Matthew's Book Leader Notes - Final Session
Matthew 7:15-23 As we come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us two important warnings in these verses. First, He warns of those that seem to speak and act for God but are not with God in reality. Normally, a prophet would be proven true or false if the prophecy came true or not. But sticking with the “internal life” theme of the whole sermon, Jesus says that we can identify the wolves by looking at the fruit of their lives. The character of their life (their joy, peace, patience, love, etc) and the impact of their life (do they have a trail of blessing and health or damage and hurt in their past) will tell us if they are really with God or not.
Second, Jesus warns that our actions are not necessarily the determining factor of our inclusion in His Kingdom. All throughout the sermon, Jesus stressed the internal nature of being His follower. He wants us to know that we can do all the Jesus-type things (a.k.a be a good church person) but totally miss out on His Kingdom if our hearts are not right with Him.
The people that Jesus turned away in verses 21-23 may even be the wolves from verses 15-20. They were doing things that seemed good and Godly, but they ended up being turned away by Jesus. If we start with our actions but neglect our heart, we will find ourselves outside of God’s Kingdom. When we start with a repentant heart, we will find that God will lovingly shape our desires and our actions over time so that we become the people Jesus has described in the Sermon on the Mount.