Jan 25, 2022

Wolves Disguised as Sheep, Fruit Trees, and People Shouting Lord, Lord!

Deceivers – People – Fakers
Matthew 7:15-20

BIG PICTURE: Jesus was incredibly inclusive of people, and, very devoted to God and moved in a clear direction.
WIDE in relationships – NARROW in devotion to God.
REVIEW: Did you go thru the narrow gate and walk the narrow road last week? QUESTION: What am I asking?
The narrow gate is doing what Jesus said to do. The narrow gate is obeying, > creatively, intelligently, joyfully, with
relaxed hands and un-gritted teeth, obeying the one who has thoroughly mastered life and death.
What is the wide gate? Doing anything else.
Did you consider, “Maybe obeying him with his help is, in fact, the greatest opportunity you’ll ever know in your life.”
TODAY: Look at two warnings of being misled from the outside and an evaluation of our inner life.
15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify
them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 
17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad
tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the
fire. 20Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the
will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your
name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew
you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’


(beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing)

1) V15 Speaking of harmless ideas and people and harmful ideas and people: What subjects do you listen to? Who do
you listen to? How do you listen to those you listen to (in person, TV, radio, blogs, apps, podcasts?)
People listen to sports, sports talk, good music, bad music, sermons, self-help, politics/my political views, politicians,
unelected public officials, conspiracy theorists, internet rabbit holes, famous people, singing stars, sports stars, wise
people, helpful people, harmful people. Even sermons at church.
Specific people: My pastor, my favorite pastors/speakers via the internet.
How? tv, radio, apps, podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, FB – the internet.
Who, what and how we can listen is now limitless! (Sidenote: Daniel 12:4: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal
the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Remember, don’t take one
verse from somebody, but . . . )
2) V16 How can we know if a person is legitimate, that they are telling you what they really believe and that they think
it is a good way to live?
Are they acting out what they are telling you? Are they living it? OVER TIME
QUESTION: Who were the prophets back in V15? The prophets were any teacher of the day who instructed people how
to live the good life. It ends up being whoever you’re giving permission to speak into your life right now. Think about it.
Who are you giving the right to influence your values? Is it a person or a group of people? Is it technology, research
studies, a random mix of podcasts perhaps?
3) How can we know that what we are listening to is true or who we are listening to is truthful? THIS IS A BIG DEAL
-First, does is line up with Jesus’ teachings, with the bible? Ask wise people. Research who the person is from a lot of
different angles. Look at a large body of their work over time.
-Second, truthful people will: Understand themselves and know their own strengths and weaknesses. They will not delude
themselves about their successes or failures; Present themselves in a way that shows who they really are.
-Third, Reputation, are they known to be virtuous, genuine, straightforward, fair, impartial, decent, sincere, trustworthy,
authentic, equitable, conscientious, proper, honorable, reliable, forthright, true, bona fide, direct, ethical, fair and square.
How can we determine these things about people on media that are far away? We mostly can’t. Beware, be careful. Ask
wise people. (I ask pastors, etc. what do you think about so and so that is an author?) Research who the person is from a
lot of different angles. Look at a large body of their work over time.
QUESTION: A worldview is a collection of attitudes, values, stories and expectations about the world around us,
which SHOULD inform our every thought and action.
Example, a biblical worldview is a worldview based on God’s unchanging Word. Since God is the Creator of
everything in heaven and earth, He is the standard for truth..
Example, a worldview of atheism, which is a belief that God does not exist, explains the creation of the universe and of
life as randomness acting over a very long time.
What is your worldview? (You should think about this – write it out.)

Summary – You are responsible for you. You get to decide who or what ideology you’re going to follow. Be wise!
Get help from a trustworthy person in discerning things! False Teachers & false information is everywhere!
Choose the good life!


QUESTION: Ever seen a tree that just produces year after year?
My grandparents had a pecan tree that would do that. (Ron’s garden. Tomato plant this year that would not quit
producing tomatoes.) Something on the inside of that tree and plant was working really, really well. The proof is that
they consistently produced great pecans and tomatoes.
THE REAL QUESTION: Can we become people who consistently bear healthy fruit in our lives? Can our lives produce
good fruit without all the striving and conniving and strategizing even in the dry seasons of our lives that are hard?
4) V17-20 How can we identify people (including ourselves) as producers of good fruit or bad fruit?
You can identify people by their actions. Period. This is blunt. We’ve got to talk about it.
It’s easy to fall into “I’m in; you’re out. We’re right; they’re wrong.” It can easily happen when we read Scripture single out
one or two verses. Like the fruit tree – what is inside of you matters most.
Someday we will not be this mixture of good and bad. We will be good or bad. You are slowly becoming either that good
person or that bad person. You cannot remain endlessly neutral. One or the other slowly is happening. We fool ourselves
when we think we can opt out of making that decision. We are becoming a specific kind of person day after day after day,
whether we’re being intentional about it or not. Jesus is saying, “Be intentional about the internal you and your
external actions.”
It’s easier to work on the outside (do some specific things) than the inside. The hard work is internal work.
(podcast) Life change happens on the inside – really learning and applying truth, praying continually, asking God
to help you, to change you, to repair the damage we, others and the world has done to us. That’s hard, but we’re
not alone.
TABLE TALK: Addiction and the lies & harm to yourself and family – Legalists and Judgementalists & the harm we’ve
done to people we hardly know but judge – Drifters who don’t have a thought or an opinion about much of anything:
Let’s talk about it. Where do you stand with God and with your eternity? What is your trajectory, your path?
What do we do with the wasted years? The regrets?
Pray – God, redeem it all. Work it all out to something good. I know, we can’t see how can we? Let’s check back in in
five years, ten years! I’m expecting gospel stories, good news stories!
5) How can or have you affected someone else’s fruitfulness, positively or negatively?

C.S. Lewis – “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most
uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted
to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in
some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.
So, we should consider how we conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these
are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub,
and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”


6) V21 Who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Only those that do the will of the Father.
What is the will of the Father? To love the Father and to love others as Jesus loved others.
What does “as Jesus loved others” mean? Sacrificially.
QUESTION: How can you, now, love others? What specific things can you do and who can you do them for?
(A guy stopped us at a crosswalk in front of SQZBX pizza and said, punch this crosswalk button so you won’t get run
over, and if you do you’ll get paid for it!)
Slow down, look people in the eye, be courteous at fast food, at convenience stores, in traffic, at “home,” put up dishes,
sometimes let the dishes go till another time, or work on the dishes together, ask people about their day and really listen.
Use your strengths to help someone that has a weakness in your area of strength. Be empathetic. Be kind. Sacrifice your
time for someone.
7) V22-23 Jesus is blunt! How can you and I know we aren’t fakers?
Though I do sin, my life is not defined as a “breaker of God’s laws.”
What does “breaker of God’s” laws mean? People who claim to have a relationship with God that they do not have. It is
failure to bow before God, believe in and have active faith in Jesus.
Saying it my way, “I’m gonna do religious things because I believe at some level you are God, but I’m still going to
control things, control my life. (Whisper – I’m God of me.)
I’m not my own god, you are God and I am going to align my kingdom, my will, with You. Jesus did the work – I’m
accepting it – here I am – what do I do next?
BTW, an extra – Jesus is also saying, “I’m the judge. I decide. I am God!”
Sounds threatening – but remember, over and over and over, he offers to us – “follow me and you’ll live the good life –
for the rest of your life – and into eternity.”

Summary Regarding fakers and yellers – You are responsible for you. You get to decide who or what you’re going
to follow & who you’re really going to believe – and who you’re going to attach your life and death to.

When you’ve messed up and produced bad fruit and you encounter the forgiveness and loving correction of Jesus, who
accepts you in the middle of your messy life and leads you out of it gently by the hand, you start to let go of the need to
outwardly perform and start to acknowledge and realize, “I have to put my energy in a different direction.”

The less rules the better, right? It’s so healthy to be raised with a solid, clear structure of behavior. Kids need and want
structure. They want clear consequences. They want fairness. They want justice. They want us sometimes to tell them
what to do.
Fast forward: But at some point in our maturity process our focus has to shift from an outward focus of structure of rules
to an internal adoption of the values the structure represents. We don’t live a life of rule-following; we live a life of
blessing that flows from personally integrating the values that created the rules. When we live from our values. We
aren’t divided, frustrated, mad, disappointed in ourselves, depressed.
So, who is a good person? A good person is someone who would naturally do good. Jesus made it clear with his
invitation that we surrender our will to his direction, that Jesus would live within us, surround our lives with the presence
of the Holy Spirit, and guide us and transform us from the inside. A disciple is someone who has put Jesus in charge of
their inside. That’s all it is.
Beware of the “false prophets” and ideologies of our day!