Let’s move on the next passage. It speaks about the false prophets. It says,
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.Matthew 7.15-20
There are multitudes of false prophets some of whom may look good, may sound like they’re giving you the right message but actually they turn out to be ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ who want to devour you and destroy the people who they influence.
You can think of many false prophets who have come in times past. You can think of major prophets, major false prophets that is.
For example, Muhammad, if he existed, but certainly whoever wrote the Quran was doing so by the spirit of a false prophecy, creating a false religious system that has trapped over a billion souls in its grip, and denies that Jesus is the true Son of God who who died for our sins and rose from the dead.
If you know the Quran, it tells you that Jesus was too holy to be put on the cross. So, according to Islam, he was taken straight up to heaven without going through the cross, dying and rising from the dead.
Muslims think that is tantamount to giving honour to Jesus. In fact, it is taking away the whole heart of the Gospel which is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.
As a consequence, false prophet has trapped people in a system which cannot lead them to life, but leads them to destruction.
You can think of Roman Catholicism which has introduced a number of false teachings into Christianity, including the doctrine of the mass which teaches that the bread becomes the literal body of Christ during the mass, and the wine becomes the literal blood of Christ when the priest prays over it and that, therefore, Jesus is being sacrificed over and over again.
The catechism says that, in the mass, Jesus is sacrificed over and over again in an un-bloody sacrifice which is able to bring you life through His name.
The Bible tells us there is One Jesus Christ who died once for our sins. He doesn’t need to be sacrificed over and over again and this bread we share in communion remains bread. The bread is a symbol of the body of Christ, the wine also remains wine, it is a symbol of the blood of Christ which was given for us.
Roman Catholicism also introduced another way of Salvation through Mary who is seen as a Queen of Heaven and sometimes also as a co-redemptrix, one who also redeemed us.
Jesus was the only One who redeemed us; Jesus alone. And so, we have another kind of false religion in catholicism.
You’ve got liberalism which denies the central truths of the Bible, denies creation, denies the Second Coming, denies the miraculous, and, basically, denies that Jesus is Son of God and son of man.
You’ve got Marxism, Humanism, Atheism, Evolution, Buddhism, New Age, Yoga, multifaith religious systems, and even our modern diversity gurus and teachers who are inflicting such kind of values on society that conflict with Bible teaching.
There are multitudes of false prophets out there.
Now, Jesus said says you can tell who is true and who is false by their fruit. You can tell whether they are truthful by their fruits. If they have a bad root, they’ll have a bad fruit; if they have a good root, they’ll have a good fruit.
When you look at all the things which have happened in history, when you look at Hitler and the Nazis, Hitler was seen as a kind of messianic figure in Germany. What did he produce? The horrors of the Holocaust and the Second World War in which multitudes of people died and the destruction of of humans instead of their salvation.
Look at Lenin and the Communists. They promised a paradise on earth through communism. Yet, what did they produce? Basically, pretty much a hell on earth with a system which oppressed people and crushed them. They are false prophets feeding from a bad root and producing bad fruit.
And you look at the Western values which are replacing Christianity. Are they’re making people better and happier? Are we living better lives? Doing good to our lives? Or, are they leading to oppression and depression in the situation you see around us?
We see the tragic results, especially in our youth today, ending up with depression, drug abuse, destructive lives, threats of violence, gangs, sexual immorality, all kinds of things which are coming out of the false teachings which have been given to young people today quite often in the schools, on the internet, and all kinds of bad influences around us. They are wll the false cults growing around us which end up up in oppression and bondage.
Sometimes, they may bring a short period of happiness, but they end up with misery and depression.
By contrast, if you’re on the right path and you’re listening to the true prophet who is the Lord Jesus, and you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and to fill you, you are rooted in the Good News of Jesus Christ and you’re going to produce the good fruit.
As Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 5,
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.Galatians 5.22-26
The good fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, that’s what God wants to produce in us.
Is that what God produces in you all the time? To be honest: it’s not what He produces in me all the time, no! Often, we find that we’re not producing that fruit, certainly not all the time.
So, what’s the answer? The answer is quite simple. Go back to where we started, ask and you shall receive, seek and you’ll find, knock on the door and it will be opened unto you. If you find yourself you are prone to anger, impatience, ask God to give you patience. If you find there are people you can’t stand and really wish you didn’t have to teach to them, ask God to give you love for them, pray for them.
God wants to change us by his Holy Spirit. He wants us to put to death the life of the flesh which produces the bad fruit, which we inherit from Adam, and He wants us to feed the Spirit life, the New Life, which we receive from Jesus Christ, and to live new lives to His praise and glory.
In the next verse, verse 21, Jesus says,
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’Matthew 7.21-23
This passage is little bit difficult. It appears here that Jesus is talking to people who have have to be committed Christians. They’re calling Him Lord, apparently, they’re doing miracles in His Name, they’re casting out demons, which is bit more than we do, they’re doing signs and wonders in His Name.
So, what’s wrong? How is He saying here that it may be all in pretence? They may be calling Him Lord but they’re not doing what He says, and they’re not submitted to Him.
Remember back in the 1990s, when we had the charismatic movement with ‘the signs and wonders movement’ and we saw a whole lot of things happening which were totally out of order as far as God was concerned. We saw people making huge claims for miracles when, etc.
Yet, when you added it all up, actually, the miracles weren’t happening, and their lives were completely out of order. Some of them were even, while they were preaching, carrying on with another woman who was not their wife and we saw some things happening which were quite disgraceful in the eyes of the Lord.
We also saw people who are making false claims and doing things which are corrupt and deceptive: spiritual abuse from preachers who were trying to control and manipulate people and treating them in a way which was quite ungodly.
Now Jesus says here that there are people who will be speaking in His Name who don’t know Him. And, when you look at church history, you’ve got multitudes of people down through the ages, who can say they were speaking in His Name yet were doing the opposite of what Jesus said they should be doing.
And Jesus says to them, He will say:
I never knew you depart from me you who practice lawlessness.
Following Jesus means that we have to practice righteousness and to not just to speak the words but also to do them put them into practice.
He says there’ll be people out there who will be claiming things for themselves and claiming to be something great but actually they’re not true, they’re false prophets who are leading people astray.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.Matthew 7.24-29