Posted in theology

They used the wrong evidence to defend themselves

By Elizabeth Prata

21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22Many 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?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; LEAVE ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Here, the surprised, shocked, and dismayed false Christians are revealed ‘on that day’. They had been busy for the Lord, laboring in His churches, working and doing religious-type activities. They knew the Lord and they knew His name.

But he didn’t know them. He consigned them to outer darkness.

That set of verses are deeply convicting, scary, and worrisome. All people reading them should examine one’s self to see if they pass the test of faith and assure themselves they will not hear those words. Ask the Spirit to testify to you that you are a child of God.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16).

First of all, too many people today, when they pray, sign off at the end with “In Jesus’ name” as if it is a mantra. It’s not a mantra. It isn’t a magical covering. Michelle Lesley wrote:

♦ If you’re tacking the phrase “in Jesus’ name” on to your decreeing and declaring and binding and rebuking as some sort of way to harness the power of God into making your words a reality, you’re taking God’s name in vain because you’re doing the same thing witches and pagans do when they use incantations and cast spells. “In Jesus’ name” isn’t the Christian version of “abracadabra.” To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray that what God wants – not what we want – will be done.

Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash

Now as to the verses: the three religious activities these false Christians hurled at Jesus in desperate attempt to prove their identity as a child of God:

1. prophesy in Your name,
2. in Your name cast out demons,
3. in Your name perform many miracles

These 3 activities were part of the collection of sign gifts. These were the showy gifts whose purpose in the first decades of the new covenant was to affirm the messenger’s authenticity because the canon was not completed yet. The sign gifts also included tongues and interpretation of tongues.

What was the purpose of the biblical sign gifts?

Once the canon was complete, new revelation was not necessary. Believers had the word in print and/or preached to them. Prophesying ceased. Miracles performed by believers ceased. Casting our demons by the hand or word of a believer ceased.

The word prophesy means in the Bible either preaching the word, or foretelling something about the future. The word prophesy as it’s used in the Matthew verse is the latter, foretelling. AKA a sign gift.

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Yet these false Christians persisted in faking their prophecies, working at casting out demons (who likely laughed at them, Acts 19:15), and pretending to do miracles. The same continues to this very day. Their efforts are vapor, not done in Jesus’ name, and will be uncovered as false on the day.

Now, let’s contrast their fake religious activity to real religious activity.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42)

1. Teaching & Learning
2. Fellowship
3. Breaking of bread= communion/meals together
4. Prayer

This day-by-day, persevering in spiritual disciplines, is the true religious activity. It was noted in Acts and lauded.

The foremost of the disciplines is that involving the Word of God and constitutes the reading, study, memorization, and meditation of Scripture.” ~GotQuestions

Notice the false Christians didn’t say, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we pray, and study, and memorize scripture, and devote ourselves to worship?’ Not that false Christians don’t do those things too, but just note the three religious activities the false Christians chose to use as their primary defense when trying to argue their way into the Kingdom. The very ones that have passed away. Many will discover this to their eternal regret.

The word many as it is used here, means:

4183 polýs – many (high in number); multitudinous, plenteous, “much”; “great” in amount (extent).

4183 /polýs (“much in number”) emphasizes the quantity involved. 4183 (polýs) “signifies ‘many, numerous’; . . . with the article it is said of a multitude as being numerous” (Vine, Unger, White, NT, 113,114) – i.e. great in amount.

It breaks my heart to think of the shock of the MANY as they are confronted by an angry Christ. They are thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19).

If you, dear reader or listener, are one who believes you are hearing from Christ, or casting out devils, or performing (fake) miracles, consider those sobering words from Jesus.

If you, dear reader or listener, are growing weary with your spiritual disciplines, thinking that such a ‘insignificant’ walk surely must be displeasing to Christ- it isn’t. It’s laudable. It’s worthy of Him. Devote yourself to the teaching and breaking of bread and fellowship and prayer. And you will rejoice on the Day!

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

2 thoughts on “They used the wrong evidence to defend themselves

  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for your work on your blog. I listen on Spotify and read them when I can’t. As I was listening yesterday, I thought how lovely it is to hear the voice of a mature follower of Christ speak it to my life. My mom died in 2018, and your vice reminds me of hers. And then, this morning, I check my email and read this powerful post. I have been praying about this for weeks and was awake most of the night with this on my mind. And then your words! What a balm to my soul! Thank you for serving God by serving the body of Christ. I am grateful.

    In kind regards, Lisa

    Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NLT)

    For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT) ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear sister! I teared up reading this. Your encouragement is gratefully received. 🙂 It really is my pleasure to serve the Lord in this way and hearing of the impacts to my dear sisters is wonderful

      Liked by 1 person

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