The way error breeds is when a person piles one error on another and then draws a conclusion, which is of course in error. But because they don't know what they believe is built upon layers of error, they think their conclusion is scriptural.
One such case is when a person is afraid they have lost their salvation. They read Matthew 12:31 that blaspheming the Holy Spirit can't be pardoned, and will say they spoke bad about a pastor and are now afraid they have lost their salvation as that is in their thinking, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Or perhaps they spoke against someone who they didn't agree with theologically, and become afraid they have offended the Holy Spirit.
Actually, to 'blaspheme' the Holy Spirit is to reject the Lord Jesus, which is what the Pharisees were doing in Matthew 12. The work of the Holy Spirit was in their midst, yet they rejected Him, thus rejecting Jesus. Because Jesus died for others and not for Himself, the one sin not covered by the cross was the rejecting of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, the one who recreates our human spirit, so to reject Jesus is to reject or blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But some think if they found fault with a pastor or in ignorance thought the gifts of the Spirit died with the apostles, or something like that, they have committed that unpardonable sin. That isn't the case.
From there they jump to the passage for today, 'Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven...', doubly convinced they have lost their salvation. They sometimes include from Matthew 8:8-12 which we will also cover, when the Lord said '...the children of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness...', and are convinced the Lord has cast them out, that they've lost their salvation.
What about Matthew 8 and the children of the kingdom being cast out?
The book of Matthew was written for Jewish believers, and Matthew was led to include specific phrases, stories, and parables that a Jewish reader would immediately understand. Among those phrases is 'kingdom of heaven'. Matthew uses the word 'kingdom' 55 times, more than any other gospel. By contrast, John only has 3 uses and Mark 19. Luke comes next closest with 44, but his gospel is longer and part 1 of a 2 part volume, Acts being part 2.
In Matthew 8:5-13 Jesus is in Capernaum and approached by a Roman Centurion who asks Him to heal his servant. 'Capernaum' means 'Nahum's village', and had a population estimated to be about 1500, situated on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus said, "I will come and heal him."
Hearing that, the Centurion stops Him and says he is not worthy for Jesus to come to his house, but speak the word only and he knew his servant would be healed. He explained that like Jesus, he too is a man under authority, and gives commands. He knew all Jesus had to do was command it, and the servant would be healed.
Jesus is amazed at the faith of this Roman officer. "I have not seen such great faith, no, not in Israel." The Jewish reader would have immediately understood the sentence structure - This Gentile Roman soldier has great faith, greater than anything Jesus had yet found among the Jews. To some listening or reading, Jesus' comments would have wounded their pride - the idea a Gentile could have greater faith than a Jew!
"And I say to you; Many will come from the east and west (Gentile nations) and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom (Jews) will be cast out into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
He isn't talking about you...
Jesus made the statement in the presence of the Roman and His Jewish disciples. The Jewish people who heard Jesus' statement must have been amazed. The idea that some of the people to whom the kingdom firstly belongs would be cast out, had to be a new thought for them. It was the first glimpse of hope for Gentile believers, and a promise of something to come.
I will add a cultural note. The use of the phrase 'cast into outer darkness' and 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' was in the day a reference to a person who tried to crash a party. Back in the day when houses were lit by olive oil lamps and streets were not, the phrase 'cast into outer darkness' was a phrase used for someone kicked out of the light of the party and into the street.
They were sent off the property, the first level of darkness, then to outer darkness beyond the light of the home where the celebration was being held. It was said that person would be angry, so angry they would be in tears, thus the phrase 'weeping and gnashing of teeth', cursing as they were rejected and ejected. We read it and we think 'hell', but they understood it to mean Jews were going to be kicked out of the wedding feast where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are going to be. We miss that wedding feast understanding and just see the 'darkness'.
This phrase painted such a picture that Matthew was led to include it not only here in 8:12, but also in 22:13, 24:51, and 25:30. In 22:1-14 it is used in the parable of the wedding feast. A man tries to crash the feast without having a wedding garment on. The Revelation 19:8 & 14 tells us the wedding garments are given for the righteous saints at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and are 'fine linen clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints.' This is also referenced in The Revelation 3:4-5, 18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9; 7:14.
In the parable of the wedding feast the man was given the chance to speak, but he was speechless and was thrown out. Psalm 107:2 says, 'Let the redeemed of the Lord say so', and Romans 10:9-10 says we believe with the heart but confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus to our salvation. The man in the wedding feast was silent, and not clothed in white linen, so was arrested and thrown out off the property into 'outer darkness' (unlit area). He was not righteous and would not confess his salvation, so he was rejected from the wedding feast.
Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord'.
When covering Matthew 7:22-23 some think they might be one who says 'Lord, Lord' and yet be cast out. I ask them:Does Jesus always tell the truth? The response is of course an emphatic 'yes', of course. So then I ask why they believe the claims of those cast out rather than believe Jesus. This comes as a shock for most, that they have done so. That revelation of their unbelief and unsound Biblical understanding is a shock to many. Is Jesus telling the truth here?:
"I will have to admit to them, I never knew you. Depart from me you who work iniquity (Live a lifestyle of sin)."
Is He telling the truth? If Jesus says 'I never knew you', is that the truth? He never knew them. They live lifestyles of sin and deceit. That means their claims of casting out demons and doing miracles in HIs name is all lies. They were playing a game. For further proof (as if believing Jesus' words isn't enough) go back to the context of the passage.
It starts in v15:"Beware of false prophets (false believers)." So that sets the context. The subject is false believers. Those playing the game, the religious who don't really know Jesus. Jesus goes on to say look at the real fruit of their lives. A good tree brings good fruit, and a bad tree bad fruit. Look at their personal life, look at how they treat people. Then He goes right into "Not everyone who comes to me saying 'Lord, Lord', will enter heaven..."
He isn't talking about you or me. He is talking about false believers. False ministers and prophets.
The summary is that the 'children of the kingdom' in Matthew 8 is a reference to unbelieving Jews, who have first right to salvation, and in Matthew 7, false believers, not you or me...more next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org