Summary: How can you distinguish a false prophet from a true one? Christ makes it clear that this is important.
Knowing By What’s Growing
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/16/08
Text: Matthew 7:15-20
Key verse: Matt. 7:20 - Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Johnnie, on his ninth birthday, had had a party. It was all over, and he was gazing wistfully at the remains of the cake.
“Mother,” he said, “may I have a piece of cake, only a small piece, please?”
“No,” replied his mother, “you’ve had quite enough.”
“Well, may I sleep with a small piece under my pillow?” asked the boy.
“Very well, here you are, and remember to keep it under your pillow.” Now run along to bed.” replied his mother.
On going up to Johnnie’s room some time later his mother was amazed to see Johnnie sleeping peacefully with the pillow over his stomach.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive
Jesus takes us into the next phase of his invitation plea:
o He hit his followers before with two ways, one way to God and the other way to destruction
o Here he tells us about two trees, one with good fruit and the other with bad fruit
Here he talks about influence.
It is here that we look specifically at what influences can be deadly to the church of God.
Matthew 24:11-12 – 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
1 Timothy 4:1 - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Transition Statement: Christ introduces us to false teachers by informing us first of their ability to deceive.
1. The Deception of False Teachers – 15
Dr. O. J. Nease tells of a sad mistake relative to transfusion. You know the former method of transfusion was to place a well person beside the sick one, insert a tube into the arm of the well person and one into the arm of the sick one, and then, through a mechanical process, pump the blood from the well to the sick person. But on one occasion the device did not work properly, and in some way the pumping was reversed from what was expected. They pumped the blood full of deadly germs into the arm of the well person. A whole pint had been transferred before it was known. The results were disastrous. It looks as though the devil has succeeded often in these days in injecting the deadly poison of deception and damning counterfeits.
i. They sound like us – prophets
ii. They look like us – sheep
iii. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 - 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
i. They do the things we do
ii. They fit right in to the church environment
C. Their goal is to:
i. Ravening = an extortioner, a robber
ii. To lure you in
iii. Make you comfortable with them
iv. Make themselves likable
v. At the opportune moment, trick you into another philosophy that is not God’s
Transition Statement: Now, not only does Christ tells us about their knack for deception but He also gives us a description of false teachers.
2. The Description of False Teachers – 16-18, 20
A. Disappointment – 2nd Peter 17
i. Wells without water
a. Dry - Inability to satisfy
b. Lifeless – cannot sustain by giving that which is life-giving
c. Just because it looks like a well doesn’t mean there’s water in it
ii. Clouds that are carried with a tempest
a. Whichever way the wind blows, there they go
b. There is nothing to hold them firm
c. When the storms come, they scatter
B. Defiled – Jude 8, 12-19
i. They reject authority and mock divinity – 8
ii. They are selfish and rebellious – 12-13
iii. Their mouth is used for to divide and conquer – 16
a. Murmurers – one who discontentedly complains (against God)
b. Complainers – discontented
c. Mouth speaketh great swelling words . . . – braggers
d. Having men’s persons . . . - flatterers
iv. Mockers of Godly standards and holy precepts and behavior – 18
v. Not saved!!!!
C. Destructive – text
i. Good trees produce good fruit:
a. Good for you – constructive and instructive
b. Sweet and tasty – influencing godliness
c. Just as good inside as on the outside - consistent
ii. Bad trees produce bad fruit:
a. Poisonous – destructive
b. Pithy and rancid – influencing godlessness and compromise
c. Looks good on the outside but bad in the inside – inconsistent, hypocritical