Week of October 15 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Matthew 7:15-20

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Reflect: What does Jesus warn against in these verses? How will his audience be able to identify them?

Consider: This correspondence of external product to internal character is necessary. It cannot (emphatic) be otherwise. If the heart is good, good results follow; therefore, he implies, if good results are not seen in these “false prophets,” it is because of their real character. A bad life cannot but spring from a worthless heart.[1]

Respond: Why do you think Jesus chose these metaphors to describe false prophets? What do these images reveal about the seriousness of false teaching? What did Jesus mean by “fruit”? How would the fruit of false teachers identify them? How do you spot false teachers today? Do you think they are easier or harder to spot than in the New Testament time? Why? If they are so dangerous, why are we tempted to follow false teachers?

 

[1] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., St. Matthew, vol. 1, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 284.