INTRODUCTION. While it is vitally important that a person come to that place where he knows the Lord, it is of much greater significance that the Lord knows him. This post considers the chilling situation where people found out on the last day that Jesus did not know them, despite their best efforts and impressive works.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23
This study is considering Matthew 7:21-23. In these verses, the question is not whether these people “know the Lord,” for it is apparent that they think they know Him. They call to the Lord in familiar tones. They assume they have a satisfactory acquaintance with Him to gain a favorable reply. These people even have impressive religious deeds that they present to the Lord as proof of their relationship. “Look, Lord, here’s all our work!” (7:22). But again, the question is not whether these people know the Lord. The question is, ”Does the sovereign Lord Jesus know them? And on that day the Lord gives the terrifying reply,
“I never knew you.”
You may profess to know the Lord, but does the Lord know you? That’s the question we must answer. Notice that many will come to Him on that day claiming to know Him (7:22). Apparently, it is common for people to assume they know Jesus savingly, but to be wrong in their assumption. Then, on that awesome last day, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne and separates the sheep from the goats, many who anticipated entering into the joy of the Master will be thrown out into the outer darkness.
“I never knew you. Depart from Me!” (Matt. 7:23).
“Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire” (Matt. 25:41).
O, there are no more devastating words imaginable. “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” These are words of ultimate judgment from the highest Judge. The sentence has been passed, a sentence that cannot be altered and that brings eternal ruin.
HOW CAN WE AVOID THEIR ERROR?
How could these people have been so disastrously mistaken about their own eternal destiny? More importantly, how can we make sure that we do not make the same catastrophic error? I believe that we can have confidence about our relationship with the Lord by remembering that the Lord is asking questions of His own about our relationship with Him.
QUESTIONS THE LORD MIGHT BE ASKING
The Lord might say, “Those whom I know come to Me in prayer for sweet times of fellowship. But how often have you come to Me simply to enjoy My presence? Do you delight in My company?” If you delight in the Lord’s company, then you can be certain He delights in you. “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people” (Psalm 149:4). If you fear the LORD, then you can be sure He knows you and favors you. “The LORD favors those who fear Him” (Psalm 147:11).
He may ask, “When you are afraid, do you come to Me and cry out for deliverance from your fears or rescue from the things that are making you fearful?” “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Jesus may be saying, “Those who know Me ‘cry aloud with their voice to Me. They make supplication with their voice to Me’ (Psalm 142:1), but I have not heard your voice calling to Me when you were afraid.” If you cry out to the LORD when you are afraid and trust Him to deliver you, you can be certain He knows you.
DO YOU TELL OTHERS ABOUT YOUR FRIEND, JESUS?
Jesus may ask, “When have you talked about Me with other people? Have you ‘been My witness even to the remotest part of the earth’ (Acts 1:8), or have you more often been silent about knowing Me, almost as if you were ‘ashamed of Me and My words’ (Luke 9:26)?” Know that the bold witness for the Lord is certainly known by the Lord.
We may hear Jesus say, “When have you told other people about My work of creation or about My finished work of salvation? Have you boasted of Me to friend and stranger alike, ‘that you understand and know Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth’ (Jeremiah 9:24)?
THE VOICE OF THE LORD
In the gospel of John, there is an emphasis on the voice of the Lord. In John 10, Jesus talks about the shepherd of the sheep, saying, “the sheep hear his voice and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). It is obvious that the Lord is speaking about Himself as the good shepherd (10:11) and the sheep as being those who truly know Him as their Shepherd. But as Jesus culminates His teaching, He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Have you heard Jesus’? Do you know what He sounds like? For Jesus knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him.
In John 20, after Jesus’ resurrection, Mary Magdalene is at the tomb weeping because the body of Jesus is gone (20:11, 13). The risen Jesus speaks to her (20:15), but in her grief and confusion, she does not recognize His voice. But notice that Jesus does recognize Mary and He does recognize her voice because Jesus knows His sheep (10:27). My point is Jesus knows her and knows her voice. But does the Savior know your voice? Is He familiar with your voice because the halls of heaven frequently ring with the sound of your voice? If you call to Him continually, you can be certain that He knows you.
We can be confident on that day that the Lord knows us if today we are delighting in Him and trusting Him when we are afraid and calling out to Him so that He knows our voice.
SDG rmb 7/7/2022 #552