Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
There sure are a lot of different ways to hear a sermon these days. From podcasts, radio, T.V., youtube, or apps, the list just goes on and on for the ways information has been made available today.
Many churches had to move to an online format when Covid restrictions shut down the opportunity to meet in person. The fear and uncertainty regarding the nature of the disease caused many people to pull back from personal contact and so churches who might have never broadcast a sermon previously, now were trying to connect with their congregations remotely.
Proclaiming the message of God’s Word has never been easier and yet there has to be something more than just a proclamation, the ones who hear the message have to know what it means to possess Christ.
If people don’t move from proclamation to possession, then they are no better off than where they began.
Matthew 7:22-23 “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
“In Jesus name“—this phrase might be the most used phrase in Christendom. From ending a prayer to spiritual warfare, people have used this phrase as a stamp of God’s approval.
I recently read a story about a man who converted from Islam to christianity in Somalia who was shot and killed because he started ending his prayers with the phrase “In Jesus name”. This stamp can also be a witness to others around you that you are directing your prayers to Jesus and not some false God.
Where the trouble lies is with those who have no real part with Christ and yet use His name to signify God’s approval of what they are saying or doing.
Jesus makes it very clear there are many who have no part with Him who use His name without His authority. So where did this phrase come from if it isn’t appropriate to use it in such a manner?
John 14:13-14 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Isn’t the church meant to proclaim Jesus?
There is coming a time when many who proclaim Jesus will find out they proclaim Him falsely.
Unless the ones making the proclamation actually ‘know’ Jesus, they bring judgement upon themselves for refusing to walk the path they encourage others to follow.
Matthew 7:16-17 “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”
Jesus likens these imposters to false prophets.
Prophets in the Old Testament were people who were called by God to proclaim God’s message to the people. These people were held to a very strict standard of first hearing God’s message given to them and then relaying the message in full with complete accuracy, holding nothing back. Being a prophet was to be in a position of great blessing and perilous danger. The moment a prophet took matters into their own hands and changed the message God originally intended, they would often forfeit their own lives.
Even good prophets found themselves in danger from the people they were making the proclamation to. Often the messages were ones of condemnation against a people who had forsaken God, if the prophets continued long enough in relaying bad news of God’s impending judgement, the prophets often had to flee for their lives.
Today, false prophets will use the term “In Jesus name” to give God’s stamp of approval while doing fake healing services, seeking after contributions, or propping themselves up into greater positions of power and authority.
These false prophets are no more in touch with God’s will than a monk sitting on top of a mountain chanting mantras.
What false prophets lack is the Holy Spirit. Possessing Jesus requires the Spirit of Christ in you. If you don’t have the Spirit in you, you have no fellowship with Him.
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?”
Do you know who the Old Testament prophets source of inspiration was? It was the pre-incarnate Jesus who gave them the Words to speak. It was Jesus who met Moses on the mountain and proclaimed the law, it was Jesus who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin, and Jesus continued to remind His disciples as an incarnate man that His Words were still relevant then as they are today.
Those who proclaim God’s message do so either out of a relationship with God who gives them the Word or out of a desire to mimic God’s anointed and glorify themselves.
We can witness the fruit of good and bad prophets of God and determine who we can receive the Word from and who we should cast off.
James 3:12 “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”
A true messenger of God recognizes the source of their message.
- Acknowledging Christ. As Jesus is the source of all knowledge, so we must make sure that any message comes by way of prayer and the Word. John 16:24 “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Asking in Jesus’ name is to ask according to God’s will. Is it God’s will for someone to be healed? There are many times when God determines to not heal someone, the reasons are often unknown but the faithful believer trusts God’s plan is good and accepts the outcome.
- God’s Will must be paramount. If our will is the focus of our attention then we will do everything possible to try and force God’s hand for what we desire. Do you honestly think your will takes priority over God’s will? Most people would say ‘of course not’, and yet they act like a stamp of “In Jesus name”, will somehow make some magical order of God’s Spirit to acquiesce to their demands, regardless of God’s will. Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Jesus does intercede on behalf of His people, He loves them far more than they could ever know, but they must remember that He is God and knows what is best for them. If we are wise, we would do well to remember our position of ignorance before an omniscient God.
Where are you in your relationship to Christ?
Is your faith in an image of Christ you want to dictate according to your own demands or is your faith in Jesus who calls you to come near in humility and with a contrite spirit?
Proclaiming Christ is not possessing Christ. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the flurry of false prophets we see today who line their pockets with the contributions of those who desire God’s blessing.
Hebrews 10:22 “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Seek Jesus and you will find Him. He wants you to know His goodness, you only need to come to Him by the terms that He requires. Forsaking falsehood is to come to Jesus with nothing more than yourself…that is all He ever wanted anyhow.