God Does Not Endorse An Unrighteous Preacher Of The Gospel
"It is always God's desire that those who proclaim the gospel be righteous, yet when an evil or immoral person preaches His Word, God can still work in the hearts of those who receive His Word, with commitment to Christ. God does not endorse an unrighteous preacher of the gospel, but, He will endorse Biblical truth and these who accept it in faith." - The Full Life Study Bible
"The power of working miracles had no necessary connection with piety." - Barnes' Notes
"Success, as the world counts it, is not a criterion of one's knowledge of Christ and relation to Him." - Robertson's Word Pictures
God cannot and will not endorse an unrighteous Preacher of the Gospel - even though he may be operating in the miraculous.
This is where the multitudes are deceived. They think that because there are signs and wonders performed in a man's ministry that he is of God... God is well pleased with him...or that He is endorsing his ministry. Nothing could be further than the truth!
The Lord Jesus in Matthew 7 "blasted" all the false professors who would do things in His Name, yet not do the will of His Father. In His statements, He made it plain and clear that He doesn't accept shadows without substance. He doesn't endorse any ministry that calls Him "Lord," yet lives to please Self. He made it very evident that the acid test for every ministry or every Christian life - the decisive test of being in the Kingdom - is obedience to the will of the Father. This marks men and women as true followers of Him.
In Matthew 7:21-23, He said - "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father Which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
Here Jesus emphasized the sharp contrast between the mere talkers and the doers of His will. There were those who were calling Him Lord and Master - who were professing subjection to Him. Because of their mere profession, they were consequently claiming admittance into the "kingdom of heaven," yet they were destitute of piety, holiness, or being separated unto Him. Their outward profession of Christianity - however remarkable - was not enough to bring them to heaven - that is, without being totally committed to the Truth and righteousness as revealed in His Word.
One thing that is definitely overlooked in the Christian circles of today is this fact - ministerial success is not the standard by which to judge one's relation to Christ.
There are those who are calling Jesus "Lord" and yet have not gotten the bad tree rooted up and the good tree planted in its place...they do not have a hearty love to Christ nor a true faith in Him...nor do they have a true concern to preach His Gospel, advance His glory, and promote His kingdom and interest.
They can be likened unto the Roman soldiers at the whipping post who put a gorgeous robe on Christ, bend the knee, and then say - "Hail, King of the Jews!" That is, after they had just scourged and whipped Him!
We want you to notice one word that Jesus used in His discourse which is rather shocking. That word is "many"
This is what He said - "... Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord..." What He was saying is this - "Many" would call Him Lord and Master..."Many" would profess subjection to Him..."Many" would call upon His Name..."Many" would make use of His Name in public ministry..."Many" would make mention of His Name in their sermons...and "Many" would seek to cover themselves, take away their reproach, gain credit with, or get into the goodwill of the people by being called by His Name.
The sad thing about it is that it would be the "few" who would show a hearty love to Christ...seek unto, look unto, commit themselves to...trust in...rely on...and believe on Him for righteousness, salvation, and eternal life. It would be the "few" who would be faithful dispensers of His Word...declare His whole counsel...keep back nothing profitable to the souls of men...not be afraid of the faces of men...speak the Gospel boldly with all sincerity...or seek to please Him rather than men.
Resultantly, "many" professing obedience will find themselves self-deceived. It will be the "few" who will be counted as the faithfully obedient.
"In that day" - the last day...the great day of the Lord...or the day of judgment when the secrets of hearts are made manifest and every one's true colors are shown for what they are - the pretenders as well as the true ministers will be made manifest.
The "many" had great success in their ministries. They were involved in three of the highest services rendered to the Christian cause - prophesying, casting out devils, and working miracles. Yet, Jesus called them - "workers of iniquity" - "...Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
What Jesus is stating here is rather shocking! He is actually saying that "workers of iniquity" can prophesy...teach the Word...write excellent books...preach excellent sermons...give good advice...cast out devils...and perform wonderful works or miracles. They can make an external profession of Christianity, yet walk unworthy of its precepts - being lukewarm or indifferent to Christ in their hearts - while loving the world and its pleasures.
In spite of their claims to intimacy with Christ, they are evil doers - evil doers who are performing great works in His Name!
It is to be understood from this passage of Scripture that not all miracles are of a divine origin. And not all miracle workers are divinely sanctioned. When we examine the meaning of the word "miracle" and see that one definition states - "a supernatural power that is at hand" - we have to reason that that power may or may not be divine. It can be demonic! Fervent gospel preaching...having a zeal for righteousness...and operating under a powerful "anointing" - can all be the workings of Satan.
Jesus will say to the "many" who deceived the multitudes with their phenomenal signs and wonders ministries - "...I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." One way of interpreting this is by saying - "I never approved of your conduct...I never regarded you are My servant or friend...or I never acknowledged your ministry as one of Mine."
Who would be included in this - "I never knew you" - group? They would be all the Preachers or individual believers who were unholy in heart...unrighteous in conduct...or held the truth in unrighteousness - while preaching the pure and holy doctrines of the Bible.
"Depart from Me" - Could there be more terrible or dreadful words found to be spoken by God to any man or woman than these?
"I never knew you" - In other words, Jesus would say that these "many" were never "real" in their relationship with Him. They didn't build their life on His Word...they didn't build their church on His Word...and they didn't hear the Word and do it. Instead, they claimed to believe the Bible, while, at the same time, supporting things contrary to it. In spite of what the Bible said, they walked contrary to it. They ignored God's Word to go forward in sin. They constantly reasoned around their sinful lifestyle - looking for loopholes to cover it up.
Jesus made it plain and clear that the "many" would be successful in their ministries. They would surely operate in their gifts. "Many" would be deluded as a result.
There are two kinds of professors in Christianity today. There are those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord of their lives and then there are those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and back it up with obedience.
Read again what Jesus said here in this passage of Scriptures - "...Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father Which is in heaven..." Here He laid the law down. No one gets to heaven without living a life of continual obedience to His Word. This is the acid test that marks all men and women as being true or false. Are they doing the will of the Father? Are they glorifying His Son, or are they bringing glory to themselves?
Don't forget - Balaam, Caiphas, and King Saul all prophesied, while Judas cast out devils - but they were not pleasing in God's sight. They did what they wanted rather than the will of the Father. They were actually a law unto themselves.
Whenever you see a minister or ministry that is a law unto themselves - WATCH OUT! Warning sirens should immediately be going off in your spirit. These are a part of the "many" of whom Jesus warned us.
In closing, we leave you with some thought-provoking quotes relating to this message.
Our prayer is that your spiritual eyes will be opened, and that you will grow in discernment as far as who is true and who is false that is ministering in Jesus' Name in our day and time!
"They think that they shall go to heaven because they have been of good repute among professors of religion (Christianity), have kept fasts, and given alms and have been preferred in the church; as if this would atone for their reigning pride, worldliness, and sensuality; and want of love to God and man."
- Matthew Henry
"Everything short of doing the will of God is merely saying, 'Lord! Lord! and it is working iniquity."
- Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"A great truth proclaimed. The religion of Christ (Christianity) is to be practised, For the teachings of Jesus are only understood as they are put into practice. They are only honored as they are put into practice."
- Biblical Illustrator - New Testament
"A man shall be as vigorous as a panther, as swift as an eagle, as fleet as a stag, and as strong as a lion, to do the will of his Creator."
- saying among the rabbins (Adam Clarke)
May God Bless His Word.