Jesus teaching

A Call to Authentic Faith: Understanding Matthew 21:31

Matt. 21:31  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.


I grew up in a nuanced church culture within which you were likely to hear preaching against almost anything that moved.

As I matured in Christ, I began to grasp principles and truths in God’s Word that were far superior to the occasional superfluous preaching I would hear from time to time.

Example: Instead of seeing surface level behaviors and assuming the worst about people, I would read where Jesus told the Pharisees that the publicans, harlots, and sinners would enter the kingdom before them.

Then I began to realize that the ROOT is far more important to address than the FRUIT because man made religion is REAL good at faking fruit to cover up bad roots.

Evidence then started surfacing to me that many in church today fake spiritual gifts and giftings or assume them whether they have them or not… all to emphasize the alleged gifts of the Spirit while simultaneously ignoring the glaring rebuke of their own lack of the FRUIT of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.).

I then understood what Jesus was saying when comparing some “religious” people with “sinners” so called by the religious.

That said, I have learned to look beneath the surface and not allow myself to be so easily convinced of someone’s claims of my need to listen to them simply because they are gifted.

I want to know more. I want to see more.

So you can preach. But can you love? You can sing on stage, but can you sit with the broken and weep with them when they weep? You can talk in tongues, but can you hear and speak plainly to someone needing understanding and grace on their level in a way they can understand and be helped? You can talk and give orders, but can you listen and receive instruction and learning? You can lead, but can you follow?

You get the point I hope.

All that to say, let’s stay focused on the root and the fruit will take care of itself, because anyone can fake fruit, but you can’t fake real roots!!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill

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