True or False?
True or False?
True or False?
Overview of the Sermon on the Mount and where we’re at now
“In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains what it means to follow Him. The road of discipleship is difficult, and it’s littered with hypocrites and false prophets. Ultimately, we need faith and reliance on God as we walk this path of discipleship (6:25–33). Following Christ means following His example of selfless love. It means pointing others toward Jesus, the source of our righteousness (5:16).
Custis, M. (2014). Sermon on the Mount: Living for God’s Kingdom (Mt 5:1–7:29). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Warning of the Deception of False Prophets
False Prophets were in the Jewish History.
Paul writes to the elders of the early church (and for today as well!)
Read Acts 20:29-31
Read 2 Peter 1-3 and 12-22
In Numbers 22 you can read about the story of Balaam.
Balaam had a donkey and in Numbers 22 you can read where the angel of the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth in order to get Balaam’s attention- and it worked for a season.
Balaam was a prophet that heard and spoke for God, however later in his ministry he turned to the dark side so to speak.
He was tempted by a king with wealth and even though he did follow the Lord at the start, he ended up giving in; lying to the people of Israel and leading them into sin, in order to receive his riches from the king.
Read Jeremiah passages in Bible green tags
The issue with prophets, like Balaam that lead people astray, is that it’s not the bold faced lie, it’s the subtle lie that sounds so close to the truth.
Today, as Sam Storms points out in an article:
“They come clothed in clerical robes, touting academic degrees from prestigious universities and seminaries, using the best and most sophisticated vocabulary, and usually personality traits that make it extremely difficult not to like them. These people are not like the dogs and swine Jesus mentions in Matthew 7:6 who are openly obnoxious and repulsive and therefore easy to detect and reject. These “false prophets” who come in sheep’s clothing rarely if ever advertise themselves as those who deny historical, biblical beliefs.”
Danger of False Prophets
They come to steal, kill & destroy
Read John 10:7-15 from Bible
They prey on the innocent for their own gain.
They are consumed with prestige and the reward from others.
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Disguise of the False Prophet
It was mentioned that they come in sheep’s clothing but the analogy is also made that they resemble other plants but bear bad fruit.
Analogy of different “look a like plants”
Wild grapes vs. Canadian Moonseed
True Morel vs false Morel Mushrooms
Wild Carrot vs. Hemlock
So how can we recognize a false prophet?
Often nice and charming, not bad in itself
Preaches a broad road to salvation, not a narrow road or that there is no preaching of salvation
Sugar coated, comfortable preaching that is shallow and leads to feel good vs. convicting results that lead top no change in the listeners
There is almost no mention of hell or judgement, only love
There is no emphasis or mention of the fact that sin is not pleasing to God and that man is helpless apart from the saving work of Christ on the cross that should lead to repentance and changed heart.
They mostly talk about Jesus as a “good guy” or “good teacher”, but denies Him by saying nothing of Him being our Lord and Savior, the Son of God and especially that Jesus is God and came in the form of a man, in flesh. They would also deny His resurrection, or not mention it.
Here’s some myths often preached today:
Heaven and hell are myths
A God of love would never permit everlasting punishment on anyone
Satan is a myth
Sin is okay, nothing to do with the need to change
Not responsible for our sins, blame goes to society or our parents
All religions are the same
There is no absolute truth
So here is a good question.
Why has the church become so weak or complacent over the years?
Messages have become self help/uplifting talks that don’t require people to think, act or change anything about their heart and lives.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:16-20 that you will recognize these false prophets by their lack of good fruit.
He goes a step further to say these false prophets will be subject to judgement and tossed in the fire, AKA hell.
Jesus says that this fruit will not only be cut down but it will be tossed in the fire.
Some trees can easily grow back once cut down like the annoying Mimosa tree around here.
Jesus says that they will be cut and tossed in the fire so they can’t grow back.
That’s a serious statement and warning to His followers.
Otherwise, the message of Jesus and Words in the Bible are so important, we better get them right and more importantly, we better live them out with conviction in our lives.
Loyd Augsberger, in His commentary on Matthew says that there has been more harm done to the church from within than from the outside. he gives this illustration of termites vs. woodpeckers to illustrate the point Jesus makes about them disguising themselves in sheeps clothing.
Augsberger goes on to say (Read Pg. 102 on article)
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Just when you think Jesus is straight to the point enough, he hits between the eyes of those who think they have been truly following hIm!
Explain from passage...
Jesus is saying the one who does the right things with wrong motives is either not saved or suffers from a bad case of what Martin Lloyd-Jones calls “unconscious hypocrisy”.
I’ve never heard that term before but thought it was great in explaining this part of the passage!
Unconscious hypocrisy is someone who at the root, suffers from self deception.
How does this happen?
Lloyd-Jones lays it out in 4 ways.
They have a false doctrine of assurance (hear me out!):
The assume by saying the right prayer, the right things and statement they will be saved.
The person truly saved does make these statements of submission and repentance for their sins and acknowledge Jesus as Lord of their life, however, it can not stop there.
The individual can’t rely on their own belief but instead on how they live their lives from their.
We live out of our hearts confession through our lives.
Refusing to examine their hearts/lives
Scripture often tells us to examine our hearts and lives often
We can often take communion for example without fully giving of ourselves
Giving, Fasting & Prayer (Sermon on the Mount)
Unconscious Hypocrisy is also someone who lives for acrtivities
They become so busy, pastors included, with things thats they neglect their own soul.
Their priorities are all messed up
They neglect their own spiritual life for momentary gain.
They often lead their children’s spiritual lives astray when the world revolves around them with activities instead of loving and serving the lord.
Lastly they don’t realize that the most important thing in life is their relationship to Christ.
Jesus does not want our false offerings, empty prayers or “good thoughts”, he wants us- he wants us to submit to His Will and plan for our lives. He wants our hearts.
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
This is scary. It should scare us and it should cause us to examine our own hearts.
Now that we’ve identified self deception, we need to understand more specific signs of what it looks like.
1. Fill our lives with good things but not what’s best for us. A lot of the time we don’t pray for God’s guidance- we just go for it or live minute to minute.
2. We obsess over the “supernatural” or “phenomena” when we should just realize that those are byproducts of our faith and living a life devoted to Jesus.
3. Consistent interest in organizations, denominations, certain churches, tv evangelists or some big movement.
Belonging to a Christian Fellowship like a church is not a bad thing in itself and it’s encouraged in the Bible but it doesn’t make you any more of a Christian.
It should be a priority because you care about you and your families spiritual growth but you must grow Monday through Saturday on your own as well.
We can’t just rely on an organization to follow, follow Jesus.
4. We do Christian things for the social aspect.
5. This one was a shock to me but Apologetics can often be a sign.
We consume ourselves with defending our faith so much we often run over people and at the same time don’t care about it sticking within our own hearts- it is just intellect and a battle one for us.
We should have an answer for the hope we have, as Peter encourages us to, but we should examine our intent first.
6. Purely academics and theoretical interest in theology.
We can care more about theology and intellect more than a heart change.
We can often be no better than the Pharisees in Jesus’ day when it comes to this.
7. Too much interest in the Prophetic Teachings.
Some people spend all their time reading end times books, prepping, making maps on the wall to figure out the last day on earth, decoding revelation, etc. that they forget their own soul is subject to judgement.
By focusing only on those things can be a distraction to our relationship with Christ and reaching out to others to share the gospel.
What did Jesus say about the Day of the Lord’s coming?
It’s not for us to know the hour!
We must always remember that Jesus was a great teacher but he is also the Savior of the world and the great judge.
Those who lead people astray through false teachings are subject to the same judgement as those who have been a good person most of their lives or attended church for years but never really accepted Jesus or submitted to Him in their hearts.
Read the article about the converted preacher