I’m gonna make a lot of people very angry with this blog, but here goes.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’re a young man in love with a young woman who you’re looking forward to marrying someday.
Now imagine someone who would call themselves a friend of yours walks up to her one day and sees her wearing a pair of earrings that they think you wouldn’t like (even though you’ve told all your friends that although they’re not your favorite thing, you’ve moved past it and it’s not a problem anymore because being in a relationship with her is more important than her earrings) so they scream at her abusively, telling her that she’s treating you wrong by wearing them. Then, they even rip them out of her ears, tearing her flesh, making her bleed, making her cry and perhaps causing her permanent disfigurement.
Now imagine that this individual comes to your wedding with a gift under their arm and a smile on their face expecting to be welcomed into the celebration.
What might you say to that individual?
Keep this in mind, it’s important for what comes later.
One of the most difficult (and most abused) passages in the entire Bible is Matthew 7:22-24, which says;
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (NASB)
That’s pretty heavy stuff isn’t it?
According to this passage, there’s a great many people who think they’re doing the work of the Kingdom of God who are going to stand before the Throne someday expecting to receive a reward for what they did in this life but instead they’re going to get cast into Hell.
I get this verse thrown at me a lot because I tell people that there’s no problem if followers of Jesus Christ have Christmas trees and Easter egg hunts and eat bacon and attend church on Sunday and all kinds of other stuff that the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Jewish movement recoils in horror at.
It doesn’t bother me when people throw that verse at me for this stuff, but it does sadden me, for their sake.
Let me tell you why.
For starters, if we want Jesus to “know” us, we should do our utmost to “know” Him.
The way to get to know Jesus is the same way we get to know any other person, we have to spend time with Him, and the way to do that is to read the Bible (which is how we hear from Him) and pray (which is how He hears from us.)
The more time you spend with Him, the better you’ll know Him. The more you’ll know His heart.
You’ll start to love the things He loves. You’ll start to hate the things He hates. You’ll start to lose interest in the things which don’t interest Him and instead become more interested in the things which DO interest Him.
At the risk of sounding judgmental, in my experience you’ll also start to be able to spot people who say they know Him but don’t, because they’ll love things He doesn’t love, they’ll hate things He doesn’t hate, and very often they’ll be utterly OBSESSED by things which the Bible specifically says are not important at all.
Now, although I haven’t spent as much time with Him as I should have in my life and so I don’t know Him as well as I’d like to, there’s a couple of things I know for sure.
I know that Jesus LOVES his brothers and sisters among the Nation of Israel (Revelation 5:5) and He loves His Bride, which is the Church (Ephesians 5:25)
Anyone who says they “know” Jesus Christ yet harms Israel and/or the Church, ESPECIALLY if they do so saying that they’re doing it because they want to please Him, is very much mistaken.
They are like the man who tears the earrings out of a young bride-to-be’s ears thinking he’s doing the bridegroom a favor.
My dear brothers and sisters, please hear me.
Jesus doesn’t hate it when His followers attend a congregation that meets on Sunday instead of Saturday. We know this because it specifically says so in Colossians 2:16-17.
What He DOES hate is when His followers stop meeting with other Believers because of petty disputes over nothing. We know this because it says so in multiple passages of the New Testament, including Hebrews 10:24-25 and Titus 3:9.
There are many more examples I could go through, but since this “dispute” over whether God wants and expects us to come together to fellowship with Him and each other on Saturday or Sunday is one of the great points of friction in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic Jewish movement, and something which is actually causing large segments of this movement to be alienated from other Believers, it’s enough to make the point.
This is what I think.
I think that if you tell someone who is faithfully attending a Sunday church meeting every week, growing in their faith and drawing closer to the Lord, serving others in their church and otherwise preparing to be part of the Bride of Christ, that they are SINNING and that their only hope is to FORSAKE that church unless it starts meeting on Saturday instead of Sunday, than it is YOU to whom Jesus will say, “depart from me, I never knew you.”
It is precisely this sort of person that is described in 1 Timothy 6:3-5 (NASB);
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
Again brothers and sisters, please hear me.
Jesus loves His Bride.
He DOES NOT love it when people try to do Him a favor by tearing into her with “controversial questions and disputes about words” and rhetorical questions for which the New Testament gives specific and final answers which contain absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever.
I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this, but the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movement is massively infiltrated by false teachers who endlessly pound home a false Gospel and a false Jesus, precisely as the Apostle Paul spoke about in 2 Corinthians 11:4. Some of these false teachers have large followings, and some of the people reading this right now are among those followers.
If you’re unsure whether the leaders you’re following are among these false teachers, it’s easy to find out. Spend time getting to “know” Jesus, and see if what they’re saying lines up with what He says. See if what they say is important is important to the Man from Galilee described in the New Testament.
We will all stand before the throne someday and give an account for our lives (Revelation 20:12) and the relationships we had with this or that teacher, pastor, evangelist, etc won’t matter. The only thing that will matter will be whether we were in a right relationship with the Lord.
If we want to be allowed into the wedding feast (Revelation 19:6-9) we have to be among those who the Bridegroom “knows” and although it might not be enough, I believe a minimum requirement for Him to “know” us is for us to make an effort to get to “know” Him.
You definitely don’t want to be told that He “never knew you” because you didn’t love what He loved, you didn’t hate what He hated, and you treated His Bride with contempt over things which He specifically said were not a problem because some false teacher insisted it was a matter of paramount importance.
So, I say again, SPEND TIME WITH THE LORD!
Spend time in His Word, spend time in prayer, spend time in fellowship with others who do the same. In this way we will get to know Him, and he will get to know us, and we can avoid a terrifying surprise when we see Him face to face.