“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’Matthew 7:21-23 NIV
In the world today, as in the past centuries of Christian history, there are many who claim to be disciples of Jesus. And it can be a challenge to distinguish true disciples from false disciples. We may take the approach that we should not judge whether or not a person is a true disciple or not. But in the previous passage Jesus gave us one test of true discipleship; look at the fruit they produce.
In this passage Jesus gave us another test. Do you do the will of the Father above. Those who do will enter the Kingdom of God. Those who do not will be rejected and cast out.
Jesus divided professing believers into two groups based on this test. The one group called him Lord. They prophesied in Jesus’ name. They drove out demons. And they performed miracles in Jesus’ name. In today’s world we might say that they taught Sunday school, they tithed, and were faithful in attendance whenever the church gathered.
But what did Jesus say to them? He told them words that no one wants to hear. I don’t know you. Go away, you evildoers. That sounds awfully harsh for those who had done so much. But one thing they had failed to do. The will of the Father. They had substituted other, commendable, activities for doing the Father’s will.
The Father’s Will
What is the Father’s will that they have failed to do? That may vary slightly depending on what God has called you to. But his general will for us can be summed up in one word. Love. Jesus identifies the two greatest commandments as loving God and loving others.
God is not as concerned with our exterior activities as he is with our relationships. We need to develop a love relationship with God. And we need to selflessly love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do all of that good stuff. But don’t let it be a substitute for doing the Father’s will. Love!
Other Posts in the Sermon on the Mount
- An Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
- Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:3-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Salt and Light – Matthew 5:13-16
- Sermon on the Mount: Understanding the Law – Matt. 5:17-20
- Sermon on the Mount: Resolving Conflict – Matthew 5:21-22
- Sermon on the Mount: Committing Adultery – Matthew 5:27-30
- Sermon on the Mount: Divorce – Matthew 5:31-32
- Sermon on the Mount: Taking Oaths – Matthew 5:33-37
- Sermon on the Mount: Turn the Other Cheek – Matt. 5:38-42
- Sermon on the Mount: Love Your Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48
- Sermon on the Mount: Give to the Needy – Matthew 6:1-4
- Sermon on the Mount: How to Pray – Matthew 6:5-8
- Sermon on the Mount: the Model Prayer – Matthew 6:9-15
- Sermon on the Mount: Fasting – Matthew 6:16-18
- Sermon on the Mount: Treasure in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-24
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
- Sermon on the Mount: Do Not Judge – Matthew 7:1-6
- Sermon on the Mount: Ask, Seek, and Knock – Matthew 7:7-12
- Sermon on the Mount: Narrow and Wide Gates – Matt. 7:13-14
- Sermon on the Mount: True and False Disciples – Matt. 7:21-23
- Sermon on the Mount: Build on Rock or Sand? – Matt 7:24-27
- Sermon on the Mount: False Prophets – Matt. 7:15-20
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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