Lord, thank You for Your never-ending mercy.
Read Matthew 7:13–23
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
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 recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, 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 recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectJesus anticipated the problem of dangerous pretenders who would try to join his followers. How would he handle that?
Jesus wasn’t afraid to confront problems. One enduring con-cern was how to distinguish those with a pretense of faith from those who are truly responsive. What guidance does he offer?
First, he warned against being enthralled with numbers. His imagery of narrow and broad gates pointed to his refusal to moderate his teachings for the sake of popularity. As we’ve seen already, Jesus was devoted to those drawn to his Father, and he labeled this the narrow road. He recognized that other attractions are in competition with God and will usually draw greater numbers.
Second, if a community has both true and false members, Jesus invited discrimination. Grapes come from grapevines. So if thorns keep appearing in some lives, instead of grapes, be suspicious! All who are truly devoted to Jesus and the Father will walk in the paths of that love.
Finally, he warned against accepting the thorn-bearing types as true followers even if they’ve displayed various forms of dramatic gifting. The only true litmus of faith is a wholehearted devotion to the Father.
Is there a fellow believer you need to hold accountable in following God’s ways? Is there someone you need to show more grace? How can you speak the truth in love today?
Lord, give me a discerning and gracious heart when dealing with fellow believers
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