Church of Christ
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5) Matthew 7 - Danger of Self-Deception
THE DANGER OF SELF-DECEPTION.  Matthew 7:21-23 (Parallel: Luke 6:46)

This section has a natural connection with that which precedes it:  if the false prophets will be recognized by the fruit
of their lives, what does the fruit of my life indicate about me?  Jesus' argument is driving ever closer to the
conscience of His disciple.

To say to Jesus, Lord, Lord, is equivalent to calling Him the Master of one's life.  It is claiming that relation to Jesus
expressed in the title (See Malachi 1:6).  Luke 6:45.  "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I say?"  But
as Matthew records the saying, He is not denying that the claimants are His servants or that they adhere to the
orthodox teaching He gave them or that they are sincere.  Their one fault was that they did not DO the Father's will
(Matthew 21:28-32, Matthew 25:11-12, Romans 2:12-13, James 1:22-25, James 2:14, 1st John 2:17).
Back to Matthew 7 Study Index Page

There are those who would be quick to obey the Lordship of Jesus in order to receive the benefits of such a
relationship, but they do not often actually try to adopt Jesus' way of thinking, which is, after all, the essence of the
will of God.  For Jesus, performance and production, not profession and pious prayers, is the test of fellowship in His
kingdom.  Too often a clear intellectual grasp of truth is divorced from its practical expression.  Paul personally
feared this possibility (1st Corinthians 9:27).

To have given expression to some truth, such as Jesus' Lordship, without acting upon its clear implications is self

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day.  Jesus begins to emphasize the theme with which He will terminate the
Sermon:  "I am Judge; my Word is the final standard."  But He does this not merely to assert His deity, but to give
moral guidance to His disciples.  "Look at Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-4, 2nd Timothy 2:8 and following).  We tend to panic
as some saint we thought secure goes down in sin.  We must not put our confidence in the best man or woman we
have ever met!  We must trust only the Lord Jesus.
Some of these statements generally show that even unconverted men have been granted the power to prophesy,
exorcize demons and work miracles.  Even the Mosaic Law admitted the possibility that true miracle-working power
be evidenced even in false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

Jesus does not call these claims false and does not deny that the people actually did what they said.  Whether
these folks are those who sincerely thought they had a right to claim Him as their Lord and reap the benefit of the
relationship involved in this title, or whether these are hypocritical false prophets who actually worked miracles in
Jesus' name, does not matter greatly in reference to the principle involved, for the result and the verdict is the
same.  The principle involved is that even the obvious witness of the Holy Spirit, given through such mighty gifts as
prophecy, demon-exorcism and mighty signs, is no evidence of personal conversion!  (1st Corinthians 12:14).

Until the final judgment there is yet mercy which leaves the opportunity available to every Christian to do the will of
God or to apostatize (Study Matthew 10:1-4 and 7-8, Mark 3:14 and 19, Mark 6:7 and 13).  For example Jesus knew
from the beginning what Judas' end would be, but He empowered him to work right along with the others.
Lord, Lord is not the anguished cry of false prophets, but of miracle workers who were once true disciples but did
not remain faithful to the God who had empowered them.

This verse does not disclaim authorization of their miracles and ministry, nor does it deny the reality of their having
performed such a ministry, nor does it affirm that it had been pretense all along as merely a ruse to deceive the

I never knew you is not a confession of ignorance of their life and ministry, for the Lord knew all about them.  He
never knew them in the sense that He does not recognize any disciple who does not fix his heart upon doing what
God wills.

1)  Only call Jesus "Lord" is not doing God's will
2)  Only hearing Jesus' will is not obedience.
3)  Only working miracles is not obedience.
4)  Only doing God's will is obedience.
5)  All else is disobedience and worthy of severest condemnation.