15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Read the scripture above and use the questions below to meditate on today's reading.
- Appearances can be deceiving. There are Christian leaders on TV, in our churches, and in our community whose speech and appearance seem to promote Jesus, but their teaching or lifestyle contradicts the teachings of Scripture. Why do you think Jesus found it necessary to warn His followers of such false prophets? What is the danger?
- Since we cannot see people’s hearts and motives, how will we be able to discern false prophets from godly teachers who build up our faith?
- What do you think Jesus means when He says we will recognize false prophets by their fruit? Literally, you can recognize a pear tree by the fact that it produces pears. What does it mean to recognize the “fruit” of Christian leaders as being either good or bad? What is an example of good fruit? What is an example of bad fruit?
- They say one of the best ways to recognize a counterfeit bill is to become an expert on genuine dollar bills. Given that example, what is the best way to detect false teaching? What is your source for truth? How are you growing in your expertise in Christian truth?
- Even genuine believers can sin and fall, but over time our fruit (the evidence of our actions, our character, the way we treat people, the teaching we profess) reveals who we are and what we are becoming. Are you encouraged or discouraged by the fruit your life is producing? If discouraged, what changes would you like to make?
- Ask the Lord to give you godly wisdom to discern truth from error. Spiritual talk is not necessarily the barometer for godly teaching. What is a good litmus test? How does Galatians 5:22-23 help give insight?
- Ask God to help your life produce good fruit, so that your speech, attitude, and character help point others to Jesus.