(Today's post by Chris Queen)
Matthew 7 wraps up the Sermon on the Mount. In this message to a huge crowd of followers, Jesus touches on several different topics (clearly He didn’t use a printed outline). The tail end of the Sermon on the Mount contains some smaller nuggets of truth that still apply to believers 2,000 years later.
Jesus looks at teachers and prophets and warns us to examine what information we take in:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Then He turns the focus on those who claim to follow the Messiah:
21 “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. 22 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?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There are two pretty obvious takeaways from these passages, and they go hand in hand. The first one is to pay close attention to the preachers and teachers we listen to or read. Jesus warns us that there are plenty of people out there who will twist the truth of scripture to suit an agenda or for personal gain. Some even try to use the Bible to lead people away from God! Check the sermons you hear on television or the podcasts you listen to against the clear, unchanging truth of God’s Word. Do they match up? If so, keep on; if not, ditch them. (Hint: you don’t have a thing to worry about at Eastridge.)
The other thing we need to do is look at the motives behind what we do. Do you serve out of the overflow of your love for God, or for some other reason? Are you practicing acts of righteousness to get noticed or as acts of worship? Why do you do what to you, and are your motives right?
If we watch what we take in and what comes out of us, we will go a lot further toward keeping our hearts pure. I’d rather be a true believer than a false one any day!