Summary: This sermon seeks to help us understand the danger of taking our relationship with the Lord for granted..
“I Never Knew You..”
Of all the scripture that comes to mind, perhaps the saddest one of all is found in Matthew 7 and verse 23. Here, Jesus tells us that at the second coming, there will be some people who will fully
expect to ascend to heaven with Him in the clouds of glory, but He will have to tell them; “....depart from Me, I never knew you.” Can you imagine those words falling from our Savior’s lips? “depart from Me, for I never knew you!”
Well, it’s a good thing that none of us “church going Christians” will ever have to hear those words. I mean after all we are here at church worshipping God aren’t we? We do try to be “good people” don’t we? Let’s face it, we’ve given up a lot of stuff to become the “righteous people that we are” --- right?? I mean -come on!- there’s no way that Jesus would turn US away is there??
The question that we are going to try to answer this morning is; How can we have “Life Assurance”?? No-- not life INsurance, I’m talking about Life ASSURANCE--- in other words; how can we be certain that when Jesus comes back, He will not say to us; “Depart from Me, I never knew you?” To put it in simple terms, how do we know if we are “saved” or not?
I remember many years ago, my girlfriend and I were at the State Fair. And as I recall, not long after we got there, it began to rain. So we, along with everyone else, quickly sought out the nearest shelter to take cover. It just so happens that inside the tent that we chose to wait out the downpour, there was a gospel group performing. As we squeezed our way through the crowd and found a place to stand, I noticed across the tent that a young lady was headed straight for us--I thought that she was going to ask us for a ticket or something at first. But as she approached us, right out of the blue she asked us both; “are you saved?”----- Well, I’m not ashamed to admit it, at that instant, I didn’t know what in the world she was talking about! And without thinking, my first response to her was; “saved from what??”
Without so much as blinking at my ignorant comment, she continued talking. And though I didn’t get a whole lot out of what she said, I did hear her mention something about Jesus and Him dying for my sins. Anyway, after a minute or two she asked us if we would Like to be saved. Well mainly just to appease her, we both agreed. With a look of relief on her face, she led us, line by line, in a short prayer; a prayer confessing our sins and accepting Christ as our Sacrifice and Savior.
I can remember as we were leaving the fair that night, I turned to Tammy and said; “Oh well, we might have been rained out but at least we got saved!”
Now I don’t mean to make light of that nice lady and her efforts for the Kingdom, but, is that all it is to being saved? Was our place in heaven automatically and irrevocably reserved for us from the precise moment we uttered that prayer she told us to say?
Many people think so, and this is in fact one of Satan’s most effective forms of deception. He leads us into a “false sense of security” by suggesting that “getting saved” is much like getting vaccinated--a once and for all kind of thing. But I think that most of us here today realize that there is a lot more to it than that. I think that we realize that being saved involves more than the mere decision itself. You see, the decision to accept Christ as our personal Savior is only the beginning, this decision is followed by a succession of changes in our lives and lifestyles.
With that in mind, let me ask you, could it be possible to “confess with you mouth that Jesus is Lord “...and..make some real good “Christian-like” changes in your life and STILL not be “saved”? Let’s look at Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he 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 perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
So you see, there will be people on the Day of Judgment that are going to be expecting to go to heaven, yet instead of inheriting the Kingdom,they are going to hear those saddening words of Christ; “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Make no mistake about it; there will be deacons, deaconesses, Sabbath school teachers, Elders, Pastors, TV evangelists, along with countless others that will be turned away--and all because they lacked one very necessary qualification; they didn’t truly know the Lord and so He will be forced to say to them, “..depart from Me, for I never knew you.”