The Church and Counterfeit Gospels
Matthew 7:15-20 |ryan whitfield
June 23rd, 2019
Jesus charges the Church to identify and distinguish counterfeit gospels while admonishing those who have fallen prey to its teachings.
I . Identify Counterfeit Gospels
Heresy – any deviation from the church’s historical teachings on foundational biblical doctrines.
Counterfeit Gospel – a fraudulent gospel that deceives
Ephesians 4:14 - “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
Philippians 3:2 - “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.”
2 John 7 - “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
“Satan is crafty and he is battling to keep people from believing the gospel, and once they believe in that gospel the battle will not stop.” – David Platt
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” – Matt. 7:16-18
II . Distinguish Counterfeit Gospels
ESV: “but a diseased tree bears bad fruit”
KJV: “but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:43-45
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Matt. 3:7-10
The difference between a person changed by the gospel compared to someone that is subservient to a counterfeit is a heart that is in keeping with repentance.
“Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.” – J.I. Packer
“Living according to kingdom norms can be feigned for a time; but what one is will eventually reveal itself in what one does. However guarded one’s words, they will finally betray him.” – D.A. Carson
You’re not only given the anticipation and hope of growing in the image of Christ, but it’s presented to you as a promise.
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” – Matt. 7:19-20
The Church is charged to admonish those who have fallen prey to counterfeit gospels.
· The promise and reality of eternal life with Christ is as real as the promise and reality of hell and eternal separation from him.
1. We are to admonish with urgency.
2. We are to admonish in love.
3. We are to present clear and biblical teaching.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” – Gal. 5:25
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