Chapter 35

 

Three Great Dangers

 

“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:39-45)

 

In these seven verses our Lord Jesus Christ gives a very sobering, instructive parable, a parable by which he warns all who have ears to hear of three great dangers. Here are three great, spiritual dangers which we must strive to avoid, lest we perish forever.

  1. The Danger of Following False Prophets.
  2. The Danger of Self-righteousness and Hypocrisy.
  3. The Danger of a Deceived Heart.

By these three great snares, Satan has carried many to hell. Let us not be numbered among them.

 

Following False Prophets

 

First, the Son of God warns us of the great danger of following false prophets (vv. 39-40).

 

“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master” (vv. 39-40).

 

These two verses are to be understood together. They cannot be separated. Our Lord is telling us plainly that those who follow false prophets shall perish with them in hell. If you follow a blind man, you cannot be walking in the light, and both of you will fall into hell. If you follow Christ, if he who is perfect is your Master, you shall at last be made perfect with him.

 

While he walked on the earth, our Lord warned us of the great danger of false prophets and false religion more frequently than anything else. The greatest dangers we face, the greatest dangers our children and grandchildren face in this world are not pimps, pushers and pornography (horrible as those things are). Oh, no. Our greatest dangers are false prophets and false religion. If the vices of the world have slain thousands, the pretended virtues of false religion have slain tens of thousands.

 

This is what our Lord teaches us in these two verses. – If we hear and follow false prophets, we will go to hell with them. If your teacher is in error, you will be in error. If the man who leads you is blind, you are blind. If you follow your blind guide, when he falls into the ditch, so will you.

 

We constantly endeavor to avoid obvious facts. Pretending to be more kind, gracious and loving than God, we try to convince ourselves that men and women may worship at the altar of free will and still believe free grace, that they may follow blind guides, though they themselves see, that they may be involved in the practice of false religion and yet know the true God; but those things simply cannot be. Children of the Light walk in the light. Christ’s sheep will not follow the voice of a stranger (Matthew 7:13-15; 2 Corinthians 11:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1-3).

 

            Christ is the Door. Every other door is the door to destruction. Christ is the Way. Every other way is the way to hell. Christ is the Truth. Everything else is Satan’s lie. Christ is the Life. Everything else is death. Christ is the Altar. Every other altar is idolatry. Christ is the Atonement. Every other attempt to make up with God is a denial of his atonement. Christ is Salvation (Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption). Every thing added to him is damnation.

 

Beware of false prophets who would take you away from the simplicity that is in Christ. If you care for your soul, if you care for the souls of your sons and daughters, beware of following false prophets. If you do, you will follow them to hell (Revelation 18:4).

 

Self-righteousness and Hypocrisy

 

Second, in verses 41 and 42 our Master warns us of the great danger of self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

 

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”

 

Self-righteousness and hypocrisy always go together. It is impossible to have one without the other. Nothing is more natural to man or more obnoxious to God than self-righteousness and hypocrisy (Isaiah 65:3-5).

 

I would rather stand before God Almighty in the day of judgment charged with any crime than the crime of self-righteousness. Self-righteous people justify themselves and condemn others. — Those who are made righteous in Christ condemn themselves and justify others. The self-righteous find splinters in the eyes of others and ignore the two-by-fours in their own eyes. – Those who acknowledge and confess their sins before God struggle constantly with the two-by-fours in their own eyes and are not able to see the splinters in the eyes of others. Self-righteous hypocrites boast of their attainments. – Believing sinners grieve over their failures. Self-righteous hypocrites think themselves strong and superior to others. – God’s saints know themselves weak and inferior to their brethren. Self-righteous people, hypocrites go about to establish righteousness. – Believers look to Christ for righteousness (Romans 10:1-4).

 

A Deceived Heart

 

In verses 43-45 our Lord Jesus warns us of the great danger of a deceived heart.

 

“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

 

It does not matter how good your religion looks on the outside, “the Lord looketh on the heart.” It does not matter how much you impress men, or yourself for that matter, with what you say and do, “the Lord looketh on the heart.” It does not matter how sound your doctrine is, “the Lord looketh on the heart.” It does not matter how precisely you keep the ordinances, “the Lord looketh on the heart.” It does not matter how much money you give, how many chapters you read, how much Scripture you memorize, how much you pray, or how often you attend church, “the Lord looketh on the heart.

 

God wants our hearts. God demands our hearts. The root of the matter is the heart. He says, “My son, give me thine heart.” If the heart is right, the fruit is good, no matter how bad it looks to men. If the heart is evil, the fruit is evil, no matter how good it looks to men. Perhaps the best way for us to understand the meaning of our Lord’s words here is to hear another parable (Luke 18:9-14).

 

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

 

Beware of following false prophets. Beware of self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Beware of a deceived heart. May the God of all grace save us from these three great dangers.

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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