“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mt. 7:21-23)“
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.” (Mt. 24:30, 41, 46).
Whether or not we consider the context of Jesus words all these passages show one thing that none can doubt—some of these people (maybe the majority) were rejected. Rejection is one of quandary of words that a definition eludes us because it is not understanding the meaning that forms our difficulty, it is the emotion attracted to the word that haunts us. Some of those mentioned by the Lord made a profession of seeking His companionship and had a measure of faith but wanted acceptation on their own terms. Others engaged in a variety of works that no doubt were charitable and praiseworthy and in the doing of them they did not wish acclaim for themselves but attached the name of the Lord to them. However, since the one possessing authority to act had not prescribed such actions, they were lacking, as the rejection of the Lord was clear, decisive and direct. The haunting words were “I never knew you.” They were not rejected after these things were practiced and they strayed from the Lord, but they were rejected in the very doing of them. Rejection? Absolutely—“depart from me!”
Rejection by Christ has a destiny that is undesirable. It is a place of total darkness yet burning with fire that issues a pain that does not end. The populace of that place is most despicable containing the Devil himself as well as his messengers. Almost beyond our imagination is a place where there is not even the flicker of anyone with an inkling of good. Therefore we are left with but one fate: to weep and gnash our teeth. Think seriously about such a place and you can see the power of rejection. Is that a place you wish to go? As difficult as it is to live the life of a Christian sometimes, it is a far better choice than to choose the way that means rejection by the one who has provided the way of salvation.
Few people have escaped rejection. How we deal with it often defines who we are. The lives of many young children and adolescents have been ruined by rejection from parents, grandparents, siblings, school officials, friends and Christians. It is not only found among people of the world, it all too often is prevalent in the body of Christ as well. Some who make an extensive effort to attend one of the “area” Gospel Meetings find themselves strangers in an unknown and unanticipated climate, where various “clicks” operate, so leave vowing to never return.
REJECTION CAN BE THE RESULT OF A CHOICE
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure’s of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” (Heb. 11:24-26). Moses is set before us as an example of a man that intentionally rejected the better things this world had to offer for the worse. Instead of the pleasantries that would had been heaped upon him he selected the suffering with its accompanying affections in order to walk in the faith of God’s word. Did he not know that the result of his choice would bring these things upon him? Had all his affection for the daughter of Pharaoh dissipated? Was the lavish life style he had come to know have no meaning at all to him? The choice Moses made surely was not as simple and easy as we often make it out to be. As a pilgrim in Midian did his heart never recall all that he had given up? Remember he “chose to be rejected” by Pharaoh his adopted grandfather, his daughter, and all those of Pharaoh’s house. The Egyptian who had once bowed in his presence now despised him. The only consolation he had was that he pleased God in his choice. But, even then he had little way of knowing whether God would deliver His people or him! He surely had no conception of the blessings that would come his way. THE CHOICE HAD BEEN MADE and as it turned out it was by far the better choice. Rejection brought redemption from Egypt, Rejection brought rejoicing, and rejection brought the hope of a better land.
THE SAME CHOICE IS BEFORE ALL OF US TODAY—WE MUST MAKE IT WITH ITS ACCOMPANYING REJECTION
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (MT. 10:34-39).While we sing the praises of Moses and those like him who forsook all to obey God, we often fail to realize that the same principle is to be found in us. Rejecting our family is perhaps the most severe task that the Lord lays before anyone. It is difficult to reject the one who brought us into the world, the one who cared for us when we could not care for ourselves. Far be it for any of us to be called upon to reject the one who brought us up in life and taught us the principles of living. Yet it is these very ones that must be rejected for Christ. The taking of our cross in this context does not refer to helping the Lord with the burden of broadcasting the gospel. It is His reference to a personal cross, a cross that is peculiar to the circumstance. A cross bespeaks of determining the path, road, or way that one is to travel. Standing at the cross (cross-way) means that a decision is to made—must be made. A decision so necessary that once made there can be no turning back. The decision to reject family and follow Christ or to reject Christ and enjoy the bosom attraction of family is a decision (cross) that some will not grapple with, yet it cannot be avoided. A failure to reject family for Jesus is a demonstration that one is unworthy of Christ. We do not have to wait for the judgment day to know this.
When Jesus said “he that taketh not his cross” He is giving emphasis to the burden of one bearing his cross. It is not a matter to be lightly taken, it is not something that goes way quickly, it is not a decision that is to be made in haste because the burden of one’s peculiar cross spoken of in this context is there throughout life. Every time a family occurrence arises the cross is apparent. At funerals, at birthday parties and other occasions that would be joyous bring in its place tears and anguish. It seeps through our thoughts with the rising of the sun and the appearance of the moon. The man who does not reject his family for Christ may “save his life” alright enough, that is to say he will enjoy the companionship and joy of family relationships, but in so doing he will at the same time “lose his life,” meaning the eternal possession of eternal life will be severed as the Lord will not say, “well done thou good and faithful servant” rather His words will be “depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you. That is a rejection no human being wants.
SOMETIMES A CONGREGATION MUST REJECT A MEMBER
In First Corinthians chapter five the Apostle Paul chides the brethren for their failure to take action toward two of the members within that congregation who engaged in a type of fornication that was not “even named among the Gentiles” (V. 1-2). He surely does not mean that such was unbeknown among the Gentiles, but that they would not tolerate such. And he points out that he does not need to see this fornication (know every gory detail,) to pass judgment (V3). They must be rejected! His implication is that those present should not find themselves in any difficulty making a proper judgement. By the authority of Christ action was demanded meaning rejection (V 4). Because of the deeds prompted by the desire of the flesh, the fornication was to be stopped and a consideration of salvation of the spirit must be brought to the forefront (V 5). Without delay the sinners were to be rejected removing them from fellowship of the church that the church would be purified like was practiced at the Passover once observed by the children of Israel. When leaven was removed from their houses it was a symbolic gesture that sin would not be accepted and tolerated by the church of the Lord Jesus Christ as Christ Himself is our purifying agent. The toleration of sin within the church is a rejection of the sacrifice of Christ—it nullifies His sacrifice for sin (V 7). Some might think we do a lot of good, so we can tolerate some evil—not so. Others contend we worship correctly therefore the action of some of the members is of little consequence—wrong. But the elders or leaders have decided that this sin is all right—no way. Oh, the private lives of the members is just that, private—a sad mistake. Paul would say to these and other ideas to suggest we don’t have to obey the Lord in such things, “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (V 6). If the Lord commands us to reject sin personal or collective the choice is removed. The problem is such that some members of certain congregation have the mind-set that the application of the commandment of Christ will do more harm than good, Faulty thinking brought to a church. Rejection is required. Fact is if the evil within a church is not rejected the Lord will reject the entire congregation. When the Lord walked among the churches of Asia He demanded that the evil in a congregation be rejected. For example, in Ephesus, which had done a lot of good but left their first love and had fallen they needed to repent and do the first works else their candlestick would be removed—rejected. In Pergamos they worked under the most difficult of situations but had some that held the doctrine of Balaam and others who caused some to sacrifice unto idols and to commit fornication. In addition some of them held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans a thing the Lord hates. They too were called upon to repent lest Jesus come upon them with the sword of His mouth—rejected. At Thyatira they housed a place for that evil prophetess Jezebel who caused His servant to commit fornication and sacrifice unto idols, whose children He would kill with death unless they repent—rejected. The Lord does not take lightly a congregation that trifles with His word.
A HERETICK IS TO BE REJECTED
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11). There is nothing foremost in the desire of our Lord than unity of believers actuated by following His word. Yet there are (and always have been) some who are given to destroying that union by promoting themselves or some particular ideas they may have which exalts them among the people. Such are called hereticks. They are intent on creating schism or a party spirit in the church. These are not always open splits or divisions in the body, however they often lead to that condition. “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (I Cor. 11:19). Heresies are brought about by someone and that someone although at first may not be obvious is a heretick. Paul says this man is “condemned of himself,” which does not mean that the man’s own conscience condemns him, as such a person has more often than not a “seared conscience.” It means that viewing his action it is clear that he “condemns himself.” Before rejection justice is tempered with mercy and he is to be admonished. More than that he is to be provided the courtesy of a second admonition after which there is nothing left but rejection. Why are we so slow to learn and practice this? Personally I know of a brother who was in the lead (to say the least,) in a schism in a congregation that led to division. Going to another church he was readily received, where trouble again began to brew. He left that church went elsewhere and was received (we cannot judge you know). This was repeated again, again, again, again and again and he presently is enjoying discord in a church. Souls as a result have been scattered along the way. If Paul’s admonition had been followed these precious one’s might have been saved. A lesson taught plainly in scripture is rejection of a sinner.
Barney Owens 1812
“The fool hath SAID IN HIS HEART “there is no God.”