The Pathway that Leads to Death:
Only Professing Jesus, Not Possessing Him
What would lead a church to be declared “dead” by Christ? How did they get so far from Him, His life that is abundant, and His Spirit that is to overflow our lives? The answers to those questions are perhaps some of the most sobering lessons we will come to in our walk through these seven churches.
God wants us to know the difference between appearance and reality! In every generation He has had to pronounce against certain ones: “This people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me” (Isaiah 29:13).
That pronouncement came from Christ to His own generation as He ministered. As we open to Matthew 5, we start the longest recorded messages Jesus ever gave (known as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7) is filled with four different warnings about the dangers of false professions. These three chapters end with the four most chilling words any religious person ever could hear: “I never knew you”.
Jesus spared no words to convey His utter contempt for religious charlatans with the false fruits of self-righteousness. He gave the greatest warnings to those who only appeared to be righteous. Perhaps the strongest warnings ever uttered, came from our loving Savior whenever He came across phonies. Some of His most graphic illustrations were about these Christian look-a-likes. Here are Christ’s seven most well-known warnings. Starting in Matthew 7 note that Jesus warned:
Beware of Ever Being Like This
A Ravenous Wolf Dressed in Sheep’s Clothing: Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
A Fruitless Tree, Waiting to be Cut Down and Burned in the Fire: Matthew 7:19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
A Shocked Church Worker, Who Never Really Knew Jesus: Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
A House Built on Sand, Only to be Swept Away to Destruction: Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”