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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 37 of 40: True and False Prophets

Matthew 7: 15-20
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.

Just as we are to choose the narrow gate over the wide gate, and the difficult road over the easy road, we are to choose the the true prophet over the false prophet to help us find and lead us through the narrow gate down the difficult road of spiritual living.

How are we to know who the true prophets are?  We are to look at the fruit of their lives.  A tree that does not bear good fruit cannot be called good, and a prophet or leader who does not live what he or she teaches cannot be called good.  

False prophets may appear genuine by their outward appearances and their words, but these things fall away in the light of their personal lives.  Do they teach love but show hate for others?  Do they teach peace but cause disorder?  Do they teach mercy and forgiveness but practice retribution and hold grudges?  Do they teach humility but practice arrogance?

I think we are also to examine our own lives in this way.  We are all teachers and prophets to someone, whether we know it or not.  Someone is always looking at us, and listening to our words to determine if they match the way we live and act.

How do we stand up to this scrutiny? Are we good fruit?

Tomorrow we study the heart of a disciple.

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