Thoughts on the Way Home

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Bottom Line - Matthew 7:13-20



Mark LaCour


"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it . . . Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits . . . A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit . . . So then, you will know them by their fruits." (Matt. 7:13-20).

Broad gates and false prophets are a set -- so is bad fruit and bad trees. It's not simply the narrowness of the path that steers people away but the spin job false prophets use to sell bad fruit on an unsuspecting hell-bound public. Three tactics of to be aware of:

First, they create doubt in anyone's ability to discern fruit. This has many forms. It’s either the "who are you to judge" mantra we hear from the world when the fruit is obviously bad, or it's the "only God knows his heart" excuse because there’s no fruit at all. Any retort against these excuses will get you branded as either intolerant or being a fruit inspector. Either way, the maneuver is designed to blur the lines of good and evil by questioning your credentials as an "appraiser" (1 Cor. 2:15).

Second, they separate the fruit from the tree. Bad fruit can be found on good trees, right? After all, to say we have not sinned is to make God a liar (1 Jn. 1:8,10). No one’s perfect -- remember that guy in Romans 7? But God has no hybrids in His kingdom -- no patchwork on garments (Matt. 9:16-17). Christ not only stresses consistency between the fruit and the root, but singles this characteristic out as the way to know whether a sheep is only "skin deep." It's one thing to fall, it's another to free fall. The false prophet will make the exception the rule -- sin is minimized into "humanity," and a tree having a "bad day" can morph into a bad decade.

Lastly, they speak, serve, are energized, and worship one goal -- themselves. "What’s in it for me" is the driving appetite of every ravenous wolf. To speak for Christ, to help others find the narrow door the world despises, to labor to warn against deception, is to invite persecution -- something wolves are immune to. It's not always what the false prophet says but what he never says that gives him away -- never mentioning judgment and hell, but only peace (Jer. 23:16-17).

Most people in hell at this minute owe their "guidance" there to a false prophet. They bought the spin. Narrow ways demand narrow "minded" thinking -- it’s how houses get built on rocks and not sand (Matt. 7:24-27). So beware who you "hire" as your contractor.

-Mark LaCour