True and False Prophets
Matthew 15:21, “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? 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 Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.
This is the second warning from Jesus, cautioning his followers about “pretenders.” Pretenders can draw us away from Jesus and prevent us from entering the narrow gate he speaks of in verses 13 and 14.
Did you know those false prophets and false teachers are just as prevalent today as they were back in Bible times?
How can we tell?
Their teaching minimizes Jesus Christ and glorifies themselves. Their words sound religious, but they are motivated by money, fame, or power. They portray speaking on God’s behalf, but their words are not from God.
My footnote says, “Just as trees are consistent in the kind of fruit they produce, good teachers consistently exhibit good behavior and high moral character as they too attempt to live out the truths of Scripture. We must examine the teachers’ motives, the direction they are taking, and the results they are seeking.”
We are told to look at the fruit of their ministry.
I will never forget the day my old pastor said, “Jeanette, I put my pants on the same way you do – one leg at a time. The difference between you and me is I’m in front of people every Sunday. My family is in a fishbowl. But we struggle with sin just like all of you; only ours is on display for everyone to see and critique.”
Every one of us is subject to sin. And every one of us has a choice as to what kind of fruit we produce.
Will you produce fruit that is good or bad? It’s your choice.