TEXT: Matthew 7:13-23
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
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.
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.
John Blanchard said, “A fruitless person is not a failed Christian, but a false one—in other words, not a Christian at all. Fruit is evidence of the root.”
As we consider Jesus’ warning about “false prophets,” it would do us well to sit for a minute on the imagery He uses to describe them — wolves in sheep’s clothing. That imagery can apply not just to false prophets and false teachers, but a range of individuals who appear to be helpful to the body of Christ, but are either in it for themselves or in it to harm others. The truth is any one of us can become a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This point is emphasized in the new book by Ed Stetzer titled, “Christians in an Age of Outrage.” The cover of the book is interesting as it shows a lamb, but superimposed on the lamb’s mouth is a Polaroid of a wolf’s jaws full of sharp, threatening canines. The image intends to show how that Christians often appear as sheep in the church, but behind closed doors — and especially on the internet — the knives come out and they show their true colors. In fact, the relative anonymity of social media for most people has brought about a wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing culture. Many people practice civility and patience in public life, but when the spotlight is not on them or when they are behind what they think is the relative safety of a computer or phone screen, they do and say all kinds of despicable things.
How can we, in the church, identify the wolves in sheep’s clothing among us? Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Not by their words. Not by the impeccable way they dress. Not by their preaching style. Not by the many compliments other lavish upon them. By their fruits! That is, the product, the outcome of their lives. You see, something can appear to be fruitful, but actually be fraudulent. A counterfeit dollar bill looks real, but try to deposit it at a bank, and you will quickly learn that you have a fake. Jesus cursed a fig tree that had all the characteristics of a fruit-bearing plant in full bloom, but when He approached it, it had no figs.
So, how can we be discerning believers and not waste our time trying to receive good fruit from trees that have none. Dr. John MacArthur gives three primary types of “spiritual fruit” by which we can judge the integrity of the “tree”.
The first way we judge the fruit of a tree is through ‘Character. A person’s inner motives, standards, loyalties, attitudes, and ambitions eventually are seen in their conduct, because what you believe determines how you behave.’
The second way we judge the fruit of a tree is through ‘Creed. A false teacher’s fundamental beliefs or doctrine may at first appear Biblical and orthodox but when examined by those who are trained to discern good from evil, their thorny theology is seen to not correspond to the plumbline of God’s Word, often with the omission of foundational Biblical truths. In other words, one needs not only listen to what they say but also to what they do not say.’
The third way we judge the fruit of a tree is through ‘Converts. “Like father like son” is the old aphorism. And so the followers of false prophets and false teachers will produce ungodly, unholy fruit like their leaders, usually manifest in their lifestyle.”
We must refuse to be deceived by the flashiness or charisma of those who claim spiritual leadership. If we are to discern between good fruit and bad fruit, we must soberly examine the character, creed, and converts of those who claim to be called by God to lead. Doing so will save you from a lot of heartache and spiritual loss in the long run.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.