It's the one verse in the entire Bible that should give all of us pause no matter how secure we think we are. I'll admit, it's the one verse that has always made me really uncomfortable because of the frightening future it foretells.
Let's face it, whether we want to admit it or not, the harsh reality is that the Bible tells us that there will be many Christians who will think "they're all good" with God, but who will be in for a rude awakening.
There will be millions of so-called "Christians" who will not be counted worthy of the escape when it comes. Keep in mind, they might all be very sincere in their love for Jesus Christ and in their pursuit of the truth, but we're told that won't matter.
These will be people who did this, that, and the other in Jesus' name, but as things stand today, they don't know Him. Go re-read Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants."
These will be people who have been "churched," which is to say, institutionalized, branded, and packaged in so-called "Christianity" (more appropriately called "Churchianity") all their lives, yet, they still don't know Him. On the day of the escape, when they are not counted worthy, it will be a shocking wake-up call to many of them. They will then know for a fact that "playing church" as they have done their whole lives doesn't cut it.
Some of these people will wake-up at that time, figure out what it was they were doing wrong, and change course. These people will join the 144,000 Sealed Servants of God in doing their part for the Kingdom of our God during Daniel's 70th Week.
No, I'm not painting with a broad brush, but most of "Churchianity" today is big business. It's Tax Exempt with a largely volunteer staff to support a system of religious CEO's known as "Pastors" who act as clergy over the laity in a system the Lord HATES. Read Revelation 2-3 again, and recall the "Nicolaitans."
It's a system that involves the word "laity," which is sadly the EXACT idolatrous system in 99.9% of all the churches in the world today. A plurality of elders oversees the flock, not a single guru, or CEO type that the ungodly pastoral system has setup today. We see the word "elders" all over the place in the Bible, and the word "pastor" one time in the Book of Ephesians. I think there might be a message in there.
What the Body of Christ is and is not will become clearer as the pressure ratchets up in this world. The multi-million dollar monuments to men that have been built in the name of God are going to become ruins in the not too distant future. Think about all the money spent to sustain the glory of man, while people starve to death, are homeless, and naked in this world. The Body of Christ is an organic, living, breathing organism - - not a man made organization. The Body of Christ is not an institution to "church" people. If you are "unchurched" thank God for it, it's that much less you have to unlearn.
Look, I'm not saying that going to church isn't important. After all, we don't want to be "spiritual islands" either. I'm just saying that within the framework of this verse in Matthew, the harsh reality and unfortunate truth is that the modern-day, mega-church culture is what will be directly responsible for this future incident.
You hear religious "leaders" today whispering sweet nothings into people's ears as if it will be one big party on the day of the coming escape. It won't be. What a sobering thought is this Matthew 7:21 verse. How do we reconcile this about what we believe about our position in Christ today? The Lord always warns first. He is patient, and He is gracious, but He doesn't warn forever either. Eventually He will act, and when He does, many will learn the lessons they should have learned earlier, but they'll learn them the hard way.
The true Body of Christ today is weak and scattered to the four winds. Re-read Revelation 3, and you'll find the message to the Church of Philadelphia. That's the church found worthy to be "kept" from the trial coming on the whole Earth. What does the Lord say about them? They have little strength, but they have kept the Word of his patience.
Kept the Word. Patience. Little strength.
Different people will have different destinies during the 7 years in front of us once Daniel's 70th Week begins. Some will escape, some will be imprisoned, some will die, some will make it through the entire thing. There will be no "one-size-fits-all" experience. Maybe Matthew 7:21 explains why there are so many conflicting views regarding the Rapture. The bottom line, is that as long as a person finds their way "in Christ" before they die, there is always hope of eternal salvation.
It is imperative today that people know the Lord Jesus Christ - - really know Him. Many will find out they don't know him after the wise virgins (Matthew 25) have passed through the open door in Heaven (Revelation 4). Those who are left will face a tough time, but they will not be entirely without hope. It may even be a re-visitation to the wilderness experience like the children of Israel had.
So, how can we make sure we don't ever hear our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ utter these biting words to us one day? I believe that part of the answer is to "pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." How can that not be part of it?
Today is a "pre-Flood" day. There's still time to be counted worthy of the escape that is coming. It's not a foregone conclusion that you have to go through any of the 7 years of Hell on Earth. Draw close to the Master today, and He will draw close to you. There isn't much time left, but what time there is we should seize and make use of.
I am painfully aware of all my shortcomings, and I strive today to be counted worthy (along with you) of the escape that is coming. Remember the parable of the talents. As long as you don't bury your talent, as long as you do something with it to bring glory to God, you will have something to show (however little or much) for what you've been given.
I wrote that praying that we're counted worthy is only part of the solution. What's the other part? What does it mean to know the Lord? Let's take a look:
John 8:55 - - "Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying." (emphasis mine)
1 John 5:20 - - "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (emphasis mine)
And the answer to the question: How we can be sure that we have come to know Him?
1 John 2:3 - - "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (emphasis mine)
That last one is HUGE. How can you be sure you know Him? You continually keep his commandments. Is that a biggie, or what? You need faith and obedience after you "made a decision" for Jesus Christ. You demonstrate faith by believing in not only Him, but what He says will happen. You demonstrate obedience by doing what He instructs us to.
So, the recipe here seems to be KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS (FAITH/OBEDIENCE) + PRAYING THAT YOU ARE COUNTED WORTHY = THE COMING ESCAPE. Seems simple enough, but only a few will make it because they are deceived.
Why is it that when Jesus was asked about His coming back to this world, He started off with "be not deceived?" Because deception, and whispering honey coated, sweet sounding lies from the pits of Hell, would be the hallmark of these last days. If you claim that you know Him and you don't obey His commands, you are a liar. Wow! That sounds pretty harsh doesn't it? Where did that come from? John 8:55.
The Lord reminded me recently of this often forgotten gem - - the relationship comes first. Our relationship with Him is of primary importance. People who get busy "doing" for the Lord and forget the intimacy of "knowing" the Lord, have lost their First Love. We are the Bride, He is the Bridegroom, and we must give our focus and attention to Him first above all else. This does not mean doing this, that, and the other in His name. Sure, that's all well and good, but this means time spent loving Him, putting ourselves in His presence, waiting on Him, being close to Him. This means remembering our First Love. It means putting first things first.
I'm reminded of something from the Book of Revelation. Another case of using the Bible to interpret the Bible:
Revelation 2:4-5 - - "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (emphasis mine)
Apparently, the Lord takes this leaving thy First Love (Him) issue seriously. Look at all the good things the Lord commended the church for before He issued his warning. They labored, they were patient, they did not tolerate evil men and, yet, He says, in spite of all that, if they did not repent of leaving their First Love, He would come quickly and remove their candlestick from its place. We could argue for years over what that means, but suffice it to say you don't want it happening to you. This issue ties directly to this other Scripture we know so well in Matthew 7:21, which began this commentary.
Again, these people did lots of good things in the name of Jesus Christ as Christians. Unfortunately, they forgot the most important thing, which was knowing Him, loving Him. He comes first. One example to illustrate this point are the parents who work 100 hour work weeks to buy their kids all kinds of stuff, send them to the best schools, etc., all to find out that what their kids really wanted was just their parents, and not all the stuff. The parents worked and worked and worked, but at the expense of never knowing their own kids. Same thing with the Lord here.
If you are doing doing and doing and doing for Him and not spending a similar amount of time one-on-one, in His presence, soaking up who He is, then stop everything! Stop everything and anything you are doing that's coming before your relationship, and your loving, quiet time with Him! He is our First Love. What He wants is US - - not what we can do for Him. What does an all powerful God "need" us to do for Him anyway? He wants you! There's a place for "doing," but only after He gets you first. Man, I just convicted myself! I guess I need to prioritize a little better too!
In closing, I also find it fascinating that here we are talking about the harsh reality of Matthew 7:21 after tirelessly examining the Luke 21:36 verse that tells of a coming "escape," and that this "escape" was studied within the context of the days of Noah and Lot, when what do we find in the surrounding verses here in Matthew 7?
Matthew 7:24-27 - - "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (emphasis mine)
Hmmm, interesting symbolism and visuals there especially in light of this particular series, isn't it? I wonder if we are supposed to take anything of substance from all of this and connect it all. I mean, aren't we instructed to use the Bible to interpret the Bible?
What do you think?
What We're Praying/Talking About
Our faith in action, or our small contribution in trying to apply what we're taught in Hebrews 5-6 and James 2:17-26 for the benefit of our dear brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ...
Look Up Fellowship Media [LUFM]
Fair Use Statement
This is a personal blog, but I've been told that I need to include a formal statement of this nature. So, here goes. This website may contain copyrighted material, the use of which may not have been authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of cultural, economic, environmental, human rights, political, religious, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml”. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," then you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.