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Archive for June, 2008

“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!’ NIV

Matthew 7:21-23

The more I think and pray about Matthew 7:21-23 the more I am convinced that this is THE BIG QUESTION. Ie:

DOES GOD REALLY KNOW US?

So what am I trying to say? Well, really, it’s not what I am trying to say, it’s what the scriptures and Jesus are saying. The scripture says there will be MANY who will come before Jesus at the end of their lives and they will think they know Jesus but Jesus will say to them I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ They think they know Jesus but Jesus doesn’t know them.

As another way to explain this, I am sure you have some close friends and then there are other people that you may know about. Now your friends are the people that you enjoy to be around. They think a little like you and act a little like you. You have things in common that bind you together. It’s the same here in these scriptures! We know Jesus knows all about everyone but He has those who are His close friends. Not because He ‘plays favourites’ but because they share the same heart. They do His will because they have His heart and they are His close friends. Let’s look through the scriptures at some close friends of God.

Moses

Exodus 33:11a & 17
11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,

as a man speaks with his friend

17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and

I know you by name

Abraham

James 2:23
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called

God’s friend.

Noah

Genesis 6:9
9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he

walked with God

David

Acts 13:22
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse

a man after my own heart

he will do everything I want him to do.‘ NIV

DOES GOD REALLY KNOW US (AS HIS FRIEND)?

In John 10:27Jesus says:My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.’ NIV

In John 15:14 Jesus says: ‘You are my friends if you do what I command.’ NIV

If God really doesn’t KNOW US ‘as His friend’ or ‘by name’ or by ‘walking with Him’ or by ‘following Him’ or by ‘having God’s heart’ we might be self deluded about our relationship will Him and may be in grave and eternal danger.

Father, teach me, transform me, help me to completely die to myself and to completely live for you so that you may truly know me as one of your friends, in Jesus Name, Amen

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Revisitting 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!’ NIV

The more I think and pray about Matthew 7:21-23 the more I am convinced that this is THE BIG QUESTION. Ie:

DOES GOD REALLY KNOW US?

Now before you start thinking I am going a bit weird and disregarding half of the Bible let me explain what I mean. I know that God created us. I know God knows everything about us. I know God knows what is in our hearts. I know He has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives. I know that He loves us otherwise He wouldn’t of sent Jesus to die for us. So why am I asking ‘DOES GOD REALLY KNOW US‘?

Let me explain why I think this is the big question (ie: not ‘a big question’ but ‘the big question’). Let us try to understand Matthew 7:21-23.

Firstly, we have a conversation between Jesus and someone who thinks that they know Him. So, my first point:

1) We can deceive ourselves into thinking we know Jesus!

Wow! I mean we can ‘get it’ that we need to be in relationship with Jesus but the relationship is one sided and hollow and empty. We deceive ourselves. The relationship isn’t really a relationship in the true sense of a reciprocal healthy relationship. It is a one sided relationship that is really no relationship at all! We deceive ourselves. Perhaps we treat our relationship with Jesus the same way we treat all our other relationships ie: ‘what can I get out of this relationship’, or ‘what is in this for me’, or ‘God, meet my needs’. Well, that leaves us in a pretty precarious position. If we can deceive ourselves about our relationship with Jesus how do we really know Him or rather how do we put ourselves in the position of God knowing us?

Context of the Verses:

Let’s look at the context of Jesus’ Words. These verses come at the end of what we call ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (which consumes all of Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, so read it all). These verses come nearly at the end of Jesus’ message, in the midst of teachings about ‘the narrow gate’, ‘false prophets and good and bad fruit’ and ‘putting Jesus’ Word into practice’.

So, these verses come towards the end of Jesus’ message. He is giving this warning, don’t deceive yourselves, v21 ‘DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER’! and in His final Words in verses 24 to 27(read about building on the rock and not upon the sand) about not just hearing His Word but PUTTING HIS WORD INTO PRACTICE.

My second point:

2) Are we just hearer of the Word or do we put Jesus’ Words into practise?

Now how are we to understand v22 ‘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?’ It seems they are doing the Word of God??? I have said in a previous blog that Jesus still honours His name through them even though He doesn’t know them. I think that sounds like a load of gobbligook! I am coming to the conclusion that these people in v22 know (about) the Word of God and are in a setting (ie: a church) and OTHERS are DOING the Word of God and therefore are saying to Jesus ‘didn’t WE‘ do these things instead of ‘didn’t I‘ do these things. So these verses (I believe) are for those who hear the Word of God and are deceiving themselves about their relationship with God. They aren’t LIVING His Word and DOING His will and are somehow thinking they are going to enter Heaven by association with others (that are doing His will). How many people would think that way?…

Jesus says ‘MANY will say didn’t we…’

There’s so much more I need to say but….

I’ve got to go to work 🙂

Lord, allow your Word to speak to us today!

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Two scriptures from Isaiah today.  One about (in my words) God’s people ‘playing church’ and being ‘religious’ and God calling them to repentance and cleansing.  And the other about God’s people arising (waking up) and being His light to the nations and His glory shining through them!

Isaiah 1:10-20
10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God,you people of Gomorrah! 11 “The multitude of your sacrifices — what are they to me?” says the LORD.”I have more than enough of burnt offerings,of rams and the fat of fattened animals;I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me,who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations — I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates .They have become a burden to me;I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; 16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless,plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us reason together,”says the LORD.”Though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson,they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
NIV

Isaiah 60:1-22
Arise, shine, for your light has come,and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light,and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:All assemble and come to you;your sons come from afar,and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant,your heart will throb and swell with joy;the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,to you the riches of the nations will come. 6 Herds of camels will cover your land,young camels of Midian and Ephah.And all from Sheba will come,bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. 7 All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you,the rams of Nebaioth will serve you;they will be accepted as offerings on my altar,and I will adorn my glorious temple.
8 “Who are these that fly along like clouds,like doves to their nests? 9 Surely the islands look to me;in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar,with their silver and gold,to the honor of the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel,for he has endowed you with splendor.
10 “Foreigners will rebuild your walls,and their kings will serve you.Though in anger I struck you,in favor I will show you compassion. 11 Your gates will always stand open,they will never be shut, day or night,so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations — their kings led in triumphal procession. 12 For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish;it will be utterly ruined.
13 “The glory of Lebanon will come to you,the pine, the fir and the cypress together,to adorn the place of my sanctuary;and I will glorify the place of my feet. 14 The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you;all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD,Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
15 “Although you have been forsaken and hated ,with no one traveling through,I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations. 16 You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts.Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold,and silver in place of iron.Instead of wood I will bring you bronze,and iron in place of stones.I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler. 18 No longer will violence be heard in your land,nor ruin or destruction within your borders,but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19 The sun will no more be your light by day,nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,for the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again,and your moon will wane no more;the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your days of sorrow will end. 21 Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever.They are the shoot I have planted,the work of my hands,for the display of my splendor. 22 The least of you will become a thousand,the smallest a mighty nation.I am the LORD;in its time I will do this swiftly.”
NIV

May the Lord speak to us through His Word.

Steve

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Have we been led astray by this world’s

‘Magic Spell’?

Revelation 18:1-24
18:1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted:
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. 6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. 7 Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ 8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
9 “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:
“‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’
11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men.
14 “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ 15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn 16 and cry out:
“‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’
“Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. 18 When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ 19 They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out:
“‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin! 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.'”
21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:
“With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. 22 The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters,will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again.

23 The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s great men.

By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.

24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints,and of all who have been killed on the earth.” NIV

Some Scriptures about the World

Do not love the world!

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world . If anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world . 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. NIV

We do not belong to this world!

John 15:19
If you belonged to the world , it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world , but I have chosen you out of the world . NIV

John 17:14
14 They are not of the world , even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world , I have sent them into the world . 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. NIV

John 18:36
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world . If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place. NIV

Hebrews 11:13
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. NIV

Worldly Ways!

1 Corinthians 3:19a
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. NIV

Ephesians 2:1-3
2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. NIV

Colossians 2:8-10
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. NIV

Romans 12:1-2
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

Jesus doesn’t give as the world gives!

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. NIV

1 Corinthians 2:12
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. NIV

Turning back to the world!

2 Peter 2:20-22
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS VOMIT,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” NIV

Friendship with the world!

James 4:1-10
4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us ENVIES INTENSELY?
NIV

Overcoming the world!

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” NIV

1 John 5:1-5
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 FOR EVERYONE BORN OF GOD OVERCOMES THE WORLD . This is the victory that has overcome the world , even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world ? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. NIV

2 Corinthians 10:2-5
2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world . 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. NIV

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Two verses came to me during worship yesterday (ie: before the message).

The first one is from part of Isaiah 53:10 (Note: the whole of Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about Jesus). I offer a few different Bible versions for perspective…

‘Yet it was the LORD’s WILL to CRUSH HIM and cause him to suffer’ NIV

‘But it was the LORD’S GOOD PLAN to CRUSH HIM and fill him with grief’ NLT

‘Yet IT PLEASED THE LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief’ NKJV

The other one is part of Hebrews 12:2. (Read Hebrews 12:1-3) It’s about Jesus and the cross…

‘who for the JOY set before him endured the cross’ NIV & NKJV

‘He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the JOY he knew would be his afterward’ NLT

We have a Heavenly Father who LOVES US SO MUCH that He would choose to CRUSH His one and only Son for our salvation. And we have His Son who IN HIS LOVE FOR US and OBEDIENCE TO HIS FATHER and THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM allowed Himself to be CRUSHED for our salvation. He was (HOLY) SPIRITUALLY MOTIVATED by THE FUTURE JOY OF OUR SALVATION and THE GLORIFICATION OF THE FATHER THROUGH THE SON.

What a radically different Kingdom is this Kingdom of God!

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These verses came up in a prayer meeting on Wednesday so I am thinking and pondering and praying about them. I have given them a heading but I offer them with very little comments at the moment.

Titus 2:11-3:8 (What grace does)
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace , we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
NIV

2 Corinthians 7:8-13 (Godly sorrow brings salvation, worldly sorrow bring death – and guilt and shame and self condemnation)
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it — I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged. NIV

Blessings Steve

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Proverbs 11:3
3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. NIV

I came across this verse this morning and, although I had a lot of other stuff to say, this single verse says a lot to me about being completely faithful to our Lord. We need to be people of integrity! We cannot mock God, or fool God. He knows our hearts and the intentions of our hearts. We cannot just serve the Lord with our lips but serve Him completely with our whole lives. Our God is a jealous God and a consuming fire and our lives need to be lives of ‘no compromise’ for Him(and no other Gods before Him) else our duplicity destroy us and our witness for Him.

Just a thought!

Blessings

Steve

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