"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. “Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name perform many miracles?” Matt. 7:21-22
This is one of the most solemn things the King of John 13:13 ever said.
Profession of allegiance is absolutely valueless. We all believe that. To hear the law and words of God, and to disobey, is the most terrible kind of profanity of which man can be guilty. This does not need arguing, but simply restating, because of its terrible solemnity and its most searching application. You have perhaps heard somewhere of men and women using profane language, and you have said, they are taking the name of God in vain; it is a terrible sin. It is. But when you prayed, “Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done," unless you had let His Kingdom come in your life, your profanity was worse than the profanity of the man on the street, your blasphemy was more terrible than the blasphemy of the child of the slum. Jesus said, "In that day"—the light of which flames over all these days if we have but eyes to see—"In that day" He will say to the man who says, "Lord, Lord," but does not obey Him, "I never knew you." Yes, the blasphemy of the sanctuary is more awful than the blasphemy of the street.
To pray, "Lord, Lord," and to disobey Him, is of the very essence of villainy. That is what Judas did; kissed Him, and betrayed Him! If these words of Jesus have startled us with their severity; let us know that there is a profound reason for that severity.
Finally as to the issue. This, perhaps, is a more searching word still. "Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and by Thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
Listen to what they say. "We have done." Yes, they had done everything but the Lord's will. They had hoped to make up for disobedience to His will, in personal life, by doing many things for Him in their church, their city, and in the world. Mark well what the King said of the whole of such activity. "Workers of iniquity."
So that if it should be that we who have prophesied in His name, yet disobey Him in the individual and personal matters of our own life; if we should preach about these Words of Wisdom of the King, and yet not submit to the King in all the details of our life; what then? Our preaching is iniquity, our casting out of demons is a sin. All service is rejected, except the service rendered by such as are themselves doing the will of God. Christ will say to such; "I never knew you," which does not mean, I did not know about you, I do not know your name, I did not watch your life; but, "I never knew you;" there was no intimacy, no comradeship, no fellowship between us. You took My name to make your name; you took My name to work your miracles; you took My name for certain self-centered purposes; but you did not know Me, and I did not know you.
Here is the imperial King, in these last utterances of His Words and Wisdom, standing in the light of "that day" which is to be—claiming His throne, His pre-tribulational work, claiming that His verdict will be the final one, claiming that the final sentences will fall from His own lips.
What shall we do in the presence of these words? We had better take ourselves to some lonely secret chamber and read them all again. We had better say, have we ever come through the strait gate? Have we been misled by some false spirit of prophecy, which says the correct thing, and lives the wrong life? Have we been saying, "Lord, Lord," and failing to do the will?
Do you think this is all hard and harsh? It is the hardness and the harshness of the Infinite love. “Narrow is the gate, straitened is the way—" beware of anything that is false in the prophet, beware of saying, "Lord, Lord." Let the light of "that day" flash; and the thunder of it arrest; and the fire of it affright; yet know that He will save us from the things that harm and blight and curse and spoil. May these words with which He closes His Manifesto of Words and Wisdom come into our life as a new fire, as a new force of purity.
Lastly, notice the second division of the paragraph. There is an alternative of issues. We need especially to remember the majesty of these last words of Christ, the marvelous claim He makes. He says, in effect: You must all build character. This is the day of character building. This is the day in which, in our systems of education, and of philosophy, we are discussing character building. The King ultimately recognizes the importance of it. He says: Every man builds. There is a common quantity in this final illustration—the fact of building. But notice the difference. It is not in the men who build; or in the materials with which they build; but in the foundation on which they build. The foundation is everything. We may build with the same materials, and with the same structural correctness upon sand as upon rock; and all through summer days the buildings both appear to be all right. But summer days do not exhaust the days. There are days of pelting rain, of sweeping winds and hurricanes; and those are the days that will test our buildings. Therefore, it is not so much a matter of the man building, not so much a matter of the material, but of the foundation.
Hear, then, the imperial claim of Christ. He says: Take these sayings of Mine and build on them; and no storm can destroy your building. Hear these sayings of Mine and disobey them—and remember that this has nothing to do with the man who has never heard them; he is not here in view at all; this word is not to the heathen, it is to the man who hears and disobeys, the man who has seen a vision and dreamed a dream, the man who has heard the infinite music, and will set his instruments to catch the tune—you can go on building, and we may look at the structure and say: What is the use of Christianity? That house is as beautiful as this; this man's character is as beautiful as the other's. But observe it, wait, wait! Soon there will come the storms of sorrow, of bereavement and of temptation, and then presently "that day;" and unless there be rock foundation, the fair superstructure will be spoiled by the sweeping storm. The King stands before all of us as He closes His Words and Wisdom, and says, "These sayings of Mine;" build on them; and no storm can wreck your building.
We know all this to be true. We are not discussing the Person of Christ. We are not discussing the larger question of the work of Christ. We pause now where He ended. "These sayings of Mine." We know perfectly well that if we build on them our character will be such that no storm can wreck it. And if we will not, if we, having heard the sayings, do not obey them, there is no foundation upon which we can build a character that will weather the storm and stand to the very day of destiny.
We thus end our study of the Kings Words and Wisdom, listening first to a sublime claim, that His teaching is such foundation that no storm can disturb it; hearing also a message of hope, that here is stability on which we may build, knowing that our building will abide; and finally impressed by a solemn warning, that mere knowledge is of no value in the day of storm and flood.
When presently men shall rest in perfect peace, it will be within the sacred circle of this unfolding of law.
May God grant that we may be not hearers only, hut doers of the worn of the King. . (James 1:22; John 13:13)