Weekly Devotional

Are You a True Follower of Christ?

What can we learn from Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount to discern the true followers of Him from those who are false?

Written by GodLife on 08/02/2022

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. 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 mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:21-23

By Pastor Corey Kugle

Jesus says there are those who think they are in a right standing with Him, even calling Him “Lord.” Yet, they deceive themselves and will face a judgment of eternal condemnation. So, what can we learn from Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount to discern the true followers of Him from those who are false?

A profession of faith doesn’t make one a true follower (v. 21a) 

Jesus says some can say the right thing in acknowledging who He is (even with enthusiasm – “Lord, Lord”), and yet not be a true follower of Him. 

Even the demons “believe” there is one God (James 2:19). They know who He is, and they even use the right words to acknowledge who Jesus is – The Son of God (Matthew 8:29), The Holy One of God (Mark 1:24). 

But merely saying we believe or even acknowledging who Jesus is with our words does not show proof of genuine faith on their own. It’s doing the Father’s will that’s important. 

Actions, not words, are the mark of a true follower (v. 21b)

Jesus is emphasizing a key contrast here: saying (“says to me Lord, Lord”) vs. doing (“does the will of my Father”). It’s not those who talk a good game who are the true followers of Christ, but those who put into practice, those who live out their faith. 

We are made right with God by grace and through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), yet true faith is demonstrated in obedience (Ephesians 2:10, John 14:15, Matthew 12:50, Luke 6:46, John 8:31-32, 1 John 2:3-6, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). 

Our words alone do not prove we are a true follower of Christ, nor do our religious activities/accomplishments, even those done with great power.

Religious activities and accomplishments do not make one a true follower of Christ (v. 22)

On “that day” (day of judgment), many will appeal to their religious activities/accomplishments – even powerful expressions like prophesying, casting out demons, and miracles -- as proof that they were true followers of Jesus. 

Yet, these things cannot be a substitute for obedient living. Judas probably did things just like this, but he was not a true follower of Jesus (Matthew 10:1-4).

Our religious activities/accomplishments mean nothing if our lives don’t match up with our profession of faith. 

Those who don’t walk the talk, and thus are not true followers of Christ, will be exposed by the Judge. 

Jesus has the authority to judge those who are false (v. 23)

The false can deceive others (and even themselves!) into thinking they are true followers of Christ, but no one will fool Jesus on the Day of Judgment. 

It’s not that true believers can lose their salvation (John 10:27-29), but Jesus says to those who are false followers: "I never knew you."

The false were never truly born again, they never had a right relationship with Jesus. They didn’t just sin occasionally. They practiced a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. That demonstrated they never had a saving relationship with Christ, and Jesus has the power and authority to eternally condemn those who are false. 

Where do I go from here? 

First, take an honest evaluation of where you stand with Christ. 

The Apostle Paul said: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Does your life match up with your profession of faith? 

Are you clinging to the false hope of a previous spiritual experience/accomplishment, but not living for Christ today? 

Every one of us sins. True followers of Christ sin. Sometimes really bad. 

But each time we do, we are to confess that sin to God, turn from it in repentance, and cling to the forgiveness that was purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ – who is our Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1-2)! 

This is the Christian life...the actions and evidence of a true follower of Christ. Sheep are not perfect, they are repentant. 

Second, cling to the amazing grace of God. 

It is grace that saves us, and grace that trains and empowers us to, as Titus 2:11-14 says, “say No to ungodliness” and instead live obedient lives as people who are “eager to do good.”

Let’s walk the talk, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for His glory! 

Pray this week:

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

 Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

 and lead me in the way everlasting!

(Psalm 139:23,24)

Does your life match up with your profession of faith? 

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