Sermon on the Mount

False Prophets

This devotional is written by Maggie Sandilands. Maggie is not a morning person.

Matthew 7:15-20

True and False Prophets
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.

Reflection

There is so much noise: we are continuously bombarded with messages, advertising and social media, 24-hour news, insta-influencers and the endlessly refreshed screaming of Twitter.
There are so many voices; who are you listening to?
At St Mary's we want to be open to the Spirit, and to grow in the gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy. We want to hear God's voice and discern what he is saying, in our own lives, and for others.
This passage warns that not all prophets - those who speak in God's name - are trustworthy. Jesus compares them to wolves disguised in sheep's clothing. What may at first sound attractive, comfortable or safe, can in reality be destructive. How do we know when it is God speaking? Jesus uses the image of trees and their fruit, that truth will show through the results. In John 10v10, Jesus says 'The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life in all its fullness.' Do the words you're listening to align with the character of Jesus? Do they bring life, grace? Or do they steal your time and energy, shame, kill connection with others, and destroy hope?
My closest friends are not the people who always agree with me, or say what I want to hear. The friends I value most are those who challenge and hold me to account, who love me enough to speak out when I am being an idiot or making bad choices. It can be uncomfortable, but they are the ones who 'Speak the truth in love' (Ephesians 4v15)
Can you set aside some time today to listen to God? Find somewhere peaceful, shut the door, turn off your phone for a bit. Ask God what he wants to speak into your life today..

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