Fruit Inspectors

By Michael Boot/ July 10, 2011

Series  The Sermon on the Mount

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Discipleship

Scripture  Matthew 7:15-20

There is earthly wisdom growing in bitter envy and strife, and there's heavenly wisdom, pure, peace-loving, submissive, full of good fruit, compassionate and sincere.

Scripture: Matthew 7:15-20; John 15:1-6; Acts 20:27-32

Sermon Notes:

  1. The life of the soul can't be sustained by the fruit of a false teacher.
  2. False teachers often draw attention to themselves, and they tend towards controversy and divisions.
  3. In John 15, Jesus speaks of Himself as the central vine, the perfect and divine prophet/teacher, sent by the Father to reveal the mind and heart of God.
  4. Our activities apart from Christ are vain (Psalm 127:1)
  5. John urges a fruitfulness at each stage of life (1 John 2:12-14).
  6. The Holy Spirit is continually teaching, giving life.
  7. In Acts 20, Paul commits the believers to the word of God and faithful teaching, under the care of the Holy Spirit.
  8. False teachers are like ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing.
  9. The people of God have faced false prophets in all ages (Jeremiah 6:14; Ezekiel 22:27; Zephaniah 3:4; Zechariah 13:4).
  10. Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
  11. Deceptive teaching always looks inviting because it appears to be the real thing.
  12. Their gospel is of human origin, based on human reason, not a true interpretation.
  13. Do not be deceived by oration, charisma, miraculous signs, numerical results, or popular success.
  14. Our judgment of a true teacher should be according to their attitude and loyalty to the redemption in the cross of Christ.
  15. An early church document, the Didache (c. 100 A.D.), 11-12 says if a teacher does not do what he teaches then he is false, and the church is not to support an idle visiting prophet.
  16. False teachers deny the doctrine of Christ (1 John 4:1-3).
  17. Cults often display their falsehood by rejecting the deity of Christ.
  18. Paul warns Timothy of teachers bringing the “doctrine of demons” (1 Timothy 4).
  19. Don't be deceived by use of biblical language; the devil knows the Bible and even quoted it to Jesus (Matthew 4).
  20. You can't believe a teaching comes from God merely based on a claim or a miracle.
  21. Every teaching must be tested against the truth of scripture: does it bear the same emphasis of Biblical spirit and doctrine?
  22. A teacher can't show that he's clever and that Christ is wonderful.
  23. A preacher is to be a channel of God's grace to men.
  24. There is earthly wisdom growing in bitter envy and strife, and there's heavenly wisdom, pure, peace-loving, submissive, full of good fruit, compassionate and sincere (James 3:13-18).
  25. Man cannot be sustained in the seasons of life by what is false.

Application Questions

  1. What are some marks of false teachers?
  2. List various marks of “light” which may exist in a false teacher?
  3. What is the primary test by which a true/false teacher can be identified?
  4. What are various secondary indicators which may reveal a false teacher?
  5. Why do we need to test every professed Christian teacher, writer, prophet?
  6. How do we know the spirit of truth and falsehood according to 1 John 4?
  7. Why did the early church require that a traveling teacher must have a trade to support his ministry?
  8. How can we apply this sermon to be more discerning and careful about seeking out the truth?
  9. What is the fruit in my life which confirms my living connection to Christ?

Sermon Notes