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Matthew 7:15-20

Transcript

Speaker 4: Amen. Thank you for that, Ms.. Shannon. I appreciate all the music this morning and even those of you down there in the pews. Sound like a choir singing and enjoyed hearing you sing as well as the instrumentalists. You know, I don't know how much you all can hear them in the audience, but I know up here, the instrumentalists, they add so much to the singing. And then when they when they make their exit on that last verse, I'm like, oh. Come back. But I know they need to make that transition down to their seats. And glad to have all of you here this morning. We're going to be in Matthew Matthew chapter seven if you want to go in and start turning there. Matthew, chapter number seven. Glad to have my mom and dad here with us today up from the Dallas area. And so they have come they've spent the weekend here with us since Thursday night. And then now they're taking my three kids home with them. So they're like my favorite people right now. So the boys are going to go with them, spend some time, some not some spend a lot of time swimming and just enjoying being with Nina and Papa. And they've been looking forward to it, counting down the days. So I'm glad they get to do that. Used to be as a youth pastor every summer when I'd go to camp. We they either fly to us or we'd fly to them, give them the kids, and then we would go to camp or missions, trips, whatever it was. And so they got they had that built in time every summer that they knew they would have the boys. Well, then I'm not youth pastor any more. Hasn't been as regular that they've been able to keep them. So I'm glad that they're going to be able to take them and spend some time together with them this week. And you know, I don't know what mule issue they will try to find something to keep us busy. I don't know. So. Okay, 90%. If you're there, go ahead and stand with me. In honor of reading God's Word, Matthew, chapter seven, verse number 15. We are. As I said previously, we are wrapping up the Sermon on the Mount. We're getting close to the end. Jesus is in a series of comparisons. Last week we saw two ways two gates, two ends. Today, we will look at a couple more comparisons. Starting version 115. Let's read together down version for 20. The Bible says Beware of false prophets which which come to you in sheep's clothing. But inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bring it forth. Good fruit, but a corrupt tree. Bringing forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. Neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bring, if not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits, you shall know them. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the opportunity. We have to gather together to look into your word. God, I pray that you give me the words you have me to say this morning. You know the need of every person that's here this morning. There's no way that I could know the full story of everyone's situation. But, Lord, you do. So, God, I pray that through this passage you will give us what we need spiritually today. God, that you would help us to leave here better equipped than when we came to serve you or help the folks that are here to listen and apply with you here to their lives. In Jesus name, I ask these things. Amen. You may be seated. Seen so much and so loud that my throat, you know, kind of raspy. I was trying to hit those notes that brother Matt hits effortlessly, and it just doesn't happen. Voices cracking like a seventh grader. Hmm. Oh. See, there's an example of what I was about to say cracking like a seventh grader. When I say that, you know what I'm talking about. You remember those commercials for Chevrolet where they'd have the truck and it'd be out in some rugged terrain and it's it's bouncing over the rough road. And at the end, it'd be like Chevy, like. Okay, so you remember. And that elicits an image in your mind, right? You start to think of, oh, yeah, this truck, it's it's like a rock. Now, you guys know I have a Ford. My wife has a Ford. Actually, my dad is a Ford. My brothers worked for Ford. I know, I know. I'm from Texas, so maybe that explains it. I saw a meme on social media today. It said Chevy is issuing a recall on all 23 Silverado trucks. There's nothing wrong with them. You just need to buy a new truck. And the implication was just lasts forever. So anyways, you know, summer is here and usually there in the summer we become more active. In the winter we become a little more sedentary. Plus there's a whole bunch of holidays in the winter. So if I said something to you like. Man. I feel about as heavy as this piano over here. Some of you helped us move that piano. You know how heavy it is. Plus, I know a lot of you looked over there at the piano, and if you didn't look last time, you're looking now for the wreck. I saw you. But that's helpful, right? If I want to talk about how heavy I feel, if I draw your attention over here to something that is heavy, you're like, okay, I've got some context for that now. Okay, this one, this one is different. Okay. If I say that something is really, really smooth and I want them, I want you to understand how smooth it is. I might say smooth as a. What? As a baby. Yeah. Bottom. Now. Why do you why do you understand that? Well, because you probably had to change a diaper or two. And so you understand, you there's something in your mind that you go back to and you have a picture or an idea or some kind of context for for what I'm talking about. Well, Jesus is here in this passage. He's going to do the exact same thing, and he's going to use some pictures for us to help us understand the severity or the context of what he's trying to get us to understand, understand spiritually. Now, we're gonna talk about this a little bit, but I think Jesus was a master. Well, he's obviously the master, but a really good speaker when it came to using what was around him as an illustration. He's going to talk here about sheep. He's going to talk about grapes and figs, thistles and thorns. And I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that here's Jesus out on this mountain delivering this sermon. And there possibly could have been a herd of sheep over here. You say heard you say flock, flock. You do a flock of sheep. All right. And there's some sheep right over there. And I think probably over here, perhaps there might have been an orchard full of grapes. And you could see the color of those grapes on the vines. And they were real, real appealing to everybody sitting there in the hot sun, listening to Jesus speak, and then maybe back there. There's not a vineyard. There's an orchard of figs. And I don't know if you know anything about figs, but did you realize in the center of every fig is a dead wasp? It's true. Google it right now. Go ahead. The fig tree brings those wasps in and it kills the wasp and it wraps around the wasp and it uses the material of that wasp to produce a fig fruit. So yeah, if you like Fig Newtons or whatever, then you're getting back at those those dirty wasps, you know? Who likes wasps here? Anybody? Nobody. Okay, see? Go eat the fig. Get your revenge. So maybe he's got sheep, he's got vineyards, he's got orchards. And he's going to use all of these things to help his listeners picture what he's trying to get them to see. And the first thing that Jesus says, verse number 15, is he offers a warning to his his listeners, his disciples against false teachers. Beware of false prophets. I know probably you have a certain image in your mind when it comes to this this matter of a false teacher or a false prophet. You're thinking of some sleazy, slick television. Used car salesman, preacher guy. You know, you're just thinking of just the little slimy person you can think of or. Or you're thinking of some YouTube preacher who doesn't have a church. Nobody would actually come here, this guy speak, but he gets on YouTube and he gathers up a following the people. Hey, have you heard this guy on YouTube? He says a lot of things I've never heard before. If somebody is telling you things about the Bible you've never heard before, one or two things are probably true. Number one, you've never read the Bible. Our number two, he's making it up. There's a new thing too. How many of you are on Tik Tok? Yeah, I didn't think so. No. Your audience. Tick tock preachers are the latest thing. And you've got people that and young people that are basing their doctrine, their religion, their faith, their understanding of the Bible on tick tock preachers. There's a lot of false teachers and preachers out there, but you realize it's not just someone that's, you know, giving a speech. That could be a false prophet. It could be a friend. Giving you bad counsel, unbiblical counsel to be a false prophet. It could be an account on a social media site, not a church, not a preacher, just an account that's giving out life advice. And they've got a cute little minion next to it. And so, you know, it's got to be true. There are false influences out there that are leading Jesus disciples astray. And here we see in this in this context, in this time, Jesus popularity is is just boom. Everyone in the country is talking about Jesus and Jesus. Popularity means that there would be those who would come and try to use him to gather a following for themselves. It's like a knockoff product. How many of you have an Apple device on your person right now? You have an iPhone. Okay. Any iPads? Any Apple watches? Any Apple brain implants. Okay. Not yet. You know, you can go to some countries and you can find a whole bunch of knockoff Apple products. Like an apple griddle, not like a griddle for grilling apples like it has the apple logo on it and it's a griddle. Do you think Apple really made that? What are they trying to do? They're trying to build a following, sell a product based off of the popularity of something else. And there are people out there who want to make a name for themselves or gather a following for themselves using Jesus and his popularity throughout history in order to do it. And so the way they do this is they use language that sounds similar to his. If you ever talk to a person from a mormon background or a Jehovah's Witness background, you know that they can take the same language that you and I use in order to twist it and turn it into something completely foreign. One of the things that you have to do if you're going to get into a conversation with someone about doctrine or the Bible, is you have to start with an agreement on definitions because a false teacher will take a word, you know, and twist the meaning of it in order to come up with a false teaching. They use language that sounds similar to his, but it's not. They'll use his name to gain an audience. They'll no claim to be representatives of Christ. They'll they'll take his name in the name of his followers Christians and use it to dupe people into listening to them. This was something that one of Jesus's half brothers, Jude, wrote about in his self-titled book. The Book of Jude is all about those people who will creep in through gatherings of God's followers, Jesus disciples, and try to pervert the truth and lead them astray. These people are trying to take Jesus as disciples and remove them from the truth, and they'll do anything to get you away from the truth. Now, I'm going to turn 34 here in a little bit, so but I'm pretty young. And so, you know, I'm on social media. And I saw another picture the other day that I thought was pretty true about Christians, and it was a picture of a whole bunch of zebras. And all the zebras are gathered together like you've seen on the Animal Planet. You've watched that, right? You know, it's like we've all seen the hunt and there's all these zebras gathered together. They're all stuck in a big pile. It's just a bunch of stripes. But then there's one zebra out here away from the group. Right. You've seen this happen. Guess was chasing the one zebra that's away from the group. Lion. Is there any correlation between Satan? And lions. Absolutely. But a false teacher. What he's trying to do is he's trying to take some of God's disciples. Remove them from the group so that they're easier to destroy. That's what these false teachers are doing. If they can remove you from the safety of being in God's flock. Then they can single you out and they can attack you. That's why it's so dangerous. Why? It's why Hebrews 1025 is in the Bible. For sake. Not what? Assembly. There is safety in the teaching and fellowship that takes place here. The accountability that exists here. Jesus knew false teachers would come. He predicts it right here. It happened in the early church, and it's still happening today. Jesus warns that these false teachers, these false influencers will try hard to conceal their true identity. He says the first time or 15 that they come to you in sheep's clothing. But inwardly they are ravening wolves. They enter into the group disguised as a fellow sheep. On the outside, everything looks right on the outside. Everything looks soft and fluffy and innocent and harmless. But underneath. These false teachers. Jesus says they're ravening wolves. What is a ravening wolf? I mean, was last time you used that word. We haven't. I don't know about you, but I always thought of rabbit. Rabbit? Yeah, like a rabbit dog. I let him get that rabies. It was the wolves walking around with rabies in the midst of God's flock. I thought it was funny, but. That's not what it means. We're ravening means that this is a wolf that has a singular mission. It is on task. It has a purpose. And that purpose is to plunder and rob from the flock. It's Wily Coyote putting on the sheepskin to try and convince the sheep dog that he is okay and all he's in there for is to grab a sheep and drag it back to his cave where he can eat it. So these false teachers are trying to do. God's people. They're in the midst. They want to look innocent. They want to look harmless. But their goal is to remove God's people from the truth, to distract them from following their master. The theft. These false teachers seek to engage in can have a variety of motives. It's probably money. But there are other options could be power. Influence. Hatred for Jesus or this is this is pretty likely to love of self. I want you to follow me. I want you to listen to me. You don't need to listen to the Bible. I'll tell you what the Bible says. Just trust me. Follow me. This is very dangerous. How are we as Jesus disciples, supposed to know when we're facing a wolf like this? Remember, they're disguised. They're trying to remain hidden. They want to remain hidden among the sheep for as long as possible. Because the longer they can conceal their true motives, the more people they can take away. Jesus tells his listeners that they will know them based on their fruits. It's interesting. My parents are here. I've told this story once before, but there was a time in the church that was growing up in that there was there was a problem going on. There was a lady that was causing significant issues in the church. Just brewing up contention and infighting and attacking people, attacking the pastor, opposing the direction of the church. And so one day the pastor got up in his sermon and he pointed right at her. I'm not gonna play you either point you, ma'am, because, you know, I remember here. So it's not you. And so you see that lady right there. She is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Why? It is moving out the way? Because he doesn't want to be the wolf. How do you know that? How do you do that? How you point somebody out? Maybe not publicly, but just in your own mind. How do you identify that person right there? There may be a member of the church. They may be a graduate of an esteemed, well thought of Bible College. They may pastor a large ministry in Australia. Sorry. That was really specific. So we all are like. What? Look it up. How do you identify a wolf in sheep's clothing? Jesus says, Yeah, just do your best. We'll win some. You'll lose some. No, no. He gives us a way. It's very clear. So you'll know them based on their fruit. It seems like a sharp transition to go from sheep and wolves to grapes and figs. What would make him go from that to this? Well, maybe there's sheep over there and there's grapes and figs over here. So he says, Hey, little sheep, we're all teachers. And he says, You'll know them by their fruit. Look at those grapes over there. Look at those figs back there. He if you want grapes, you go over there to the vineyard and you get grapes from the grape vines. When things go to the fig tree and you pick them off the fig tree, you don't come over here to the thorns and thistles that we have up here on the mountain. And look for grapes among them. You got thorns in your backyard. Backfield. Backfield we got cactus. Yeah. I tell you one thing, I'm not going back there barefoot looking for four grapes or figs. You're going to get a cactus spike in your foot. Not go into the thistles. That was about the only thing growing in my yard before this weekend were the thistles. I'm not going to the thistles and looking for four grapes. Why? Because that's not the fruit that comes from those things. If I want grapes and figs, I'm going to go to a plant that's producing grapes and figs. Jesus listeners know this. They know you can tell which trees are helpful by what they produce. Maybe some of them had already been eyeballing some of those trees, thinking about wandering over there to get a snack. Maybe on the other side there were thistles and thorn bushes. And they look at those and they say, I need to avoid that. I mean, they had kids there, too. Can't you just see a bunch of families coming up to the mountain to hear Jesus preaching? They've got their little kids with them, you know, and they're like, all right, little Johnny, watch out. There's some thistles there. Don't step on that. That'll hurt. Susie, don't. Don't step over there. Those are thorn bushes. You'll you'll you'll get your your clothes hung up. They've been avoiding those things already. You said you need to avoid these false teachers just the way you've been avoiding the thorns and thistles up here on the mountain. Jesus is talking to an audience that is hungry. I feel a close connection to Jesus at this point. Says, If you want grapes, don't go to the thorns. If you want figs, don't go to the thistles. This is true also when it comes to knowing who we're supposed to listen to. Will it, Peter, say to Jesus? Where are we supposed to go? You have the words of life. Peter was looking at Jesus and he said, I've seen the fruit. That comes from you. That's what I need. What do we need? We need the words of life, too. We need help. Because guess what? We're all facing significant opposition in this world. We're all dealing with our own lust and pride and sinful flesh. Are we not? Is there a person here that has conquered their flesh? Is there a person here that doesn't deal with temptation anymore that says, You know what? I don't even know what pride is anymore. I haven't had to deal with my own pride in so long. I've forgotten what it's like. No. That's why we need real fruit. Not what the false teachers offer. But you know, the false teachers sound really good. They appeal to those things. This is an interesting lesson. The false teachers appear to be innocent and harmless. They look like they belong to the rest of the group. But their appearance disguises the danger that is lurking underneath. Jesus clues us in on the fact that false teachers are betrayed by their fruits. Also, teachers are betrayed by the fruit that they produce. They may look like one thing, but the output of their lives reveals reality. There is no escaping this truth. It is built into the natural order of the created world. Jesus reminds them of this inverse number 17 and 18. He says. Even so, every good tree bringing forth good fruit. But a corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruit. This is true not just of false teachers and an influencers. This is true for all of us. If you're walking with God, if you're seeking to be a disciple and you're opening up your life to allow God to change you, no matter how hard it may sound. But you're letting God work and you're on that process, that path of discipleship. You will see good fruit coming out of your life. And if you look at your life and you see yourself overruled or driven or governed by your flesh, your pride, your lust, then you're going to see corrupt fruit. So many times we try to address the fruit without dealing with the sea. I don't want to rhyme like that. Did you know what I was gonna say? What? Yeah. I could just really not say it. For those of you who didn't hear. We try to deal with the fruit without dealing with the root. We're trying to address the symptoms without dealing with the root cause of the problem. And the problem is that. The problem is. We've allowed ourselves to become corrupt. And so then the fruit matches. A corrupt tree will produce corrupt fruit. A good tree will produce good fruit. You will never find good fruit on a corrupt tree. Nor will you find corrupt fruit on a good tree. A saltwater fountain cannot produce fresh water. A fresh water fountain does not produce saltwater. Well, Pastor, that's just your opinion. I don't think I really feel that way. And this in my opinion, it's just not like that. I'm really just reading the Bible and telling you what Jesus said. You have a problem with it. Take it up with him. Can we see how this applies to the teachers? Leaders and influencers that are seeking our attention. Everyone is seeking your attention, your loyalty, your money, your obedience. There's a lot of false teachers out there. They look nice, they look clean, they look trustworthy. But underneath, they're ravening wolves. Before hopping on board. With every new teacher or influence that tries to come into our life. We need to examine their fruit. Need to see if the things that are proceeding from their lives is worthy of our attention. Not everyone who looks clean and uses Christian sounding words is a teacher that we need to listen to. We need to be more careful than that. The stakes are pretty high. We're not dealing with Dennis the Menace. Is going to inconvenience us if we listen to him. We're dealing with ravening wolves that want to take us away from the truth. So what do we do with these trees, these teachers that have bad fruit? Jesus tells us in verse 19, Every tree that bring is not forth. Good fruit is hewn down cast into the fire. What does that mean? Cut it down. Cast it in the fire. This sounds extreme. I knew it. You're a Sunday school class. You've been radicalized. This really isn't talking about actual physical reprisals against false teachers. It does mean that we need to root out their ability to influence us. We need to remove them from our lives. Remember, this is not corrupt, such evil fruit. It is also a disguised wolf that is looking to destroy the peace of Jesus followers. Jesus came that we might have life and then we might have it more abundantly. False teachers want to prevent you from having that life. False teachers want to convince you as a follower of God not to follow him through the strait gate and down. The narrow way which we talked about before, is referring to discipleship. They want you on the broad path of all teachers, tells you, Hey, look where everybody else is going. If it's good for them, it might be good for you, too. Where does the broad path lead? Destruction. Jesus disciples are precious to him. You may not feel like you're special to anybody else, but you're special to Jesus. That's cute, Pastor. I tell my kids that. It's still true. You are precious to the Lord. You are special to him. You're not a number. You're not a statistic. You are an individual soul. You're precious. And he doesn't want spiritual harm to come to you. He doesn't want you on the broad path that leads to destruction. He wants you on the narrow way that leads to life. Jesus also knows that if we follow a false teacher. That will be the end. That we can expect. That the end of that path is destruction. That's why false teachers need to be avoided. They need to be discovered. And they need to be cast away. They threaten the individual sheep. But they also threatened the group. They threaten the mission of Jesus. We allow ourselves to be duped, deceived, caught by a false teacher. It doesn't just affect you. It affects the church body to which you belong. Look at our teenage boys. You know, there. Becoming men. Manly men. Those of you that have already crossed that line, you know that for men, one of the things that comes with that is nose hair. Have you guys experiences yet? Don't answer that. How insignificant is a little nose hair? Well, it doesn't seem so insignificant when you pull it. And your whole body hurts. I'm not saying that any of you are the nose hair of our church. But even if you were. You can't pluck a nose hair even without the whole body reacting. So don't just allow yourself to be deceived into thinking, well, it doesn't matter what I do, it doesn't affect anybody else. It most certainly does. This is why Jesus warns his disciples about the reality of false teachers. He tells them how to find them and how to respond to them. Real quick. Let's close. There are still false teachers today trying to use Jesus to grow their own following. False teachers have not gone away in 2000 years since Jesus gave this warning. If anything, they've only multiplied. Their tactics have improved, and it can be harder than ever to identify them. Not every false teacher stands behind the pulpit. Not every false teacher uses a lecture to spread their poison. Sometimes false teaching takes place on a very informal plain. We need to be constantly on the lookout. Examining the fruit that the people who influence us are producing. This, too, has become increasingly difficult. Social media influencers, Internet personalities and podcasters can spout their teaching without any accountability. I would hope that if I started speaking false doctrine from here, the deacons and trustees of this church would hold me accountable. They would remove me from my position. Who's holding the podcaster accountable that sit in his bathroom with his computer recording a podcast. These people maintain their anonymity and make it hard to examine the fruit of their beliefs. Great care must be taken by Jesus modern disciples, that they do not subject themselves to the teaching or the influence of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Many faithful disciples have been led astray because they allowed a false teacher to have a place of influence in their lives. Also, teachers must be prevented from affecting us with their false teaching. We may not be able to prevent them from initially entering into our lives. But once we become aware that a false teacher or influencer has been having an effect on us, then we need to take drastic action to remove their influence. Stop visiting that poor person. Stop reading their blog. Stop listening to their podcast. Stop letting their poison and the poisoned fruit that they're producing affect your life. So God is still interested in what happens to His disciples. That's why this morning we're looking at this passage. He is warning us of the presence of false teachers. He's giving us the criteria for exposing them. Then he has told us how to respond to them. By removing them and their influence from our lives. This morning. I'm not saying that anyone here has succumbed. To a false teacher. But you're probably aware of some. Be careful. It's not a game. You wouldn't go jump into the zoo exhibit with the wolves, would you? But when it comes to false teachers sometimes. We're playing with it. Fire. We're eating the poisoned fruit. We're looking among the thorns and thistles for something good. Jesus says, Hey. Where the good fruit is. Don't. Don't, don't listen to the wolves. We keep our eyes on the Lord. Following him, knowing our Bible will be able to identify the wolves pretty easily. This morning. I hope that all of us will take seriously this this warning that Jesus has given us how it might affect our discipleship, our following of him. Let's pray differently, Father. Thank you for this day. Thank you for the folks that are here and their good attention. Well, I pray that you'd help every one of us to examine the influences that we've allowed into our life. To see whether they would be. Godly, spiritual, good fruit producers. Or if perhaps we've been flirting with wolves in sheep's clothing. The corrupt fruit is there before us for us to see. But we've been ignoring it. Whether we realize it or not, it's been affecting us. The voices that we've been listening to have been hurting our walk with you. They've been hurting our relationships with our families. They've been hurting our relationship with our church. God, I pray that you would use your Holy Spirit right now to convict our hearts. To point out these influences that are in our lives. And that this morning we would stop playing games with false teachers. We would do what you have prescribed for us. We would cut them out of our lives. We would destroy the opportunity for them to influence us. Or we would seek to follow only you. God, I pray that she would work in the hearts of half of the people that are here today. It's in Jesus name that I ask these things. Amen

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