#0059 Watch out for preachers condemning gays. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Links relevant to today’s posting…

Scriptures relevant to today’s posting…

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 thorn bushes, 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

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

Matt. 7:15-29 (NIV)

This Scripture in Matthew addresses much of what we’ve been discussing these past several months. Here Jesus is telling his followers to watch out for false prophets and false disciples and is admonishing them to build their houses upon the rock rather than the sand. In as much as He’s telling those within the sound of His voice these things, He is telling us. To begin with I want to refer back to the last post and contrast this scripture against the ones Kevin Swanson and Rick Scarborough used and the reasons they chose those scriptures. It’s the reasons behind their words that tell us about the true essence of these two religious teachers (as well as many others like them). In verse 15 Jesus says that false prophets (like Swanson and Scarborough) will come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves; deciphering this imagery, it is the image of Jesus guys like Swanson and Scarborough are using to clothe or cloak themselves with in order to deceive their congregations. They utilize the Bible and Jesus, Himself as a way to gain the upper hand of religious authority; and once they have this upper hand, they feel at liberty to say pretty much anything they like in order to advance their own agendas. Jesus advises us to not take guys like this and the things they say at face value; but to use our sense of discernment to taste the fruits of what they are saying and why they are saying it. Just as I mentioned in my last posting; look at their body language and their physical demeanor. They exude anger and judgment—not love and acceptance. In Jesus’s day He drew people to Him using His non-threatening body language and His peace-filled demeanor and His sermons were couched in this demeanor.

In verse 17 He councils us that every good tree bears good fruit. Again, let us remember that this is Jesus talking and it seems as though He’s implying that a tree of right-thinking or right ideals will bear good fruit, that is, it will bring about a good result; so you judge the essence of the person (or group) by their fruits not the other way around. Don’t those who support the gays, rather than condemn them, fall into a group that can easily be labeled as peacemakers? Wouldn’t people in this group tend to entertain a much bigger and broader vision of world community—one which, not only tolerates people of color, LBGTs, Muslims, et al—but embraces and cherishes them? In verse 19 Jesus proclaims:  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say how this will occur; He just says that it will happen and in verse 20 He restates: Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Again, Jesus is recommending that we look to the fruit to find the measure or the value of a man, not to his credentials or his supposed authority. A few weeks ago I used another of Jesus’s parables which teaches us a similar lesson—The Parable of the Two Sons…

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

In today’s link we see the Republicans turning on each other as the primary elections are getting close. Jeb Bush donors are jumping ship and scurrying to find a different, more viable candidate. Meanwhile the two frontrunners, Trump and Cruz, are polarizing big-time and they’re out for blood.

The Republican race for the presidency this year is turning out to be a kind of baseball game; but it’s a baseball game where everybody’s got a bat. And there’s no pitcher and there’s no ball and there’s no bases and there’re no gloves to catch a ball with because why would you need to? It’s just people with baseball bats out in a field enclosed in a fence, swinging at each other. Last one standing wins?!

Rachael Maddow (click link 18:07)

The Republican Party at this point in history reminds me of the foolish builder who built his house on sand. The conservatists are always quoting scriptures and claiming that God is in their corner; and yet… 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.”  

TBC: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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