I Never Knew You – Part 2

Play

What did Jesus mean, when He said in Matthew 7:23 “I never knew you; depart from me”? 

What Jesus is referring to here is not an intellectual knowledge but a relationship.

To understand a verse, we always have start with the context.  Jesus is wrapping up His Sermon on the Mount with a final warning.  Jesus foresees that false prophets will be coming as wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15)  They may appear to have religious authority, but they will not belong to the Lord. 

Matthew 7:21-23

“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 youdepart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 

The phrase “In that day” is used throughout the Bible to refer to a future time of judgment.  A day when people – but not all – will stand before God and be judged.  I say, not all – because this judgment will not include those who have been saved through their belief on Jesus Christ.  The judgment for those believer’s eternal destiny was done on the cross.  Their sins were laid upon Jesus who paid the penalty for them.  When we repent and trust in Him – we receive forgiveness of our sins and His righteousness is imputed to us. (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We also receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16) and the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. (John 16:13) We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

So, this judgment spoken of in Matthew 7 is the Great White Throne Judgment written about in Revelation 20:11?

That’s right, Elder.  It is a judgment of non-believers – AND it’s a judgment of works.  Those who think their good works will merit salvation – who place their faith in the “many wonderful works” of their flesh – will be judged according to those works.

But for the believers who trust that it is by Jesus’s work – not ours – they will have been made worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.    

When Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 7:21-23, he had just finished talking about how we can judge false prophets by their fruit. (Matthew 7:15-20)  The passage is very clear.  It speaks of wolves that look like sheep, thorns that look like grapes, and thistles that look like figs.  Jesus spoke of the contrast of good or fruitful trees and corrupt trees with bad fruit. 

Man’s fruits are his works.  We cannot judge the heart of man, but we can judge his works.  Both the profession of faith in Christ and the evidence of the fruits of faith and love should be apparent in every believer’s life. 

It seems that those in the Matthew 7 passage have evidence of good fruit – but are denied by Jesus.  That seems confusing.

 

Let me clarify it for you.  Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone 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.”  We have to ask – What is the will of the Father?

Since Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will – by living a perfect life and atoning for our sins on the cross – couldn’t we say that salvation is the will of God the Father?     

Exactly!  Only, those who do the Father’s will – by accepting Jesus’ work – will be known by God and be allowed to enter heaven.

The people spoken of in Matthew 7:22 are those who are numbered in the group Jesus spoke of in verse 21.  They will not enter the kingdom of heaven because they have not done the Father’s will.  They have not trusted in Christ.  Therefore, God does not know them. 

It says in verse 22 that Jesus will judge them by their words and their works.  So, in that day of judgment they will call upon Jesus as Lord.  But on what basis do they know, Him?  They spoke of the worthiness of their good works – not the work Jesus did to secure salvation for mankind.   


Elder Young

So, your saying they were being self-righteous by boasting about their works?


Chris

That’s right!  They have not understood that salvation can’t be earned.  When Jesus saves us, we enter into a relationship with Him.  We know Him and He knows us!   

Jesus makes it even more clear when, after saying in verse 23 “depart from me” He adds, “you that work iniquity.”  Meaning, works done for our own self-centered reasons do not glorify our Father in Heaven.  If these people truly knew Jesus, they would be praising His works, not their own works.


Elder Young

Aren’t we supposed to do good works?

 

Chris

Jesus was asked by some men in John 6:28 “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  Here’s His response in verse 29 “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”   

Paul describes how those who are born again by faith in Christ will produce good works of love – to the glory of God.  Would you please read Ephesians 2:8-10

“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

When Jesus said, “I never knew you,” He meant that He never recognized them as His true disciples or His friends.  There never was a relationship established.  They had no intimacy with Christ. 


Elder Young

So, your saying it’s all about a relationship with Jesus?


Chris

 

It is!  

Podcasts

Come Follow Me

Listen on Google Play Music

Talking to Mormons

Print

Mormons, now non-Mormons

Play

In a recent General Conference, President Nelson said, speaking of Jesus, “When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives.” 

The irony is that Joseph Smith used three different names for the Church in the span of eight years.  Why would Jesus instruct Joseph Smith in 1830 to call it the “Church of Christ”, then change it in 1834 to the “Church of Latter Day Saints” and, then change is once again in 1838?

Was Joseph carelessly removing Jesus as the central focus of LDS members lives during that time period?

One possible reason it took Smith eight years to settle on an official name for the Church is the fact that God wasn’t involved at all in the decision. 

President Nelson said that “For much of the world, the Lord’s Church is presently disguised as the ‘Mormon Church.’  But we as members of the Lord’s Church know who stands at its head: Jesus Christ Himself.  Unfortunately, many who hear the term Mormon may think we worship Mormon.  Not so!  We honor and respect that great ancient American prophet.  But we are not Mormon’s disciples.  We are the Lord’s disciples.”

In my entire life I’ve never heard or read of anyone having the silly idea that the LDS worship the “ancient American prophet”, Mormon.  Most people aren’t that naïve. 

President Nelson spoke of the revised style guide that should be used.  Quote: “It states“It states: ‘In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred:   When shortened second reference is needed, the terms ‘the Church’ or the ‘Church of Jesus Christ’ are encouraged.  The ‘restored Church of Jesus Christ’ is also accurate and encouraged.”

The Bible Jesus never mentioned what the future church would be called.  That’s because it was never intended to be a formal organization.  They were simply believers in Jesus Christ.  Those believers were known by a number of titles: like, “the Way”, “Christians”, “Nazarenes”, “Church of Christ”, “Church of God”, “Church of the Firstborn”, even by location such as the “Church of the Thessalonians”, etc. 

The term “Church” comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia” which means “a called-out assembly or congregation”.  It is a gathering of people “called-out” to follow Jesus.  What it is NOT – nor ever has been – is an institution that serves as the gatekeeper of salvation or eternal life. 

I see what President Nelson is trying to do here.  Calling the Mormon Church “The Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” or      ” would be an acknowledgement of Mormonism’s truth claims.  However, non-members will recognize that those are more than titles and people outside your faith should not give validation to those designations.  

It would be an admission that the “Great Apostasy” really occurred.  Thus, the need for the Church to be “restored.”  And, Christians certainly do not support that doctrinal position. 

Besides, how is it any better to call it “The Church” or “The Restored Church” if the name of Jesus is still absent?

Look!  It’s hard to break old habits and I believe the terms “Mormons” and “LDS” will be used by members and non-members till the end of time.  President Nelson has taken what seems to be his personal, opinion and used his authority as CEO to persuade others that it is God who is making this “correction” in the name of the Church. 

By declaring as Prophet that members are not to refer to themselves anymore as Mormons – He has in, essence declared all Mormons – “non-Mormons”. 

Print

Whats in a Name?

Play

The Lds church is trying to get away from the nicknames it’s been called for the past 170 years – “Mormons” and “LDS.”

Latter-Day Saints want to be called by the proper name given by the Lord to Joseph Smith – “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

In a recent Church General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson said, “the name of the Church is not negotiable.  When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be and even precedes His declaration with, ‘Thus shall my church be called,’ He is serious.”  Then President Nelson warned, “And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He (meaning God) is offended.”   

But every Church President since Joseph Smith has freely used “Mormonism” when describing the religion.  The Church founder Joseph Smith said,

“One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (History of the Church 5:499)

Now, suddenly God has revealed to Russell Nelson that He is offended by the reference to “Mormons” and “Mormonism?” 

President Nelson went on to state, “What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname?  When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the ‘LDS Church,’ the ‘Mormon Church,’ or the ‘Church of the Latter-day Saints,’ the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name.  To remove the Savior’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan.  When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us – even His Atonement.”

I’m quite surprised by that remark!  Because in 2010, the LDS Church launched a public campaign, “I’m a Mormon,” featuring biographical sketches of Church members throughout the world.  In 2014, the LDS Church released a full-length film, “Meet the Mormons.” 

Thomas Monson was the Prophet and President of the Church during that era.  He had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for a half century. and was involved in the public affairs department of the Church.  It seems that if anyone would have known the will of God concerning the offensive term “Mormon” or “LDS” it would have been him. 

But once Russell M Nelson replaced Thomas S. Monson as President of the Church, he confessed, “I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ.”

It seems that President Nelson is condemning every LDS leader from Joseph Smith on for the past 180 years for using “Mormons” in their speeches and writings.  As prophets and apostles, shouldn’t they have known they were being offensive to God? 

How could they not know that it was such a big deal to the God of Mormonism?  And why did God wait so long to make this “correction?” 

According to Nelson for a century and a half, past church leaders were giving victory to Satan and offending Jesus. 

Even, disregarding Christ’s atonement.

Nelson is admitting that Church leadership was wrong in allowing the Church’s choir to be known as “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”  For allowing the words “Mormons” and “Mormonism” to appear on official LDS websites, in periodicals, and in correlated manuals.

You see Elders, all this confusion should cause a member of your church to wonder – which of all these current and former church apostles was truly a prophet?

 

Key Words:  Mormon, Mormons, Mormonism, lds.org, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, atonement, M. Russell Nelson, changing the name of the Church, I’m a Mormon, Meet the Mormons, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints

Print

Children of Same-Sex Marriages

Play

There were two changes made to the General Handbook of Instructions, which is the manual LDS church leaders use to specify in detail how the Church is to be run everywhere in the world.

The first policy change made was in regard to individuals who in same-sex marriages are now considered to be in apostasy.  And the second change is that any natural or adopted children who live primarily in a home with same-sex parents are not eligible to receive a name and a blessing in the church.  They cannot be baptized nor, confirmed with the gift of the Holy Ghost.  And, they cannot be ordained to the priesthood nor, can they be recommended for missionary service.

Why would anyone want to belong to a Church that has a history of oppressing blacks, women, and gay people – including their children.  I’m just trying to keep an open mind, so that I can understand the reasons behind these restrictive decisions made by the LDS Church.

Does this policy sound like something that would come from Jesus?

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”


Mathew 18:1-5

Does that last verse, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” say anything about how the LDS Church is prohibiting minor children from receiving the ordinances and blessings it offers to other children, who do not live in a same-sex environment?

It appears to many that this restrictive policy is very un-Christ-like.  How would Jesus have handled this situation?

The LDS claim that their leaders are spirit-led.  An LDS Apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson – of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained in an interview that, this policy originates out of compassion.

  “It originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years.

… We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”


 Elder D. Todd Christofferson

It seems to me that all the Mormon Church is doing, is creating a special category for the children of gay parents.  The Church also teaches that children should not wait to be baptized beyond the age of 8 years old, because when they are baptized and confirmed, the Lord promises to give them daily guidance through the help of the Holy Ghost.  Is this guidance important for some children, but not others?

If you look at the Church’s point of view, wouldn’t children raised in a home with same-sex parents, need the guidance of the Holy Ghost even more than others?  Wouldn’t making the children wait 10 more years until they turn 18 to be baptized, put those children at a greater risk?  Wouldn’t they need the guidance of the Holy Ghost more during those tender years not less, than other children?

As you recall, Jesus had some VARY serious remarks concerning those who offend by restricting little children from coming to Him.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”


Matthew 18:6

It seems clear to me that LDS Church leaders are trying to stem the rapid rise of acceptance of gay rights among young people.  It appears to be an effort to designate gays as OUTSIDERS – to make them less comfortable being part of the Church.  It leads people to believe that the LDS Church is more concerned about protecting its membership from these children of same-sex marriages, than it is about protecting those innocent children.

Turning children into cultural pawns violates every moral standard of conduct taught by Jesus.  And, it puts Mormon leaders in jeopardy of wearing THAT MILLSTONE around THEIR neck.

Print