Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Months ago I wrote a piece titled, Household Gods. In that post I referenced Zachariah 10:2, in which Zachariah speaks of household gods who utter nonsense and diviners who see lies, tell false dreams and give empty consolation. I wrote about how the household gods of today, gods that are not carved images setting in a little shrine tucked away in the corner, but are setting in a prominent place. These modern day household gods are showcased on a 40, 55, 60 and 72 inch or larger screen.
I will give these household gods credit for their ability to reach through that screen and separate hard earned cash from people who willingly hand it over.
Here in Matthew 7 Christ is telling us how to identify these wolves in sheep’s clothing. He tells us in both verse 16 and in verse 20.
You will recognize them by their fruits.
What are the fruits of these current household gods? No doubt they probably do provide some relief to the poor and needy. But do they, who consider themselves Apostles of Christ, follow in Christ’s teaching to the Apostles?
And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.
Christ sent out his Apostles to do one thing, spread the word of God and the salvation of Christ. Christ did not instruct them to go out and set up a 501 (c) (3) corporation that will be tax free and structured so you and your family can lead a plush life. Christ did not instruct them to build elaborate temples and a mass media network with satellite broadcasting. And Christ did not say establish a corporate structured church with a hierarchy of positions for common workers to CEO’s and a monarch.
They were instructed to go town to town, person to person and ask for nothing other than a place to stay and some food to eat. The goal was not to see who could return with the most funds.
Again I say, I am sure these large 501 (c) (3) corporations do good work to some extent, but when I read the words of Christ and look at their fruits, I wonder what the real underlying motivation is. The fruits are in the millions.
I look at corporate churches with multi-million dollar facilities and read about what the top dogs make. I’ll never begrudge anyone the money that they make, but I do look at the fruits and wonder.
In this day and age we will never see or know of the true prophets of God, for they would not seek fame, wealth and power and would eschew it, if it was thrust upon them. They would work as Christ has instructed all the apostles.
Start with nothing and finish with nothing, for that is a fact of life. In between share love and the love of God in your heart, for that is true prophesy. That makes us all prophets of God and Apostles of Christ.
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