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Matthew 7:15-20

Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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David the tour guide in Israel. He was the best. If you’ve ever been on a trip like that, you know the tour guide can either make or break the trip.

In life, we have guides as well. Today, Jesus is going to tell us that we must take extreme care in which guides we choose for ourselves.

[READ TEXT]
: Wide gate and narrow gate. The wide gate comes in 10,000 different packages, but it is all the same date. It comes from the same source, and it leads to the same place! Jesus warns us to avoid this gate! The first way we avoid the wide gate that leads to destruction is by being careful to whom we listen!
vs. 15 - BEWARE false prophets.
“Beware” - constant vigilance! Ongoing.
Alot of debate whether Jesus has a particular group in mind, but misses the point.
A false prophet is anyone who claims to speak in the name of God and leads others to God, but is in reality leading them astray.
False prophets have always been a problem for God’s people.
Satan has discovered he cannot kill us from without.
Balaam - . 3x he attempted to attack God’s people from outside the camp! Yet God stopped him!
Tertullian - “The blood of the martyrs is but seed for the church.”
Instead, , Balaam infiltrated the camp and got Israel to worship false gods within the camp!
Jeremiah had to continually deal with false prophets
God’s word to Jeremiah was so unpopular!
This is a good side-note - the more unpopular God’s Word becomes, the greater danger for false teaching becomes!
Acts 20:29–30 ESV
I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
Acts 20:
This is how false prophets work!
They sneak into the church unawares.
They draw away disciples and followers to themselves.
They wreak havoc and attack and bully God’s people.
Jesus tells us to BEWARE! Be constantly vigilant against them!
The problem is how to do we beware? Jesus tells us in , .
We must learn to recognize them!
Therefore, Christians must Recognize false teachers who creep into the church!
Jesus warns us to Recognize
The truth is that false teachers are still as much of a problem for the church today as it was in Israel’s time! The spirit of Balaam is alive and well in the church!
Revelation 2:14 ESV
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
Revelation
1 John 4:1 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

We Must Recognize False Teachers Because They Deceive. (vs. 15)

The typical “devil.” Red horns, pointy tail. Mustache and beard. Would anyone be fooled by that?
Most Christians are not necessarily going to be tempted by the overt sins of our culture - though some will.
Or we think of horror movies with little kids’ heads spinning.
That’s not how Satan attacks the church!

Their Appearance

Jesus’ description.
“in sheep’s clothing.”
They look like God’s people. They dress like God’s people. They act like God’s people!
They will do Christian practices, they will use Christian language, they will dress like Christians.
They may even have achieved high academic degrees from the best seminaries.
But the truth is that they are not!
They give all the outward appearance of authentic Christianity.
But all is a rouse. A deception!
2 Corinthians 11:14–15 ESV
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
In fact, often they will be the most outwardly moral, the best dressed, and the mos
2 Cor 11:
They have learned from their master well!
They disguise themselves!
They appear as servants of righteousness.
They REALLY look good!
But they are actually serving someone else!

Their Intention

Inwardly, they are ravenous wolves!
Ravenous - key to their motives.
Their intention is not to selflessly serve God’s people, but instead to use godliness and God’s people as a means
Dog - ALWAYS hungry!!!
Sometimes I wonder how in the world they can possibly eat more?
The
The wolf comes into the sheepfold to satisfy his unending hunger.
In the same way, the false teacher comes into the church to feed his pride and greed.
They eat not much out of hunger - but out of greed.
That’s the idea - not so much satisfying a need, but greediness.
Their intention is not to serve God’s people or demonstrate God’s love…
Their intention is to use God’s people to satisfy their own greed!
2 Peter 2:1–3 ESV
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Peter 2:1-
The typical “devil.” Red horns, pointy tail. Mustache and beard. Would anyone be fooled by that?
Most Christians are not necessarily going to be tempted by the overt sins of our culture - though some will.
Or we think of horror movies with little kids’ heads spinning.
Peter is saying the same thing as our Lord
That’s not how Satan attacks the church!
They come into the church, they look right, they dress right, they talk right… but their motives are gain.
It may be greed for money…
They rise up among us.
It may be greed for prestige or power…
They secretly bring in destructive heresies - even to the point of denying Christ!
It may be greed for for overt sins, and they use the church as a cover.
They get people to follow after their passions!
Regardless, a hungry dog is a dangerous dog!
They
Therefore, we must recognize them for what they are!
Because they set out to deceive the church, how do we recognize them?

We Must Recognize False Teachers Because they Disrupt. (vs. 16-18)

Luke 3:8 ESV
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
The truth is that false teachers and false converts can only hide their true self for so long.
How do they disrupt?
The truth is that false teachers and false converts can only hide their true self for so long.
The truth is that false teachers and false converts can only hide their true self for so long.
Eventually, what is in their heart is going to manifest itself.
This is why Jesus says, , .
We will know them by their fruits.
Same thing: 3 different ways.

They Disrupt by Their Character. (vs. 16-17)

We will recognize them by their fruits! The fruits they sow into the church disrupt the fellowship, testimony, and the work of Christ in the church.

Their Fruits Reveal Their Character. (vs. 16-17)

They Disrupt by Their Corruption. (vs. 17)

Jesus gives a couple of very simple word pictures.
You simply cannot get grapes or figs from thistles or thornbushes.
Healthy trees will produce good fruit, but a tree that is diseased from the inside will produce bad fruit outwardly!
“Good” - emphasizes outward appearance.
The term “good” emphasizes it outward appearance!
In other words, their inner character will eventually be laid out in front of everyone to see!
The inward condition of the soul will manifest itself through the fruit that it produces!
It can’t be any other way!

Their Fruits Reveal their Corruption. (vs. 18)

A false gospel will not produce godliness or good fruit! It can’t! It is sowing to the flesh!
Gds
A STRONG Contrast

Their Fruits Reveal their Corruption. (vs. 18)

A tree that that is good within will not produce fruit that is sour or bad!
Not only is it
in the same way, a tree that is diseased from within will be unable to produce good fruit!
Isaiah 8:20 ESV
To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
Isaiah 8:
This will show up in a variety of ways
Matthew 12:34–35 ESV
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
Isaiah 8:20 ESV
To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
In other words, they have no light within them - therefore they are unable to speak the truth of God!
Isaiah
Jesus says
A Good tree cannot produce bad fruit!
The truth is that false teachers and false converts can only hide their true self for so long.
The truth is that false teachers and false converts can only hide their true self for so long.
On the other hand a diseased tree cannot produce bad fruit!
A false gospel peddled by a false teacher will never produce Godly fruits in either their lives or ours
Eventually, what is in their heart is going to manifest itself.
They will appeal to the flesh. They will tell people what they want to hear.
The tree can only produce what is consistent with the condition of their soul!
If they have any confession at all, it will be vague, indefinite, undemanding, easy, and attractive.
Those who are walking in the Spirit will have the fruits of the Spirit produced in their lives!
The Scripture says much about being on the look out for false teachers and examining their fruit.
They will never reveal the dangers or depth of sin in our hearts, the need for repentance, nor any kind of submission to the Lord.
Those who are sowing to the flesh can only reap corruption from the flesh.
They will always offer solutions that are driven by our works!
When you’re sowing to the flesh, you can only reap corruption from the flesh.
- Look at what Paul says on this matter…
This is why Jesus says, , . We will know them by their fruits.
Look at the comparison of fruits that Paul gives!
An unhealthy craving… in other words, he stirs up…
controversy and quarrels about words.
produces envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people.
This is the fruit of those who do not teach according to the sound words of our Lord!
Instead, it is
But the Gospel of Christ, when we place our trust in it, it cleanses us from the depths of our soul!
He baptizes us in the Holy Spirit so that we are a new creation, raised with Christ, walking in newness of life.
The fruits that Jesus produces in us: a growing righteousness, transparent humility, purity, trusting and persistent prayer, growing in heart-felt obedience to the Scriptures, truthfulness, growing in love, gentile, peace, generosity…
These are the things the Gospel brings into our lives and we grow in them.
They can only produce what is consistent with their heart’s condition.
Eventually, their heart motives are going to reveal themselves through their actions.
Are we perfect? By no means! But we’re growing! We’re changing and being conformed into the image of Christ!
We will know them by their fruits.
Galatians 6:8 ESV
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Galatians
Eventually, their heart motives are going to reveal themselves through their actions.
Matthew 12:34–35 ESV
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
Their lives have not been changed by the Gospel of Christ. Therefore, they are sowing and reaping to their flesh!
Th
John 15:5 ESV
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4 ESV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
In other words - what a person truly believes… That will eventually manifest itself in their actions!
John
In other words - what a person truly believes… That will eventually manifest itself in their actions!
And it will be brought to a conclusion!
Galatians 6:8 ESV
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

We Must Recognize False Teachers Because They are Condemned. (19)

Jesus gives a stern warning to those who are false prophets!

They will be Cut Down.

Proverbs 16:18 ESV
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs

They will be Cast Out

Just as we saw last week - the wide gate, the religion of the world comes in 10,000 packages, but it is all the same and it leads to the same place!
Why does Jesus give this warning?
Because those who place their faith in the lies of the false prophets will share their fate!
They are the blind leading the blind!
We Must beware against those who do not teach sound words and who are promoting a Gospel that doesn’t save!
This brings up an interesting point....
So we must beware of them! We must be vigilant against false teachers! We must be ready to avoid them
Gospels that only produce
Those who follow them will be like them!
arrogance that alienates us
External religion that doesn’t touch our heart
Separation between our religion and our life
Faith that makes no demands of us, of faith that is grounded in externalism.
Religion that takes refuge in religious jargon and speculations instead of truly changing us in the image of Christ.
Instead, let Jesus come in and make us new.
Let his death, burial and resurrection redefine and reorient us to life in the kingdom of God for His glory.
Let the indwelling Spirit produce fruits in us that are in keeping with repentance.
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