Sunday, December 12, 2021
15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
-Matthew 7:15-20 The Message
A Tree and Its Fruit
Verse 15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Verse 15 study: False prophets were common in the Old Testament times. They prophesied only what the king and the people wanted to hear, claiming it was God’s message. False teachers are in our world today. Jesus’ message to us is to be aware of those who sound religious but are motivated by money, fame, or power. You can tell when they are because they minimize Christ and glorify themselves in their teaching.
Verse 16: You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?
Verse 17: So, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
Verse 18: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Verse 19: Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Verse 20: So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Verse 20 study: Take time to evaluate teachers’ words by examining their lives. Trees are consistent with the fruit they produce; teachers who are good with their behavior and character should show when attempting to live out the truth in scripture. Teachers are not perfect, which means we shouldn’t start witch hunts, throwing out church school teachers, pastors, and others who are less than perfect. We all have sins, so we should show the same compassion to others that we will need for ouselves. When Jesus talk about bad trees, he talks about teachers who deliberately teach false doctrine. This is why we should examine teachers’ motives, direction, and results they are trying to seek.
Father, let us rejoice that we have an excellent teacher in you. I pray we take your teaching and use it to see those who are faithful and false prophets. In Jesus’ name. Amen.