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Beware Of Ravenous Wolves


"15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits."

Good Morning my beloved,

We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my honor and great privilege to have you here with us today. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others continues to bring about tremendous results. People all around the world are responding to God's Word, with more and more coming to Christ. This is so amazing!
Therefore, we ask you to pray that God will continue to give those of who teach the Word of God the courage and boldness to speak the truth in ministry, as we continue increasing face of adversity in the coming days! It's becoming increasingly difficult in the world in which we live to speak truth to a culture that's literally offended by everything, especially biblical truth. Pastors are being silenced for speaking the truth in God's Word. 
There is an increase of Christian persecution in much of the world. Last year alone, more than 340 million Christians worldwide experienced high levels of persecution. This is a dramatic increase from previous years. Therefore, I ask that you would please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. 

In our last message, Jesus said there were few who would find the narrow road. Christ longs for men to 
forsake their sin, repent and enter into His narrow path. However, until a person  recognize his own need for a solution, his own sinfulness, and his need for a Savior, he will never find it. All around us are voices that claim to speak God’s truth. But the truth is that many of the voices out there that claim to speak for God, speak vain, empty words of men. While their words are confident and persuasive and their results are remarkable. They do not speak the truth, often turning to God's Word to back up their false claims and ideas.
Here in today's text, Jesus says many will not enter through the small gate because of false prophets. False prophets will usher them onto the broad road with the wide gate and He warns His hearers to beware of them. People will often accept whatever a preacher as truth. I would like to emphasize, the Bible is a very dangerous book in the hands of a false teacher! Not everything that sounds authentic is God's genuine infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word. His Word is often manipulated and twisted to support all kinds of perversions. Who you listen to will determine whether or not you find the truth.

In fact, in one of His last public discourses, Jesus prescribed blistering formal curses against the false religious leaders of the day, He describes them as wolves in sheep’s clothing. In Matthew 23, Jesus' lack of compassion is evident, because there is no friendly dialogue, only confrontation and condemnation. When the church fails to be discerning, the truth, even in many religious circles, will often be difficult to find. It's all too easy to end up on the broad road, when following deceptive teaching. Follow them and you too are headed toward the same severe condemnation they are. 
By today's standards, Jesus' confrontational approach to dealing with the scribes and Pharisees, would have been considered in tolerant, hate speech and earned Him a resounding out cry of disapproval. The Gospel record stands in stark contrast to the passive, sin celebrating Jesus we hear so much about today.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for this crucial Word for us today. May we be discerning, speaking the truth in love, help us to protect Your church, exposing false teachers and demonic doctrine. It’s not an easy thing to do in the day in which we live, when most people are deceived. Lord, I pray that You would hold those of us who teach Your Word accountable to lead Your flock to the narrow gate. Convict those who are leading the church astray, call them to repentance that they might be restored. Lord, the truth is so important to declare as You have revealed it. Speak to hearts of sinners, be gracious and merciful to them for Christ's sake and for Your glory.
Father, we ask and pray in Jesus' name
Today's Message:  Beware Of Ravenous Wolves

Many pastors are more interested in image and influence rather than affirming the truth, obscuring the narrow gate and welcoming the congregation on to the broad road that leads to damnation. They are not something superficially discovered. They frequently use the language and the forms of faith to gain prominence and power. In fact, they often quote the Bible, but perverting it to their own end, with a preoccupation toward affirming what God's Word clearly calls sin. They come in many forms, possessing in all kinds of education, with all the ecclesiastical trap­pings. The tragedy is they think they are serving God and leading others on their way to heaven only to wake up one day and find they are in hell. Satan is a liar who masquerades as an angel of light! We have to warn believers of the dangers of false teaching which eternally damns the soul.

Three times in John 21, Jesus asked Simon Peter "Do you love Me?" Then He said either tend, shepherd or feed My sheep. This is obviously very important to Christ. If you love Him, then feed His sheep.
Vance Havner, a southern Baptist evangelists who was obsessed with the Word of God once said "You can dot all your Is, and cross all your Ts, and still spell the word wrong." Therefore, they can still mislead you and deceive you, damning men to perdition. We have to preach the truth because the world today is standing at the crossroads! I believe it is imperative that pastors must accept the responsibility of their calling and return to preaching the Word in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with great patience and instruction in order to lead the lost to true salvation. Only if there is genuine conversion is there spiritual transformation wrought by God through the Holy Spirit in the life in the life of a believer. 

Open your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 7. Matthew 7 verses fifteen through twenty. These final words of Jesus in the great evangelistic Sermon on the Mount are intended to destroy teaching and lead His hearers to the truth. As you will recall, in verse 13 the Lord offers us an invitation. I believe it is obvious even with a cursory reading of these passages what our Lord is saying to all of us here. 

I invite you to follow along with me as I read these to you verses 15 through 23, because I believe it is imperative we understand what our Lord is saying here to understand this passage. Though today we're only looking at verses 15 through 20, as we prepare our hearts for the Spirit of God is saying to each of us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us the last word, as I believe it should be. Not everybody talking about heaven is going there. Matthew 7:15-23.
"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. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.

"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"

Millions of professing Christians who love Jesus, who are expecting to go to heaven, and escaping the eternal torment of hell, have been deceived into thinking they are Christians. Millions of people who use His name, who call Him "Lord," will find out in the end that they were wrong because of superficial non-saving faith. To be clear, no one who doesn’t confess Jesus as Lord will enter the Kingdom of God. Confessing Jesus as Lord is absolutely essential to salvation, and it is a work of the Holy Spirit. The issue Jesus is speaking to here is those who will confess Jesus as Lord who are in fact not saved. I can only imagine the unspeakable, heart wrenching devastation of those who learn they have been deceived and are on their way to hell.

I have frequently been asked, "With all the multitudes of religions in the world today, how can there only be two choices?" The answer is actually quite simple, because one way leads to heaven and all other ways do not. All other ways, regardless of what it is called end up in the same place, and that place is hell. Jesus is calling us to be careful about the truth, not to believe everything we hear just because it has His name on it. 

It is amazing to me just how naive people can be. You simply cannot accept something as truth just because it comes from someone who claims to be a Christian. Not everyone is obedient to Scripture. Therefore, you must be discerning. I believe that the best way to test anyone’s teaching, is does his teaching agree or contradict the rest of the teaching of the Bible, the standard by which all who teach the Word of God must be measured. I strongly urge you to apply this method not only to me but to everyone you hear. Because there is only one way to true salvation and heaven and that's God’s way, the only! Scripture is very, very clear, you must enter through the narrow gate and this gate is Christ and Christ alone. As we discussed in our last message, you must enter with difficulty and that means repenting and turning from everything you’ve ever loved. You must deny yourself, and take up your cross. 

Let's look at verse 15, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Having given you the invitation, now He must warn you, "Beware of false prophets." It has been my experience, these false teachers stand at the crossroads, directing people like a traffic cop, waving people on to the broad road that leads to damnation. Although you may not think so, they are quite successful at deceiving people. They are very convincing while obscuring the narrow gate from those who seek to enter God's Kingdom. Their leading people to the wrong road. Jesus doesn't leave any room for doubt whom He is talking about here, the false prophets. This is a severe warning.

That's why in Matthew 23, Jesus even prescribes damnation upon them "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."  

Isaiah 30 says "For this is a rebellious people, false sons, sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the Lord; Who say to the seers, "You must not see visions"; And to the prophets, "You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel." Throughout redemptive history, there has been a demand for false prophets because many people do not want to hear the truth. That's why all throughout God's Word, He gives us warning after warning after warning about false prophets who make their claims, but their claims do not stand.

And in Matthew 24, Jesus warns "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance."

To understand this verse we must define what is a false prophet? Ever since the fall, man has turned his back on God. Because man is hopelessly lost he runs to hell as fast as he can. So God chose certain people to speak on His behalf, and sent them out to draw men's hearts back to Him. And no sooner did God call His prophets to speak the true message, Satan did as he's always done and began to counterfeit his false prophets to lead men astray. I want you to understand these false prophets are everywhere, and their not saying "Follow me and let’s go to hell." Instead their saying "Jesus loves you and wants to fulfill all your dreams. All you have to do is say this prayer." That's why they want to get rid of all sound doctrine.

But what their selling is a far cry from Jesus words, "Count the cost, are you willing to be rescued from judgment at any cost? Are you willing to take up your cross and die?" Let's be honest, it was such a hard sell then and it remains a hard sell today. However, His message is the same "If you want to follow Me, you must be willing to leave everything behind." That’s what it means to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him. 

Many today have the theology that whatever you say you believe is fine. Just join us. Beloved, that’s the broad way. That's why a large percentage of Christians today believe in a gospel that says Jesus wants to make you rich and healthy. He loves you and accepts your sin. That’s how the broad way works, and that's exactly how they're selling it to undiscerning believers.Every day, people are continuously being lured from the narrow way to the broad way. While Christ does invite us to come as we are, He does not intend on leaving us that way. We are to be conformed by the Holy Spirit, through sanctification, into the image of Christ.

In II Corinthians 5, Paul tells us "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

If you are a Christian, you can't just live any way we want, you can't affirm ungodly, immoral behavior. You don't conform to the world, you seek to change it by your living testimony by walking on the narrow way. Several years ago, I heard there had began a new approach to evangelism, it's cross-centered sanctification. That's the idea is we're sanctified simply by looking at the cross and being thankful. And if you obey out of duty, that's a sin! That's a disturbing theology. I always want to obey God, though I'm not always as successful as I'd like to be. I obey God out of my great love for Him, my gratitude for all He has done in and through my life. 

As followers of Christ, we are called to fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28; "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you."

The message of the Gospel does not promise you healing on this side of eternity, it does not promise you a perfect life, with money and prosperity. In fact, the Gospel doesn’t promise you anything but God's forgiveness, His divine blessing and power. And the key to receiving God's promises is obedience to His Word. 

It promises if you do not have saving faith, and true salvation, eternal hell with everlasting punishment, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth forever. By the way, false profession of faith is taking the Lord's name in vain, it's nothing more than speaking empty words out of an empty heart. I hasten to add, those people are doomed because there's no authentic saving faith, no real obedience, and no genuine repentance. There's no real relationship to God whatsoever. It's the modern equivalent to a Judas kiss.

That's why in verse 16, Jesus says we should evaluate teaching by what it produces."You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"

Hell is going to be filled with people who claim to be worshipers of Christ! To those "I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’" The reality of one’s spiritual condition shows up in one’s behavior. No matter what a person appears to be on the outside, you have to look at the inside, the pattern of his life, his character, his attitude, his motives, the kind of fruit that he produces. Our fruit is who we are, it's what we do. 

In Luke 3, John the Baptist says "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance." In other words, he's talking about the way you live and it’s the attitude behind it. Because whatever is in your heart is eventually going to come out. Allow me to say, those who are rotten on the inside, rarely look that way on the outside.  They mask it with a superficial Christian lifestyle making sure nobody discovers the truth. There are many ways in which they disguise it, they go to church, they talk about Jesus and salvation. Many even preach the gospel to hide the skeletons in their moral closets. 

In II Peter 1 Peter says "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love." 

In verses 17-18, Jesus says "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit."

In II Peter chapter 2, he says it this way "For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them." 

In strong language Jesus, Peter and Paul warned us of these false teachers will come. Here, Jesus is saying they’ve gotten rid of the outward appearances of corruption so that they look good, but they've never been changed on the inside. They have not escaped the corruption of the world. They lack a Beatitude attitude. Unless the true desire of their heart is to glorify God and to exalt Christ, unless their motives are pure, sooner or later you will discover their inward selfishness, self promotion, greed and sin of pride. They’re not interested in confronting anybody's sin, there’s no offensive in their messages because they want to be popular, loved by nearly everyone, they crave power and prestige. Their full of dead men’s bones on the inside. They doesn't recognize their own sinfulness. That's exactly what Jesus has been saying throughout the entire Sermon on the Mount. 

So in verses 19-20, He says "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits." In verse 19, He's talking about hell. False teachers talk about the Bible, they just don’t speak out of it because they do not want their inward darkness exposed by the Light of God's Word. If a preacher does not teach from the Word of God, if his teaching does not align with the Word, he is a counterfeit. The sins of some people are obvious, while others masquerade their sinfulness, they worm their way into the hearts and minds of undiscerning believers. So compare not only what they say with Scripture, but also what they don't say. They don’t want to talk doctrine, and they don’t want to talk theology. 

False doctrine cannot restrain the flesh! But it surely will not only destroy them, as well as others. Error separates the chaff and the wheat. Error always separates the chaff and the wheat. Be very wary of pastors who live by different standards than what God calls us all to obey, by the way, I'm not implying perfect obedience, no one is perfect, I'm speaking as a general rule. In other words, do they themselves obey God's Word? Almost anyone can put on a good act for a while, but they cannot hide their true self forever and their true character will be revealed!

In Closing..

There are many people who claim to be Christians, who claim to speak for God but do not really have a genuine relationship with Christ and they leading the unsuspecting believers who follow them down the broad road to destruction. Whether their in Christian university, a seminary, or in the pulpit of a church. The bottomline is false teachers are dangerous that's why Scripture repeatedly warns us about them.

Now more than ever, followers of Christ need to be discerning, and testing the fruits. By being able to recognize them, you will not only be able to protect yourself but others from their destructive influence. 

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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