In the course of my college education, I ran across an inscription posted at the top of the college library entrance that read, ‘Read not to believe or take for granted, nor to refute or contradict, but to weigh and consider’. That inscription has had a huge impact on my life. I try to embrace that attitude when I read, listen and observe. A similar attitude shows up in the book of Thessalonians. A directive was issued to the Christians in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians when he admonishes them to test all things to the scriptures so that you will not be led astray.
Matthew 7:16 says ‘By the fruits you will recognize them’. All fruit comes from a nourishing source like a tree, vine, etc. Matthew 7:17-18 tells us that good fruit comes from good nourishment (like God’s truth), but bad fruit comes from deception, which is anything other than God’s truth. Bad fruit leads to bad things. Matthew 7:19 says, ‘Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’. Jesus is telling us to get out into the world and bear good fruit, fruit that will truly represent His plan and purpose. If the tree does not get out into the world and does not bear good fruit, it will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matthew 7:21-23 says ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’. These scriptures are self-evident. If you were a false prophet and stood before Jesus He would say, ‘I never knew you, away from me you evildoer’. Jesus is the only way into heaven. Not knowing Jesus is the only way into hell which is eternal damnation of suffering and pain.
Remember, the standards that determine eternal judgement are not a person’s standards, not a church’s standard, not a preacher’s standard, but only God’s standards set forth in His Bible. We are responsible for our own choices.
Author: David Leatherman
May God bless and enrich your life
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