Discussion Starter: Have students pair off. Instruct the first partner from each pair to explain to their partner how to tie a shoe, but to demonstrate it wrongly. They say the right thing, but do the wrong thing. When they’ve finished, tell the second partner from each pair to describe their morning routine, but to mime it wrongly.Ask students, Have you ever known someone who said one thing and did another? (Allow them to tell their stories.)
(As the leader, think of an example or two that you’ve seen.)I knew these two guys in high school. They were brothers. They both said they were Christians, they were both really active in their churches, but the one guy was always trying to have sex with all these girls. The other guy, his brother, was having sex with guys and doing drugs, and stealing.
They both said they were Christians and believed in God, but just because someone says the right things doesn’t mean they do the right things.Bible Study: Read Matthew 7:15-20.
Jesus says to watch out for people who say one thing and do another. Someone might look good and harmless on the outside, but inside they’re ugly and dangerous, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. People look good on the outside and put on a good show of saying and doing the right things, but they’re totally different on the inside.But do you know how to be really good the way God wants us to be good? You get good on the inside first. You ask God to change your heart on the inside and then when God changes you, you’ll be good on the outside too. You won’t just have to act good and put on a show. You won’t just to pretend to be a follower of Jesus. You really will be one. But it has to start with God changing your heart. Being a good person starts inside.
Jesus says that people are like trees, and that it’s really easy to tell a good person from a bad person. He says a good, healthy tree grows good, healthy fruit. A bad tree grows bad fruit. In the same way, a good person does good things, and a bad person does bad things.They might say the right things, but you know whether they’re a good person or not by what they do, not by what they say. If they do good things, consistently (not just once in a while), they probably really are a good person. But if someone has a habit of always doing the wrong thing, they’re probably not that good of a person yet.
Finally, Jesus says that any tree that doesn’t grow good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. It’s worthless. There’s no point in keeping a bad tree if you can’t make it better. You cut it down, get rid of it, so you can plant another, better tree in its place.In the same way, Jesus is saying that those people who only pretend to be good, but aren’t doing good in their life are going to die and be sent to Hell.
Of course, Jesus doesn’t want that to happen. He would much rather have every tree, every person, grow up to be healthy and do the right things, grow good fruit in their lives. But at the same time, He doesn’t have any use for a person who won’t change and who keeps producing bad fruit.So ask yourself, Do you want to be someone who just pretends to be good on the outside, who just says the right things, or do you want Jesus to change you on the inside so that you can actually be a good person for real, from the inside out, and have your actions match your words?