Matthew chapter seven holds a lot of spiritual wisdom training! Yeshua was teaching His first Talidim, (Disciples) and He lays out for them a lot of deep wisdom, which is easily missed in religious norms.
First we are told not to use His standard of judgment to judge others, until we have properly assessed – and addressed – our own sins and failures. Then, in a seemingly contradictory passage, He speaks of judging the prophetic leadership by their fruit.
Now it isn't until books later that the fruit of the Spirit, which are the character traits of God Himself, are laid out for us in the writings of His Disciples. But He addresses some qualities to look for in this passage of Scripture, out of Matthew seven:
“By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Did we catch that? He said, “NOT everyone who calls Him LORD will enter the Kingdom of heaven! But ONLY those who DO the will of His Father!” Wow. That is a bit worrisome. Because those who call Him LORD, who run around devoting their lives to “doing good works”, must believe that they know HIM. But He says, later down in the passage, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”! Because the works they were doing, while religious, and well-intentioned, were not HIS ideas. They were not in line with The Law Of God that HE taught, lived and modeled for us!
He is making the point that those who are really “SAVED” will be significantly CHANGED. That there is a TRANSFORMATION process, which is empowered by HIS WORD, that must take place in all of His real followers. That we must KNOW HIM, and The POWER of HIS Resurrection – which is the Anointing that is brought on by the indwelling of HIS SPIRIT!
If we won't receive HIS SPIRIT, how can we pretend that we have received HIM?! It just can't work. Let me explain what I have observed.
There are those who have “made a decision for Christ”, at some point. It was usually a peer driven, emotional, heat of the moment, “decision”, made during some Bible Camp or an emotionally charged religious meeting. They hear the Word preached with great fervor and experience the conviction of the HOLY SPIRIT on their sins, which just became obvious to them! So they “Accept Christ as their Savior”, meaning they decide, for the moment, to take His exceptional Sacrifice and let Him atone for their sins. So, then, they believe they are “saved”, and I believe, at that moment they truly ARE.
However, it is what comes next which decides for them whether or not that Salvation experience will “take”, and continue, and become LIFE to them. Most “Converts” to “Christianity”, in the main stream traditional “denominations” don't prosper and thrive in their new found spiritual freedom. Most of them quickly settle into a fleshly religious series of dead religious works, and aren't really led into fellowship with their new-found RABBI. Most are dwarfed in their spiritual growth, by virtue of the limited teaching they receive in their particular religious institutions.
For these people “Salvation” becomes a mere “get out of hell free card”. They think that “Grace” means that they don't have any responsibility to change a thing! That “They're good”. They believe that they can live their lives however they see fit, and Jesus has “got them covered”!
In reality He becomes more of an “insurance” policy to them – insuring that they have a place in heaven when they die - than He is a Friend, Confidant or Teacher. And God, consequently, is treated like a great slot machine in the sky, they run to Him in times of great emergency, yet the way most express this gambling type of “Faith” it would seem that the “odds” - of actually “hitting the jackpot”, that is, of getting that healing, financial deliverance, spiritual deliverance, etc... for which they were praying - are honestly not all that great.
So most of these sincere, if sincerely wrong, souls are just waiting for that “Pie in the Sky, in the sweet by and by”, a.k.a. “Heaven”! And, incidentally, most are also eating excessive amounts of other kinds of pie down here, hastening that possibility!!!!
These people are in a place of utter doctrinal deception, and utterly unaware of their spiritual depravity, because they have largely ignored the teachings of Yeshua- which are found in The WORD - because they have largely ignored The WORD (since "that is what they pay that preacher for!"). Therefore they have NO idea how spiritually impoverished, or how far from their particular piece of that "pie” they really are!
Teachings, ideologies, which The Word calls “Doctrines of demons” because they are so at odds with God's heart for His People, have persuaded a huge number of faithful “Church-Goers” that being filled with The Holy Spirit, with evidence of speaking in tongues, is “not for today”, and that it “stopped with the first disciples, because they are why He was sent....”, or even worse that "speaking in tongues is of the devil.."; and other such utter nonsense, which is NOT in The WORD, but which these gullible souls have swallowed hook, line and sinker! And this is the main teaching which has led so many into deception! This is the main reason why “Christianity” has been such an epic failure for all these centuries, since the Second Chapter of the Book of Acts, but most especially since Constantine hijacked the "Christian" Faith, around 300 A.D.!
Obviously the “Pastors” guilty of preaching this lame mess are just as deceived as those to whom they preach, and are therefore missing the mark to which they've been called! These leaders, the large majority of which historically have been “men”, are too often fraught with fleshly dysfunctions, sinful tendencies such as gluttony, or sexual weaknesses, etc. to bear fruit for God.
They may have sincerely set out to be true shepherds in the shadow of their Savior, but have, instead, become Wolves in Shepherds clothing, exploiting sin, empowering shame, devouring the "flock" financially, and generally doing more harm than good to the followers of Yeshua, with whom they have been entrusted.
This is a sad, but unfortunately true picture of what we've been experiencing as “Christianity” or “Church” in America. At least since I was a kid! History confirms the many holes in our cover! Too many to list!
We have failed to love people into the Kingdom of God, because we have not born fruit according to the teachings of our LORD, the head Rabbi, whom we have supposedly signed on to FOLLOW.
We have therefore missed the point, and the target. And are therefore many are also missing out on God's Move, as He prepares us to enter in to the last of days!
We aren't quite there yet, contrary to the anguished “predictions” of the many, many false prophets out there, who are declaring the will of the enemy of God, instead of the expressed WILL OF GOD! Though, they obviously believe they are hearing God, they are deceived.
However, it is clear to any able to pay attention that the enemy IS attempting to rush that season, and bring the world to an end as soon as he can manage it! It seems nonsensical to us, because, as most of us know, the end for us is the END for him!
But, I think his goal in that is this - since he knows he can't win, he is content to just take as many of God's precious souls to eternal hell with him as he can. And right now, due to the fact that the Church has failed in her calling, that would be an impressive haul!
The harvest, of souls waiting, needing to be brought into The Kingdom of God is HUGE! And, as Scripture intones, the laborers (those who are ANOINTED, to go out and gather them in) are few indeed! We are instructed to seek God for more workers! And some of us have! Recently more people seem to be answering that call!
BUT NOW the question is, will the rest of us finally stop playing around in our religious glee clubs and get down to business with HIM? Are we finally over ourselves enough to actually get busy, being about The Father's Business?!
I think that God has allowed the enemy to wreak utter havoc in our nation, in hopes that it would shake us out of our complacency! He has allowed the enemy to shut down all the distractions – including “church as usual” because it was such a stinking failure! We were, by and large, using "church attendance", and "Christian service" at those buildings, more as a way to salve our conscience, or to hide out, more than we used those facilities as a training camp! So good riddance!
Now, then, we should all answer this one. Why are we trying to salve our conscience if we have done no wrong? And what are we hiding out from? Aren't we supposed to be the OFFENSIVE LINE UP? Aren't we supposed to be out kicking devil booty, and saving captives out of his camp? And some of us ARE, of course. But where are the rest of us? What are WE doing? What does MY fruit look like?
These are the questions which everyone – who imagines themselves to be “Saved” - every faithful “Church-Going” individual – whether we happen to be died in the wool, ”Trump-Supporting Conservatives”. (Evangelicals or not)” - or “Social Justice Warring Liberals” - right now, we should ALL be asking ourselves - How well do we KNOW The ONE we claim to be following?! Do we ever hear HIM speak to us?
As the disciples asked of those to whom they ministered Faith in that day and time, “Have you received The HOLY Spirit since you believed?” (Acts 19)
Because, if any of us, like those fellows, have not even heard yet - or have denied the truth that we even need to be filled with The Spirit - if we have bought the lies which have been peddled as truth, that we are fine without that, or worse, that it is not even of GOD(!) …. then it is NOW time to push back against those lies; and to do whatever it takes to link up with the Spirit of God!
It is time we all shook off the chains of deceptive doctrines which have kept us blinded to the Truth, and seek the CHRIST of “Christianity”! It is time we sought the Author and Finisher of our Faith, and allowed Him to perfect FAITH in us! It is time we died to our fleshly understanding, sinful preferences, and addictive fixes, so that WE may DECREASE and HE may INCREASE! It is time we got ourselves close enough to The SON to reflect His Glory!
It is time we learned how to walk in THE SPIRIT and deny the bullying of the flesh! It is TIME we got CHANGED and CHARGED by His Anointing, so that WE can be HIS vessels to take His Anointing to the World!
They don't need our dead religion! It only exploits and enables the shame that is already devouring them! They don't need our fleshly wisdom! They have the entire internet for that! They NEED The Anointing of our SAVIOR and CHAMPION! The Anointing prophesied in Isaiah 61! The Anointing which delivers us from bondage of the world, the flesh and the devil!
That is what WE ALL NEED! And the ONLY thing which will resolve our human conflicts! It is the ONLY thing which can heal the hatred in our nation and/or bind her significant wounds! It is the ONLY thing which can assure us of an eternity with our Creator God. It is the only thing which can bring the Promises of God to reality, to Restore all that the enemy has stolen, and give us back our FREEDOM!
That is what will fix America. All of the varying vigilante groups, some marching and posturing, some burning and pillaging, some pouting and hiding, some pointlessly preaching ….. those aren't going to do anything but keep the strife stirring, and the madness spinning!
But THIS. The Anointing of our Lord and Savior! THIS will actually make the difference we are praying for.
Some continue to drone on about how we can not avoid the ultimate end, spoken of in Revelation. And that is, of course, quite true. But why focus on that, NOW, when we have a harvest to get in?
May that dark, ultimate, reality merely motivate us to find the hope for eternity. This world, as it operates right now, must indeed end. Judgment IS surely going to be meted out! We can not change that. However, we CAN work with GOD to postpone it as long as possible, and to get the harvest in while it is being held off!
The thing for US to decide for now is which side of that judgment will we be on? And how many can we get on the right side of God before the end must finally come?!
We've been given a season of mercy. We've been granted a reprieve. I urgently suggest that we use it wisely!