Matthew 7:16-20
Mat 7:16 (KJB)
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
One way that we will identify them is by their fruits and the fruits are the words and deeds. False teachers had plagued the Apostle Paul and one characteristic that they possessed was that they were very self-centered. The Pharisees and Sadducees were only interested in wealth and social status and they wanted nothing to interfere with their income. (John 11:48 KJV) If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. Grapes are grown on healthy vines which give good fruit. Grapes do not come from thorns, figs, or thistles. Grapes are products of grapevines. The principle Jesus is giving us is that only true teachers or Christians will give the true message of the Gospel. It will not come from the false teachers and preachers because just as all animals reproduce after their kind, so false teaching is produced by false teachers. Truth will never come from a false teacher. (Mat 24:5 KJV) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Then there will be those who will come in the name of Christ and pretend to be true believers by proclaiming that Jesus is God but from then on the teachings will degenerate into false teachings and if you are not careful, you will be snared.
Mat 7:17 (KJB)
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
The principle is thus. Like begets like. (Gen 1:25 KJV) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. As in the animal kingdom, a horse births a horse or a cow births a cow, the good tree or the true Christian brings forth the truth. The false teacher or prophet brings the false message otherwise known as evil fruit. If the tree is strong and healthy, it will bring forth good fruit but if the tree is weak and sickly, it will not bring good fruit and if someone eats the fruit, they may become sick. If someone receives the false teachings and believes them, they will be deceived and face eternal damnation if they do not become saved.
Mat 7:18 (KJB)
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
(James 3:12 KJV) Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. James confirms the very principle that Jesus is giving us and that a good tree, or one who is truly saved, cannot bring forth evil fruit. On the other hand, a corrupt tree, or one that is unsaved, cannot bring forth good fruit. The good tree has the Holy Spirit living within them and their teachings are sourced in the Scriptures given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Mat 7:19 (KJB)
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Everyone who is unsaved and causes people to go astray with false teachings will be judged on the last day and found guilty of their sins and will be cast into hell for eternity. There are false teachers today who appear to be so righteous and yet are false teachers. It does not take long after they open their mouths to realize they are false prophets. When we look at networks like TBN or Inspiration network and their primary focus which is always money, then we know they are false. The heads of both of these networks make millions of dollars rather they steal millions from the naïve sheep.
Mat 7:20 (KJB)
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
(John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. The Holy Spirit will not only teach us and instruct us in the Scriptures but He will also guide us when we are hearing someone preach as to whether they are false prophets or real teachers. (Acts 20:29-30 KJV) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. {30} Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. It is really amazing but normally false religions and teachers always seem to come out of the church and that is why we must pay attention to the gospel being believed by the one sitting next to us in the pews as well as the one preaching. The verse tells us that we “shall” know who they are, not we “may” know who they are. If we study the Scriptures, we will know if we are being edified or deceived. If you lack discernment in this area, turn the radio off and get rid of those music CDs and start studying the Bible. Your eternal destiny is at stake.