“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
I want to everybody, if I, you to take your Bibles today, we’re going to be looking at Matthew chapter seven. Again, Matthew chapter seven. We’re going to look at verses 15 to 20, um, as we continue in our series. And as we’re heading, as Mike mentioned towards the end of the sermon on the Mount, which we have entitled the upside down life this morning, I want to start before we read verses 15 through 20, just a recounting, an historical event.
It began with a guy that was born in the 1930s in rural Indiana. He was a, uh, Uh, communicative type of young guy. Uh, he was enamored in high school and early college with two groups of people. One was the Pentecostal preachers that was, uh, associated with his background, how he marveled at, they were at their ability to draw people, to follow them, particularly through their faith healing services.
But the other group that he was drawn to was he really started reading in late high school. And during college, he began to read strong minded, um, despotic leaders, uh, Hitler, uh, read a lot of the Mark’s writings, um, other individuals of history and was struck with how they were effective at getting people to follow them.
And one of the things he noticed was one of the, one of the most effective way to get people to follow you was to get a common enemy. And I’ll say we’re against this. This is destroying whatever. And, uh, so he would rally people around. This young man eventually started an organization. Many of you very familiar with called the people’s temple.
Jim Jones was his name and Jim Jones began to build a following. He had his own brand of initially sort of starting with a Pentecostal type of a Pentecostal oriented Christianity, but deviated from that pretty dramatically, uh, more and more became about him and about people, um, following him, but also very socially involved, uh, did a lot of wonderful things as a group, but.
Became more and more of a deeply, um, authoritarian leader eventually due to some investigations that were starting to place by the United States government. He moved the whole group of about a thousand people down to Guyana, south America on the north coast of south America, which is where really the fame of Jim Jones and Jonestown occurs.
If you remember the story, basically what happened was while they were there. Uh, a us Congressman Leo Ryan, uh, had enough families come to him and say they had relatives who had, uh, they believe been brainwashed, had joined his group, or actually now some of them being held captive. We’re not able to leave.
He got, uh, some media together and went in and visited the compound in guy. I actually took some of the family members with him. And while they were there, a handful of people from the group asked to leave with him. It was quite upsetting to Jim Jones. And I eventually what happened as the group left with this entourage of 15 or 16 individuals from the group that people’s temple, uh, they were actually, as they were boarding their plane, the gunfire came, they were gunned down.
Leo Ryan, and four others were killed. And that same day, November 20, excuse me, November 18th, 1978. Jim Jones led the people in something they had practiced beforehand, a mass suicide. Some believe there was also murder involved because not everybody bought in, but they, they, uh, had everybody take the drink, which poisoned them.
Um, Took the life of 909 individuals one-third of which were under 17 and this horrific, terrible story, which many of you remembered? It’s where we get the phrase drinking the Kool-Aid from. And it’s easy to be appalled at how easily people can be swayed to donate their life savings, to follow seemingly blindly, a despotic seemingly maniacal individual to move to a, a country that none of them had ever heard of.
And they seem to be a bunch of crazies, but Tim Reiterman, who was one of the men that was with Leo Ryan, one of the media that was there was wounded by the shots at the plane, but escaped running into the, the, uh, the jungle wrote a book and in the book he makes this state. Though Jones’ followers would later be stereotyped as sinister brainwashed idiots, many were decent, hardworking, socially conscious people, some highly educated who wanted to help their fellow man and serve God, not embrace a self-proclaimed deity on earth.
Jonestown is frightening and heartening as an example of falling under the sway of the wrong influence. As we approach the end of the sermon on the Mount. Jesus is presenting a series of comp comparisons to gates, to trees, to foundations. They’re all warnings. We looked last time at two gates. He said there are two ways.
And if you want it, there is talking about entrance into his kingdom. All the principles there of the sermon on the Mount that are presented are presenting what Jesus says life should look like for those that live as members of his kingdom, who have embraced him as Lord savior king. And he says to actually enter into that relationship and to become a member, a citizen of my kingdom, he says, you will not enter through the broad gate rather Obie through the narrow gate.
So it was a reminder of the importance of, of understanding what embracing Jesus Christ really is and why most of humanity do not do it this time. He talks about two trees. And he talks about here, not the entrance into the kingdom, but rather to examine the evidence of those, that profess to be a part of the kingdom.
And also in living that life to watch what influence you are coming under his, where he talks about false prophets as we come to this passage. And the third one we’ll look at next week is two foundations. He’s talking about the edge of a building. He’s talking about the energy with which we live this life as citizens.
Okay. Two, two trees, two influences. We’re going to look at this morning and now I’d like you to read verse 15 through 20 of Matthew chapter seven. If you’d follow along in your Bible, I’ll read out loud,
be aware 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 disease tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a disease 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. Let’s pray together. And then we’re going to jump into this text this morning. Lord, we gather in this room, both those of us that are here in person, others watching online.
God, we’ve already heard thousands of messages this week. We’ve got our own messaging that goes on in our own heads. As we speak into ourselves with our thinking, we’ve heard it media, we’ve heard it in conversations. We’ve heard it through the television. An astonishing amount of information, but there’s only one thing that you tell us is designed ultimately to be a guide for our lives.
And that’s the scripture that we’ve opened this morning. So Lord, we ask you to teach us, may we hear your voice? May we discern the other influencing voices that may be in our lives that we can live as people that are called into your kingdom and live the unique upside down life that Jesus offers to us here in whose name I pray.
Amen. It’s going to look at two things this morning, fairly simple outline regarding the influence of false profits. Number one is going to be why we must watch out for them. And secondly is how we recognize. And I want to make this statement at the beginning, sort of a disclaimer, it more of a note, I guess it’s easy to think of this passage when he talks about beware of false prophets to sort of individualize it or personify it in a person.
For instance, it’s easy to think. Do I have a Jim Jones in my life that I’m listening to, or, or, or maybe not the extremity of that, but who is the person that I’m listening to, but here’s the thing in the first century D when this was written, think of the medium of communication they did not have, they did not have a cell phones or radios or TVs or books.
They did not have tablets or social media platforms. They only had in-person communication. Right? So the way that they would be influenced would be by individuals, by by groups, speak to a degree culturally, but preeminently, it would be teachers that were traveling around. And so for them, it really was individuals that were these false teachers, but for us false teaching comes through innumerable platforms and venues.
It is the influence of such that he’s talking about. He’s really saying, examine what is coming your way, what you’re embracing, what you’re applying your life towards can be an individual, but it also often is a, uh, an amalgamation of a variety of things. So the first thing why we must watch out for false prophets and false messaging, First of all, because they look and sound legit.
You’ll notice how they’re described here in verse 15, beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Jesus constantly calls his children, sheep, John Tenney, devotes the whole passage to talking about he’s the shepherd, we’re the sheep. One of the most beautiful pictures of, of, and beloved pictures of our relationship to Jesus is he’s the good shepherd.
We are the sheep. And he says, these, these individuals, this messaging comms, looking the jet, these people come in in the outfit, in the garment and in the, and the costume of sheep, they look like sheep. They sound like sheep, the influence, but he says inwardly they’re ravenous. Wolf’s. He presents this as a visual to us, I think to force us to ask a practical question.
Are these believers he’s talking about. I mean, if people can look at them and say, well, they look sheepish, they sound like sheep. Are they sheep? And I think the answer is typically no, but there are passage of new Testament that give us pause. For instance, in acts chapter 20 verse 29 and 30, Paul takes this exact, excuse me, Luke takes this exact concept of Savage wolves and ravenous will Savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.
Even from your own number. Men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. What he’s saying is. The messaging can be very insidious. It can come from people that seem to be, and perhaps are Orthodox people. And I’m Orthodox. I mean, people that are true gospel preaching people, but he says, there is a messaging here that is actually one that can devour.
So who go on and they say, why, why do we watch, whoa, we better watch what we’re listening to, what we’re being influenced by what we’re embracing, because it can come look and real good. The second reason we have to watch it is because the message is contrary to Jesus’ message of kingdom living. It is a false prophet.
It looks good. It sounds good. But he says it is contrary. Now, why is Jesus saying this? I mean, Man we’ve had such a cool three chapters, Jesus, Matthew five through seven, you know, all this profound teach. And then you, then you, kind of a downer false prophets, you know, devouring, wool, ravenous wolves. Why is he doing this?
He’s saying it’s going to be easy to be influenced away from this upside down life. Thinking the default mode of your flesh is always going to be moving towards the false teaching. Whereas the spirit is going to be constantly trying to prompt us towards the teaching of Matthew five through seven of what kingdom livers are to live.
Like I think in the immediate context, it’s clear, he’s talking about, uh, that there will be non narrow gate focus. He says, watch it be careful. And we w we get this, I mean, he’s just said, be aware of, of, uh, be aware that you only way you’re really going to get into my kingdom is by entering by the narrow gate, not the broad gate, false teachers are going to come.
Well, one of the things they’re going to do is say that’s that’s, that is so exclusive. That is so narrow. It’s bigoted. Certainly the greatest antagonism towards biblical Christianity today, culturally is the exclusivity of the. Right. I mean, to say, as Paul, as G as a Peter does in his sermon in acts four 12, and there is salvation in no one else for, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
He’s there talking about Jesus says this, this is one way. And, and, and, and not only is it a one gate it’s a narrow gate, most people won’t go there. He says, in terms of world history, world civilizations, this is repellent. Of course, if any of you have ever gone to university have taken philosophy class, if you’ve ever been involved in, in, um, uh, comparative religions classes in a secular university, you will probably have heard, you’ve probably had friends talk to you about the fact of, you know, that, that, that our approach to God is illustrated.
You know how we should look at it. And we should look at world religions and world thinking like the elephant, you know, the, the four blind guys, Neil, and I’m sure many of it for this illustration, I’ve mentioned it before. Basically. It’s just a picture of this that says, you know, flora for blind guys, uh, were brought to describe an elephant.
They never seen an elephant before they would brought up. They were, they were, they were brought to the elephant and as they were brought there, they said, would you just touch the elephant? And then describe them for us? And the first one, uh, handled his trunk. And so he describes the trunk. Is this long, soft, gooey thing.
I’ve actually not ever felt an elephant’s trunk. Um, probably have picked that up by now. Um, the second guy comes in and he is led to the elephant’s leg and he says, wow. It’s like, it’s like a tree. You know, an elephant is a tree. It’s this big, massive thing. And, and, and it sounds like, it feels like there’s, there’s there’s muscle in there.
And then he’s led the other guy’s led to the tusk and he says, Aw, man, it’s hard as a rock. An elephant is just this, this lifeless hard as a rock thing. And even at the end, it’s kind of plenty and it’s long and, and it’s sorta, you know, bored. And then the other guys led to the elephant’s tail and he says, oh, it’s this little tiny stringy thing.
You know, it feels like a piece of string who’s right there. All right. They’re all describing the elephant. Right. But they only have part of the story. And this is the picture of a pluralistic mindset that says there are all kinds of ways to God. There’s all kinds of paths going up. And, and just like the, that, that no one can say, I’ve got, I’ve got the whole picture.
You know, I see the whole elephant in it, and this is the way to God. And it’s the only way. And you Christians that only you say D you’re the only gate you see, it’s a narrow gate that a lot of people won’t even go there. It’s so exclusive. It’s so narrow minded. Here’s the thing.
Philosophically, the only way someone can say, and basically this is what they’re saying, you know, the, the, the Islam they’ve got the, the trunk and, and, and a Judaism that has the task and, and Christianity, you got, you got the tail and, and, uh, uh, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Buddhism has the leg and they’re, but they’re all leading the same.
It’s the same elephant it’s describing the Sullivan elephant. They’re all going there. I mean, who is Christians to say, you’ve got the one path, neither. Is there salvation in any other, but, but the name of Jesus it’s so exclusive, right? It’s so narrow, but here’s the deal in order for me to be able to say no, all of these paths.
Are going to God is to have the most narrow and exclusive perspective, because I am saying, I see all you guys and I see all of you are going to the same place. That I’m the only one, you know, you, Buddhist thinks it’s this way and you, you Islam, Muslim, think it’s this way. And you Jews think it’s this way and you, Kristin thinks this.
I see it’s I see where I see it, how it all works. It’s they’re actually the most exclusive perspective. It is saying, you don’t know, your Jews are wrong to think it’s your way. Muslims are wrong. Think it’s your way. Chris’s wrong thing. It’s your way. I’m only saying that to say we don’t need to be cowed by cultural pluralistic thinking that says now you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re narrow.
Now. That is the most narrow perspective, claiming a vantage point that none of these religions have, they just have.
But Jesus is reminding us here. This is going to be insidious teaching all the time. That’s always going to question. There’ll be another thing he’s talked about is, is the bro the hard road. He said this last time we looked at verse 13 and 14, the hard road where he said part of this road of following as a member of his kingdom is going to involve suffering.
The word there is affliction. It actually means to be pressed. As I mentioned last week, like pressed grips, it’s going to be a road of affliction. There is teaching in evangelical Christianity that would say suffering is wrong suffering. It cannot be viewed as part of the Christian experience. If you’re suffering.
It’s because you’re sinful that you’re not living by faith. I don’t usually term specific things, but I feel this one, the proliferation of this is pretty prominent. The prosperity gospel is saying, you know, name it, claim it, anything you want God’s goal for you is to be wealthy. God’s goal for you is to be a sickness free God’s goal for you is to not have affliction.
I believe that falls in the category that he’s warning us against because he says, I’m telling you that suffering is one of the gifts of Christian experience, that you are privileged to enter into the sufferings of Jesus. And you will learn things about Jesus. You will find your joy in life in Christ, not in a problem free life.
It will rather be a hard road, but it was be a road well-worth choosing because of what you will find in Christ. But he says, be careful, be careful what you’re listening to be careful. The messaging you’re getting. If it’s seeing that suffering is is, is a, uh, an enemy to Christian experience. I don’t mean we go out and look.
I’m not signing up for that class, but am saying that that can be part of what is, is influencing us to think wrongly Christian experience. He had just a couple of other examples, a life of dependence and humility. Um, this is the whole focus of the sermon on the Mount. It is teaching the prompts believers to feel that they can live the principles of the sermon on the Mount and their own strength,
which is contrary to the very foundational principles of the sermon on the Mount. He starts with these two statements in the beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit. It meant begging poor. What is he saying? He says you enter the kingdom with the reality that I am desperately broken that living the Christian life is not.
It’s impossible for anyone other than Jesus Christ. And he says any teaching that that causes you to be, to be stirred up, that I gotta be better. And I gotta be, I be a good witness, and this is all about me getting a ride. And now I’ve got to do the list and, and that stirs you up pride fully to move forward.
He says, that’s teaching. That is contrary to what I’m talking about here. That’s an influence that will lead you away from desperate, joyful dependence on Jesus and say, well, thank you, Jesus. You know, you got me in, it was all a grace that led me to Christ and it led me to you. And I’ll sort of take it from here.
It’s not what he’s saying. He says we’re impoverished where people desperately dependent to live in the power of Christ and the other things he talks about a life of forgiving and forbearing self-control meekness. The teaching of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, which worked got by far, the sternest rebukes of Jesus were utterly contrary to these concepts for them.
They were showing how others did not measure up. And that the whole goal was to compare yourself to others and try to be in the superior group. A spirit of us against them being in the right group, keeping from being tainted by others. And Jesus then hung out with all the wrong people. Jesus chose love over rigid, getting it rightness and recognized that living in the kingdom was messy.
That things weren’t all, all, all clear and starkly, right? Or starkly wrong. That, that, yes, there were principles of life, but, but you lived and loved and did life with people and, and, and you forgave and you didn’t hold it against and all these principles and any teaching that leads us away from that. Is an influence that Jesus would say is destructive, which leads us to the third reason why watching out for false teaching is important because the influence is powerful.
He says, they look like sheeps, but this teaching is actually ravenous. Wolf’s, it’s quite an indictment because these guys he’s talking about are influential in the faith community, but their influence is devouring. The souls of Jesus, people are flesh easily response. And by our flesh, I mean, um, our, our nature, uh, because of sin, which all of us have and which fights against.
The new life of Christ in him with his spirit in our lives. Our flesh is that orientation towards self. We all have it. And our flesh easily gets stirred up in finding a common enemy, right? Build your group around what you’re against. Jim Jones learned early on that to find enemies, to rally people around would get people to embrace him as their leader.
That can be political enemies. That can be social issue enemies, but what happens is Christians can become fighters. I don’t mean there isn’t a place. We are in a spiritual warfare for a times taking stands and, and honor Christ. But if our whole focus is we’ve got to save America from and restore them to righteous as we’ve got, we’ve got to save the church from compromise.
Yes, those are important principles perhaps at times. But if that becomes our orientation, which it can with the proliferation of voices, we’re hearing all the time, it does not feed your soul. It does not cause you to deal with your flesh. It does not cause you, it does not cause you to process. Am I condemning others?
Uh, am I dealing with my own anger? It makes you stirred up proud, secure, and your rightness and to use Jesus’ words. Eventually, if we stay in that space all the time, it will devour our souls. It will not feed our enjoyment of Christ. And he is saying here, be beware of what is influencing you in your lives.
Okay. How do we recognize false profits? What does it look like? This faults infants? Well, one by what comes out of their mouth, their faults, profit, their profits, their speakers. And certainly what they’ve teached, not just in contrast to Jesus’ teaching, but in the ignoring of Jesus’ teaching. I think as long I’m going to say on this one, because there’ve been talking about this, what they’re saying, basically, if, if I am being influenced all the time, if what I’m listening to is not leading me to the principles of Matthew five through seven in my spiritual life, then I am ignoring what Jesus has said is the important stuff and being focused on other stuff.
They also influence by what comes out of their lives. Here’s what he says in verse 16, in verse 20, by their fruits, you will know them a bad tree. BA bears, bad fruit is what he says. We can bring that picture up. It’s a bad apple tree, a good tree bears, good fruit. He says, you’re not going to have great apples by that first tree because the tree is sick and, and its soul is not prospering.
And so it is not bringing the right fruit. So here’s the challenge. Here’s what he’s saying. If you can’t tell false teaching false profits by their teaching, look at what comes out of their lives. Now we would understand that in the first century, because they’re living with these people, how do we do this today, man?
How do we, I mean, are we supposed to be always supposed to be, you know, anybody that I hear do a sermon I’m supposed to read their whole life story. I’m supposed to, you know, ask his wife. Would you please, how do you feel he’s following Jesus these days what’s coming out of his life at home. Obviously we can’t do that.
These what we’re getting influenced by. Our news broadcast, live streams, books, radio, speakers, podcasts, lot of people we don’t know. So how do we know what the fruit of their lives is? Here’s what I think the answer is you don’t, but you can see what the fruit in your life is becoming. Jesus said it this way, the student is not above the teacher in Luke six 40, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
So I don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s life that, you know, uh, th th CNN broadcaster or a Fox broadcast. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on. And I mean more commentators. I don’t know what’s going on with this radio preacher or this podcast. I don’t know. But I do know if I’m honest, what it’s doing.
And he says, examine the fruit that is being produced because the student will be like the teacher. So in the new Testament, there are some clear characteristics that come out of the life of false teaching. And I like to share three and I’m going to move him fairly quickly. But basically he said, if you want to look at somebody who is as a false teacher, who is influencing with faults teaching, whether it is whether he’s wearing sheep’s clothes or not, he said, you’ll see these characteristics and they will tend to become yours as well as you are imbibing this teaching.
All right. So what are the three things? Number one, as you listen, you will tend to see in yourself or in them. Is equal. And this is, uh, these are illustrative passages I’m using is equal 22. I think I have it up there 25 to 29. The conspiracy of her prophets in their midst is like a roaring line tearing the, tearing the prey.
I’m going to read it this way. They have devoured human lives. They have taken treasure and precious things. They have made many widows in her midst. Her princes in our midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood destroying lives to get dishonest game. The people of the land of practice extortion and committed robbery.
In this passage, the teachers are stirring and they said the motive of the heart motivation is greed. And the result is the people because the princes have become ingredient. The people have become ingredient. It’s stirring up an atmosphere of avarice and covetousness. And Discontentment the spirit of the sermon on the Mount leads to contentment.
The spirit of false profits leads to discontent. The spirit of the sermon on the Mount prompts towards generosity. The spirit of the false prophet is towards selfishness and covetousness. The dangers of gospels and teaching that focuses on how God wants to prosper. You. God wants to bless you. God wants you to be rich, is it does not stir up a spirit of contentment and generosity.
It stirs a spirit of greed and, and contentment and entitlement, the love of a life of comfort, hatred of a life of difficulty, but there is a spirit of greed. There is a second characteristic. He says that comes with false teaching or false influencing that we can imbibe into our lives. Secondly, it tends to advance.
He says this in acts 20 passage, she’s talking to the people at Ephesus. Paul says, I know that after I leave, Savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number, men will rise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. Here’s what he says.
He says, you will know these are, these are false teachers because they’re actually leading people toward themselves. And that it’s about them. It’s, it’s not ultimately leading towards Christ that they become that you become their followers. Now, how, how does that happen? I mean, in the church had emphasis, how has it happened that these believers that’s Paul spent more time discipling than any other believers.
He spent more time and emphasis there over three years than anywhere else by far. And how are they going to be influenced to follow guys that actually there are so enamored with that. It’s leading them away from Jesus and towards the. The same way. It happens for you and me. They give us what we want.
They speak to something within us that causes us to be drawn. We all want to be greater than right. You know, mathematical, nobody wants to be with the arrow pointing our way. That I’m a less than we all want to be over here on the greater than side. We can be very generous hearted greater than, but as long as I look good, as long as my body shape is better than the guy I’m working out with next to me, everything is good today.
Long as my house, little nicer than my sister’s house or my brother’s house or my sister-in-law’s house, whatever it is,
we love being a part of a group that’s winners. We love being a part of the group. That’s right. We love being a part of the group where we get it. It’s why in Corinth, Paul writes to the Corinthian believers and he says, what are you guys doing? You’re saying this. He says it in chapter one in chapter three, you’re saying here’s the group.
And it’s all divided in some say we’re of Paul. He’s our guy. And others say, no, no, no. We’re of a Polish, this great Greek preacher in the church. Others say we’re of CFUs, which was none named for Peter one. And Paul says, what are you doing? He responds to them. And he says, in verse, in first Corinthians one, he says, who is Paul?
Who is a palace? Who is Peter? Was Paul crucified for you? What are we? But slaves of Jesus doing what he tells us to do. This is exactly what he says. He says you guys are, but why would they do. They knew, Jesus, why are they drawn to Paul? Why they’re drawn to CIF is why are they drawn to a palace? Because there’s something within us that just loves being in the right group, seeing it the right way, having it figured out.
And Jesus says, man, be careful, be careful for how it appeals to you. That, that, that there is that desire. It’s why Christian movements are so dangerous because we flocked to him because we want to be a part of the right group. And, and it’s secure there and we want to be in the right. We want to be in the right denomination.
We want to be we around in the right. You know, what’s going on.
Uh, Paul says be careful because one of the things you’ll find is you are drawn to a movement that is ultimately causing you. Be drawn to self feed yourself and also to find people that are seeking knowingly or unknowingly drawing disciples after them, not after Christ. Third thing, arrogance in Matthew, chapter three, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees, and here’s what he says when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism.
He said to them, you brood of Vipers who warned you to flee from the wrath to come bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, we have Abraham and as our father for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham, where it presume here is used in the Oxford dictionary definition.
One of the three definitions is to act with overconfidence means to be presumptuous, to have unjustified confidence, the false prophets. He says, you Pharisees, Sadducees, you have an inflated view of yourselves. You presume because your ancestors, Abraham, that you’re the chosen few and you’re in and others are out, but he says, you got to deal with your own hearts.
Like everybody else pride is in this. I’m going to land on. I want it. I want to just close with this. Pride is an insidious thing. It is the great evil. It is what historically in the church is always called the most foundational sin in our lives. CS Lewis, who is chapter in mere Christiania and pride is still the best thing I’ve ever read makes this statement.
Pride is essentially competitive. It’s competitive by its very nature while the other vices are competitive only. So to speak by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something only out of having more only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich or clever or good looking, but they’re not, they are proud of being richer or cleverer or better looking than others.
If someone else becomes equally rich or clever, a good looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud. The pleasure of being above the rest. In first Corinthians four, Paul talks to the believers in Corinth about being proud. He used the word being puffed up and he says this to them.
Who makes you different from anybody else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not, he says you are comparing yourselves, you are elevating yourselves, and you’re listening to teacher and teaching an influence that is causing you to find your security in that.
And so he makes this startling statement. He says, this, we on the other hands are fools for Christ, but you’re so Weiss. We are weak. You’re strong. You are honored. We are dishonored to this very hour. We go hungry and thirsty were in rags, were brutally treated. We’re homeless. We work hard with our own hands.
When we’re cursed. We bless when we are persecuted. We endure it. When we’re slandered, we answer kindly we have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world, right up to this. Jesus it, Paul is saying this, we’re not pretending to be anybody. Don’t look to us. Don’t say I’m a Paul or I’m of a palace, or I’m a Peter.
And try to get your satisfaction by being a part of that group. He says, we know we’re desperate for Christ. We don’t have anything else. We don’t have any other resume to, except we are preaching Christ Jesus crucified. He is the life. He is the hope he is the glory. It’s interesting what Paul then says in the latter part of first Corinthians four, he says, I’m not writing to shame you, but to warn you as my dear children, if you add 10,000 guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers for in Christ.
Jesus. I became your father through the gospel. Here’s the kicker. Therefore, I urge you to imitate me for this reason. I’ve sent you Timothy, my son, whom I love who has faith in the Lord, he will remind you of my way of life in Christ. Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. Here’s what Paul is saying.
He says, guys, Timothy will remind you of what is true. I’m living the sermon on the Mount. I got nothing else. I don’t want you to follow me. I don’t want you to be impressed with me. Quite frankly, the word looks me as the scum of the earth as the, as, as garbage, he says, I don’t, I don’t have anything that commends me to you, except I am trying to lead you to Christ.
Christ is everything. And he says, this is my way of life. He says, I see the seed of every known sin in my own heart. I’m dealing with my pride, my anger, my self absorption. I’m desperate for Jesus. Delighting in him seeking to know him and letting him love me that I can love others through him. He says all that, that’s all I’ve got and whatever is prompting you to say, well, we got to figure it out and we’re going to save a culture.
We’re going to, we’re going to do this, or we’re going to be that. Or, or, or, uh, we’re going to now have the right narrow perspective that no other Christians have. He says, it’s a trap. It doesn’t feed your soul. And false teaching is trying to feed pride faults, influencing and teaching is trying to, to make it about what I can become.
And Jesus has, you know, quite frankly, when I’m looking for, in my citizens and they’re just willing to sit in the place and stay there and say, you know what? I’m a broken person, but I serve a living Christ that knows everything about. Loves me is for me that the gospel is really embracing the fact that I am more corrupt than self-centered and evil than I ever dared believe, but I am more accepted and cherished and loved than I ever dared hope.
This is the life. This is the perspective. So here’s my question to you after this long monologue, is this question, what is influencing you today? What are you listening to?
Is it making you a gentler person? Is it making you kinder? Is it making you more in love with Jesus? Is it prompting you to go inside and deal with the insights or, or is it all the battles with that? Is it causing you to allow Christ to change you? Are you more in love with Jesus? Is it making you more winsome in your witness?
Because you are at peace in a restless culture and a restless workplace, but your soul is at peace faults. Influences will cause us to have our soul sick. And Jesus is just saying, come on back, read again. The sermon on the Mount read again, of, of, of, of that. This is not for powerful people that get it, that that are able to fight all the battles.
And I’m not saying there’s never a place for that. I’m just saying there is danger in that being our, our, the place we sit in is what’s influencing your life today. All the TV you’re watching all the sports radio. You listen to. The stuff that you’re listening to with podcasts, is it quieting your spirit?
Is it making you love Jesus more than Paul says you’re being influenced by that which causes soul sickness. Even if it’s in the guise of sheep, even if it’s in the clothing of sheep, look at what it’s doing in your soul,
and then turn to that, which will bring health and healing in Christ. Lord, we pray this why pray that you would speak into our lives. However you want to, with this sermon,
I acknowledged Lord my own propensity to want to be great. I want to be a greater than. Yeah, I don’t love living as a broken man
except, and I’m embracing my brokenness in the face of a God that has says he is completely for me. He is with me. Lord, let us sit in that place. Let us look to your word. Uh, maybe some of us just need to shut off media and shut off other voices. And just this afternoon, hear you speak into us quietly, Lord.
If that’s true, don’t let us get away from doing it. I pray in Jesus name. Amen. Now, go in peace to love and serve and enjoy.