The signs of God working in the life of a repentant believer reveal the true power of God.
Matthew 7:21-23 “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 in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
We have looked before at what it means to do something in the name of God, or in this case, in the name of Messiah. It means to conduct oneself with the character and reputation of the one whom one is claiming to be associated with. To take the name of God was to associate with everything that God represents as one of his people. To do something in the name of Messiah was to associate with everything Messiah taught and did as one of his disciples.
In this passage, Yeshua is warning against hypocrisy. There would be many who would claim him as their Lord and Master, only to falsely represent him with their actions. They would claim to be associated intimately with him by doing their works in his name.
To many believers today, prophesying, casting out of demons, and doing works of power are all things to be sought after. People continue looking for miraculous happenings as some sort of evidential truth that they are involved with the true work of God. And yet Yeshua condemns these types of individuals as being workers of iniquity who don’t really know him at all. If they are just seeking the miraculous events, they are no better than the thousands who followed Yeshua just because he miraculously had fed them all; they weren’t true followers, just miracle-chasers.
This is similar to the man Simon whom the disciples encountered in Samaria. He was known for amazing people with sorcery and magic, things that are forbidden by the word of God. The text says he became a believer when he heard the disciples’ message of the kingdom.
Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed. After being baptized, he stayed constantly with Philip and was amazed when he saw the signs and great miracles that took place.
Yet, there was hypocrisy in his heart. As it turns out, he was fascinated not with the repentant life of believer, but with the real power of God working through the disciples. This would suggest his own “magic” was more of a deceptive show than than the real thing.
Acts 8:18-21 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God.
Simon was focused on the ability to perform miraculous signs, not the repentant heart that allowed the sign to occur. Because of this hypocrisy, Peter rebukes him. Simon wanted to do the miraculous, but Yeshua was not truly his Lord, as evidenced by his actions.
This should stand as a witness to all who would seek only to be associated with miraculous happenings rather than simply and sincerely submitting their lives wholly to the life and teaching of Messiah as their Lord. The true repentant heart will seek to be faithful to God’s word and to serve others, yet remain vigilant in avoiding association with those who are only miracle-chasers.
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