We have been looking at the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:22-23. In those verses there is a rejection by Him of folks who based their expectation of Heaven on being good. This rejection will occur on the Day of Judgment and will be a rejection of religious people. That's kinda scary since most people use religion to give them some hope of heaven in the day of judgment. But, as we pointed out last time, the rejection will be primarily based upon His claim that He never knew them, not on the basis of their religious practices.
We also saw last time that the word Jesus used for knowing is the term that reflects the knowledge that friends have of one another. So, we concluded, Jesus is claiming that those He rejects were never His friends.
But, how does one come to be a friend of Jesus?
To answer, I would like to point out a couple of crucial facts that the Bible records. First, the idea of knowing Jesus with friendship knowledge is a very fundamental issue in the Bible. And, second, knowing someone as a friend means at least two things: being on the same fundamental wave-length; and going after the same fundamental goals. So, let's consider these matters.
First, in Jeremiah 31 the New Covenant is promised. We call it the New Testament, but it is the same thing. In Jeremiah 31:34 we are told that during the era of the New Covenant "...they shall not teach...each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them..." This means that the essential message prior to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth is: know the Lord. It is a message that everyone is supposed to pass around (each person to his neighbor and each person to his relatives). My point is simply that Jesus' words "...depart from Me...I never knew you..." come from the fact that the essential message of our day is to be "know the Lord".How?
How do you get to know anybody? First, there must be an introduction. Then, there must be an awareness of common interests and an acceptable blending of personalities and goals. Then there must be a spending of time together over time. As two spend time together, they reveal themselves to each other by the things they say and the way they act. Sometimes the introduction seems promising. Sometimes the initial awareness of common interests is promising. Sometimes there is an initial blending of personalities. And then, upon closer examination, a fundamental conflict arises that breaks off the process of knowing. The possible friendship is broken off because friendship in that case would require more than the person wants to invest. Judas found this true with Jesus.
So, let me say to you: Know the Lord. How? Tell Him that you want to get to know Him. If that happens, you won't hear Him say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you." But you gotta mean it.