Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Matthew 7:15-29 Sermon Notes

Matt. 7:15-29
Sermon Notes
Fruit Inspectors
August 14, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         We now come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Keep in mind the territory we have covered. Jesus begins the sermon by blessing His disciples, those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
         Contrast these attitudes with the spirit that is represented by the scribes, the chief priests, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, He says that we will know the heart of men by the fruit that they produce.
         This fruit is various but it certainly includes the very attitudes that Jesus blesses at the beginning of His sermon. Those who display contrary attitudes and actions will not inherent the Kingdom of God.
But there is still time to turn around.
         Matt. 21:28   “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in ithe vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward jchange your minds and believe him.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus warns the faithful that there will be dangers from within. Paul gives a similar message to the elders of Ephesus in Acts. Even among the faithful, men arise who teach false doctrine that can lead the faithful astray.
Initially, these false prophets look like true prophets. The look like sheep but they are not. Sometimes it takes time to figure this out. If things do not sound quite right, then watch and wait.
The word here for ravening is harpax. Ravenous means a wolf has a big appetite. He is sizing up the sheep getting ready to eat them. Another definition of this word is swindler from a root that means to snatch away. This makes sense, too. A wolf will snatch away the health and life of the faithful.
Keep in mind our previous section. Judge not, lest you be judged. For with the standard you judge, you shall be judged. Now, Jesus is telling us to judge the false prophets. Watch them. See what they do and say. See what kind of men they are. When you see bad fruit, make the judgment that they are bad men.
         Here the maxim, judge lest you fall into judgment would be apt.

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.
How do you judge? By fruit. What sort of fruit? I think at least two things are in mind here.
1.                  The teaching itself. Is it consistent with the revealed will of God? Are they teaching something contrary to Scripture? Then reject them outright. This presupposes that we can know what the Bible teaches. We do need Bible teachers and we need preachers. They help us understand the Word and exhort us to live according to the standard of the Word. But it is also true that when a true prophet of the Word speaks, you can see his words in the text. If not, then you are under no obligation to obey such a minister and you may be obligated to disobey.
2.                  The standard of life. Jesus is attacking the chief priests, elders and scribes. They are the one who want to kill Him. They are the ones who enter widows houses and take advantage of them. They are greedy and this is revealed over time. So, watch their life and make an apt judgment.

Small qualification here for pastors and teachers. Anyone can make a mistake, even pastors. Sometimes mistakes can linger for a time. So, a faithful man could get out of balance in his preaching or teaching. But he should be correctable.
Another small qualification is the life of a minister or teacher. One man said that the best of men are men at best. That is true. A good man can commit an egregious sin without becoming a bad man. Again, is he correctable?
But if a minister or teacher persists in false teaching or sinful actions and will not be corrected, then the Bible encourages us to consider him a false prophet and reject him. Such a man is not a good man. You will know him by his fruit.

Fruit inspectors will naturally think of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Is this fruit evident? Is it balancing? Is it growing?
Furthermore, do the leaders show the sort of fruit that Jesus blesses at the beginning of the sermon on the mount? That is godly fruit. But the scribes and Pharisees did not display this fruit. They are soon to be cut down and cast into the fire.
Saints, do not be deceived, worldliness is tempting. Heed Jesus and His way and receive His blessing.

Or, are the works of the flesh evident, which are: 19 Now bthe works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

7:21   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.
Who are the false prophets? The one who profess faith in Jesus but do not do what He says.
You do not earn salvation by anything that you do. It is all grace, God’s gift through the shed blood of Jesus. But salvation by grace alone is never alone. Those who truly belong to Jesus do what He says. They obey Him. They obey the Father who spoke from heaven. If you say you love Jesus but live a life that is hostile to His will, then you are a liar and will go to hell.

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?
What is it exactly that they did? Did they do these things? Or, just say that they did?
I suppose there are some works that religious people could flatter themselves with. Or, at least make the claim that they did such things. I have my doubts whether they ever actually do good works. The point here is that they claim to be disciples of God and yet blatantly disobey Him. Such people are not known by Jesus.

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The Lord never knew them. They were not faithful ones who fell away. These were wicked from the beginning. They were charlatans. Some of them were probably self-deceived. However, the context seems to make it clear that they knew exactly what they were doing.
Jesus’s contest with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Sribes and Elders prove this out. They thought Jesus might be the Messiah. That did not stop them from trying to kill Him. They were workers of iniquity.
On the Sabbath day, they oppose Jesus for healing, what they call ‘working’ on the Sabbath. So, they plot to murder Him on the Sabbath. Let us ask, which is a violation of the Sabbath, healing or murder?

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Not just hearers, but doers. If you hear and do the words of Jesus, you are established on the Rock that is Jesus.
What is Jesus talking about when He says rains descend, floods come, the wind blows and beats upon the house? He is talking about the Christian life. It is difficult. There is much trial and tribulation. If you are wise, you will prepare for life by building a good foundation.
Some of you face trials and temptations and waver a great deal. Your house is shaking. Will it stand? Yes, if it is built on Jesus. If not, no it won’t.
Do not be presumptuous. I have seen several friends after 20, 30, 40 years of serving Jesus, chuck it all. They decide it is not worth the cost. They cannot stand the storms of life. They get tired. The world becomes alluring. They lose the fruit of the Spirit called self-control and the sand of their foundation starts melting away. They find out that what they said, Lord, Lord, was not true. They were not built on Jesus. They were built on church, or family, or their own family tradition as Christian. But when it comes down to obeying Jesus, they refuse.
One man I know left his wife but was still claiming to be a Christian. The minister asked him point blank, “If Jesus was standing right here and told you to go back to your wife, would you do it?” His answer is telling, “If He also told me that I would be happy in one year.”
The storms include the rejection of a spouse, the failure of a child, the collapse of a business, the disgracing of a pastor. If these events derail you from the faith, then you are not built upon the rock. The storms will come. Will you stand?
Now, we do not get a guarantee on that part, happiness on our terms. The Christian life is full of joy and much happiness. But it also has rain, floods and wind. Will you obey Jesus then? Even when you are not happy and there are no immediate prospects? If not, then you are not built on Jesus. You cannot really say that you are His disciple.
Children growing up in this church, you have to decide this, today, tomorrow and the next day. You belong to Jesus and you are going to do what He says. If not, then your foundation is somewhere else. Some day your choice of Jesus will be that stark. You will be up against it to choose to serve and obey Him or not. Make the decision ahead of time. Make it today and then keep making it every day.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
If you will not hear Jesus, your house will crumble into the sea. If you hear the words of Jesus but will not do them, you will also perish.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:  29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Do the words of Jesus astonish you? If not, why not? His words are quite astonishing. What I am saying to you today is astonishing. It is with authority and not like a Liberal Seminary professor, a little of this a little of that, who’s to say, really? You don’t really have to believe everything in the Bible to be a Christian.  You don’t have to believe in historic Adam and Eve, a man swallowed by a fish, the sun going back on the dial, the virgin birth, or a man raised from the dead. Folks, that is false prophet talk.
The Bible speaks with authority because it is the Word of God, the Word of Jesus. You will have an authority. Which will it be? The sinking sand of man or the solid rock of Jesus Christ. There are only two options.

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