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The Persecuted Church

 

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                                        They Come in sheep's clothing  


wpe3A.jpg (2120 bytes)Jesus warned, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matt. 7:15-20).

Jesus warns about those who come to people trying to have them join with them in their pursuit of God. Many groups actively go door to door and approach people in various ways to have them join their Church or organization. Essentially there is nothing inherently wrong with going door to door, the apostles did it for a time. However it is how they seek after people to make one a disciple. It is what they teach about God and Christ that matters. What is confusing is that they have you become a member of their Church or organization. Instead of coming to Christ and become part of the body of Christ which puts you in the Church (universal).

Jesus is not telling us we will know someone's false or true prophecy from their fruit, but will know them by their fruit. Jesus basically used two illustrations of the believers to unbelievers, one was sheep and goats, the other was sheep and wolves.

Matt 10:16: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." The disciples were sent out as sheep, those who followed the shepherd and Jesus admonishes them to have wisdom, be as crafty as the devil is as you are sent out in the world. Know that you are among enemies that would like to tear them to pieces but don't act like the devil, don't return evil for evil but be as harmless as doves. The dove was the form the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism. It came upon him gently, and stayed with him his whole ministry. We see Jesus never strived or pushed people to join, he gave them the truth and a choice to follow. He beckoned them, he drew them, but never forced, rushed or pushed them.

Acts 20:29-30:  "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will wpe3F.jpg (3280 bytes)come in among you, not sparing the flock. "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." Wolves are the enemy of sheep, they eat sheep. They chew up the flock as sheep are their diet.

Jesus warns about those coming from within the church that would actually tear it apart. This would be done by what they teach which would be patently false. Since they are in the Church, they would teach from the bible but distort its message. As Paul states in 2 Cor.11:13-15 they are false apostles and messengers looking like those who teach righteousness. They may look good on the outside but the life of Christ is not there on the inside and their message will always be with scripture, but distort its meaning. Their focus will be their church or organization instead of Christ.

Jude 1:12: "These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;" Twice dead is like a tree that was dug up to be transplanted and died and then dug up again.

Jude paints a graphic picture of the insincerity, the depravity, and the doom of those who disrespect what Christ himself did! They are still found in the Christian body, sitting with the saints at their love-feasts! A love feast was a gathering with a meal and communion (2 Pt.2:13; 1 Cor.11:20, 27-30) This was when the poor and the rich ate together. The fatherless, the widows, and the strangers were invited to these feasts, and their eating together was a proof of their love to each other.  Feeding themselves without fear] That is, without any proper reverence or respect for the ordinance; attending on the Lord's Supper as if it were an ordinary feast, and making it an occasion of riot and gluttony.

clouds without waterThese false teachers are represented as clouds; they have the form without   substance. They have  no weight and are carried about by the wind. (waterless clouds that come and look like they hold promise of refreshment to parched dry land but they donít give a drop of rain, they only hide the Sun). They have no benefit, they boast of their gifts but it is empty, there is not nourishment for others in their spiritual life

late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots- no leaves, no fruit at harvest, they have barren lives Lk.8:6-9.  Twice dead is like a tree that was dug up to be transplanted and died and then dug up again. They are dead spiritually with no way to revive them.  Stripped and barethey produce no fruit. They are wholly barren, like the fig-tree Jesus cursed. They are twice dead plucked up by the roots. They are lifeless. (dead in trespasses and sins Eph.2:1) yet they are dead again cut off from the life giving root, thoroughly dead, torn out of the ground with no chance of life ever coming into them again. 

Luke 13:18-19: Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it." It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."(Mk.4:30-32)  

This tree is compared to the kingdom (the Church) and birds fly and make their home in its shade. All kinds of groups come to nest in the branches of this tree of the Lord called the Church. In these same parables we find that birds symbolize Satan's kingdom, they become comfortable inside the larger universal Church. Birds in the parable (Mt.13)  snatch the seed that has not sunk into the persons heart. Jesus allows the tares to grow with the wheat and birds of the enemy to be right alongside his own within the greater portion of the tree.

A tree is related to Christ and by abiding in him and his teaching we have his life. Doctrine is something that reveals Gods nature to man or mans relationship to God. They are standards that the Bible consistently teaches that are core teachings about Christ and man.(Titus.1:9; 1Tim.4:12-19; 2 Tim.3:10-16)

Matt. 13:23:  "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." By understanding and putting into action what Christ has said we will produce various degrees of his life.

                                                                      What is the fruit?wpe17.jpg (2191 bytes)

Fruit is something that comes out naturally. All different trees bear the same kind of fruit of the seed they came from. An orange tree will bear oranges not apples. A Papaya tree yields Papaya's, not oranges. Fruit is a natural production of the source it is connected to. It comes out naturally, you will never see a tree sweating to produce its fruit, it comes out in its season at various degrees (Ps.1). A tree does not work hard to produce its fruit, it is a natural product of the tree. There is no straining it comes naturally as it is fed the correct nutrients and the roots are by the water.

Spiritually, fruit is the Holy Spirits work in ones life showing the change that Christ has made. But the outward has to be understood by the inward life and that is related to genuine doctrine. Many say we have good fruit therefore God is with us. Again fruit is relative to the life of the tree itself. The tree must have Christ as its source for the Holy Spirit to be at work. It must have the real Jesus to have real fruit.

John 15:8: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." we are chosen to bear fruit until eternal life. The Bible teaches of 2 different types of fruit of those who enter the kingdom and those who have fruit in their lives such as of the spirit.

John 15:4-6:  "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned." Christ is our life line. his teachings and his person. The Holy Spirit will always point to Jesus, not to himself or another man. A trees life is centered in Christ not on our works (produce), our fruit is a display of him. As we abide in his word the fruit of the Spirit the life of Christ comes out naturally, we don't strain to produce it. Our position is to Abide in him, his promise is that he will produce his life in us. This is why cults with false doctrine can't have good fruit because they are not abiding in his word alone but in other men's words. They depend on their good works for or to maintain salvation. They don't teach the bible but their prophecies and revelations put in other books. The branches cast off are those parts that are dead, that are against his nature so that the other branches can be more productive.

John 8:31-32: Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." By hearing what he says and putting it in practice we will be set free. The emphasis is on HIS WORD. Churches that add their own messengers, prophets and books lead people away from Christ's words and don't possess the freedom he offers.

Gal. 5:22-26: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Paul describes fruit in the singular and they are all based on the life of Christ which is love. love is something that is done without any expectations of a return. Their is no competition, but peace and joy faithfulness in doing what is for the Lord. It comes naturally because one is born of the Spirit of God. Cults deny that salvation is by grace (a gift given freely) because of his love, so again they can't have good true fruit. The fruit is from the life of the holy Spirit that dwells inside the person who has believed the gospel of salvation (1 Cor.15:1-4)

Rom 6:22: " But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."
James 3:18  "Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." Jesus said blessed are the peace makers." Those who bring the same message of reconciliation to have people make peace with God.

Jesus made the point of saying he is the true manna come down from heaven. Eating his sayings gives life, "my words are Spirit and they are life."

On the other hand leaven is used of sin or false teaching Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees Jesus said. They were very religious but did not understand the true teachings they espoused. They lifted up mans teachings before Gods, they were dependent on their works to be righteous. If a Church points to its founder and promotes him as the restorer of truth that was totally lost and a new revelation. They are making the same mistake the Pharisees did by following mans leadership. They do not follow the true shepherd but other shepherds.

This is why cults do not have true fruit!

 

Common characteristics of Cult     8 Marks of Heresy 
     How to Recognize if you are in a Cult   What about Jms.2:17
     What Happens after you leave   How to find a Church home
   Beware of false Prophets    Help my child has just joined a Cult!
  works for Salvation   The GOSPEL
The One true Church Another Jesus

 

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