Upside Down Kingdom: Final Warnings | Curtis Hall

August 28, 2022 Speaker: Curtis Hall Series: Upside Down Kingdom: Sermon on the Mount

Topic: Gospel Passage: Matthew 7:15–29

Good morning, Mercy Fellowship. Hope you are all doing well this morning. If you  don’t know me, my name is Curtis, I serve as an elder in training and am honored to be  preaching this morning. We are concluding our series that we gave been in over the Summer  called ‘Upside Down Kingdom,’ looking at the Sermon On The Mount. And this week we will be  in Matthew 7:15-29 if you have a bible you can open up there.  

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are  ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from  thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased  tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good  fruit. 19 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. 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the  one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord,  Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty  works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you  workers of lawlessness.’ 

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who  built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and  beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone  who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his  house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat  against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” - Matthew 7:15-27 

At the end of this Sermon that Jesus has given on what it means to be a follower of His, He  concludes with 3 warnings. A warning on what a true and false prophet it. A warning on what a  true and false disciple is. A warning on what a true and false foundation is.  


Where does this idea of a false prophet come? This idea of a false prophet comes from  the OT. And in the OT, a true prophets role was that they would hear from God and then speak to  the people. It would have something to do with future events, a warning or rebuke about how  they are living. It would also have to do though with proclaiming the future promises and hopes  that God has for His people. 

However, what would take place is that a false prophet would come along, and for selfish  gain would pretend that they had heard from God. These false prophets would only say positive  things, and by so doing everyone loves them everyone gathers around them, their bank account  gets full and their fame expands and grows. But it’s all a lie.  

A clear picture of true and false prophets from the OT is in 1 Kings 22. Here’s the scene: Israel  has been at war for 3 years with Syria and they are wanting to charge ahead. So Ahab, the king of  Israel and Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, get together to come up with a plan. 

Final Warnings 2 

5 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” 6 Then the  king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I  go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will  

give it into the hand of the king.” 7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of  the Lord of whom we may inquire?” 8 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet  one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he  

never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say  so.” 9 Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of  Imlah.”…15 And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to  Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go up and triumph; the  Lord will give it into the hand of the king.” 16 But the king said to him, “How many times shall I  make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 17 And he  said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord  said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” 18 And the king of Israel  said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but  evil?” - 1 Kings 22:5-9,15-18 

False prophets, only proclaim the good, never the bad and therefore never proclaim the truth.  True prophets speak what God has told them to speak, no more no less, period.  So how does this apply to us? Jesus tells us, in our churches their will be false  prophets that arise. They are sheep in wolves clothing. They are going to pretend to be a follower  of Jesus, but inwardly they have an agenda.  

This still happens today in churches. Where pastors get up tell you everything you want to hear.  - Jehovah’s witness/Mormon preachers. JW talk about Jesus as the son of God, but He is  not God Almighty. *(John 1) Mormons believe that Jesus is the first-born child of the Heavenly  

Father & Mother, He has not always existed. Where both these groups fail is that Jesus is not  God and therefore not enough to save, so it’s Jesus + being a part of their religion.  - Prosperity/ healing preachers will say “if you follow Jesus, you will become  healthy, happy and wealthy.” And are not capable of counseling or pastoring anyone who is in  pain or suffering. - Liberal preachers will say “Jesus isn’t the only way.” Or “Hell isn’t real”  Or “Whatever makes you happy, God will bless.” And yet they fail because they have not trusted  God or His word and they are allergic to the word ‘repent.’ 

- Conservative preachers put all of their hope in America and more specifically  who they/you vote for as their savior. They often talk about the second coming of Trump more  than they ever talk about the second coming of Christ. The result of this, is that there is  misplaced hope for the future, so when their god fails to win an election, they become hopeless.  

What they all have in common, is that Jesus is not enough, so they need to pull you away  from Him, and then add to Him.  

True & False prophets are known by their fruit: 

So how do we spot a true or false prophet? Jesus says we will know them by their fruit.  They are known by their fruit, which is another way of saying their way of life. How they  conduct themselves. How they live. 

 *Heresy hunting/being suspicious of everyone

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It’s assuming that we are in community with pastors and preachers and that we are able to  diagnose and navigate whether someone is a true or false prophet by their behavior.  For the true prophet, do they imitate Jesus well? Do they call you to trust in Jesus? Do  they manifest the fruits of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  

For the false prophet are they pulling you away from Jesus? Do they try to add to the  gospel, because Jesus is not enough? Are they openly active in sin with no remorse? Are they  abusive in their leadership?  

In Jesus words, they are wolf in sheep clothing. 

You have the Spirit: You may ask “How can I do this?” If you’re a Christian, you have been  given the Spirit of God, has given you everything you and I need for life and godliness which  means He has given us a spirit of wisdom and discernment, to sense and know in our being if  someone who professes to be a teacher or preacher is false. And ultimately, a prophet will be  

measured by the word of God, which means we need to know it well. 


The second warning that Jesus gives us is the warning of a true & false disciple of His.  

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one  who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord,  Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty  works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you  workers of lawlessness.’ 

The key distinction between the true and false disciple is not what they say, but what they do.  You get that? I understand that it is hard for us as protestants to hear that, we are almost allergic  to the fact that we are called “be doers of the word, and not hearers only..” (James 1:22) But this  is an idea that all the apostles understood. Here’s a few examples for you: 

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice  the truth. - 1 John 1:6 

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that  faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of  you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed  for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. -  James 2:14-17 

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of  God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created  in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. -  Ephesians 2:8-10

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If your salvation and you trusting in Jesus is the root of a tree, your’ activity and how you behave  is the fruit that comes from your belief.  

So how does this apply to us? Jesus is revealing to us that we can know/have some assurance if  we are true disciples or not, by a love for Jesus to know Him and have Him knows us, but also  by our activity in doing the will of the Father. And this is a narrow path with a ditch on either  side. - Only Obedience: If it’s only about obeying Jesus and doing the  right thing and saying the right thing, but there is no love, it’s lifeless, joyless, it’s religion and  not pleasing to God. *Marriage 

- Only love: If it’s only love though, saying how much you love  

God, but you never express it, then it’s not actually love.  

A Window into the Last Day: Listen to me church, Jesus in His kindness towards you and me is  showing us a window into the final day of Judgement and for some of you this is your future.  Some of you will say “Jesus, I went to church, I served in the church, I took communion, I was  baptized, I did all the right things!” Jesus will look at you and say, I never knew you.  

This is a warning for all of us to check our hearts this morning to find out and determine  “Do I know Jesus? Do I love Jesus? Do I seek Him out at all through prayer and the reading of  His word?” 

You might say “Why would I do that?” Do you not recognize what He has done for you?  He created you, has given you breath in your lungs, He’s looked upon your life and said and I  love them so much that I will die for their sin that makes them an enemy against God so that they  may be reconciled back to God, adopted into His family, redeem you and share in this new life in  the Spirit of God that He gives us. And when He goes to the cross He cries out “My God, My  God, why have you forsaken me” So that you would never have to. That judgment that we  deserve, Jesus takes. 

The Worthiness of Jesus: You tell me you don’t believe that, that’s fine, but the ball is in your  court now. You find someone who is more loving than that. More understanding than that. More  forgiving than that; more caring. We believe as followers of Jesus that He is is altogether good  and wonderful and lovely. We don’t just obey Him, we adore Him, we Love Him. And because  of that, He is worthy of all our lives. He is worthy of our obedience. He is worthy of glory,  honor, praise and majesty forever.  

Reflection: When you look at your life, what do you see? Like we already said, If your salvation  and you trusting in Jesus is the root of a tree, your’ activity and how you behave is the fruit that  comes from your belief. Is their fruit? 

Is it a lot of just proclaiming that you believe (all root, no fruit)? Is there a lot of church activity  that you do, but there is no love for God? (rotting fruit, bad root)? I’m not saying there has to be  a lot of fruit or that you’ll be perfect, but there’s something there. And that something, is  evidence of our love and relationship to Jesus. We live differently because of Jesus. 

Final Warnings 5 

Jesus warns of true & false prophets, true and false disciples and finally, true or false foundations 

This is how Jesus concludes all of His teaching that we’ve covered over the summer with this  last section. He’s talked about who is really blessed, how we interact with the law, how our  spiritual practices of praying, tithing and fasting are to be done in private. How we deal with  money, anxiety and worldly treasures. All concluding here.  


24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man  who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew  and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And  everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who  built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and  beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” - Matthew 7:15-27 

Building Foundations Walls: I don’t know if you have ever been around a foundation being  built perhaps on your own home or seeing one built on TV, but there is a ton of energy that goes  into the foundation. I’ve only built a handful during my time in remodeling homes, but lot’s of  engineering and skill in building up the walls, and the reason for it is because of how serious it  is. This is the structure that everything else is being built off! If your foundation is un-level, your  home will be un-level. If the foundation walls aren’t packed tight enough with concrete, the  result is the wall will begin to crack and begin to separate from the rest of the foundation.  

In fact, when Ruth and I were looking at homes before we got the one we are in, we  would look at homes that would have post and pillar foundations. They were used on older  homes but over the years, they settle so badly that some insurance companies won’t even cover  you if that’s your foundation. The reason for that is when you’re walking in the house, you’ll be  in a room, and the floor will begin to slope fairly hard, because the middle of the house is still  level, but the far sections that have the weight of the walls are beginning to sink.  

If the contrast we just looked at was between the true & false disciple was about saying and  doing, this contrast in this section for a true & false foundation is between hearing and doing.  

Two Foundations: And Jesus makes the contrast between foundations that are built on the rock  vs foundations that are built on sand. What is He saying?  

- The foundations on the rock are those people who hear His words and do them!  Everything from the SOTM that Jesus has spoken about what it means to be a part of His  kingdom, if we do those things, Jesus says we’re building a foundation on rock.  

- Consequently, the foundation on the sand is those who hear His words and don’t do  them. These are the people and perhaps some of you, who are here, who hear the words of Jesus  and don’t trust Him, that He really is who He said He is and therefore you don’t build your life  on what He says. The result Jesus says is that you build your house on sand for a foundation. 

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Sandy Foundations: The problem with sandy foundations. It’s not that if you don’t trust Jesus,  you won’t build a foundation. We all build foundations, we all place our trust and build are lives  on something. This is inescapable for all of humanity, the problem is, is your foundation strong  enough to build your’ life on? 

People build their lives off of money, but what happens when you lose most of it? Some  people build their lives on their looks & beauty, but what happens when you begin to age? Some  people build their lives off of their career, but what happens when you lose your job? Some  people build their lives off of relationships, but what happens when that person betrays you or  dies? Some people build their life off of fame, talent, health, and insert whatever you want and  all of it is sinking sand.  

Do you know what’s interesting? When I was studying for this week, the scholars were  saying that to build a correct foundation in Israel, you have to dig deep, but for people who were  unskilled in knowing how to build a foundation, they would build them on the sand, because it  gave an appearance of being solid. However, its’ true colors were shown when the storms came  and the homes collapsed.  

Perhaps you’re here this morning and you would say to me “Curtis, this guy or gal,  they’re different, they wouldn’t betray me or leave me.” “Curtis, you don’t understand. This job,  this career, the amount of money I have in the bank, it’s different, it’ll be fine.” What that sounds  like is you saying “Curtis, I have a lot of sand, and I’ve packed it correctly.” “Curtis, this is really  good sand, it’s different sand than other people have.”  

What is it? It’s not a foundation. They may all be great, God-given gifts and yet they were never  meant to take the place of Jesus in your life as your foundation.  

Devastated lives: If you’ve been alive long enough, you’ve seen this happen to people, where  their lives are devastated, because they’ve built their lives on the wrong thing and the lives  collapse like a train wreck. That’s happened to some of you. Furthermore, there’s some of you  here, who have built your lives on Jesus, and storms came and they hurt, but you were okay; you  made it through the storm.  

*Thorngren story 

Now, hear me clearly, I am not saying that if you build your foundation on Jesus, nothing  bad will ever happen. Jesus does not say that ever! Jesus says storm will come and it’s not a  question of if they come but when they come. They will come against both a strong foundations  and a weak foundations and for the home with the sand, it says the house fell and great was its  fall! But for the house built on the rock, it did not fall.  

Your foundation: What are you building your foundation on? If you’re here in your teens and  20’s looking ahead at your life, build it on Jesus. Know Jesus, love Jesus, serve Jesus in all you  do, and once that foundation is solid, then you can begin to build walls with career and other  ventures. 

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Those in your 30’s and up, check your foundation for cracks and make sure its solid, that  its still depending and resting on Jesus. As the old hymn says “On Christ, the solid rock I stand  and all other ground, relationships, fame, success, career, money is sinking sand.  


28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,  29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. - Matthew  7:28-29 

It was interesting studying this last verse, because most scholars say it’s not just that he had  authority like the scribes of His day, it goes beyond that, to where he didn’t need to piggy-back  off of anyone else’s authority to speak these things. He didn’t come as a prophet who said ‘Thus  says the Lord.’ He comes in His own authority and says ‘Truly, truly I say to you…’ He’s the  creator of you and me, He knows our condition. He’s the King of the kingdom, He knows how it  operates.  

So this morning, we have all fallen prey to false prophets and followed their words on  how to live our lives. We were all at one point the false disciple who didn’t know Jesus. We all  have at one point in our lives put our trust in something that wasn’t Jesus and begin to build up  walls on a weak foundation.  

But let me tell you, Jesus is the true prophet who speaks directly for God as God. Jesus is  the true disciple who fully obeys the law. Because of these things, take all of the weight that you  have from the house you built and place it upon the foundation of Jesus. He alone is the one who  can carry the weight.