Matthew 7:15-29

Matthew 7:15–29 (NIV)

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!’

The Wise and Foolish Builders

7:24–27pp—Lk 6:47–49

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Listening guide

“Nathaniel, the towel is on fire.” 


“Watch out for false prophets.”  

Separatism =  

Christians don’t stay safe by ___________ from everyone. 

Arius and Socinus 

Unionism =  

Christians don’t stay safe by __________ with everyone. 

You have only three minutes to answer these questions. 
1. Read everything before doing anything. 
2. Put your name on the upper right hand corner of this paper. 
3. Circle the word "name" in sentence two. 
4. Draw five small squares in the upper left-hand corner of this paper. 
5. Put an "x" In each square. 
6. Put a circle around each square. 
7. Sign your name under the title. 
8. After the title write "yes, yes, yes". 
9. Put a circle around each word In sentence no. 7. 
10. Put an "x" in the lower left hand corner of this paper. 
11. Draw a triangle around the "x" you just put down. 
12. On the reverse side of this paper multiply 703 by 9805. 
13. Draw a rectangle around the word "paper" in sentence number 4. 
14. Call out your first name when you get to this point in your paper. 
15. If you think you have followed directions up to this point in the test, call out "I have". 
16. On the reverse side of the paper add 8950 and 9850. 
17. Put a circle around your answer. 
18. Count out loud in normal speaking voice backwards from ten to one. 
19. Now that you have finished reading, do only steps one and two. 

What we _________ ________________ ______, we _________________. 

Discussion questions

  1. Here’s an interesting historical development reported by the NY Times. “Just one senator voted against the Patriot Act, calling it a violation of civil liberties when it passed in the frightening, angry days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 14 years later, 77 senators voted to advance a bill ratcheting back its expansive scope.” Which do you value more: security or freedom?  

    The Christian church has concerns about both freedom and security. This lessons helps us think through those concerns.  

  2. What reasons are there to be concerned about the safety or security of Christians?  

    1. See Matthew 7:15-18 

    2. Romans 16:17-19 “17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”  

    3. 2 John 7-11 “7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we[a] have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”  

  3. How do we recognize false teachers? False disciples?  

  4. One thing the Bible teaches us is that some people are weak and need encouragement to mature whereas others are false. How can we differentiate between the two?  

  5. Romans 15:1-2 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”  

  6. Hebrews 5:12-14 “12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  

  7. When would you know that you should leave a teacher or group of Christians?    

  8. Have you ever felt compelled to leave a group of Christians or a Christian teacher? Can you explain why?