Matthew, Chapter 7

Matt. 7:15-20

Matt. 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
In the above passage, the Lord tells us how that we can identify a false prophet and at the same time calls our attention to the two natures of man.

The Lord begins by showing us that a false prophet can look religious and usually does look religious. He comes in sheep's clothing. He looks like a child of God. He can speak the language of the religious and give an outward appearance of being religious and pious. All of this is outward. The Lord shows us that we are not to look on the outward appearance but on the inward nature. The Lord says that inwardly the false prophets are ravening wolves. A wolf is a carnivorous, devouring, destroying animal. It seeks to devour sheep. False prophets do not come to the children of God (sheep) to reveal their inward nature, but they are deceptive and try to appear like they are one of the sheep.

The way to identify a false prophet is not to look on his outward appearance or to look on his religious practices. He uses this to deceive people. The way to identify a false prophet is to examine his fruits. We must be fruit inspectors if we are going to be able to identify false prophets.

There are two types of trees in the world. There are good trees and there are corrupt trees. Good trees bring forth good fruit. Corrupt trees bring forth evil fruit. We can identify the tree by its fruit. A good tree can only yield good fruit. Likewise, a corrupt tree can only yield evil fruit. The Lord gave the example by asking the question, "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" The answer is that only grape vines bring forth grapes and only fig trees bring forth figs. Thistle trees bring forth thistles and thorn trees bring forth thorns. You will never find a grape vine bringing forth thistles. Nor will you find a thorn tree bringing forth grapes. The trees bring forth according to their nature.
In some men, there is only one nature: the nature of the flesh. In those who have been born of the Spirit, there are two natures: the nature of the flesh and the nature of the Spirit. The flesh cannot bring forth spiritual fruit, nor can the spirit bring forth fleshly fruit. In Galatians chapter five, we read of the fruits of the two natures found in man:

1. v. 19-21 " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
2. v. 22, 23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

We note that all the works of the flesh are evil sinful works. Whereas, all the fruit of the Spirit is good.

False prophets because of their inward corruption will bring forth the works of the flesh. By observing these wicked works of the flesh we can identify them as being false prophets. We should observe the lives of those who preach the gospel. If they do not bring forth the good fruit of the Spirit, then we should reject them as being the ministers of Christ.

Matt. 7:21-23

Matt. 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. It is easy to tell your spouse "I love you" but it takes a lot more effort and attention to detail to show her you love her. Many today call Jesus Lord, but their actions do not show that they truly believe he is Lord.

When it comes to entering into the Lord's church kingdom on earth, we must do the will of the Father. In doing the will of the Father, we do what is taught in his word. You cannot do the will of the Father without being obedient to the teachings of the scriptures. Unfortunately, many of God's children take no or little heed to what is taught in the word of God. They have their on idea about what they want to do and then they look to the Lord to bless their ideas of what they think they should do.

In the above passage, the Lord told us there would be many who would call him "Lord, Lord" and claim to do many things in His name. They claim to prophesy in his name. They claim to cast out devils in his name. They claim to do many wonderful works in his name. They made these claims to the Lord. They must have truly believed they were doing the things they were claiming to do.

Today there are those who claim that through their efforts to preach the gospel they can get people to be born of the Spirit. They also claim that through their efforts to preach the gospel they can get people to do certain acts, to be justified in the sight of God, and go to heaven. They claim, through the preaching of the gospel, they can perform many wonderful works.

The problem with their claims is that the Lord never appointed them to do the things they are claiming to do. He did not call them to prophesy in his name. He did not tell them to cast out devils. He did not appoint them to do the many wonderful works they claim they were doing. As he told them, "I never knew you," that is he never appointed them to do the things they were claiming to do. The fact that the Lord did not appoint them to do the things they are claiming to do, makes their works, works of iniquity.

Today, there are religious organizations built upon faulty premise. They assume that what they do will be the cause of people being born of the Spirit and obtaining eternal life. The truth is Jesus died for the sins of the elect and redeemed them to heaven's glory world. The Spirit quickens into spiritual life the elect according to the covenant of redemption set forth in Rom. 8:29, 30. The Lord does this without the help of men or the preaching of the gospel. These religious organizations have been built on a faulty premise and have the wrong purpose for the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is good news to God's elect and it tells them what God has already done for them.
The Lord said to those making the above claims, "I never knew you, depart from me you that work iniquity." That should teach us that we should not have anything to do with those religious organizations and their activities.

Matt. 7:24-27

Matt. 7:24 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

James tells us that we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only: James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

The Lord address the children of God in the above passage. Only God's children have "ears to hear:"

1. Prov. 20:12 "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them."
2. Matt. 11:15 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
3. Rev. 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

The only ones that have an ear to hear what the Spirit says are born again children of God. According to the scriptures the natural man cannot understand the things of God: 1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
The Lord is addressing that portion of his children that actually hear the gospel. Not all of his children are blessed to hear the true gospel proclaimed in their lifetime. To that portion that is blessed to hear the gospel, they can be hearers only or they can be hearers and doers.

The Lord likened those who are both hearers and doers to a wise man who built his house on a rock. Similarly, he likened those who are hearers only to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rains, the floods, and the wind came upon both houses. This is true for us in this life as we all endure hardships, trials, troubles, persecutions, and tribulations in our lives. The difference in the wise and the foolish is how that we have prepared for the hardships, trials, troubles, persecutions, and tribulations that come our way.
The man who built his house on a rock built it on a sure and steadfast foundation. The foundation of a house is the most important part of a house. If the foundation is good then the house can withstand much more than a bad foundation can. The man who built his house on the sand built it on a shifting, unstable foundation that would move with the rains, floods, and wind.

The Lord said that he who heard his sayings and did them was like the man who built his house on the rock. The house in the above passage equates to our lives. Do we build our lives on the sure word of God? God's word is unchanging and is sure. If we build our lives on the word of God then when the storms of persecution or tribulations come our way, then we are prepared to withstand them and not have our lives destroyed. I wonder how many marriages have been destroyed, relationships have been broken, or lives have suffered shipwreck because of a lack of living by the word of God. If we have built our lives on the sure foundation of God's word, then we will be able to withstand those things that would otherwise wreck havoc with our lives.

Those who have been hearers only, have no doubt rejoiced in the things that they heard. However, if we do not build our lives on the word of God, but only are hearers of the word, then our lives will suffer destruction from the tribulations, trials, and troubles that come our way.

Let us all strive to be doers as well as hearers of God's word.