Are You Lost? Are You Saved? (Matthew 7:21-23)

Sunday, January 5, 2020: Are You Lost? Are You Saved? (Matthew 7:21-23)

Communion this Sunday, January 5

Prepared and Preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sometimes people send me these emails. They are forwards that people pass on and this is one that I thought might be an appropriate opening for this topic:

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. I asked them, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven? “NO!” the children answered. “If I cleaned the churchevery day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, the answer was, “NO! “By now I was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun! “Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked them again. Again, they all answered, “NO!” I was just bursting with pride for them. Well, I continued, “then how can I get into Heaven?” A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD.”

I want to talk this morning about knowing Jesus. Most of you think, “I know Jesus.” Well if you are thinking that please keep listening. I hope you still say that at the end of this message.

How many of you know of an actor? An actress? Do you know an athlete? Do you really know them? No, you just know of them. If you tried to call them you could be labeled a stalker and thrown in jail.

  • Do you know Christ or just know of Christ? We can know all His teachings and everything He did and not really know Christ.

 Today, I am launching a series titled: Be Contagious Christians in 2020. But the first step is making sure that you know Christ.

My theme today is:

Examine yourself and make sure you are saved.

This sermon may be a downer since I am talking about a passage where Jesus says some are not really saved. How can you be encouraged today? How does this help hurting people?

  1. I hope this helps you to have confidence in your salvation. The true believer can have confidence.
  2. I hope this helps you to repent. This is important. Repent and turn to Christ.
  3. I hope you will apply this sermon with the examination test at the end of the message.

Read with me Matthew 7:21-23:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  1. What saves us?
    1. First, we see that doctrine alone does not save us.
      1. Now, where are we at in the Bible? This is a section at the end of the sermon on the mount. Jesus has been talking about knowing false teachers. In the previous verse Jesus says that we will know them [false teachers] by their fruits.
      2. We see in that passage that they had the right doctrine. Jesus says they come to Him with Lord, Lord… this implies they see Him as Lord.
  • There are many people who may have correct doctrine but do not know Jesus.
  1. I read about an atheist that had correct doctrine. Listen to this debate between an atheist and a liberal, supposed Christian:

Marilyn Sewell

Unitarian Universalist  Minister

 and Christopher Hitchens Author, God is NOT Good: How Religion Poisons Everything 

Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of      various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of the atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?


Only in this respect: I would say that if  you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth

was the Christ, in other words, the Messiah, and that he rose again from  the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.


I disagree with that. I consider myself a Christian. I believe in the Jesus story as story, as narrative, and Jesus as a person whose life is exemplary that I want to follow. But I do not believe in all that stuff that I just outlined.

I simply have to tell you that every major

Christian, including theologians, has said

that without the resurrection and without the forgiveness of sins, what I call the vicarious redemption, it’s meaningless. In fact, without that, it isn’t even a nice story – even if it’s true  


It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s true literally. It matters to me whether the story has efficacy for my life. 


Well, that’s what I meant to say. When

C.S. Lewis, for example, says, . .  ‘if this

man was not the son of God, then his

teachings were evil’ because if you don’t

believe that the kingdom of heaven is at

hand and you can get to it by the way, the truth, and the life, offered by the gospel, then there’s no excuse for telling people to take no thought for the morrow, for example, as he did. . . It would be an evil nonsense.

  1. So, correct doctrine does not save. Don’t get me wrong doctrine is very important. Sometimes wrong doctrine shows that one is NOT saved, but that is another sermon. Let’s get back to the text. If you keep reading, they do not submit to Him as Lord. They do not do His Father’s will.
  1. Emotions do not save us.
    1. In the passage it seems that the people who approach Jesus are quite serious. They seem very emotional. They seem very persistent. They seem like they really care. They are saying, “Lord,” twice.
    2. Still that does not save them.
  • We can have correct doctrine and be passionate about it and not be saved.
  1. At the end of verse 21 Jesus says the one is saved who does the will of His Father. We will come back to that.
  1. Then we see that actions do not save us, but right actions are important.
    1. They say to Jesus, “Did we not prophesy in Your Name?” Stop right there. We could easily think, “They did a miracle, they prophesied.” But even the demons can do counterfeit miracles. We see this in Rev. 13:13-14, which is a key passage about this. Prophesy could mean preaching the Word, or it could mean rebuking sin, or it could mean calling out the future. These false believers could do that naturally without God or they could do it by demonic forces. Jesus says they are not saved.
    2. They say to Jesus, “Did we not cast out demons in Your name?” Again, they are not saved. In Acts 19:13-16 we see false teachers, non-Christians try to cast out demons. They may cast out demons, but maybe the demons do not stay out. Of course they could be lying, maybe they never did any of these things.
  • Lastly, we see that miracles do not save us. These people tell Jesus that they did miracles in Jesus’ Name. They could be lying, or maybe they did the miracles by demonic power. Again, I refer you to Rev. 13:13-14.
  1. So, how do you know if you are saved?
    1. We will come back to that in a minute, but firstly, right here, Jesus says, do the will of His Father. This would be follow His Word.
    2. Now, we interpret Scripture with Scripture, this means that we know based on Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace. We know based on the theology of salvation that we cannot earn our way to God. But our works validate our faith.
  • In John 15:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands…”
  1. Then we see in James 2:18-19: But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
  2. Our works validate our faith. How else can we know we are saved?
  1. Examine yourself
    1. In 2 Cor. 13:5 Paul writes that we should examine ourselves. How can we examine ourselves?
      1. Are we repentant of sin?
        1. Does sin in our life grieve us (Acts 2:38; Romans 7 Paul did not like the sin in his life)?
        2. Do certain sins grieve us, and others do not?
        3. Does sin grieve us because it grieves God or because of selfish reasons?
        4. Do we desire to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31)?
        5. Is Jesus our Lord? Do we follow Him (Luke 9:23)?
      2. Here is a breakdown of 5 things to look for:
        1. Penitence towards sin (Psalm 32; 51).
        2. Pursue righteousness (1 Tim. 6:11).
        3. Willing and joyful submission to Christ (James 4:7; Eph. 5:21) and others.
        4. Longing to obey the Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psalm 119:9-11).
        5. Love for God and others (Matthew 22:37-39).

So, do you know Him?

Are you lost?

Do you care?

I think too many believers just really do not even care. I think oftentimes we really do not care. Consider this very serious story from Henry Blackaby:

The first funeral I ever conducted was for a beautiful three-year-old. She was the first child born to a couple in our church, and the first grandchild in their extended family. Unfortunately, she was spoiled. While visiting the little girl’s home one day, I observed that she loved to ignore her parents’ instructions. When they told her to come, she went. When they said, “sit down,” she stood up. Her parents laughed, finding her behavior cute.

One day their front gate was inadvertently left open. The parents saw their child escaping out of the yard and heading toward the road. To their horror, a car was racing down the street. As she ran out between two parked cars, they both screamed at her to stop and turn back. She paused for a second, looked back at her parents, then gleefully laughed as she turned and ran directly into the path of the oncoming car. The parents rushed their little girl to the hospital, but she died from her injuries. 

As a young pastor, this was a profound lesson for me. I realized I must teach God’s people not only to recognize His voice but also immediately to obey His voice when they hear it. It is life.[1]

Responding to Jesus and making Him Lord is serious, it is life. Jesus gives us life now and life eternal.

Do you know Jesus?                                                               

Confess, Believe, trust, commit: Firmly make the decision to be with Him in order to become like Him and to learn and do all that He says and then arrange your affairs around Him.

[1] Henry Blackaby, Hearing God’s Voice (Broadman & Holman, 2002); reprinted in Men of Integrity (May/June 2003)

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