15. You must constantly be on the alert for men who preach a false message. They come to you looking like gentle sheep, but if you could look inside their hearts, you would discover that they are bloodthirsty wolves who will tear you apart!
16. You will be able to tell what they really are by the fruits they bear. Do you gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
17. The obvious truth is: Every good tree always produces good fruit, but a bad tree always produces poisonous or worthless fruit.
18. A good tree cannot produce poisonous or worthless fruit, and a corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit.
19. Every tree that fails to produce good fruit will soon be cut down and thrown into the fire.
20. So you will be sure to recognize false preachers by the fuits they produce.
21. Not everyone who continues to call Me "Lord" will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who practice obedience to My Father in Heaven will be allowed in.
22. On Judgment Day there will be many who will say to Me, "But, Lord! O Lord! Didn't we prophesy and preach in Your name? We even drove out demons and performed many miracles in Your name!"
23. "Then I will reply, "I never knew you. Get out of My presence, you who insist on living as you please instead of obeying God!"
The Lord clearly outlines in the above passage that we will know a tree by it's fruit. He also cautions us in verse 15 that things are not always as they seem. You must constantly be vigilant about the truth. Every message preached, taught, or shared must be analized by the word of God, the bible. Don't just take every teaching that your favorite television, internet or local preacher says. You must analize what is being said against the word of God. In every case, the word of God is always correct. But sadly, not every person rightly divides the word.
It is quite amazing to me that many spend more time in front of their televisions, watching their favorite shows than in God's Holy Word. Verse 21 tells us the importance of practicing obedience to the Father. How can you practice obedience if you don't know what He says? How can you know what He says, if you don't spend time in His word?
Some christians today have fast food christianity. They treat the Lord like a quick trip through the drive thru. A quick trip to church on Sunday morning to hear their preacher deliver a topical self-help sermon or maybe only a quick trip to the T.V. and their favorite preacher so their self-esteem will be stroked for the week, then it's on with their own life until the next Sunday when they do it again. I contend that this is not the christianity of the bible. This is an example of a modern lukewarm Laodicean christian.
I am not saying that modern day christians have rejected God, although some certainly have. But the problem with today's church is that most christians in the modern church have a solid commitment to self, and a lukewarm commitment to God. This simply is not good enough.
Please read verse 23 again: "Then I will reply, "I never knew you. Get out of My presence, you who insist on living as you please instead of obeying God!"
On judgement day will this be the charge against you? Will you be guilty of living the way you want to rather than obeying God? I pray my brother and sister, that you will not be found guilty of this charge. Please commit yourself to reading God's word, and obeying His commands. Examine everything you hear through the lens of God's word. Be a fruit inspector, a tree will always produce fruit after it's kind.