Beware False Prophets & Disciples; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.

Jesus’ expression changed, becoming serious as he said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

I repeated “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” to myself. Recognize them from their contrary lives, that say one thing and do another? I also have to wonder, am I producing good fruit or bad?

Then Jesus chilled me as his voice rose, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Around me, the crowd began to murmur. What did he mean?

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Jesus would reject people!? Why?

Hmm, ‘I never knew you,‘ that was it. You had to have a relationship with Jesus, not just do as he said. Why bother to do what he said at all then?

Jesus answered my unspoken question. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Quietly to myself, I said, “He has to actually be my Lord, relationally and obedience-wise. I have to follow him over what I want.” A lot of Jewish teachers told a similar story, except they put the foundation on God’s Law the Torah; where Jesus is…placing his teaching on the same level?

The crowd noticed it too. I heard them as Jesus walked towards us. “He teaches with authority, not like other teachers,” was said a lot.

Most teachers cited other teachers who supported their line of thinking. Jesus didn’t. He said, “Truly I tell you…” on multiple occasions. He even closed his sermon by ranking his message with God’s law.

This is definitely different.

Matthew 7:15-29

Is Jesus Enough To Handle The Job?

Does Jesus cut it? Facebook, the fountainhead of material, produced this gem, “All ya’ll needing Jesus doesn’t seem to be working.” Luke 6:46 immediately came to mind in answer to that.

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

True & False Disciples

Matthew 7:21-23 is the parallel, and it’s Jesus being very blunt about his followers.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Here’s the key to ‘making it work’, it’s not words, it’s not even actions–it’s surrender. It’s hard, so hard that it takes an act of God to break down the wall inside you. (John 16:8-11). Naturally, we want what we want, but supernaturally, we want what God wants.

Our sinful mind before salvation was hostile and refusing to submit to God, it cannot please Him. Only those who live in accordance with the Spirit can. (Romans 8:5-8)

Surrender

Get off your throne, admit God is God, and pledge fealty to Him. Confess Jesus is Lord, and enthrone him in your life. Trust with all that you have that he was raised from the dead after giving his life to pay for your sins. (Romans 10:9)

It’s the trust that saves you, and God justifies you for it (Romans 10:10). It’s that trust that makes you willing to submit and obey what Jesus says, a step at a time.

How?

Romans 12:1-2 lays it out for us. Put aside any desire that doesn’t match Jesus’. Rather than being another pebble carried by the societal current, become a boulder. Renew your mind, which is where thoughtful Christianity comes in.

Live as children of Light, putting off your old life, and put on your new self (Ephesians 4:22-24). Anything that doesn’t look like Jesus needs to go.

This is hard!

Yes, it is. Impossible even, only one pulled it off, and he’s the guy that said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” What can you give the one who has everything? Your love and loyalty, that only comes from an act of will.

Because it will burn you out, he sent help. The Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). The Comforter and Counselor in our lives (John 14:26). This constant surrender and time with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit will transform you (John 15:5-8).

You Can See The Transformation

You will know people by what they produce in their lives (Matthew 7:16-20). The acts of the sinful nature are listed in Galatians 5:19-21:

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity and debauchery
  • idolatry
  • sorcery
  • hatred
  • discord
  • jealousy
  • fits of rage
  • selfish ambitions
  • dissensions
  • factions
  • envy
  • orgies
  • drunkenness

Paul leaves no margin for error here. Those who consistently live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God, no matter if they say they follow Jesus or not.

We aren’t sinless, we’re going to sin, but we will sin less. John said this in 1st John 1:5-2:6:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Live As Jesus Did?

Yes. There are good things that should be steadily growing and producing in your life. They’re called the Fruit of the Spirit, and it’s a by-product of the Holy Spirit working in you.

  • love
  • joy
  • peace
  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

There’s no law against these.

Conclusion

I have yet to see someone who follows a command of Jesus and have it backfire in the long run. We stumble, but we keep going. For every issue, the Cross is the answer. If we could figure it out, why haven’t we yet?

There’s a difference between needing Jesus and submitting to him. We all need him, not all submit to him. Here at the Cross where he died for you, at the tomb where he rose in victory, and beside the Father in Heaven interceding for you, he awaits these words, ‘Jesus is Lord’ said with all the trust that you have that he died and rose as an atonement for your sins. What are you waiting for?

Follow Me; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

We were almost to Capernaum, walking beside the Sea of Galilee. I looked over the water as the waves ran up to the shore and crashed. In the distance, boats were pulled up to the shore, or just off of it.

We drew closer, and I could see two people throwing a net over the side of one. They looked familiar. Jesus was also watching them, a smile growing.

It was Simon and Andrew, the fishermen that went to hear John the Baptist. I was with Andrew when he met Jesus, though he went back to fishing with Peter after traveling with us for awhile. We stopped at the water’s edge.

I jerked in surprise when Jesus’ voice rang across the water, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.

I didn’t expect that. Most teachers waited for students to come to them. Very few picked their own disciples, it was almost unheard of. To follow Jesus meant we would go where he went, doing what he said.

They didn’t hesitate, leaving their nets and the boat on the shore, they came and joined us. Not far from their boat was another on the water’s edge.

An old man was in it with what looked to be his sons. It was Zebedee, James, and John. They listened to John the Baptist too.

Again Jesus’ voice rang out, startling me, calling them to come follow him. While they were climbing out of the boat, I thought of the commitment they were making. Leaving family and a job was a rare thing.

Generally, people who were inclined to follow a rabbi did so in their teens and twenties. Even rabbis were usually part-time teachers.

Following Jesus, now, that requires commitment, maybe even leaving everything behind if he calls for that.

Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20