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143 - Fruit and Foundations

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2023 1:00 pm

143 - Fruit and Foundations

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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April 22, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 143 - Fruit and Foundations (22 April 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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It's Time to Man Up!
Nikita Koloff
Rob West and Steve Moore

You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, remember years ago, we bought all those little twiggy apple trees and planted them in the backyard? I do, because they were all marked as apples, but one of them was lying. Oh, that's right. What was it? It was a pear.

Ah, well, apple trees don't make pears. Well, Jesus knows that we know that, and he's going to use that today to teach us about false prophets. Today, on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. You've found us here at our dining room table. I'm Dorothy. And I'm Jim. And this is More Than Ink, where we are working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. We have been listening to the voice of Jesus, and some of his most famous and well-known sayings are all gathered together here in this sermon. So today, we're coming to the end of it, the things that we've heard all our lives about. I'm sad. Good fruit, bad fruit, house on the rock, house on the sand, all of those things are in this passage today. Judge not, lest you be judged. Oh, that was last week. I know.

But very famous. I mean, it's surprising in our culture how many people, they'd probably be surprised if you said, you know what you just said comes out of the Bible? It does.

Out of the Sermon on the Mount? It does. Comes from Jesus?

It does? Well, it's that part. That's how ingrained in our culture it is. So we left off with Jesus saying, enter by the narrow gate, for the gate's wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. But the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few. That was chapter six, verse 13 and 14. So as we start into verse 15, he's gonna suddenly start talking about beware of false prophets, those who are misdirecting you onto a different path than the one that is narrow. On the wide way. Yeah.

That's their vocation is to send you down the wide way, believe it or not. So in chapter seven, if you're following with us, and we're picking it up at verse 15. Shall I read? Yeah, go ahead.

Okay. 715 of Matthew. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. The healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will recognize them by their fruits.

You will recognize the false prophets by their fruits. Well, you know, that's just true even in the garden, right? Yeah. A tabletop plant bears, tells you what kind of a plant it is.

Yeah, right. You don't get zucchinis from a pea plant, right? Well, unless you're a horticulturist, many times you can't tell what the plant is until it does stop fruit.

Until it bears. Okay, so I've got a tabletop full of seedlings right now. Right. Eight kinds of tomatoes, and they all look the same at this point, right? If you hadn't labeled them. And I won't know exactly which is which, right?

Except according to the label. But until they bear those tomatoes, which is which? Yeah, or the one I think of is we used to have a bunch of fruit trees, you know, maybe half a dozen.

Oh, yes. And they were all different kinds of apples, but you couldn't tell until they made fruit. Okay, and one was labeled as an apple, but it turned out to be an Asian pear. Oh, that's right. We didn't know until the fruit came.

Nice surprise. Like I was a totally mislabeled tree. So how does that apply to these false prophets? Well, you know, prophets say things, and what he's really saying is don't trust exactly what they say. What you need to do is trust the fruits of their life, the outward evidences of the effects of what they say. I mean, is that are they providing good fruits? I often tell people, you know, don't judge someone by what they say.

People will say anything, right? And they'll say anything to kind of cover their own shortfalls. But look at the fruit in their life.

Look at the solid evidences of outcomes in their life and use that as an indicator of who they are and what they're all about. Okay, but it's really important here to bear in mind that Jesus is talking about people who claim to be prophets. Yes.

A prophet is one who speaks for God or speaks God's words to you. Yeah. And yes, and if he says, this is what God says, and then proceeds to insert something other.

Yeah. That's the really dangerous thing, especially if it sounds sort of like what God might have said. Yeah, and I think that's the sheep's clothing thing. I mean, they speak like a sheep. You know, they look like a sheep, at least superficially everything looks right. Until they start eating the other sheep. And that's a sign, yeah.

In fact, it's a real threat. I mean, what happens when someone comes to you and they look just like us? They look like one of the good guys and they're preaching stuff. How do I know if they're not a good guy? And Jesus says, easy, look at the outcomes in their life.

Look at the outcomes and then you'll be able to tell. And then he uses this great metaphor about the fruit because it just makes a ton of sense. You don't get grapes from thorns. That doesn't make any sense. Or figs from thistles. That doesn't work.

That doesn't work. So look at the outcome. So Jesus has talked a lot in this sermon about hypocrisy and about self-righteousness and pride. Those are all fruits of self, right? Believing that you have the inside track with God. Whereas, you know, toward the end of his ministry when Jesus said to his disciples, they will know you by your fruit, right? If you abide in me, you will bear good fruit.

So I would encourage you listeners to go to John 15 and read the first few verses and compare that good fruit of abiding in Jesus with this unhealthy fruit that he's talking about here that he's pointing out. You know, and just common human experience, we see this already. I mean, we know people who talk up a good story, you know, about themselves or what they're going to do or who they are or where they've come from. They talk a good story. But then when you just look at the evidence in their life, you go, well, I don't know.

There's something really missing here. But when there's a strong connection between what they say and the fruit in their lives, you call that person with, has integrity. There's an integrity between their one thing, what they say and who they are are the same thing. But these people that we're talking about here, these false prophets, are deliberately trying to be deceptive. And so they'll put on a superficial outside. That's the sheep's clothing.

They'll put on a superficial outside. And with prophets, that's largely speaking the right speak in a way, you know. But Jesus says that you won't be able to detect them by that. You'll have to detect them by the outcomes. Yeah, and in the case of these false prophets, it was this subtle shift from loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength into keep the minutia of the law.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and it's fascinating that here Jesus is even predicting what's going to happen even after he dies and goes to heaven is the fact that there's going to be these false prophets that are deliberately angling to steer the followers of Jesus away from the narrow way. I mean, they're actively doing that. And when you read the book of Acts, you see it happening. You see them doing this. I mean, this is constantly one of the problems that Paul is dealing with in the places he goes is the fact that there are people that are actually angling to steer people away from following Jesus in the truest sense. Or seeking to usurp the words of God for their own fame or glory. And that's how they look right.

That's right. They're using the right words. They're quoting the right scriptures. You go, well, they sound right. And I might just warn you that this is still rife today, especially when you see broadcast preachers and stuff like that, radio or television. They'll say the right things. They'll quote verses. You need to be careful. Okay, you're not saying that every teacher or preacher who shows up on the broadcast is.

No, I'm not saying that. But I'm saying you just need to be, you need to look at their fruit in their life. Look at the fruit in their life. And that's what you got to do. Even if they... You can't look at the life if all you see is the TV show. Well, you're going to have to figure out how. I look at the... Well, there have been some very famous scandals in the last couple of decades.

I look at the fruit of some ministries. But I'm just saying that you just can't go on, they sound like me. They sound like everything sounds right.

That's the sheep's clothing story. You just got to be skeptical. That's all I'm saying.

That's all I'm saying. So Jesus said, they can't fool you forever, right? Their fruit will bear them out.

Yeah, yeah. Now he's going to get very pointed here in this next little section because there were among the people at this point those who proclaimed themselves to be the arbiters of righteousness for everybody else. And God said this, and it must mean this for you. And he says in verse 21, not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

On that day, many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do mighty works in your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness. Oh, man. First time I read this, it staggered me.

So sobering. Well, did you hear? He's saying me, I, I, me, I. The emphasis is on who is going to apply the test. It is Jesus. Yeah. This is probably the clearest place where Jesus declares that he's the judge for all mankind. For all mankind.

Yeah, for all mankind. And the determiner, and again, isn't whether you're walking around saying Lord, Lord. It's kind of back to the false prophets before. That is the sheep's clothing.

He said, Lord, Lord, you know, praise Jesus. You know, well, you know, wait a second. They're not going to enter the kingdom.

But the one who does the will of my Father who's in heaven. Well, that's actually a pretty good connection to the fruit before. It's the outcome. Right. It's the outcome. Walks out what God's authentic will is.

And then there's snappy comeback at judgment. Well, Lord, look at all the things we did. Look what we did.

Look what we did. Isn't that interesting? Because apparently, those who can claim the name of Jesus might. Right. They might prophesy and stick Jesus name on it. They might cast out demons. They might do mighty astonishing works and paste the name of Jesus on it. But it's really about their glory and their agenda. Yeah, that's why this is so sobering to me because this is like, man, I better sit down and get serious about where I'm coming from.

Am I relying on doing those right things? But in the end, I'm not actually doing the will of the Father. Yeah. I mean, that's... Well, okay, so that comes down to what is the will of the Father.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, right? There's the fruit that lasts, that Jesus brings about in us. Yeah, yeah, a really big deal. It's kind of reminiscent, too, about when Jesus sent out the pairs of people and they came back saying, gosh, even demons. Yeah, look what we did. Look what we did.

Crowing. And Jesus' response to them is, look, okay, that's one thing. Okay, but you gotta realize you need to celebrate the fact that your names are written in heaven, written in the book. That's what you need to really celebrate.

You have a relationship with me in reality. Yeah. So I would say also there's a caution here to not be fooled by miracles.

Yes. And we live in an age where people sometimes are saying, oh, you know, why isn't God doing miracles today? Well, he is doing miracles today, but we are so jaded and we live in an age when miracles can be faked so easily, and we just would swallow them. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, even in the end times literature when you read the Bible, you see bad entities doing miracles, and they do it to such an extent that they try to even fool the elect, fool the people who are true followers.

So miracles aren't necessarily slam dunk proof. And that's what he's saying right here. These things could be going on. You gotta be careful. It's kind of a, it's a part B to his thing about, you know, judge them by their fruits. And you'd say, well, here's good fruit, right? Well, it's still … No, look for the love. Yeah, exactly. Look for the love.

Right, right, right. Look for relationships with God. Look for people humbled by the presence of a holy God.

And you'll see those things. But here, this is just the flashing, man, we cast out demons, did mighty works, and we even gave you the credit in your name. So what's the big deal here? Well, the big deal is, is that Jesus doesn't know. Now, Jesus knows everybody, though, doesn't he? I never knew you.

I never knew you. We're talking about an intimate heart to heart, relational love, a relational knowing. Yep, yep, that's exactly right. And that's when we talk about a relationship with Jesus is a saving relationship. If you have that relationship, that's at the core of that first and greatest commandment of loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And so it really is all about our relationship with God himself.

But here he says, there wasn't one. And without that, you're not getting into heaven. Well, he says, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Yeah, isn't that amazing? So perhaps what he's thinking is that the primary law when God gave his word to his people was, I'm the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods for me. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength. And so those who are false prophets intent on their own glory, not gods, and walking not in a relationship with him, but pursuing their own ends, are not submitting their hearts to the laws of God. Yeah, exactly. And I would even propose to hear that this is a way that false prophets who are not maybe aware that they're false prophets who are pursuing the wrong kind of thing, can look at themselves and say, well, this is me, and I don't have a relationship. I'm not really sure about that, really. But it is interesting that we're talking about these flashy things you do. We're talking about false prophets before who in a flashy kind of, they talk their way into the hearts of people. Yeah, this is all by way of saying you got to watch out about the true nature of people. Some of them may be false prophets, and some of them may be self-deceived that they're actually achieving for God when they're not achieving anything if they don't know God.

If that relationship is not there, all that other stuff doesn't matter. So I'm thinking about the miracles that Jesus did as you're talking about that. And like he never did works of power, miracles in order to just make flesh and show. He never did it to attract a crowd like a circus barker. Now they did happen in public, lots and lots of witnesses. But always in the presence of a readiness to believe among the people with whom he was working.

It was a validation that their faith was properly placed in him and was not in order that they would be attracted and come along and join the parade. Yeah, yeah. Remember that guy in Acts that tried to buy the power to do stuff? Yes.

That's these people right here. Yeah, what do I have to pay in order to get this power? Yeah, what's it going to cost me? Because this is great stuff.

Yeah, we're buying. Yeah, yeah. And that's not right. But again, I got to just say, it's one of the most sobering sections of scripture I ever came upon. I mean, it just kind of settles me.

I go, yeah, yeah. And the authority rests squarely with Jesus. Yeah, and it does, it does. Who says to me, my father, I will say, I will declare, I never knew you, depart from me. Yep, wow. He is the judge of all mankind.

Yeah. Which lends some weight to the final comments that people will say at the end of this. So let's get there. Let's build our house on the rock. Let's read about the house first. Verse 24, everyone then, this follows on what he just said, everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great was the fall of it. So two builders of two houses hearing the same words, the difference is one did them and the other didn't. Did the words turn into action?

Yeah, so we're not talking strictly about, did you go out and do what Jesus told you to do? Right, right. He's saying, you know, hear my words and let them penetrate you, right? That's the first word of that command God gave the Shema in Deuteronomy. Hear, O Israel, right? Hear with an intent to respond properly. Yeah, yeah.

But it just strikes me as fascinating. You've got two guys who are, you know, endeavoring to do the same thing. One of them pays attention to the foundation, the other one doesn't, which anyone who's listening to him says, yeah, you wouldn't do that. That's just stupid. Who would build a house on sand?

That's just stupid. Well, he's not giving any thought to the foundation. And that's what Jesus is saying here, is you need to give a thought to a foundation of the life that you built. You know, what is it founded on? What are your presumptions of the foundations of your life or the values?

I mean, what are you aiming toward? I mean, what is everything in your life built upon? And if it's not my words, if it's not my words, it's going to fall away. It's got temporary value alone. So in another place, as in Matthew 24, Jesus said, you know, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Right.

Why? Because he was the eternal word of God in the flesh. Everything Jesus said was reality. Yep.

Yep. You know, this makes me think of a lot of people who build their lives thoughtlessly. I mean, they don't, you ask them, what is the foundation of your life?

They didn't even have one. That's what this building on sand is. It's not a conscious choice of a poor foundation. It's like thoughtlessness about a foundation. Well, or itself.

Or itself, yeah. And so there are people that walk around who've built their whole lives without any consideration of the foundation of their life. And so when it gets to the point where troubles get tough or something like that, I mean, it just, the whole structure of the house falls down. Not because the house is poorly built, but it has no foundations. It has no rock. Because the foundation is faulty.

Is faulty, right. The presupposition on which you built your life was, I'm good. People are basically good. I can do good enough. I can do whatever I want.

I can do whatever I want. Yeah. And those suppositions will fall.

Yeah. There's people who build their lives on the only foundation of pleasure. I will build my house of my life on just pursuing pleasure.

I'm going to do what's good for me. Or on their own truth. I'm going to build my house on my truth.

Yep. Might not be your truth, but it is my truth. And you go, no, that's going to fall too. That's not the nature of truth. There are foundations that just have no staying power against problems.

And I would expand this to be not just problems now, in the here and now. We may be talking about judgment itself, because we were just talking about judgment. Judgment is like a gigantic tidal wave coming. And if your house isn't built on the foundation of substance of the words of Christ that you incorporated into your life, then it's all going to be knocked down.

What a horrible thing. We talk about people in the culture here that live a certain religious lifestyle that's built on accomplishing more and more good things. And that's pretty common, not just where we live. Well, and even that, the foundation of those good things is shifting. It's shifting.

It has changed repeatedly from generation to generation. Well, what is the one most important good thing you must do more of? Right. But what breaks my heart is I think about them getting to a point of judgment, where basically they see this entire house knocked down. And they say, but wait, I worked all my life building this house. Yeah, but you started on a wrong presumption, on a wrong foundation.

And the soundness of the construction of your life, of your house, just isn't going to cut it. Because you said it was about Jesus, but it was really about you. But it was really about you. Yeah. And that's the big deal.

That's the big deal. And that hearkens back to when Jesus was saying to the people, your righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. Well, no matter how well you build your house, I don't know how you're going to get there. So this is also the same kind of thing, because I look at Jesus saying, you need to hear my words and you need to do them. You need to incorporate them in your life. You need to make that the foundation. And I think, I don't do that perfectly.

I still have chunks of foundation that are built on sand. And so it brings me back to the same place he was when he was saying your righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. It's like, yeah, I mean, let's think clearly about this. We've got foundation problems here. We've got righteousness problems before. We need to come to God, because you have to understand here that even here, these houses that we build, the foundation is something that comes from God. The foundation isn't something that we build. It's something that he gives to us and allows us to lay it. It's our choice whether we're going to build on it or not. That's the difference. But he lays the foundation.

So that's like super important. And back on the righteousness stuff, same thing. He's the one that gives us that righteousness.

It's not something we generate on our own. So here's another interesting Bible study technique, since Jesus has talked to you about the rock. Take your concordance and track rock, because you'll just find some wonderful pictures about the firmness and the solidity, the concreteness of the rock that God provides for us in Christ, which nothing else can stand against. Yeah. These solid foundations, the Word of God itself, we're not really sensitized to the idea of sound foundations, because we live in a house that always has sound foundations.

Except here. Oh, I don't know. There are people who build on the hillside here, and a few of them skied down not so long ago. Yeah, we're right next to some mountains that have huge gravel deposits at the base of them. And it's like, would you build a house on a gravel deposit? On a gravel pit, yeah. It's like building a house on a bunch of ball bearings.

It's like, that's not a really good idea. But we seldom question the foundations of our houses, because someone gave some serious thought to making sure that these were good and sound foundations, and they are made out of rock-like substance, like cement. So they, as well as us, we understand this. If you build an entire life structure on the wrong foundation, it's going to crumble. And we know this. We know this through just life experience. Things crumble all the time. Well, we need to kind of wrap up the last words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

So this is a wonderful kind of cap fair. It says in 28, and when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority. Yes.

And not as their scribes. Yes. You know, if you think about, go back through the Sermon on the Mount, and look at the number of times he said, but I say to you, but I say to you, but I say to you. You heard it said. Yes. His authority regarding people, the nature of people, his authority regarding God, I tell you, my Father, has authority regarding the truth.

He just says, I'm telling you, this is the way things really are. Yeah, yeah. He didn't appeal to any other authority.

He didn't even appeal to Moses. Right. Yeah, exactly.

So I'm telling you, you heard it said, but I'm telling you. Yeah, and there's so many skeptics about Jesus who say, I'll go with what he teaches, but I'm not going to claim who he says he is. But here he claims to be the judge of the entire universe. Right, right.

And it's very, very clear. Well, all mankind anyway. Yeah, the entirety of who he claims to be is just, it just seeps out of all of this. So much so that if you were a righteous Pharisee and you heard this entire thing, you might walk up to him afterward and say, hey buddy, who do you think you are? Well, indeed they did later on.

Later on they did. That's exactly what they said to him. Yeah, who do you think you are? Who do you think you are?

Are you greater than our Father Abraham? Yeah, exactly. So he's making very clear who he is, not just teaching you kind of nice tidbits about how to live life, he's telling you who he is and how you live in relation to him. And what a great way to cap this off to say, you can hear my words, but you've got to incorporate them into your life. You've got to change things as a result of that if you want that to be your foundation.

You need to change or else everything will fall apart. And people said, well, I've never heard a Pharisee say anything quite like that. Right, and I don't know, is this guy telling the truth? I mean, later on, he would say, I am the way, the truth and the life. And the life. You want a truth test? Find out what Jesus had to say about it.

Yeah. And what a contrast. He has authority and not as their scribes. Who never would weigh in with authority. They would say, well, this guy wrote this and this scribe wrote that and this rabbi wrote that. And so their fame was predicated on all the number of people they could quote. That's right. It's all about who you quote.

It's all about the name dropping. Who all were different. And Jesus didn't quote anybody here. He just quoted himself.

Yeah. And that's why his authority is so astonishing to the people who hear it. Well, we're glad you're with us. And even though we're at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, a lot more action comes up next week. Jesus is going to come down the mountain and meet some people and you'll be surprised at what happened when he does that. So join us next time here on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note.

Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. That's pretty close. That's pretty close. That's pretty close. This has been a production of Main Street Church of rhythm city.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-22 14:39:43 / 2023-04-22 14:52:04 / 12

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