“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].” – Matthew 7:21-23 (AMPC)
When we refer to someone by a specific title, like ‘Doctor’ or ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’, we are acknowledging and claiming with our words what we think reflects either their position, or our relationship with them, or both. In the above verse, Jesus is saying that there are people who say to Him or call Him ‘Lord, Lord’. In other words, there are those who acknowledge His Lordship (His position), or declare their relationship with Him (His Lordship over their lives), or both. However, He says that not everyone who does this, as in, not everyone who addresses Him as ‘Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus puts an emphasis on instead is on what a person does in relation to the will of the Father.
The guarantee that we will end up in heaven cannot come from what we proclaim with our mouth only.
God looks beyond our words. He judges everyone according to their deeds, not just their declarations (Romans 2:6). Not everyone who claims Jesus’ Lordship, or claims to have come under it is guaranteed access into heaven unless he/she is acting in accordance with the will of the Father. So, if we put our words aside, the question is, what are we doing? What are we practicing? What do our actions show? In the verse above, when Jesus says, “the will of My Father”, He is referring to the commands and principles which God has set for us to live by. Our attention should be on where we stand in relation to these standards, for it is a person who does them and lives in accordance with them who’ll be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, if what we’re practicing is in opposition to God’s will and principles, although we may be calling him ‘Lord’, where we will end up for eternity is questionable.
The above verses do not only show the fate of those who just address Jesus as ‘Lord’, but also of those who even minister in His name.
There will be many who prophesy in His name, drive out demons in His name and perform many mighty works in His name. But many (not just few, but many), will later be rejected. There will be many such people who will be turned away on that day it will be shocking. These people who will bring their case before the Lord as stated in the above verse, will successfully perform prophesies, exorcisms, and mighty works. Otherwise, they would not present them before the Lord to negotiate their access into heaven. They will be saying to Jesus that they actually accomplished these things. What’s more, these people would not have been doing these things in the name of psychics, or magic, or anything else. They will be saying they did these things in Jesus’ name and Jesus says He will completely reject many of them. He will not just reject their works, but He will reject them – the people themselves.
Not only just calling Jesus ‘Lord’, but none of these ministries or any ministry at all by itself can be a guarantee of entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Someone could have a great ministry and may be doing many miraculous works in the name of Jesus. However, this does not automatically mean that they have a place in heaven. Jesus will be looking beyond ministries when that day comes. He will be saying to many people (despite their ministry), that they acted wickedly because they disregarded His commands.
Definition: to pay no attention to; treat as unworthy of regard or notice
Synonyms: apathy, casualness, complacence, disinterestedness, incuriosity, incuriousness, indifference, unconcern
He will completely reject these people and tell them to depart from Him. So even when someone has a ministry, whether it’s big or small or medium, what really matters is whether a person is living according to the will of the Father – to his commands and principles.
All this however, does not diminish the importance of declarations or ministry. They are both very important to God. God wants our verbal declarations and confessions – Jesus said, “Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:33 (NKJV). God also wants our ministry. He wants the gifts and ministries he has given us to be operational as they are given for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). However, these things alone cannot be what we put our reliance upon as they will not cover up and excuse our actions which are in opposition to the will of God. Therefore, if our declarations alone cannot provide us security, and even if our ministry alone cannot provide security, what does?
Jesus goes on to say in the same message…
“So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock.” – Matthew 7:24 (AMPC)
What Jesus is referring to when He says “these words of Mine” in this verse is to the commands, values, and principles He teaches. So, everyone who hears and acts upon them, is likened to a smart man who builds his house upon the rock.
“And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” – Matthew 7:25 (AMPC)
A life that is built upon obedience to God’s words is like this house built upon the rock – it is stable, secure, and has been founded correctly.
Acting upon the commands, values, and principles of God, is what is going to sustain us until the end and ensure we remain standing. This is where our security is going to come from when we stand before Jesus on that day – not our declarations or our ministry.
“And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great and complete was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:26-27 (AMPC)
A life that is not built upon obedience to God’s commands will fall.
No matter how wonderfully it may have been built, if it is not founded on obedience to God’s principles, it will fall – “and great and complete” will be that fall. It will be one of those “depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]” kind of cases. It will be unpleasant. Therefore, we must prioritise acting upon and living according to the commands, principles, and values of God above all else. To do so, we must first know what they are, mainly through the careful study of the Word of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit. Taking time to learn is very important. Otherwise, we will be guessing and assuming as to what the will of God is. This would be gambling with our lives as where we end up for eternity is depending on it. As we learn his will, we must act upon it. We must pay careful attention to our lives – our actions, lifestyle and what we’re practicing – and measure them against the standards set in the word of God. Where we find that our life is not in alignment to these principles, we must repent, receive God’s forgiveness, and quickly make the necessary changes always relying on the grace of God.
Our foundation must be obedience to his commands and principles.
This must be what we build everything else upon. A life that is built on this foundation will remain standing when that day comes when it is brought before the throne of Jesus. Not only will it remain standing, but whether it is declarations or ministry, it will be accepted on that day and will even bring rewards – but only if it was built on obedience to God’s principles.
By guest writer Abby Folle
God Loves You, Always & Forever!5