True or False
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
In the following Scripture Jesus is speaking to the crowd gathered on the seashore. Many came to hear Him, in just a short period of time His name became known quite well. He became known not just for His miracles, but for the way He spoke, as a Man with authority.
Matthew 7: 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, 29 because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.(BSB)
In the Sermon on the Mount which is found in Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus answers a number of questions that plagued the minds of people, no differently than today. Questions on issues like marriage, divorce, hatred, anger, rage, and more. He spoke of prayer . . . how to pray and explained what God is looking for in the hearts of men. Again and again, Jesus’ words revealed that God looks at the hearts of men, not just words. He even warned against following false prophets.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.(BSB)
wolf-in-sheeps-clothing Photo by SarahRichterart on Pixabey
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, 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. 20 So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.(BSB)
He makes clear that false prophets do not look harmful when they first come on the scene. They look quite harmless, just like you and me. To come into the sheepfold and not be recognized these wolves find it necessary to look and act like sheep. In my previous series I have written plenty about sheep, and explained that we are His sheep and He is our Shepherd.
This is a warning the Shepherd is giving to the sheep, that is us , the sheeple about false prophets.
In order to know a false prophet one would have to know what a real prophet is like, wouldn’t you agree? Better yet, first we should know what a prophet is anyway . . . right?!
A prophet is a man/woman who is given knowledge directly from the Lord about something yet to come or happen, or God’s will and purpose. This man/woman speaks the prophesy only as he/she is inspired by God (1 Peter 1:21). In other words God puts His words in the prophet to speak or to write, and that is what the true prophet does.
So, how do you know whether a word that prophet gives is true or not? Verses 16-20 answer that for us. You will know them by their fruit! There are other tests as well. For instance, we are called to examine their words to see of what spirit they are.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.(KJV)
Test them, so to speak. A true prophet will not speak anything contrary to God’s word, he will not water it down or distort it so that it misleads anybody, or for personal gain of any kind. If a person is a true prophet, his word that he claims is given by God, will come to pass.
Bottom line, the warning is for us to not be swept away by every smooth-talking “prophet” that comes along.
However, my emphasis for today is not on the “prophet” but on the sheep. This is the Word spoken by Jesus to us exhorting us to be alert, wise, discerning and KNOWLEDGEABLE about the word. If we do not know the word, we will not be able to tell true from false!
The apostle Paul gives this warning:
Galatians 1: 6 I am amazed how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is not even a gospel. Evidently some people are troubling you and trying to distort the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be under a curse! 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you embraced, let him be under a curse!(BSB)
Pretty harsh . . . right?! Yet that is how seductive and dangerous listening to false prophets can be! God’s concern is your soul first, not your comfort! He cares about your eternity enough to curse those that try to lead you away from the True Word, The Bible.
Jude confirms it:
Jude 1: 4 For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed—ungodly ones who were designated long ago for condemnation. They turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality, and they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.(BSB)
The story is told about a group touring the US Mint. The guide showed them around a good size display of counterfeit currency bills. One lady was quite surprised by the number of them. She stated “Wow, you must have to learn a lot about all the fake bills.” The guide replied, “No ma’am, just the one. We only have to know the true one really well.”
So it is with God’s word. You and I will never be able to keep up with all of Satan’s schemes and lies since he comes up with new ones every day. After all he is called “the deceiver.” You and I are simply required to know the Truth of what God said, and with that we are able to recognize false prophets speaking/teaching/ preaching falsehoods straight away. We do not have to wait to see if what they say comes to pass, we know they are not from God to begin with!
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father 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 perform many miracles?’(BSB)
In verse 22 “that Day” refers to Judgment Day before God. So, put it in perspective . . . many will come before Him expecting to be let in into heaven based on their testimony. I can surely say, it is not just prophets mentioned here. These people have done miracles of healing and casting out demons as well. Since power lies in Jesus’ Name, they have even had some measure of success. Surely with all this as part of their resume’ it would be reasonable to think they would be let in . . . !
Yet Jesus continues:
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (BSB)
Wait a minute, Jesus not only rejects them, He says He never knew them!
He calls them “workers of lawlessness.” Some versions say “workers of iniquity” meaning habitual sin. The Law was the Torah (OT) and breaking the Law meant the person was in sin/iniquity. In other words, Jesus was saying, “You have no relationship with Me, you are not Mine, you are still in your sin, and therefore have no right to enter My Heaven.”
stairway-to-heaven photo by picserio.com
Seems harsh . . . right?! But think with me for a moment.
Heaven is a perfect place . . . right?!
Heaven is a place where no sin/or related sorrow exists . . . right?!
So, if God lets in a sinner, even one, is Heaven perfect and without the presence of sin anymore? . . . NO!
If He lets one sinner in then others would have the same right! . . . right?!
If one sinner is allowed, why not more? . . . right?!
If more are allowed, why not all? . . . right?!
If any, more or all sinners are allowed to enter, then what is the difference between what we have here on Earth and Heaven above?
Think about it? Heaven then becomes like Earth and something even worse. It becomes akin to hell . . . because in Heaven no one dies anymore!
So all the sinners continue to sin, and there is no more consequence that is sufficient. a rapist continues to rape, a murderer continues to murder, a child molester continues without adequate consequence . . . and there is no end to it, for everyone, victim and abuser live forever!!
No, my friend . . . Jesus cannot let a single sinner into heaven . . . NOT one!
Only Ex-sinners now saved by His grace. The Bible makes it clear that the Blood of Jesus washes away our guilt and makes us clean and pure. He paid the penalty and took the punishment on the Cross, and by a simple, sincere and pure acceptance of His sacrifice for our sins we gain the right to entry in Heaven not as sinners, but as clean and pure saints. The sin nature stays out of Heaven and I enter no longer to sin, but to remain pure and to enjoy a perfect Heaven without ever polluting or contaminating it!
Someone asked me why we see Jesus on the cross in so many Churches. The cross is the symbol of punishment, and He hung on it. He Himself committed not sin, we did! God so loved us, that He himself took the complete load of all our sins and carried it upon His own shoulders, and allowed Himself to be punished for us.
Now, the Catholics use the Cross with a figure of Jesus on it, whereas the Protestants use just and empty cross. Since I am answering the question as to why Jesus is seen on the cross, I should also answer as to why He is not shown on the Cross in many churches. The Protestants believe that since they serve a God who has paid the price in full, and since He is no longer on the cross, but is now in Heaven at the right hand of the Father as the advocate/lawyer for the believer, they no longer need to show Him on the Cross. The empty Cross is sufficient reminder of what happened on it, and His completed victory.
Whichever Cross you see, know that we worship and serve the Christ who suffered on it, conquered death, rose from the grave, ascended to heaven and promised to return to earth for the believers and to set up His kingdom.
In my next post I will continue on this passage. stay tuned . . .
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