June 23: Unmasking Spiritual Self Deception (Matt 7:21-23)
Matthew 7:21-23 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. 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.’ (ESV)
Jesus continues applying his Sermon on the Mount through a series of warnings. In this third warning, Jesus moves from calling us to beware of false prophets to warn us now about false professions. He calls us to examine ourselves not simply to determine if we have a true affirmation of Jesus as Lord, but to ask ourselves if we are reflecting the lordship of Christ through our moral obedience. In this sobering text, Jesus reveals that many will be surprised on the last day, thinking that they were right with God when they were not. Jesus cautions us of the very real possibility of self-deception in regards to our spiritual condition. He graciously warns us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Prayerfully consider these words of Jesus and ask the Spirit of God to give you wisdom as you consider both your verbal profession of Christ as well as your visual demonstration of his lordship in your life.
Review and Apply
- Evaluate the difference in your own life between what you say and what you do.
- Explain in your own words the difference between ‘professing the faith’ and ‘possessing the faith.’
- How often do you consider the day of reckoning that will take place for all people (as revealed in v. 22)?
- What does Jesus mean when he says, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (v. 23)?
- How does the community of faith help prevent us from living in self-deception?
- What is God’s means of grace for his children who fail in moral obedience (1 John 1:8-2:2)?
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