A continuation from last week’s blog which outlined two of the ‘four warnings’: 1. Beware: Backsliding Zone Ahead and 2. Take Heed: Practice Fatigues Required.
3. DANGER: FALSE PROPHETS AND FRUITLESS TREE ZONE
The same passage urges that we “beware of false prophets … in sheep’s clothing” who are “inwardly … ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15). This calls for some level of judgment. “You will know them by their fruits” (Mt. 7:16). This demands the ability to discern, to distinguish. “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Mt. 7:17). Genuine Christianity, according to Jesus, is evidentiary, “by their fruits you will know them” (Mt. 7:20).
In John 15, Jesus is the true vine, the dynamic source of our fruitfulness. We bear fruit, he produces it in us and through us. The fruit is evidence of both the life in the branch and its nature. Even a mere child can identify a live apple or orange tree with fruit dangling from the branches. In our case, fruit is proof of a transformed nature and life within. The Father is the vinedresser in John 15 whose attentive care increases fruitfulness. And we, the branches, bear fruit – if we truly abide in Christ, the vine. That connection to Christ-life is the source of the fruitfulness. The Word, from the record of Scripture, quickened by the Spirit, is the instrument of pruning and purification. There is to be fruit – more fruit, much fruit, fruit that remains, and that is the evidence of abiding. No fruit – no evidence! No evidence?
Authenticity of faith is not gained by power displays. Lucifer has a counterfeit, a corollary for all nine ways the Holy Spirit manifest gifts (I Cor. 12) to and through the Church. Power, miracles, signs and wonders – all are to follow spirit-filled believers (Mk. 16:17). But they alone do not authenticate faith. And neither does religious speech. Some may have mastered the “Lord, Lord” language of the Kingdom, but they lack a genuine servant heart. They prophesy, cast out demons, they perform wonders. They are dazzling spiritual showmen. They use the name of Jesus, but in the end they will not be approved. “I never knew you! Depart from Me!” The problem? Underneath the religious talk and power-displays is a rebel heart that practices, not righteousness, but lawlessness! Like Lucifer, their sin was not open rebellion against God. They, like him, made a mad rush for, not away from, the light, but not in an attempt to get close in order to worship, to adore, or to bow down, but rather to be worshipped, to be enthroned in the use of divine powers. This is the more devious deception and delusion. The individual in Matthew 7 sought the power, but not the radically transforming relationship. Though they say, “Lord, Lord!” they practice a form of self-glorification, and they are determined to build their own kingdom. They will not “enter the kingdom of heaven.” Only the one who actually “does the will of My Father in heaven,” who practices obedience out of a servant heart, only they will get in. The others, Jesus “never knew!” He knows their names. He knows their works. He knows their motives and their hearts. But he never ‘knew’ them, the two were never intimate. It was not a transforming love relationship that these miracle workers sought, it was power, and their own fame and glory (Mt. 7:21-23).
4. CAUTION: SOME HOUSES HAVE NO FOUNDATIONS
The difference is really simple. We must “hear” the sayings, and “do” them! That makes us wise, with spiritual houses built on a rock. Others will “hear” but they will not heed. The two houses may look much the same. The difference is in their foundation, their grounding – and that is hidden from human view. Some storm will reveal the difference – the rain will descend, the flood will come, the winds will blow and the house will be assailed. Some houses will stand. Of others it will be sadly said, “And great was its fall” (Mt. 7:24-27).
Have our eyes deceived us? Is our own perspective jaded? Is our house built on the sand, while we thought it was on the rock? Are our lives evidencing fruit? Are we putting our faith in the wrong things – power manifestations that occur around our ministry, rather than Christ-likeness that abounds in our hearts?
When Gideon called his band together, 32,000 men responded to the crisis the nation faced with the Midianites. It was a formidable force. It must have momentarily emboldened the timid Gideon. And then God did the unthinkable. He examined the ranks – and discovered fearful and faithless men. You can’t take a nation with such men. You can’t trust them in the battle. They are not dependable. So God sent them home – 99% of them were dismissed. Suddenly, Gideon’s 32,000 were diminished to 300. And with that remnant, God fought! God defended the faithful. God, the warrior, actually fought the battle and gave the nation into the hands of Israel.
The power is not in numbers – it is in purity of heart! It may not be an army that God is looking for, but a band of pure and faithful prayer warrior disciples.
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 Andy Naselli. Abiding: A Characteristic of All Believers, http://andynaselli.com/wp-content/uploads/200503_abiding.pdf