False Prophets and Teachers: Matthew 7:15-20
““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. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭15‬-‭20‬
Jesus now warns about false prophets or teachers. False prophets dress up like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. The whole of Scripture suggests they are motivated by greed, sensual passion and a craving for power. (See texts like 2 Thessalonians 2, 2 Timothy 3, 2 Peter 2 and the book of Jude)
They twist Scripture and mislead people. They are self centered and self promoting. They give lip service to God only to disguise their true identity and devious purpose. They aim to control, exploit and manipulate people.
Six times in these five verses Jesus talked about fruit. He said you will know them by their fruit. The fact that grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles shows that these people are fakes. They are not part of the true vine.
Jesus warned that good trees cannot produce bad fruit, nor can bad trees produce good fruit. The tree is distinguished by its fruit. If the fruit of the Spirit is not present (Galatians 5:22-23), and Jesus is not being glorified… run far and run fast! The tree is headed for destruction.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global