I Never Knew You, Depart From Me - Who Is Jesus Talking to?
For many years I have pondered this verse in the book of Matthew. Who are these people who hear these words saying Jesus never knew them and that they have to depart from Him. It is a scary verse and I would never want those words said to me, so I have been wondering for many years what it meant. Now I feel I know what it means. Read with me.
Jesus starts the discussion with some words that give us a key to interpret what He is saying in these verses.
Matthew 7 13- 15
13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
The proper Christian life is best expressed by when Jesus said, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. A life that does not have self-denial in it, is not one that is pleasing to Jesus. Jesus and the apostles talk a lot about how people who have wealth should really be careful about the way that they live their life. Paul warns that money can be the root of all types of sin. Jesus says you cannot serve God and money. Jesus tells a parable about the rich man and Lazarus pointing out that wealth can be a barrier to eternal life.
We live in a world where the be rich, healthy and blessed Gospel is being preached and millions of Christians are being told that having the best that can bought in life is quite okay. People do not understand the truth of self-denial and sharing with the poor that Jesus and His apostles taught. There are millions of Christians headed down the broad way that leads to destruction. Many people do have any concept that focusing on the things of this world is a form of Idolatry. God will not stand for people whom are called by His name to have idols in their heart and people who preach that you can be rich and enjoy everything that takes your fancy are teaching you into error. Teachers that use the platform of a pulpit or write books saying that God wants you to be blessed without measure, without any form of self-denial and giving up some your wealth to the poor are the revenues wolves that are masquerading as sheep.
The wolves prey on sheep. They eat sheep and in this case I am speaking about they are people who preach the prosperity gospel who teach you that if you give to them, that God will bless you a hundred-fold so you to can enjoy your wealth just like them. They preach something that does not work for anyone but them. They prey on their listeners and readers and people are so desperate to get ahead and prosper in life that they even go into debt on their credit cards to give to them. They preach a doctrine that people really want to hear and who really want to happen for them.
Paul spoke about these teachers here when he said:
2 Timothy 4:2-4
2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
If you seek to be rich and give to God so that you will become rich, then I can assure you of something, God is not going to make you rich. You are believing fables and carefully worded stories. People want to be rich, have an expensive house, two to three cars and all the best that money can buy and they want God to bless them with it all. Yet Jesus said if we want to follow Him we must first deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him in the way that He lived.
If you are really free with your money and give to the Lord because you love Him, and you give to missions and charities because you are full of love and want to see people blessed, then God is more persuaded to give you more money because He knows you won't change and you will still keep giving to worthy causes.
False prophets don't just appear out of nowhere and lead people astray. We as selfish people who want everything for ourselves heap up to ourselves teachers that will say what we want to hear. Many of us are so selfish and yet cannot see that we are.
Peter spoke of the false prophets saying that they speak great stories of emptiness( fables) and lead people away through people lusting for things of the flesh.
2 Peter 2:18
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
It is almost scandalous! The fact that we could be saved by the grace of Jesus and then because we want to be materially rich and happy with the worldly trappings that brings be deceived through false prophets and teachers and end up losing our inheritance with Christ.
In the Old Testament a false prophet was identified as a person that leads people to serve another God. In those days if a prophet was caught doing that, they were stoned to death. I put it to you that we have ravenous wolves in our churches preaching the prosperity doctrine that are teaching people to serve the lusts of the flesh and money today.
These Charismatic and Pentecostal preachers may lead people to salvation, they may prophesy correctly and cast out demons, and yet they have a heart set on Mammon.
These teachers are those that Jesus spoke about when He said.
21 "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. 22 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?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
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