The Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth
When I was a teenager I went on a road trip with some friends from Colorado to Arizona. After 14ish hours in the car, we arrived in Phoenix and one of the first things we noticed were the streets lined with beautiful orange trees. We pulled the car over and everyone hopped out and grabbed an orange, peeled it, and bit into the most disgusting, bitter, dry fruit we had ever tasted.
The fruit looked good on the outside, but the inside was rotten.
This week I’ve been looking at Matthew 7:15-16 in my quest to memorize the Sermon on the Mount:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
We need heaps of discernment in this world – the kind of discernment that only the Holy Spirit can give us – in order to see beyond the exterior and into the heart of those who tell us to go this way or that.
The messages are tempting – sheep are dumb, yes, but we would not follow a wolf because his or message was right-sounding. No, they would have to camouflage their true self to blend in.
So how do we know if rotten fruit or a wolf lies within?
- This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:2-3
- They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:5-6
- Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:7-9
Jesus continues to unpack the idea of good fruit and bad fruit and false prophets in the verses that follow, so I/you will be on this topic for the next few weeks. Let me tell you, I am really struggling with this. First and foremost because I want to know The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth. Why? Because eternity is at stake.
Let me be real about my motives and say I want to be right because I like to be right. And if I am right, if Scripture is right, then there are people who I know and love who are wrong. And this does not give me any satisfaction whatsoever. It upsets me and confuses me and unsettles me because I don’t know what to do about it.
Except to keep seeking hard after God and The Truth. I hope you will do the same friends. I hope you will not keep doing what you are doing and listening to who you are listening to just because you are afraid to question your teachers. Because a good teacher welcomes debate and doubt and free-thinking. A wolf? Well he doesn’t want any of his food wandering off.
Praying for, and for me…