the kingdom.” Friend, you had better listen carefully. Jesus is warning people about a deception that is a heaven and hell issue. Fall for this deception and you will go to hell. It is your salvation that is at issue.
Now listen again to the Lord Jesus Christ. He can not be mistaken. He is infallible and is telling us how things are going to be. He says that the extent of this deception is going to be great. It is so great that “many” are going to fall for it. Many are going to go to hell because of it. Many are going to believe that they are saved when in fact they are lost.
And again, listen to the sincere surprise that will be in the mouths of those so deceived, “have we not” done all that Christians do. The plain simple fact is that they didn’t know they were counterfeit Christians, they didn’t know they were deceived. Maybe you are one of those who honestly believes that you are a Christian. May I suggest that you make sure you are not deceived.
The verdict of the Lord is clear, “depart from Me.” Banished to hell because we believed a lie. Banished from the blessed presence of God because we were lulled into a false hope. Banished from the habitation of heaven because we listened to a confused and lukewarm church.
Substitute Talk For Obedience: There are three things counterfeit Christians do. The first thing counterfeit Christians do is substitute talk for obedience. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Another translation puts it this way, “Not everyone who says that I am his Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven” (NCV). Merely saying that Jesus is your Lord will not save you.
You must really, honestly make Him Lord of your life. He must be the Controller of your thoughts, words, and deeds. You must be completely Christ centered, and not self-centered. You must do what’s right when you don’t feel like doing it. You must deny self and live for Christ and Christ alone. You must obey the Bible and stay as far away from evil as possible.
Learning Christianeeze doesn’t make you a Christian. You must do what is right, not just say the right words. Talk is cheep. You may have a wonderful Christian vocabulary, but do you have a wonderful Christian life. Would your wife, husband, kids, and friends describe you as Christ-like? Or are you so worldly that one would have a hard time telling the difference. Are you so worldly minded that you are of no earthly good. Do you lie, tell dirty jocks, drink, smoke, and party. Do you surf the net to fulfill your addiction for pornography. Do you lust and fantasize about other women or men. Do you honestly think such things befit a follower of Christ?
Believing that you are a Christian will not save you. I can believe I’m a hamburger, but that doesn’t make me one. I really do not care what your pastor has taught you or what you have seen on TBN, Jesus is clear, obedience is not optional. “They profess to know God, but in works deny Him, being . . . disobedient. . .” (Titus 1:16). If you talk the talk, you better walk the walk. Beware of self-deception.
Listen, obedience is required. It is NOT optional. Obedience is the only safe test of true commitment to God. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. . . . He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (John 14:23-24). If you don’t obey God, you don’t love Him. And if you don’t love Him, you have broken the greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart (Matthew 22:37). Now surely you can not be so blind as to think you can go to heaven breaking the greatest commandment. Disobedience results in punishment, continued disobedience results in endless punishment.
Making Jesus Lord means that you make Jesus the Controller and Master of your thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds without reservation. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). It is better to obey. We cannot substitute sacrifices for obedience. The blood of Christ only covers forsaken sin. You can not live in sin and be in God.
“And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Only doing the will of God is acceptable to God. Only the obedient may expect to receive forgiveness. If you want to abide forever with God, then do God’s will. Obey the Bible. Quite playing religious games. Quite substituting words for deeds, and talk for action. Jesus asks you, “why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Why do you say you are a Christian but live like the rest of the world. Why are so so caught up in building you own little kingdom on earth that you have so very little time or money for His kingdom. You are a dishonor to the name Christian.
Substitute Works For Faith: The second thing counterfeit Christians do is substitute works for faith. Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (Matthew 7:22). Notice Jesus never denied that they did in fact prophesy, cast out demons, and do many miracles in His name. Miracles are not the sure sign of God’s approval. Recent history tells of a healing evangelist that performed many healings, but died a drunk. Another with even greater miracles, fell into the sin of pride and declared himself to be Elijah that was to come. Many times God heals, not because of, but in spite of a healing evangelist. Here is a possible example of taking credit for something that we really had no right to. Benny Hinn has yet to heal even one person. He simply has no healing to offer. If people are healed, they are healed by the Lord. Therefore only the Lord should receive the credit.
Furthermore, the number of miracles does not matter. Notice Jesus said that they claimed to have done “many” miracles. Really only God can do a miracle. Let’s give credit to God. And let us not forget that the devil has his counterfeit miracles as well. I am not against miracles, I am just against judging people by the wrong standard. Miracles mean nothing, Jesus said you will know people by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). Judge your fruit. Do you have the fruit of the Spirit? Are you loving, joyful, peaceful, long-suffering, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22). If you are not, then you fail the fruit inspection and are deceived if you believe that you are a Christian.
The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). You are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. Faith is the will’s reception of truth. It is a whole hearted trust and confidence in God’s goodness, wisdom and faithfulness. You are not saved by good works, rather you are saved for Good works.
You need to know the difference between outward obedience and inward obedience. The Lord God said, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6). Where is your heart? You may fool me, but you’re not going to fool God. Are you obeying God because you truly love Him and desire with all your heart to serve Him, or are you obeying because you have to, because you don’t want to go to hell. Your heart is not really in your obedience. You are deceived. God will not accept a mere show. He does not want your things, He wants you. The terms of surrender are unconditional. You must give all you are, all you have, and all you desire to God. There will be no compromise on the terms of surrender. It is all or nothing! Period.
Substitute Religion for Relationship: The third thing counterfeit Christians do is substitute religion for relationship. Again Jesus said, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:23). Do you know Jesus personally. Christianity is not a religion that you practice, but a Person that you love. Don’t be confused about this important truth. Let me repeat it. Christianity is not a religion that you practice, but a Person that you love. Christ is Christianity and Christianity is Christ.
A relationship begins when we choose to attach ourselves to another person. We then do things together. There is a mutual sharing of thoughts and feelings. Jesus talks to us primarily through the Bible, while we talk to Jesus in prayer. Jesus talks to us through the Bible by having the Holy Spirit quicken Scripture to our minds. He brings to remembrance the words of God (John 14:26). Jesus speaks to us when the Bible speaks to us. But we must be people of the Book in order to be hearers of His word..
Jesus promised, “And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). Has Jesus revealed Himself to you? Maybe you need to fall in love with Jesus. Or maybe “you have left your first love” and need to fall in love with Jesus all over again (Revelation 2:4). To know Him is to love Him. Listen closely friend, Jesus is speaking to your heart, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Christ invites you to lay down your weapons and become friends with Him.
The One Question: Picture judgment day. You stand before the great white throne. God is calling you to stand before Him. You approach the majestic throne as fear and awe fill your heart and mind. The question on God’s lips is not did you go to church, did you act religious, did you study theology, did you receive communion, did you get confirmed, did you join a church, did you tithe your income, did you serve on the church board, or a hundred other questions. His one question, his one concern, is “Did you know personally and love supremely My Son, Jesus Christ?”
“Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ’s presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren’t at all?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 LB).
Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology