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Home  >  Bible Studies  >  Matthew

Matthew 7: 21-23

By Richard Krejcir
For the week of December 9, 2002

Into Thy Word -
Online Bible Study
For the week of December 9, 2002
Matthew 7: 21-23 
D. Does He know you?
General Idea: Most people think they are good, and will go to Heaven when they die, yet few people actually know God as He calls us to do. They have built up a hope based on false perceptions of themselves, that their good outweighs their bad. Many have placed hope in the church where they grew up, or have relied on the assumption that their family is Christian, or on a favorite Bible passage, or in a priest or pastor, but not in the reality of what Christ has done.
We all need to come to the point where we realize our need, both for salvation and to know God.  We need to full take ownership of our faith as a real and impacting factor in our lives. But, the problem is, we cannot. Our sinful nature and pride blocks us from Him, as we refuse to yield to God and His loving plan. The great news is that He provides us with His Spirit so we can know Him. We can take ownership of our faith and make it real. But, with the knowledge and salvation Christ gives us, comes responsibility. Hence, this passage, in its context, is the result of not following the call of the previous verses.
These verses come right on the heels of Jesus’ disclosure about the narrow way and the gates. If you choose not to go the right way, if your fruits are rotten, then you will be in big trouble. Not because God is out to get you, because He is not. Well, actually He is out to get you--to have you saved and in Him! It is we, humanity, who decided to go our own way, causing God to chase us down. But, He will not force us to conform to His way. His way it is offered, but it is up to us to accept. He elects us, yet still in His pure purpose and sovereignty, we have to receive Him by faith alone. When we put our faith into practice, this will be the sign, as the previous verses testify, that our faith is real. God is concerned with our obedience and faith, and what we do with what He gives. Do we produce fruits that uplift His glory and impact others for Him, or are we doing our own thing, unconcerned with godliness and character?
1.      Lord, Lord:  When you see a name doubled, especially God’s name, it indicates extra intimacy (Gen. 22:11; 1 Sam. 3:10; Luke 22:31).
a.      When we profess Christ as Lord, or make a public testimony, we are declaring that Jesus Christ has a hold on our life, from now through eternity that transcends human understanding. We are no longer of this world, but belong to Him as His child--saved and redeemed.
                                                  i.      Even though we have a special intimacy with God because of what Christ has done, we have to be careful that we do not rest in this intimacy. The intimacy is important, but God is most concerned with what we do with what He gives us. The intimacy is the frosting; the cake is to do His Will.
b.      True intimacy with God is not found in our feelings, works, or deeds, or the saying of creeds, or even having the right theology in mind. Rather, intimacy is a deep affection and knowledge of Christ that is generated by our real heartfelt devotion, commitment, and trust, and is demonstrated by our willingness and the action of moving forward in our journey of faith.
c.      Do you feel your faith is distant and cold? Do you desire to have more intimacy with Him? Then seek His Will! Seeking to do God’s Will is God’s Will. It is striving further into the depths of our relationship with Christ, as LORD over all. By the surrender of our will (Gal. 2:21-21), and the courage to make Him known to those around us (1 Cor. 8:2-3), we will gain closeness and more intimacy!
2.      Enter the Kingdom of Heaven: Jesus told us that few people, not many, would be saved (Matt. 7:13-14). Now, He is saying that even those who may think they are religious people--even Christians--may be lost too!
a.      This term refers to God's Lordship as in Kingship, His sovereign rule from Heaven. He is in charge, and is all-powerful.
                                                  i.      Only those who are elected for salvation, and respond to Him by ”faith alone,” will enter (James 2:24). Our deeds have nothing to do with it. Those are purely responses to what He has done for us (Acts 10:1-5; 11:14; 2 Tim. 3:3-7).
                                                ii.      Belief is not an entrance ticket, for even the demons believe; yet they are not saved (John 12:42,43; James 2:19). Belief requires obedience that is fueled by faith (John 8:30-32).
b.      The Kingdom of Heaven was “inaugurated” at Pentecost, and is spiritual in nature for the time being. It will “culminate” when Jesus returns, involving the day of judgment and the new heavens and new earth, where we will be with God and Jesus for eternity (Matt. 13:40-43; 25:31-34; 1 Cor. 15:23-28; 2 Tim. 1:12,18; 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1 - 22:5)! It is concentrated in the Person and work of Jesus Christ (Mt. 28:18; Luke 17:20-21; John 18:36; Acts 2:36; Rom. 14:17; Eph.1: 20-23; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9). This means He is the One to rule our will and heart on earth and it all climaxes in eternity and in the future. 
c.      Our obedience does not earn any merit for salvation, as we are always and eternally unworthy (Luke 17:10)!
                                                  i.      Only those who obey from the heart will be delivered from their sin (Rom. 6:17-18)!
                                                ii.      Christ is the author and finisher of salvation to all who obey Him (Heb. 5:9).
                                              iii.      Christ will come in judgment against those who obey not His Gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9)!
d.      We must take Jesus' sermon very seriously and, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness... (Matt. 6: 33). "
3.      Does the will of my Father: Our devotion, obedience, and faith are what matters, not what we do, as in works, or even the special relationship we have (James 1:22-25). The fact that God knows us and we can know Him is our true treasure. Our response is making Him known to others (1 Cor. 8:2-3).
a.      When we do miraculous works, cast out demons, or get thousands of people to follow us in ministry, it will make no real difference before God unless we are right with Him (1 Cor. 13:1-4). In fact, many who do such things never knew the real God as revealed in the Bible. They are there for self-promotion and power. They do not seek His Will, but rather what they can get.
                                                  i.      Miracles are not a sign of truth. Many of the false prophets that came during Jesus and the Apostles' time preformed them, but not the caliber that Jesus did.  (Acts 8:14-25; 20:28-31; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; Jude 3-4). It is also possible to preach the truth and prophesy, and still disobey God (1 Sam. 19:20-24).
b.      God has some harsh, yet upright plans for those who grandstand themselves in His name, yet do not yield themselves to Him. God calls this lawlessness, with a very harsh condemnation.
                                                  i.      Never allow yourself to be captivated by personalities and causes; rather seek Christ and know Him. Them He will give you ability and opportunities.
                                                ii.      Lawlessness means “without authority,” and refers to good works without the authority of our Lord, which are meaningless.
                                              iii.      The number one priority in our life must be finding God's Will and rule!
c.      What is the Father's Will?  It begins with Repentance and Confession of Jesus as Lord, by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21; Rom. 10:10). Then, out of a response of gratitude, we must live our lives with character, destination, and love, and by faithful service to Christ (Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:9).
If your faith is not practiced, it will not last. It also serves as a true sign that you never had it, or you have not let it dive deep enough into you to create the transforming action from the fallen, sinful state, to redemption in the blood of the Lamb. These things are not up to our judgment. They are His. Your fruits will tell the true story to others around you.
1.      What has this passage meant to you through the various stages of your life, such as before becoming a Christian, as a new Christian, as more seasoned in the faith, as single, married, after having children…?
2.      In your opinion, why do most people think they are good and will go to Heaven when they die?
3.      Where is your hope built? Has it changed over the experiences of your life? What were the circumstances for those changes?
4.      We all need to come to the point where we realize our need both for salvation, and to know God. So, how can you explain this to non-believers?
5.      We are to full take ownership of our faith as real and impacting in our lives. But the problem is, we cannot. Why?
6.      The knowledge and receiving of the salvation Christ gives us comes with responsibility.  How, and why?
7.      When has the reality of what Christ has done hit you the most? How, and why?
8.      Why is God concerned with our obedience and faith and what we do with what He gives?
9.      Do you produce fruits that uplift His glory and impact others for Him, or are you doing your own thing, unconcerned with godliness and character? Yes, this is hard to answer in public, so perhaps you could do so before you go to bed tonight--just you and God! 
10. Even though we have a special intimacy with God because what Christ has done, we have to be careful that we do not rest in this intimacy. What can happen if we do?
11. How do you demonstrate your real heartfelt devotion, commitment, and trust in Christ? What can you do to further this?
12. Do you feel distant and cold in your faith? Do you desire to have more intimacy with Him? Then what can you do to achieve this?
13. How is seeking to do God’s Will actually God’s Will?
14. Did you know that belief is not an entrance ticket to Heaven? Even the demons believe, but they are not saved. So, what does belief require (John 12:42,43; James 2:19)?
15. Why would God care, and have harsh, yet upright plans for those who grandstand themselves in God’s name, but do not yield themselves to Him?
16. What is the Father's Will? 
17. If your faith is not practiced, it will not last. Why would this be so? How long do you think you can go before breakdown?
18. How can you take Jesus' sermon more seriously?
19. What more can you do to take to heart in a deeper manner the fact that your true treasure is the knowledge that God knows you, and you can know Him?
20. How can you make the finding of God's Will and rule the number one priority for your life? What is in the way of this?
            Are you doing the Father's Will?
© 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com  

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