April 10, 1994
I have mentioned several times that
this is the passage that the Lord used to speak to my heart in
1977. I had been offering many excuses to the Lord; excuses such
as: I would not be doing all these good works if I were not saved;
I believe John 3:16, that Jesus is the Son of God and rose from
the dead, &c. This is the passage the Lord used to point out
that all my good works and false assurances were useless before
Him, and that nothing but faith in the finished work of Christ
would save me.
The Lord gave the parable of the sower and the 4 types of ground in Mat 13; He then gave 6 more parables to explain the one. In the 7 parables of Mat 13, we are given assurance that there will be false prophets and false converts as long as there is an earthly, visible church. The Lord presented a surprising numbers of warnings about false converts and teachers in His world.
Though this passage applies to the average person, I believe it is directed primarily toward the false prophets. Notice how it opens: V. 22.Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works.
The Lord is addressing those active in His work in the name of the Lord.
To me, this is one of the most serious passages in Scripture because it deals with false assurances of those who are convinced they are God's people, but they have never been converted by the power of the Spirit of God.
This passage, therefore, includes everyone, teacher and student, who believes they are delivering and doing God's word. Only serious study of God's word will reveal the truth about the matter.
I must shamefully admit that I tried to give many people false assurance by telling them if they would only "pray this prayer," they would be saved. There was no sign of Holy Spirit conviction when they "prayed this prayer." Of course, only the Lord knows, but I believe that a vast majority of those folks will stand before the Lord and say, "I prayed that prayer, and I have done many wonderful works "
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before.
Our Lord warned us of false conversions and false prophets, so no one can say, "Why did You not tell me?"
Of course, this passage is not exclusively speaking of false prophets. The warning is to every man, woman and child: good works and "Godly desires" do not guarantee entrance into the kingdom of God. Good works are outward evidences of those who are members of the kingdom of heaven. Outward good works simply bear witness of the inward good work of the Spirit of God who worked repentance, conversion and salvation.
The striking point about this passage is the deception of the ones who are now finding out the truth in the final day of judgment. The ones in this passage are not knowingly teaching and believing false doctrine; they are as serious as a heart attack, and so firmly convinced that they willingly stake their eternal welfare on their false faith.
They, the false prophets, are dangerous because of their commitment to their message: their message may even be true, but they are unconverted.
This passage shows us several things:
1) Every person will stand individually before the Lord to answer for his own self, Not ever one...
2) Many will say to me... The Lord is prophesying of what will take place in that final judgment. The problem of false conversions and teachers will not be unique; rather, it will be a very prevalent problem. There will be many who will stand before Him with false assurance, but they will not find the truth until it is to late.
3) The thing that got my attention about this passage back in 1977 was the sincerity of the false prophets and unconverted when they stood before the Lord: they could not be more sincere.
They had called on the name of the Lord. They had prophesied in the name of the Lord. They had faithfully preached and taught the word of God. They had faithfully prayed and cried out to the Lord. They understood the Bible maybe even better than most converted folks. They kept the law and did the things pleasing in His sight, but they did those things apart from conversion. They cried out against the evils of their day. They prophesied, cast out devils and did many wonderful works in the Lord's name.
Overall, their commitment to the Lord and His word was stronger than the commitment of those truly converted. All their outward fruit was identical to the fruit of those truly converted. And because they had been so sincerely committed to the Lord, they were totally shocked when confronted by the Lord.
Clearly though, many false prophets realize very well what they are doing. I heard about Robert Tiltion in his early years. Reportedly, he saw the gullibility of "Christians," so he "went for the gold." Thus he knew and knows full well what he is doing as he "shears the sheep." But, sadly, the "sheep" apparently want to be sheared, or they would not finance his lavish lifestyle.
4) wonderful works done in the Lord's name by those not born again from above are works of iniquity. Remember, they are wolves in sheep's clothing even though they may not have realize they were actually wolves.
(Walt Disney has a cartoon, "Lambert, the sheepish lion." The lion cub is raised by sheep, he acts like a sheep, tries to sound like a sheep, but in the end, the truth comes out under pressure. He is a lion! There are many like that, according to our Lord's words here, that are totally convinced they are sheep. But they have never been born again as a sheep of His pasture.
V. 17, but their wonderful works are corrupt because of their lack of conversion.
5) In that great day of judgment, the Word of God will profess unto those sincere but unconverted individuals who have appeared to do the will of the Heavenly Father, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
But a person does not have to wait until the final judgment to be told the truth by the Word of God. He can find out this side of the final judgment.
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
A corresponding passage is found in John Chapter 6:22-66. It is a lengthy passage, so I will only pull a few points out of it.
A) Vv. 28, 29, the work of God is belief on the Son of God sent by the Father to be the sacrifice for sin. We have mentioned many times in the past the definition of believe. It is not the acknowledging and believing the truth of a historical fact, for the devils believe and tremble. It is total trust in and dependance upon the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to pay for our sins.
B) Mat 18:1-6, V. 4 gives us the will of the Father.
John 6:37-40, It was/is will of the Father that all who come to Christ will be received and kept until the final day. Every one will be safely delivered to the Father in the end.
C) Vv. 48-59, again Jesus used the literal to explain the spiritual. His hearers, though they professed to be experts in the law, just could not understand what the Lord was talking about. Isaiah told many times over of the blindness of this people, e.g. Isa 6:9, 10. The purpose of the blindness was so the message would go to the gentiles, Mat 13:13-16.
C) Vv. 60-66, Christ's message was offensive as He taught the absolute necessity of the individual hearing the gospel of Christ, understanding that gospel and then being drawn by the Spirit to the person and work of Christ.
D) V. 63 He taught that life can only come through a work of the Spirit of God in the heart.
E) He taught that though one knows, understands and believes all the law and prophets concerning Himself and His work, all that knowledge will not provide everlasting life. The Spirit must still draw that person to faith in Christ: he must still come to Christ as his only hope of life and peace. His teaching offended many, v. 66.
We can easily follow in the NT the prevalence of the teaching that proper birth and circumcision assured of everlasting life. Those who had that false confidence pursued and persecuted Paul wherever he went with the gospel of faith in Christ. The teaching that birth and circumcision assured of heaven was prevalent until the time Jerusalem was destroyed.
Nor did the Lord's doctrine set well with many of His followers. It caused many to depart from Him.
Clearly, the Lord warned those who stand before Him in Mat 7:21 that not every one who said, Lord, Lord would enter the kingdom of heaven.
He had warned them that entrance into the kingdom was only through conversion & faith in the finished work of Christ in place of the sinner.
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