My last blog on 'Worrying' was inspired by Matthew chapter 6 and today's effort comes straight from Matthew 7 from verse 13 where I read from my Living Bible:-
"Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.
Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by it fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles. Different kinds of fruit trees can quickly be identified by examining their fruit. A variety that produces delicious fruit never produces and inedible kind. And a tree producing an inedible kind can't produce what is good. So the trees having the inedible fruit are chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the only way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit produced.
Not all who sound religious are really good people. they may refer to me as 'Lord,' but still won't get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. At the judgement, many will tell me 'Lord Lord we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles. But I will reply, 'you have never been mine. Go away for your deeds are evil.'
So who are these 'false teachers' that Jesus is talking about here and what is their role/aim in today's church?
Well I'm afraid they can be just about anyone - Jesus tells us that many 'religious' type people are actually false in their teaching and if we don't watch them they will lead us astray and sadly I feel many have been led astray already in this old world of ours.
Jesus also tells us that many of these 'false teachers' will stand out among us due to their "fruits" or what comes out of their mouths or what doesn't - NOW we have to be a tad careful here that we don't start "judging" we have to draw a line where discerning and not judging comes into this analysis.
Discerning what is false is, according to Jesus, obvious - These 'teachers' will tell us exactly what we want to hear and certainly not about God's judgement and what it will mean to the unbeliever. They won't want to get into unpleasant subjects such as these - no way! They would much rather talk about how and why we can relieve pressure form our lives in today's world. Human concern is their catchcry and it seemingly is beautiful and it is, but they deny that working of Christ in people's lives and the leading of God's Holy Spirit. Even denying entirely the sacrifice of Jesus on that terrible yet beautiful day over 2000 years ago.
These people are usually prideful with a life totally consumed by themselves. Denying the very authority of God that they spruke of so widely and vehemently that they delight in. 2 Peter 2:10 says (again in my Living Bible)
"He (God) is especially hard on those who follow their own evil, lustful thoughts, and those who are proud and willful, daring even to scoff at the Glorious Ones without so much as trembling"
Luke 6:39 says that "A blind man cannot lead another blind man can he? They will both end up falling into a pit"
That's exactly how it is when false teachers invade our homes, churches even our workplaces - they deceive us and then both of us will end up in hell for eternity! Their whole aim is to lead us happily traipsing along behind them singing as we go to the very beautiful and wide gate which ultimately leads to destruction - just like Jesus said.
So how are you feeling about your own Christian walk with Jesus? If you are truly following Jesus as one of his own, are you trusting Him daily?
Have you got evidence of the Holy Spirit living inside of you as Jesus promised you would have on accepting Him? (see Galations 5: 22-23)
Has your very nature changed? Jesus said we would be 'new' creatures upon accepting Him - Can others see a change in you?
Do you love others as Jesus has loved you? Now that's a biggie - Jesus said by their love you will know them (John 13:35)
Are you being obedient to Jesus? Do you feel like you are becoming more like Him in every way.
These are 'signposts' if you like, pointing you to God the Father and knowing that you are secure in His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.
So how should we react to others who are masquerading as sheep but are actually wolves prowling around seeing you they can deceive?
"Live and let live" is a popular cultural philosophy. If someone believes in something that you disagree with, the socially acceptable thing to say is "whatever works for you is okay with me."
But that's not an option where God's truth is concerned. If you hear someone misrepresenting Christianity or the Bible, you are scripturally bound to speak up. God expects His redeemed people to be just as zealous as he is in defending His truth.
We mustn't let our lack of theology hold us back . It takes courage and boldness to be a follower of Jesus and sometimes we need both to confront a false teacher or a misdirected believer.
I pray this week that we will ask the Holy Spirit to guide our words and help others to understand God's truths.