You did what in my name?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matt. 7:21-23
BUT LORD, OUR WORSHIP SERVICES ARE AWESOME!
North Central University (a Pentecostal university in Minneapolis, Minn.) Chapel Spokesperson, Betsy Tolingsworth explains, “The church is locked into a bloody battle with MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and Star Wars, for the hearts and minds of the young people of this country. We need to prove our worship services are a mind-bending, edge of your seat thriller experience just like any other entertainment venue. Plus, we spent so much money on this stuff, we’re kind of stuck using it now.”
BUT LORD, WE BUILT THE BIGGEST CHURCH IN THE U.S.A.!
BUT LORD, I SPOKE WITH TONGUES AND DANCED IN THE SPIRIT!
BUT LORD, I HEALED THE SICK!
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt. 25:31-46
Yeah, sure. But we have to look at the difference between the people on Jesus’ left (goats) and on his right (sheep) to truly understand what these scriptures are telling us. We have to look at their attitude – the intent of their heart.
The “goats” are those who have acted in a self-serving manner, thinking primarily of themselves and what they’ve accomplished. Notice they say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” They boasted about their works. But what was Jesus’ answer?
Unbelievably, he said “I never knew you”! They were arrogant and proud, the very sin of Lucifer. It appears that the goats are those who want to “make a name for themselves.” Now where else do we see that?
In Genesis 11:4 it says, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.'”
God didn’t scatter the people who were building the Tower of Babel because He was afraid they’d reach the heavens, even though that’s what most Christians believe. That’s ridiculous! What would God Almighty need to be afraid of?
No, God punished them because of their pride and arrogance.
On the other hand, Jesus pointed out that those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, invited in the stranger, and visited the sick and imprisoned would spend eternity with Him.
HE KNEW THEM!
And He knew them, because they acted like He did. They operated in the same Spirit as Jesus, and didn’t even realize it! It was natural. “When did we do those things?” they said. Their true salvation is in the fact that they never thought twice about doing the things Jesus did, because He lived in them. His Spirit – the Holy Spirit (see the Fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5) – dwelt in them. It was obvious to the King that these “sheep” had truly accepted Jesus into their hearts, because He witnessed the outpouring of His love into the lives of others.
THIS IS NOT A SOCIAL GOSPEL, NOR IS IT SALVATION BY WORKS.
No, we must accept the atonement Jesus provided for us on Calvary to enter eternal life, but if we don’t have works to prove our faith, then we don’t have faith. It’s as simple as that.
And for all those who are arrogant and want to make a name for themselves, there is hell to pay. Literally.
I will say here that in the last 35 years I have witnessed more pastors and church leaders who are full of themselves than I care to mention. They may do “good works,” but it’s usually with the intention of taking credit, gaining power, making money, increasing the size of their churches, and gathering the adulation of men to themselves. I’ve seen it over and over and over again. And recently, I learned of another pastor caught up in a five-year-long adulterous affair, who has not and will not be corrected properly because he has no real accountability to anybody. This is the height of arrogance and pride. It scares me to think of the consequences, especially because I love this man.
I realize I’m not without fault, but I also have not set myself up as a ruler or teacher over others, then lorded over people in such a manner as to “make a name for myself.” “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
It’s safe to say that Jesus doesn’t truly “know” people like this, even though they have titles, degrees, gifts, callings, mega churches or great ministries. Pride and arrogance suck salvation right out of men’s souls, leaving them “whited sepulchres, full of dead men’s bones,” just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.
He hated what they represented then, and it’s no different today.
We must stay humble if we expect to follow Jesus. It’s the only way.
“Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:5-10