Ministry gifts are peripheral—knowing is what matters
For many people, ministering in power like we talked about last week is the major goal of their Christian life. These people are letting Jesus know that they worked for Him.
“Many will say to me when that day comes, ‘Lord, Lord, haven’t we prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done miracles in your name?’” [Matthew 7:22]
But Jesus cuts that out from under them in the next verse. His stunning comment to them in verse 23 cuts to the heart of the matter:
“I will tell them, ‘Depart from me you evil doers, I never knew you, who practice lawlessness.’”
Whoa! So, you can do works of spiritual power, seemingly by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and still not know Jesus? That seems to be the obvious conclusion.
Of course, the fact is that satanists can do works of spiritual power. Pharisees can do works of spiritual power. Heretics can do works of spiritual power. Christian leaders who have fallen into sin can do works of spiritual power. Often the power comes from the enemy. He can counterfeit all those works except love and true peace. But in my experience, carnal believers can work in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is very easy for a person to get into a ministry with good intentions and then slide back into a life controlled by the flesh—with bitterness, party spirit, divisiveness, and so on. The spiritual power may still be manifested in their life—it often becomes the focus of the ministry.
This why Jesus tells us to be fruit inspectors—not gift inspectors. God gave the gift of speech to an ass to speak to Balaam [Numbers 22:22–32]. Jesus said the rocks would cry out [Luke 19:40]. Gifts can go to many people and places—almost anywhere in God’s creation. But at the end of it, Jesus tells them to go away because He never knew them.
Obviously it’s pretty important that we know Him. In fact, it is the core of the Christian walk. Without this, you are wasting your time with everything else.
Next week we’ll talk about why Jesus calls them evil doers practicing lawlessness
These excerpts are from Knowing Jesus as His Bride, which is a book about becoming intimate with the Lord.
My goal is to get you to think about these things. They might well be crucial to your readiness for the Lord’s return. What do you think?
Are you ready for Jesus to come back?