I was meditating on Matthew Chapter 7 recently when I noticed something I hadn’t particularly paid attention to at previous readings of this Chapter. It had always been there, but I hadn’t paid careful attention to it until then.
Matthew 7:21-23 (Amplified Bible – AMP)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’
Going by what the Lord is saying here, it is quite possible for someone to:
- prophesy in Jesus name;
- drive out demons in Jesus name;
- do many miracles (KJV says “many wonderful works”) in Jesus name
and yet not be known by Jesus and walking in line with the Word in their day-to-day life. In fact, Jesus refers to “acting wickedly” or “being a worker of iniquity”. In its simplest form, it denotes practising evil. So someone can be carrying out mighty works such as raising the dead and healing blind eyes and yet be walking in disobedience to the Word in their lives.
I have to confess, this really upended my theology. That there will be “supposed” men and women of God, doing mighty works in Jesus’ name, and yet not be known by Him. To make matters worse, these individuals didn’t seem to know they weren’t known by the Lord either. Otherwise, why would they be saying to the Lord, “Let us in. We did such and such in your name. Surely that’s enough to earn us a sit at your table, and in your kingdom.”
So what does this mean for you and me? Well, for starters, it means we have to evaluate everything we see in the kingdom via the fruit test. Starting with the Man of God or mentor that you are plugged into, extending to the church you attend, and your close friends and associates – you need to apply the fruit test.
What is the fruit test, I hear you say. Well, I’m glad you asked.
Of grapes and figs … applying the fruit test
Here’s the Lord again, from the same Chapter 7 of Matthew:
Matthew 7:15-20 (CWSB)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. The word fruit here is the Greek word karpós, which talks about deeds, works, or conduct. At its root, it talks about how a person conducts their life. So a key question should be – is this individual conducting his/her life in line with the Word of God. Are the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23 AMP – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) in manifestation in this person’s life? We are not talking about being perfect, but a journey towards maturity in Christ, walking in line with and practising the Word in their daily life.
If there are question marks in this area of fruits, then I will admonish you to be wary. We live in an age when many are easily swayed by signs and wonders that are not really signs and wonders. Are signs and wonders for today? Undoubtedly YES. The Lord Jesus worked with the Apostles and confirmed His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20). There are many such signs in the book of Acts (Acts 3:1-10, Acts 9:36-42)). I am privileged to belong to a commission where signs and wonders are a regular occurrence, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). But Jesus warned us that signs and wonders can be counterfeited, so much so that even the very elect can become susceptible to being deceived (Matt 24:24-25). So we can’t be too careful in this area.
The only true test is the fruit test. The devil (and his hangers-on) cannot live in line with the Word of God – he is absolutely incapable of this. According to Jesus, when the devil lies, he speaks his natural language (John 8:44), so it should be fairly easy to pick up on this. The main challenge is that many Christians refuse to see these signs, hoodwinked by “supposed” supernatural acts that are not based on the truth of God’s Word. Don’t be deceived. Always apply the fruit test before following anyone!
Jesus is Lord!