Beware of False Prophets

Matthew 7:13-24 Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.

When the Bible speaks of sheep, it generally refers to God’s people. “Come to you in sheep’s clothing” means that false prophets will come as ministers of God. In today’s terminology, they would be called preachers of the gospel.
How can these false prophets be detected? Jesus said we can know them by their fruits, or their actions. If they call on the name of the Lord but do not do His will, they are false prophets.
Many people will follow the teachings of these false prophets, sincerely believing that they have a place in heaven, but they will be terribly deceived. Jesus will call them “workers of iniquity” even though they thought they had done wonderful works in his name.
Whoever hears Jesus’ sayings and does them is a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Where do we find the sayings of Jesus? In the Word of God.

II Corinthians 11:13-15 For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

The apostle Paul warns the church about false prophets. They pretend to be apostles of Christ, but Paul calls them “deceitful workers.”

II Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers will go forward to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

The apostle Paul warns that evil men and seducers will deceive and will be deceived. Even if they were deceived and sincerely believe what they were teaching, even if they did not realize their error, they would still be wrong. We should not hate them or wish them ill, but we certainly should not follow them.

II Timothy 3:1-7 Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand. For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these. For of these are those who creep into houses and lead captive silly women loaded with sins, led away with different kinds of lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the full knowledge of the truth.

The days we are living in are perilous to our spiritual walk. Some people have a form of godliness (they belong to some kind of religion), but they will “deny the power” of God to work in man’s life today. They may get involved in theological discussions and possess an incredible amount of knowledge about the Bible, but they never come to the simple knowledge of salvation.

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Jesus compares some Pharisees to blind men. We can use the same comparison to the false prophets of our time. No matter how much the people following them believe in their teachings, they are all going to fall in the same ditch.

Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that you so soon are being moved away from Him who called you into the grace of Christ, to another gospel, which is not another, but some are troubling you, and desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven preach a gospel to you beside what we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, and now I say again, If anyone preaches a gospel to you beside what you have received, let him be accursed. For now do I persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. And, brothers, I make known to you the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it except by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Even in the apostles’ day, some people were trying to change (pervert) the gospel. Paul emphasized that if a man, or even an angel from heaven, preaches any other gospel than that which the apostles preached, he is accursed. False prophets will arise in our day, preach a message different from what the apostles preached, and bring upon themselves the curse of God.

Colossians 2:8-9 Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

We must beware of philosophies and traditions of men. If we allow ourselves to believe something a man says instead of what the Word of God says, that we are “spoiled.” The word “spoil” here has the connotation of being defeated or robbed, as in “the spoils of war.” In a sense it means that we could have our salvation stolen from us because we believed men’s philosophies instead of the Bible.

Romans 3:4 Let it not be! But let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, “That You might be justified in Your sayings, and will overcome when You are judged.”

If a man says something that disagrees with the Bible, then the man is wrong and the Bible is right.

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