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There is a growing market for false prophets in our modern world

What is the fruit of the man or woman who proclaims to bring a message from God?  You had better inspect the fruit before you swallow the message.
What is the fruit of the man or woman who proclaims to bring a message from God? You had better inspect the fruit before you swallow the message.
Photo by Miles Willis

Read Matthew 7:15-29

These verses wrap up the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus didn’t say that all prophets from this point forward will be false prophets. We may not see prophets on the order of Jeremiah and Isaiah, but God has not stopped speaking to us through prophets.

But not everyone who says that they are speaking God’s word is really speaking God’s word.

How can we tell?

First, let us understand that these words are not about disagreements of doctrine. How we baptize, who is the elect and who isn’t, open or closed tables for the Lord’s Supper make for interesting discussion but are not the topic of this counsel.

This is about being led astray.

This is drinking the Kool-Aid Jim Jones style.

This is being led counter to what we know are the true teachings of our Lord. We have two main courses of action when it comes to validating a message from God.

First, we can be Berean. That is, we search the scriptures daily and when we receive a message that one claims is from God, we search with even more eagerness.

Second, we inspect the fruit of the prophet. Does he or she live a life that shows obedience to God, love for one another, humble reverence as God’s servant?

Or is there a personal agenda? Is the prophet advancing his own cause?

The so called prophet may have an appealing personality but we must discern if this is all a veneer with a hidden agenda.

It is ok to be a little skeptical when someone purports to speak on God’s behalf. We don’t reject them outright, but we do search the scriptures and examine the fruit of the one bringing the message.

This would seem obvious.

It is sort of like the Geico commercials after the point where somebody says, “Everybody knows that.” The other persons says, “Yeah, but did you know that the apostle Paul reminds us that in the last days, people will become lovers of themselves and want to hear only things that affirm their own lifestyles.”

In our modern culture, there is a growing market for false prophets.

False prophecy is a real threat these days, but Jesus told us ahead of time what to do.

Next, Jesus reminds us that not only will there be false prophets; there will be false disciples.

Many will go through the motions and do the stuff that disciples do but Jesus will never really be the Lord of their life. Jesus is not their master.

And when these folks come and desire to be in the presence of the Lord for all eternity, Jesus is going to say, “I don’t know you.”

We long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“I don’t know you” would devastate us.

Again, Jesus is teaching about the condition of the heart. He is not adding up sins and sin offerings to produce a graph that shows worthiness.

He is challenging us to know him as Lord and as Savior and as Master. When those conditions exist, we also know him as friend.

If that condition does not exist in your heart right now, don’t go sign up for 3 more ministries to work on. Find a time for God and God alone.

Be still.

Be in God’s presence.
Let God do all of the talking.

Know your Lord and Savior as Master. Know him now. Serve him with joy. Love him by loving others.

These “I do not know you” verses are a wake up call to the one who thinks he is following Jesus but who really is just playing the Jesus game.

Know him.

Love him.

Obey him.

Trust him.

And know that you will hear the words “well done” and not “I never knew you.”

And so Jesus wraps up his teaching in this section with a illustrative example of knowing and doing. We know the mini-parable of building houses on rock and on sand but the heart of this teaching is that knowing what we are to do, will we do it.

Will we do it?

We have professed Jesus as Lord, but will we actually follow him? The question is not whether or not we believe the words of Jesus: We do!

The question before us is: Will we put his words into the practice of our daily lives?

Most Christians say, “Of course I am following Jesus…until he takes a turn that I am not comfortable with.”

We cannot use ignorance as a defense here. We know what to do.

The Bible tells us.

The Holy Spirit prompts us.

The Body of Christ encourages us.

Will we put the words that Jesus gave us into practice?

Will we be the wise or the foolish builder? We know the outcomes for each, but what will we do?

This section wraps up with an incredible statement.

Jesus did not teach as the scribes and other teachers did. They taught from what they had studied.

Jesus taught with authority.

Jesus learned all that he knew from the ultimate Authority, God the Father.

All scripture is God breathed. All scripture is inspired by God. Human authors put pen to parchment and wrote what God inspired them to write. These are precious words to us.

Some Bibles still have red letters to note when Jesus is speaking. We should pay special attention to these words. They come fully with the authority of God the Father.

All scripture is inspired by God. The words of Jesus are God speaking in the first person.

The old saying is to practice what you preach. Actually, we need to practice what Jesus preached. He spoke with the authority of God.


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