As we begin the new year, Converge churches and missionaries from around the globe will embark on 21 Days of Prayer. Join us on this prayer journey by reading the daily entries on Converge’s blog, or by downloading your free 21 Days of Prayer: Upside-down Kingdom guide (English/Spanish). In addition, you can share daily posts from our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds. Thank you for joining us as we open 2022 in prayer together.
Day 20: True and false disciples
21“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 who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
If you haven’t noticed this theme yet in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, God is not impressed by outward appearances. In one of the most startling segments of his sermon, Jesus gets to the heart of our salvation. And the heart of salvation is God’s grace delivered through faith in Jesus.
First, for any that have ever doubted Jesus’ claim to be God, notice who Jesus says we will all stand before on the day of judgment. That’s right, Jesus. On that day there will be two types of judgment for two categories of people. As John points out in Revelation, some will be judged by “books” in which their merit will be contrasted to God’s standard, and all will be found wanting. The other group will be judged by a “book” (singular), referring to the Book of Life in which the names of those who put their faith in Jesus are recorded.
For those who choose to rely on their own merit (the books category), even the greatest of words are not enough to meet God’s standard: words such as “Lord, Lord” and the greatest of actions such as prophesying, driving out demons or performing miracles. It is not what we say or do that saves us (that would be merit) but, rather, Who we are with. There is nothing wrong in declaring the words “Lord, Lord” or performing miracles. But these are nothing apart from the saving grace of Jesus.
Paul writes to the Romans, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Rom. 10:9-10).
Father, thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for ordaining it, Jesus. Thank you for accomplishing it and, Holy Spirit, thank you for sealing it. Jesus, you are Lord. I submit myself to your leading. I believe you paid the debt of my sin on the cross and that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you were raised. Jesus, thank you for clothing me in your perfection, so that I might withstand judgment for all of my sin and enter into eternity with you. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the promise that the same power that raised you will bring life to this mortal body. My gratitude for what you have done for me overflows. I love you. Amen.
Continue your prayer journey throughout the year with Converge. Download the 2022 Converge Prayer Calendar to join us as we pray for missionaries, church planters, chaplains and district and national staff members.
You can also join a global prayer network and meet virtually with others to pray for the missionaries, people and specific needs of one of Converge International Ministries’ global initiatives.
Excerpt from 21 Days of Prayer: Upside-Down Kingdom written by Robert Watson and Justin Martz.
Converge is a movement of churches working together to help people meet, know and follow Jesus. We do this by starting and strengthening churches together worldwide.