By their fruit you will know them.


 

Today’s Gospel reading is a somber warning, and it rings just as true for us today as it did for Jesus’ friends and disciples two thousand years ago. Evil is something we do not usually take time to talk about, but we must recognize that the enemy is always at work against us. He is always there, tempting us to turn our backs on God.

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” -Matthew 7:15

 We have become so desensitized to immorality that most people barely notice it. It seems that countless television commercials use immoral sexual references or examples to sell their products. It has become a part of our daily lives, yet it is, perhaps, the greatest sin of the modern world. We must stay on guard and look for the wolves, who prowl about in sheep’s clothing. We must be willing to stand up against such injustices and abominations and live for the Truth. We must strive to create a culture of life in which we will see the goodness of God reflected in the human body, not the degradation of humans to mere beasts.

Jesus warned us about them, charlatans who use God’s gift of communication skills for selfish gain. Many have been misled by these ‘modern prophets’ with their glib tongues and flair for the dramatic. Their proficiency in memorizing verses in the Bible give them the confidence to draw out “tithes” and “love offerings” from the wallets of their members, promising them “the floodgates of heaven to pour down blessings upon you without measure” (Mal.3:10). They blatantly use the Word of God to enrich themselves. But their temporal wealth and power will reserve for them a special place in damnation. This New Age Movement boasts that its leaders have a very intimate relationship with God and they experience visions, encounters and conversations with the Supreme Being. But the clearest ‘fruit’ that this movement comes from the Prince of Lies is its teaching that there is no need to strive for righteousness or holiness because God loves you no matter what you do. According to these false prophets, sin is a natural human weakness that God in His goodness has already forgiven. This is a clear contradiction of God’s Word that says, “You are not a God who delights in evil… you hate all who do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5-6).

By their fruit you will know them

Do we realize here that Christ doesn’t care about quantity but rather quality? “Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.” False prophets are not easily recognizable. They may speak angelically, act immaculately and even look heavenly, but “underneath they are ravenous wolves.” We know you cannot “judge a book by its cover.” The Lord knows that, too. But we have a dilemma. We can see the face but not the heart. Actions that are in conflict with intentions; the body pitted against the soul. What do we have “underneath” it all? Underneath is the key word here. We are asked by the Lord to look deep down and see what man is made of. He should be made of Christ. “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” How do we know who is the scoundrel and who is the Saint?” “By their fruit, you will know them.” Love produces more love. Forgiveness gives birth to mercy and compassion. Sacrifice yields an abundance of fruit. In reality, the Lord is saying “by their fruit, you will know Him!”
Work for the Lord

Laborers of the vineyard work for the Master of the vineyard. All glory, all honor, all worship belong to the Master. The way they work will tell us much about who they are. When there is conflict, there is rebellion, division and murder. SIN abounds everywhere and it is open season on God!! The true prophets beg for instruction, for discernment, to be led, to have their hearts near the Lord, to turn away from all that distracts them from the Holy One. (Psalm 119) In summary, they long for, search for, ask for, speak for and live for the Lord.
Point to the Lord

All things and people must point to Him. The true prophets point to God.

The Catholic points to Christ. The Baptist points to Christ. The saints point to Christ. The Lord points to the Father!! All things point to, lead to, and end in the Father. The false prophets end in themselves. It’s all about them! When everything is said and done the only thing that “remains in me” must be CHRIST. “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”
Live in the Lord

Who or what lives in you? God is the strength of his people. In Him, we, His chosen, live in safety. “Save us, Lord, who share in your life, and give us your blessing; be our shepherd forever.” (Psalm 27:8-9) The one who bears fruit is the one who lives in and for the Lord. Amen.

How many people have you loved and forgiven today? Remember, every good tree bears good fruit… Jesus says, “By their fruit you will know” if they belong to me.

 

 

 

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