“I Never Knew You…”
While there may be an endless amount of ways to finish the sentence “I never knew you…”, I would imagine that to the Christian there are some particular ways that it would especially be cringe worthy; if not outright heartbreaking. Imagine having a conversation with someone and they said, “I never knew you were a Christian?” How would you feel about hearing that? What would you think? How would you respond?
If it was someone you just met, or someone who knew of you but really didn’t know you, I guess it wouldn’t be that big of a deal would it? They simply haven’t had enough time to be around you, to get to know you. There certainly were some folks in Jesus’ day that met Him, but didn’t immediately recognize Him as the Christ (John 9; Luke 24:13-31). But in time, and usually a very short time in Christ’s case, it became very evident. So if it is simply because of a lack of time and knowledge about you, then I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to hear those words.
But what if it is someone you have never met, but they know of you by reputation that they have heard for quite some time? What if they were to meet you and they said, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard a lot about you. Your reputation precedes you.” What is reputation? It’s what we find in Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is to be more desired than great riches”. My name means something. When those who know me hear the name “David Osteen” they automatically think of me, my being, my character; the collection of decisions I have made in my life that defines me in their mind. When my “reputation” precedes me; what does it say? Someone who has heard a lot about me from others, would it surprise them to find out that I am a Christian? Would they already know?
What about classmates at school or coworkers? School may be tough because of age, but I am mostly talking about High School and College age. Foolishness and naivety are often associated with youth (Proverbs 1:4), but it doesn’t have to be (I Timothy 4:12). And in our digital age with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. there are ever more opportunities to display folly. Would it surprise, or even shock, some of your classmates to learn that you are a Christian, after seeing what you post on websites or how you behave in school? (Titus 2:6-8) In the work environment we usually have the opportunity to be close to a lot of our coworkers. We share a lot of time with each other, and usually part of our lives as well. Would it shock your coworkers to hear that you are a Christian? (Colossian 3:22-25; I Timothy 4:1-2) Do they already know?
A great barometer for making sure we are making righteous choices that would please God is to simply ask a few questions. 1. Would this bring reproach on Christ and His church from outsiders? (I Peter 2:11-12; 4:1-5) While this is a good start, the world does have a different standard of holiness than the word of God, so it is necessary to proceed with a couple of more questions. 2. If other Christians saw me doing this, would they be encouraged or shocked? (I Corinthians 5:1-6) If our behavior is something we know we’d have to hide, then is it behavior really befitting a Christian? (Ephesians 5:6-13) 3. Knowing that God sees all, will this please Him in all respects? (Hebrews 4:13; Colossians 1:10) We may think that we can “hide” sinful and disgraceful behavior from everyone, but God sees all and He is not mocked or fooled.(Galatians 6:7-8) In the end we are not a Christian because people “think” we are or not. What people think is irrelevant. We are Christians if we are obediently and righteously following Christ.
You may “think” you are a Christian and “feel” that you are saved, but if you haven’t obeyed God’s word, and His alone, then you are not a Christian and you are not saved. To be a Christian you have to hear the gospel truth (Romans 10:17) and confess (Romans 10:10) your belief (Acts 10:43) that Jesus is the son of God. You have to repent of your sins (Luke 24:47) and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21). Only then are you a Christian, and only then do you have salvation in His name (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19). Only then are you a partaker of the redemptive blood of Jesus and have access to Christ as your Advocate, Mediator, and High Priest (I John 1:1-2:1). If you are a Christian and are lost in sin then you can go to God in prayer asking forgiveness and it will be mercifully and righteously granted unto you.
Do not leave your fate up to thinking or feeling, but leave it up to the objective unchanging truth of God’s word.(I Peter 1:22-25) Give yourself in obedience to Christ and be KNOWN by Christ. Be a part of His body, His church, and His holiness and declare Jesus Christ to all who know you through your righteous choices and godly living. Be a Christian, be KNOWN as a Christian, and on the Day of Judgment be received by our Lord as a Christian (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
While it may be painful to hear others say, “I never knew you were a Christian”, nothing compares to the gravity of God saying it, “I never knew YOU; depart from Me, YOU who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23) If you are practicing sin, lost in sin, then KNOW what you have to do. Know what it takes to be a Christian and to be a faithful one, and KNOW the consequences of not doing so. (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)
By David Osteen via Grace Gazzette March 20, 2011
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