Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
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.
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 will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This is such a scary passage of scripture spoken by Jesus. No one wants to be that person who comes to the pearly gates only to be rejected by God with the words: "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
My question is, how can God not KNOW this man? He spent his entire life proclaiming the gospel and performing miracles in God's name!
I don't propose to have the answers to this question. But I have a few thoughts I'd like to share. I simply would like to present some food for thought.
Jesus began this scenario with these words: "wherefore by their FRUIT ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20
Obviously it is not as simple as "He knows my name..."
At social functions, we get to "know" people by asking them about their names, occupations, family members, where they were from, hobbies, other people that they're acquainted with, etc. But this is not a true knowing. This is simply trivia.
A true knowing involves knowing one's heart. Someone who truly knows you is acquainted with the ways of your heart. What pains you? What moves you? What triggers your wrath? What fills you with compassion? What is your nature? What are your ways?
Have you ever been good friends with someone whom you didn't enjoy? You were friends for a long time - years, decades even - friends of convenience. You watch movies with them, go to the mall with them, carpool with them - you never had a heart connection; it was merely convenient.
I have friends like that. After spending thousands of hours together, I realized that I never really knew this person. What moves me to tears illicits no such response from her. What I stand strongly against; she vacillates between opinions. What I roll with laughter, she vaguely chuckles. At the end of our friendship, we part ways thinking, "we are so different; we barely share anything in common at all."
The fruit that God knows you by is not the fruit of your good works. It is not conducting bible studies, leading worship, preaching the Word, ministering to the multitudes, or handing out tracks. That's what that ill-fated man said to God in defense of his life and ministry: "Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and perform many miracles?"
Obviously God isn't impressed by these fruits.
What fruit impresses the Lord?
Some food for thought:
I think God is looking for fruit that reflect THE NATURE of the tree. A good tree produces good fruit. Fruit that is nutrious, healthy, sweet, and pleasant. Not fruit that is bitter, noxious, ill-mannered, and unpleasant.
I believe God has a very sweet, loving nature. He is kind, slow to anger, full of compassion, and tenderhearted. He loves children. He has compassion on the widowed and the elderly. He is gentle towards the weak and feeble. He is not harsh, judgmental, or unkind. He's not merciless, manipulative, or parsimonious. He's not prudish. He is righteousness but not austere. He does not favor one group more than another but has compassion on all. He is not cruel, dark, or ominous. He is simply, the nature of love.
John said, "God is love." (1 john 4:8)
This means, God's nature is love. He cannot not be Himself, therefore, he cannot be unloving.
Yet, we Christians are so unloving. We are unkind. We are harsh. We revel in the failures of others. We relish secretly in the misery of others. We are hardhearted. We treat a minority of people nicely while treating the majority as if they have no feelings. We are vindictive and vengeful; full of bitterness, hatred, and resentment. We are brutal with words when our pride is hurt. We attack people viciously with an air of condenscion. We look for opportunities to run people down. We never cover people's shortcomings. We always expose. We feel our religious right to condemn others.
No wonder God looks at us and says, "You are not like Me at all. We are so far apart. We are totally different. After countless thousands of hours together, I can now sincerely say, 'I never knew you.' We never truly connected. We never really agreed. We are not the same. You are bitter and unkind, while I am sweet and gentle. Your heart is ruthless and hard, while mine is gentle and tender. You delight in hurting your friends as well as your enemies, but I was never on your side. I whinced while listening to you cut down everyone around you. In all of your efforts to seek me, our hearts never became one, because I am not like you, and you are not like Me ...we were never the same...I never knew you."
King David never knew the sons of Zuriah althought they served him as warriors for a lifetime. James and John (the Sons of Thunder) wanted to command fire down from heaven to consume these people who did not receive Jesus. Jesus turned and rebuked them, and said, "you do not know what manner of spirit you are of; for the son of man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9: 55-56)
This manner of spirit James and John carried was antagonistic to the manner of spirit Jesus carried. Jesus' spirit was compassionate, while their spirit was easily offended, and hair-triggeringly unkind. James and John did not have the spirit of God, but the spirit of religion.
It was through the divine transformation of Love that James and John eventually became in synch with Jesus' spirit. John became "the disciple of love." His epistles are the greatest books written on God's love. James was executed by the Romans, died rejoicing that he was counted worthy as a martyr for Christ.
For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God...1 cor 2:10
God desires to know you only one way - by His spirit. This is the only way of true knowing. And we can only know Him this way, by way of the spirit. His desire is that we would abandon our dog-eat-dog, son-of-Zebedee, religious-James-and-John- type spirits, and enter into agreement with His spirit...the spirit of Agape Love.