Genuine or Counterfeit? :: Matthew 7:15-23
With all the media outlets available, you can find hundreds and thousands of sermons, blogs, tweets, and so forth about Scripture and Christianity. Some of these come from very wise individuals seeking to proclaim the truth of God. Others come from people using Christianity as their avenue to fame, fortune, or power. That’s nothing new; people have been taking advantage of God’s Word since before Jesus came to earth. The question for us is, how can we tell the difference between a leader who has a genuine relationship with God and one who doesn’t?
According to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7, the easiest way to know if we’re being led by someone who’s following God is to look for the spiritual fruit in that leader’s life. True disciples of Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in them, and their lives naturally produce an abundance of “fruits,” or characteristics and actions that point people to God. Jesus described specific examples of good fruit earlier in His sermon (i.e., the Beatitudes), and Paul gave another specific list in Galatians 5:22-23.
As believers, we’re all blessed by the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, and we’re all expected to lead other people to the foot of the cross. When our character and actions reflect Christ and His work in our lives, we combat the false teachings people might be hearing from other sources. All it takes to be a false teacher is knowledge of Scripture and a heart hardened toward God. On the other hand, all it takes to share the gospel are actions and words that reflect God’s grace and love.