There are some challenging sayings of Jesus in Matthew 7 today. His comment in verses 28,29 jumps out. “When Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Jesus spoke plainly; there was no double talk.

God’s word spells out very plainly the principles of living. Paul stressed this, he said to the Corinthians, “Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’ at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No” (2 Corinthians 1:18,19). Let us not be influenced by the volume of ‘double talk’ in our world today.

Back in Matthew 7, verses 21-23 contain a vital lesson, Jesus says, “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 (teach) 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 …’”

It is not simply a matter of knowing what is true and talking about it. We notice carefully that Jesus said that “on that day” (the judgement day) “many will say” about the preaching and works they have done – but Jesus will “declare to them, ‘I never knew you’”. Those who ‘know’ Jesus, in the sense he means here, are those who have developed a genuine spiritual relationship with him. Half of the virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come, are told by him, when he comes, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you” (Matthew 25:12). Paul warned the Corinthians in his first letter how “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God” (8:1-3) and an intimate spiritual relationship comes into being.

David is an outstanding example; we saw this in the Psalm we read today; ‘I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices … You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy …” (16:8-11). What an example David is! May we so live and love our Lord that he will not say, “I never knew you”.