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There are three kinds of false prophets, I see in the Bible, three kinds, and this is a definitive statement that might help you in understanding it. Three kinds, number one, is a heretic, this is somebody who comes along and says, that’s not true, that’s a lie, I don’t believe the Bible and teaches heresy. Or even says I believe the Bible but teaches a heretical doctrine by twisting it, somebody whose doctrine is obviously, openly heretical.

Secondly is an apostate who denies the faith, who denies Christianity, who apostatizes, departs from it. The first two aren’t tough to spot, it’s easy to spot false doctrine, isn’t it? Just take your Bible and check it, it’s easy to spot apostasy because they’re denying it. And beloved may I hasten to add to you that both of these are dealt with in verse 6 of chapter 7, they are the hogs and the dogs. It says, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine or before dogs, giving that which is holy.” It’s easy to see the hogs and the dogs, they’re in the vomit and the mire. You see the first two kinds of prophets, false prophets the heretics and the apostates are made manifest. …………………….

It is the third kind of false prophet, I call the deceiver, that is the one Jesus is referring to here, this is the one you don’t see, this is the one who comes with the cloak of the shepherd. This is not the cultist, this is not the Mormon or the Jehovah’s Witness or, or somebody who belongs to Christian Science who, who openly and flagrantly teaches false doctrine, those are apostates or heretics. This is the one who talks about Jesus and he talks about the cross and he talks about God and he talks about the Bible and he talks about the church and the Holy Spirit and he hangs around with people that are true Christians and he mingles within the framework of evangelicalism, and he’s on the radio and he’s on television and he’s in the pulpit and he’s on the platform and he writes the books, and he always looks like a Christian. That’s the one Jesus refers to. Not heretics, heretics are obvious. Apostates are obvious too because they’ve denied the faith. But these are subtle. The Lord is not warning us against heretics, He’s not warning us against apostates, He’s warning us against people who sound like they teach the Gospel, who sound like Christians, who use the speech of the Bible, the speech of the Gospel, but it’s only a guise. They express orthodox terminology.

{Red Clover} from a facebook comment

Sermon on the Mount Matthew Chapters 5-7

The Sermon on the Mount describes what our life should be like while we live in faith, in our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus said six times in Chapter 5, “You have heard it said”, or “But I tell you..” He was calling people to a new life instead of a legal system, that the Pharisees had put upon the people.

There were four main purposes to this study.

1. To expose our sin.

2. To point us to Jesus Christ.

3. Demonstrate a way to happiness.

4. Shows us how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

Lesson 1   Matthew 5:1-16

Jesus teaches us the eight attitudes. These attitudes or beatitudes explain that we are to live differently than the world for Christ’s sake. Blessed means happy. So when these attributes become part of us God is pleased and we are blessed. The beatitudes are to be poor in spirit,  mourn for sin, be meek, and to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are to be merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers. When we follow Christ in this manner we may become persecuted for our faith, but this too becomes a blessing and we will receive a heavenly reward.

We are called to be light and salt of the world. Salt has two functions. It flavors and it stops corruption. We must not lose our saltiness, because if we do we will lose our ability to be a committed Christian, who does not think or act like the world. Salt also creates a thirst, a thirst for the Lord and His righteousness.

Being light in the world refers to the way you show others in public what being a Christian means. How many of your friends see your personal commitment to Christ? How bright a light are you?

Lesson 2   Matthew 5:17-26

Here Jesus explains the Christian’s relationship to the law, and that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Old Testament continues until all things are accomplished. He warned the disciples to do and to teach all the commandments, and that a better righteousness than the Pharisees’ is needed to enter the kingdom of heaven. And how can we keep God’s laws? We can’t. The Pharisees’ couldn’t, and that is one reason why they created their own set of laws. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that empowers us and convicts us. Where do you need to let the Holy Spirit help you obey what Jesus has taught?

God’s Word does not change over time. His standards for behavior or morality does not change. It does not change from one situation to another or from one century to another.

Jesus gives illustrations of our relationship to the Law. The Pharisees often taught about people’s actions, but Jesus always goes further by raising the bar. He speaks of our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes of our hearts.

So what does He begin with? What is the most condemning sin you can think of? Murder. Jesus expounds on this and says that wrong attitudes and words count the same as murder. How could that be? Murder begins with anger, unforgiveness, hatred, contempt, envy and bitterness. All of it sin. To be full of such things reveals a heart condition that is condemning.

What is the remedy? It is the spirit of love and reconciliation. We must be reconciled with each other, no matter who the fault may lie with. Come to one heart and mind with that person, so that we can have an open relationship with the Lord.

Lesson 3  Matthew 5:27-37,   6:22-23

Here Jesus teaches that lustful imagination counts the same as adultery. Being tempted is not a sin, but we must reject the seed that get planted in our mind, so that sin is nipped in the bud. He said if necessary we should cut off whatever causes us to sin even if this causes discomfort or pain. What causes immoral thoughts in your mind? What books are you reading and what TV shows are you enjoying and what are you laughing and joking about? What do you need to cut out of your life to live a life of pure actions and thoughts?

We are reminded that marriage is a lifelong commitment. God hates divorce but it is a forgivable sin, and he allows it for infidelity. Let’s remember to love and pray for those who have been hurt in abusive relationships and know that God would not want them to stay in this treacherous situation.

Lesson 4   Matthew 5:38-48,   6:14-15

So what does “an eye for an eye mean?

The next topic was retaliation or getting even. Again Jesus quotes an OT command, one that was meant to limit the penalty for a wrong action. The person who was treated wrongly was only to demand repayment that was fair and fitting. And again Jesus asks us to go even further. He says to give to the person who asks, even when that person is asking something that may be unfair. Jesus’ disciples had been taught to love their neighbors and hate their enemies. Once again Jesus wants you and me to go beyond the old teachings. We are to love our enemies and pray for them. Will you ask God to give you His love for those who are unkind or unforgiving to you? What can you pray for them?

Lesson 5   Matthew 6:1-18

Here we learn that our righteous deeds are not so righteous when they are done to impress others. Therefore they are to be done before God and not before people. Jesus was concerned that the people, especially the Pharisees, wanted others to see them give to the needy or pray in public so that they would be noticed. They were pretending to pray with a sincere heart but were more concerned with what others thought of them. To do this is to lose our reward with God because our reward becomes an earthly reward of wanting praise from men.

The Lord’s Prayer was given to the disciples as an example. When we say it we should repeat it thoughtfully and not aimlessly. The point is, that we should pray, and we should have a regular time each day to pray privately. If you do not will you set aside a regular time and place to establish this time to spend with the Lord?

Lesson 6   Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34

Here Jesus teaches that faith is having a trusting heart knowing that He will supply all our daily needs. If we put these worries aside and first seek the kingdom of God all things will be given to us. He knows we need these things. Often in this life especially in the US we are bombarded daily about material possessions. We are told that we need many things to be successful and happy. So Jesus was concerned about people’s attitudes toward their treasures and possessions. He warned them about storing up treasures on earth. They can be lost, stolen, destroyed etc. We can set our eyes on power and wealth instead of God and what really matters. We cannot serve both God and money. We cannot have two masters.

We are not to worry. Worry is a lack of faith in God’s care. Worry and fret lead to sin. Remember to put God first in your life and to live right for Him. Live one day at a time doing your best to please God. He will supply your needs in His timing.

Lesson 7   Matthew 7:1-12

The judge not passage. The person who makes a practice of judging others will be judged with the same measure. Judging ourselves instead prepares us to help others. Also we have to judge between good and evil and we must make determinations each and every day. We have to separate truth from error or we will believe lies. We must pray for wisdom in this area. If we know of sin in our lives, and try not to remove it, yet try to help others with the same sin, then we are hypocrites, like the Pharisees. There is no room for pride or stubbornness when we are trying to help others.

Jesus commanded his disciples to think before giving sacred and precious truths from God to unholy people. Sacred things could be worship or communion or the Bible. These things are not holy to those who do not believe in God and they will ridicule the truths told to them. It is in this way they trample them under their feet….Christians are to be discerning but not condemning.

Prayer comes up again, in that we are ask, seek and knock. He wants us to be persistent in our prayer. And He gives good gifts to his children as a good father gives to his son. He wants our hearts in our prayers and doesn’t want us to give up when we think a prayer has not been answered quickly….Continue to pray. God will give you what is right and he will answer your prayer His way and in His time. What kind of things are you praying for? A car? Fame? Sunshine? Or are you praying for things that will please Him? A good list would be something like wisdom, love, healing, increased faith, boldness to speak for God, the filling of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, etc. If you are persistent in asking for things that please God, He will give them to you.

Lesson 8  Matthew 7:13-29

As we end the Sermon on the Mount Jesus now speaks of our life in faith, and the dangers of not following His teachings.

Those who go their own way will have difficulty discerning that there are two pathways. Jesus only gives us two. There are not many paths to God. False teachers offer a wide gate that welcomes many. It may seem kind and loving to accept all religious teachings, but it is not. The broad road leads to destruction. In fact the way is narrow and constricted and it will not be an easy path…but the end result is well worth it. Everlasting life with Jesus. Which path have you chosen and how are you persuading others to choose?

To ignore biblical teaching puts you in danger of listening to false teachers. Knowing scripture is important so you can recognize a false teacher by their faulty doctrine and bad fruit. Paul commended the Bereans for comparing his words against scripture. We must do the same. Those who say they know Jesus by using the phrase, “Lord, Lord” or even perform miracles may not truly know the Lord. Many will hear from Jesus on judgment day…”I never knew you.” The false prophets will be in the church itself. They will be disguised as sheep, but truly they are wolves.

Finally we are given an illustration of the person who is wise and the foolish person who does not obey the teachings. The obvious teaching is that Jesus is the rock and foundation and this is where we are to start building. This foundation is firm and solid. But there is a condition given in this passage. We must hear Jesus’ words and we must practice them. Then we are able to withstand the storms of wind and rain that will come upon us in this life.

The people were amazed at the authority that Jesus taught with. Whenever God’s Word is presented as it truly is, its power is unleashed. We too should be amazed and astonished with these teachings. God’s standards are high and today we have the Holy Spirit to help us live for God, illuminate scripture and lead us into truth.

Paul Washer

June 2023



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