“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7:21-23 NIV
A young lady was out shopping one afternoon when she saw an old friend in front of the store. In her excitement to see him, she rushed over to him, grabbed him from behind and gave him a big hug and kiss. The young man, completely shocked, stood paralyzed without saying a word. The young lady quickly realized that she no longer recognized the man she had hugged and greeted with a big kiss. Nervously, she backed up with her head down completely embarrassed by what had just happened. The two never actually spoke, but only acknowledged with their eyes that this had been a case of mistaken identity.
In many cases of mistaken identity it is not until you are up close and personal with the other person before you realize that they are not who you thought they were. As a pastor, one of my biggest fears is that many who say they believe in God or that they are a Christian are running through life with a case of mistaken identity.
Jesus said in our verses for today “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Here, Jesus is talking about a case of mistaken identity. Jesus is saying in this verse that there are people in our world that are walking around and when you ask if they believe in God they will say, “Yes” , or when you ask, “Do you think you will go to heaven when this life is over?” they will say, “Yes” or “I believe so”. They believe that just because they know about God, believe in the idea of God, or even do some good things in life for God that it makes them a Christian and therefore gives them access to spend eternity in heaven when this life is over. Unfortunately this is not the case. They are just living life with a case of mistaken identity. And unless something changes in their hearts they face the reality of hearing the same words spoken by Jesus in verse twenty three, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Having a knowledge of God or doing good things in life for others or God just doesn’t measure up. God’s Word teaches us that we must possess a sincere belief in one’s heart that Jesus is the true resurrected son of God. This belief is reflected in a faith expressed in full commitment and surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior of ones life.
The Bible expresses it this way:
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. 10 We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.”
~ Romans 10:9-11 ~
“But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the
right to become God's children.”
~ John 1:12 ~
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not of works, so that no one can boast.”
~ Ephesians 2:8-9 ~
If you feel that you may be living with a case of mistaken identity as a Christian then I want to encourage you to move in your life from knowing about God to a place of knowing God by placing your full faith, trust, and belief in Jesus Christ to forgive you of our sins and to become the Lord and Savior of your life today.
Reflection Question: Without any hesitation in your thinking, do you know for sure that you are a Christian and will spend eternity in Heaven with the Heavenly Father when this life is over?
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, today I place my full hope, faith, and trust in Jesus Christ alone to forgive me of everything I’ve ever done wrong in life. Jesus, I believe you died to bring me forgiveness for my sin and I believe that your rose from the gave on the third day. I ask you know to become the Lord and Savior of my life and help me to live for you every day of my life from this day forward. In your name I pray. Amen!
Weekly Memory Verse: "In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free." - Psalm 118:5 NLT