Memory Verse: Matthew 7:24-25
7:15-20 Discerning Prophets
- 7:15 Jesus warns His disciples to beware of false prophets. False prophets are people who deliberately pretend to be a prophet to deceive others. These are people who claim to know and understand “God’s Word,” but they teach it falsely, often in a way that is very deceptive. Jesus says that these false prophets will come to us—meaning they will approach believers purposefully and when they do, they will come wearing “sheep’s clothing”—meaning they will appear to be real believers, but inwardly they are “ravening wolves”—meaning that aren’t believers but are there to cause harm to believers.
- In Jesus’ day, the Bible wasn’t complete so there were still prophets who had direct revelation from God for mankind. Some people claimed to be prophets even though they weren’t and they would falsely speak for God where He didn’t speak.
- Today, we have the Bible and no longer have need of prophets who get direct Revelation from God like in the Old Testament. Therefore, our highest authority is the Bible and everything a person says or teaches should be judged against it.
- 7:16-18, 20 If false prophets are so deceptive, how can we know if they are a false prophet? Jesus gives us a test. He says we can know them “by their fruits”—meaning what their teachings produce will give evidence that they are real or betray their disguise and show they are false. Therefore, we are not to just listen to what a person says, but also watch what a person does. Jesus uses two illustrations: (1) First, do we gather grapes and figs (good fruit) from bushes of thorns and thistles? (2) Second, all good trees produce good fruit and can’t produce evil fruit. On the contrary, all corrupt trees produce evil fruit and cannot produce good fruit. The quality of the fruit gives evidence to the nature of the tree, whether it is good or evil, and it is impossibly for them to produce something contrary to their nature. What kind of “fruit” are they producing?
- 7:19 Judgement (hewn down) awaits those who are false prophets (corrupt trees). They are known by two characteristics: (1) the produce evil fruit; (2) they don’t produce good fruit. Just like a corrupt tree is cast into the fire, so will the false prophets after the final judgment (eternal damnation).
7:21-23 Discerning Believers
- 7:21 There are many people who profess Jesus as Lord, but Jesus says there are two different results: those who do enter the kingdom and those who don’t. What causes the difference? Jesus says those “that doeth the will of my Father” will enter the kingdom. Jesus is not saying that works merit our salvation but that true faith produces works. Therefore, we know that there are genuine and false believers. A genuine believer professes faith in Jesus and that faith changes his life, thus his faith is manifest by doing the will of the Father. A false believer says unto Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” professing faith in Him, but never really believed, thus his lack of faith is manifest by not doing the will of the Father. They confessed Jesus in word but rejected Him in the rest of their life. (Note: Jesus says, “My Father which is in heaven” which is His claim to be the Son of God.)
- 7:22-23 On Judgement Day, many people will say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied, cast out devils and done many wonderful works in thy name?” Then Jesus will respond to them saying, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The false believers are claiming they did great works in Jesus’ name. This is a false claim or a “lying wonder” because they couldn’t have had genuine works apart from genuine faith. Jesus says He didn’t know them, they were never real believers even though they called themselves so. They were trusting in the “works in Jesus’ name” as their evidence for their relationship with God, but they sadly did everything except the will of God—which is to believe on Him whom He hath sent—Jesus.
John 6:28-29; 1 John 3:4; 2 Thessalonians. 2:9
7:24-27 Discerning Foundations
- 7:24-25 If you don’t want to be the person Jesus just described and of whom He said, “I never knew you,” then when you hear all of these teachings of Jesus you should do them. Obedience is the response to genuine faith. Jesus uses a parable to strengthen His point. He says this type of person is a wise person who builds his house upon a rock. A rock is a stable foundation. When it rains, floods waters come and the winds blow—all beating upon the house, it won’t fall because it was founded upon a rock. Therefore, Jesus is the rock of our foundation. When we believe in Him and then live a life of obedience in response to our faith, we are showing that He is our stable foundation and assurance against all other trials of our faith—we will prevail (eternal joy with God).
- 7:26-27 On the contrary, when you hear all of these teachings of Jesus and you don’t do them then you are deceiving yourself. Disobedience is not the response to genuine faith. Jesus continues the parable to strengthen this point. He says this type of person is a foolish person who builds his house upon sand. Sand is an unstable foundation. When it rains, floods waters come and the winds blow—all beating upon the house, it will fall because it was founded upon the sand. Its fall will be great—it will be utterly destroyed. Therefore, Jesus is not the rock of your foundation. When you believe in Him and then don’t live a life of obedience in response to your faith, you are showing that He is not your foundation. Your assurance is built on unstable ground and the trails against your faith will prevail—you will be destroyed (eternal separation from God).
7:28-29 True Authority
- 7:28-29 When Jesus had said everything He wanted to say, He ended His teaching (that He started in chapter 5 verse 1). When Jesus started His teaching He saw a multitude of people and then He went up into a mountain and sat down. His disciples followed and He taught them. Apparently, others followed them or He was speaking loudly enough for others who were part of the “multitude” to hear. When He was finished teaching the people were astonished. Why? Because of His doctrine—the manner and content was characterized by authority. He apparently had a commanding manner and they recognized His knowledge about the way of God. He had the power to influence. He wasn’t a “normal teacher” or someone who had doubts like the scribes. Jesus taught like He had the power and the right to give orders and speak on behalf of God. He did.
- Believers need to beware of what?
- What is the test Jesus gives us to discern what a person teaches?
- What are the two kinds of people who profess? Why the difference?
- What is the parable of the two foundations? Application?
- What were the people astonished at? Why?