Last night, I was preaching at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission last night and the message that I preached was one out of Matthew 7:21-23. I have preached this gospel message many times before. It is a very powerful text to press the gospel of Jesus Christ. The phrase from verse 23 from the lips of the Lord Jesus “I Never Knew You” are haunting words. Words that will cause anyone to think intensely on their own spiritual condition.
Every time I go to the mission, I never know what to expect. Last night was no different. There was a person there that knew from the moment I walked in the room was going to be a problem. I do not know if he had mental problems (many people who are homeless struggle with mental handicaps) or if he was bent and determined to undermine what ever i had to say or if it was indeed demonic influence, but something was wrong with the guy. As soon as I entered the room he started snickering and laughing at me. During the message he had this grin on his face as he looked at me, as though he could hardly contain his laughter. As I was preaching, when I tried to emphasize something and be very serious, he would laugh hysterically. If you listen to the audio at around 21:17-21:48, I am talking about people that do a lot of good things, a lot of good works but are going to hell. I slapped the pulpit and said, “…and still die and split hell wide open!” The man burst into laughter. I believed at that moment that I was dealing with a demonic destraction.
If you have never preached, then you may not understand what I am about to say. When I preach, there is an active consiousness with what I am doing. There is a stream of logic that is passing through my mind and exiting my lips. But there is another level consiousness. I am thinking about other things. I am thinking about the guy that is in the corner who is obviously under conviction. I am thinking about the one that is saying “Amen” and encouraging me. I am thinking about the guy sleeping (Yes us preachers see you) wondering what will wake him up. When that guy burst into laughter at the declaration of going to hell, I started praying that God would close his mouth. He was being a distration. I asked God to help me with my tone, not to say or do anything that would draw out another such reaction. I was more cautious about what I said and how I said it.
God helped me and answered my pray and i hardly heard another peep out of the guy. God powerfully used this message to prick hearts. At the end there were several that responded to the invitation although I do not know if they came to Christ.
It was a good night for me and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. God was so gracious to me in that I had little time to prepare and yet still sensed a great amount of liberty. I hope you enjoy this message.
I Never Knew You