Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name (we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, and our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking), and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. Depart from ME!…. You’re out of here. Away from me, you who have done evil!
The Platters made famous this title of this piece in their hit song in 1955. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP8xff2X46A These are some of the lyrics…. Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, Pretending I’m doing well My need is such, I pretend too much….I’m lonely but no one can tell…. Oh yes, I’m the great pretender, Adrift in a world of my own, I play the game but to my real shame, You’ve left me to dream all alone….Too real is this feeling of make-believe, Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal….Oh yes, I’m the great pretender
Pretenders, we have all seen them. You know who I am talking about. There are some that you see in church, or in public or in your day-to-day life.
This particular verse in Matthew has remained one of the verses that I have pondered on all of my life. When I was but a “wee lad” as my grandfather used to call me, I was afraid that I would be one of the ones mentioned in this passage. As I have grown older the verses that state things like ”But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”, has made this particular piece of scripture more real to me. In fact Jesus made this statement about only a few verses before finding the subject of this piece in the real life demonstration of His end time judgment in verses 22 and 23.
Let’s think for a moment and see who exactly Jesus might be talking about. The first thing and the most obvious thing that most people point to are the over the top televangelist that are so obvious that they are easy to point at and says that they are the one Jesus is mentioning in this passage. There are TV ministers from major ministries that have made statements and displays on public record such as;
One TV minister stated that you’d be surprised how well you can praise God in the back seat of his Rolls Royce Phantom
One TV minister stated Jesus was rich and the Apostles were successful businessmen with plenty of money
A popular TV evangelist stars in his own worse-than-B movies and charges $930 for his Bible course on tape
One TV preacher sells elderships to his church by mail.
One televangelist was exposed for receiving “words of knowledge” not from God, but from his wife via a radio transmitter
These are but a few of many of so-called ministries that are not in line with the Word of God, but these ministries are simply “the flesh gone amok” in this humble man’s opinion. They will be those who are judged and found wanting at the Judgment throne of Christ. But I believe that if it were just ministries that Christ was talking about here in Matthew our Lord would have said so. I believe that He is talking about those of us within the Body of Christ.
We, who are called “Believers”, have our foundation and existence in the Blood of Christ and in Him crucified. It is one thing to pretend to be a fireman, or a policeman or somebody that is rich, but it is something else all together and it is unholy and downright satanic to pretend to be a Christian and not live the life of Christ and Him crucified, and it is to make a mockery and joke of the life of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice which provides salvation for us all.
People who go to church today are no more automatically saved than those who talked with Jesus in the past. Not all those who claim to “know” Jesus but only those who do the Father’s will in accepting the sacrifice of His Son will have any claim on Jesus. Those who play with His gift to us, He will banish them from his presence, in His own words; He will say”I never knew you”.
These verses contain, without any doubt whatsoever, one of the most terrible thoughts in all of God’s Word. There will be many who say that they diligently have served God and done many things in His name, only to discover at last that they have never really served him at all. This warning from our Lord should stop every one of us dead in our tracks to be sure of our motives and actions and to pray and be led of His Spirit that we are honestly and truthfully doing Christ’s will. Saying that Jesus is “Lord” means nothing unless we live our lives in accordance to His Word and teachings and surrender our hearts truthfully to His service. There are many who do not follow Christ and His teachings and instructions but instead, some substitute their own law for God’s and dedicates themselves to accomplishing their own selfish deeds instead of those actions which are God’s.
How many preachers are there who appear as great ministers before man in their own pulpits; how many writers, and other evangelicals , the miracles of whose teachings, learning, and doctrine, that we admire, who are nothing, and worse than nothing, before God, because they perform not his will, but their own?
What an awful consideration, that a man or woman of gifts should be only as a way-mark or finger-post in the way to eternal bliss, pointing out the road to others, without walking in it themselves! Depart from me…….What terrible words! What a dreadful separation! Depart from ME!….These words will come from the very Jesus whom many have proclaimed His death, burial and resurrection.
So don’t pretend to pray, don’t pretend to care, don’t pretend to have a word, don’t pretend to share if your actions are not motivated by Christ and Him crucified. We have no purpose, no cause and no message save that of the cross. Don’t be “The Great Pretender”.