94. “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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” -Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23
Here Jesus says that true believers will be characterized by doing the will of the Heavenly Father, the will revealed in the pages of the Bible. To do God’s will is to do what God wants, and Scripture is filled with commands for believers to fulfill as part of their joyful response to God’s grace. Note here the ones not getting into Heaven are not ones said to have lost their salvation or even rejected it. They even have done wonderful things, supposedly in the name of Jesus. But they thought they could sin all they wanted to (practice lawlessness) and then do some Christian-like things, and they would get into Heaven. The kind of things they brag to Jesus about doing currently fill stadiums and raise huge offerings when the plates are passed. Men in thousand dollar suits act like they have a special hotline to God! In the past some men like this have been exposed as involved in all sorts of wickedness behind the scenes. Their problem is that many people like this accept Jesus on their terms but not on His! The result is that they seem to the naïve to talk the talk and walk the walk, but they will be exposed as frauds on judgment day. They never truly repented and turned to God. They remind me of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9 that had confidence in himself and tried to impress God with his own righteousness rather than saying “God have mercy on me, a sinner!” Jesus’ words here are so important! Let no one think that after “accepting Jesus” they can go out and do whatever they want, give their leftovers to God, and go to Heaven. Many who believe you can’t be sure of your salvation think this way because they are disgusted at people who claim to know God and yet their lifestyle mocks God, the gospel, and the church. I have sympathies with them because I hate it when I see people take God’s truth for granted. But just as we are not to preach what we think people want to hear, we are not to hold back on preaching exactly what’s in the Bible, and the Bible sounds forth the message of grace over and over again. God makes clear that this side of the cross He wants us to serve Him out of gratitude and joy, not out of fear or worry. Some will take advantage of this teaching, but we must teach what the Bible teaches. God will take care of he phonies on judgment day. Again, this passage can’t be used to say a person can ever be truly saved and lose their salvation, because Jesus states forthrightly this kind of person was NEVER KNOWN BY HIM in the first place!
95. ”Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.’” -Jesus in Matthew 25:37-40
Here we see Jesus referring to a future day of judgment where He will separate those He calls sheep and the goats. In John 10 and other places sheep is a metaphor for those who are true followers of Jesus Christ. Here Jesus says that doing good deeds for others is characteristic of His sheep, good deeds done for Jews (‘my brothers’) and fellow believers and extending to others as able (Galatians 6:10). They were always seeing needs and meeting needs! In contrast, the goats will be the ones who saw needs but refused to get involved. They lived selfish lives that didn’t have room to help others. Friend, if you are truly born again, you will be a “first responder” to needs, ministering to others as if you were ministering to Jesus Himself. This theme is repeated throughout the New Testament, like Titus 3:14, which says, “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”
96. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20
In this great passage, referred to by Christians as the Great Commission, we find that true believers should have the task of world evangelism and disciple making ever before them. Some have said that if you teach the kind of things we have shared directly about God’s grace in salvation, your hearers will be reluctant to embrace the missionary spirit. But all one needs to do is look at the pages of history to see that many of the most evangelistic pastors, evangelists, and missionaries emphasized the same scriptural themes. Why? Because they chose to believe everything the Scriptures teach, not isolating verses or pitting texts against each other. Jesus said be witnesses, so they were witnesses! They read that if they preached, the Word would not return void, so they preached! They read that the Holy Spirit would draw folks unto salvation, so they relied on Him! They refused to use gimmicks to elicit emotional responses, and they saw lasting results from their labors. God said all the glory was to go to Him, and so all the glory went to Him! They read that if people were truly born again, God had done it, and those converts would bear fruit over time. Jesus said He was with them forever, so they felt eternally secure in His love and salvation, serving the Lord with glad and grateful hearts!