Summary: Tonight from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, let’s see what He is going to teach us about false Prophets and teachers.
Jesus Sermon on the Mount Part 20
Beware of False Prophets
Pm Service March 15th 2009
No one likes to be deceived. No one likes being taken advantage of. No one likes being conned!
It does not matter whether it is our personal lives (family & friends), our public lives (work, politics, etc.), or our spiritual lives (religious beliefs).
Because we do not like to be deceived most of us will become knowledgeable of the many situations we may be involved in order that we may know what is going on.
However and unfortunately, this is not as true concerning our spiritual lives. When dealing with religious matters most of us are trusting individuals. We find it easy to trust those who speak on behalf of God. Our thoughts are: Surely, when someone speaks on the behalf of God – They Must Be Telling the Truth!
Remember that a false prophet is, by definition, someone who names the name of the Lord, but is not really speaking from the Lord. He is saying “Thus saith the Lord”, when the Lord has not spoken.
So a false prophet is someone who comes to us as a teacher, a preacher of the Word of God; one of the sheep. Jesus certainly had no need to warn against the preachers of other religions. If we are believers in God and His Christ, we are not likely to listen long to a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or even a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon.
No, Jesus issued this warning to the people because it was the Pharisees and the scribes whom they trusted. They were the ones who knew and taught the Law and the Prophets, and the people expected that they knew what they were talking about. This is what made Jesus so angry, and caused Him to pronounce the woes that He pronounced on the religious elite in chapter 23 of Matthew’s gospel, and recorded also in Luke 11.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering in to go in.” Matt. 23:13
“Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” Luke 11:46
Jesus would not have warned about these things - they would not have angered Him, if no one listened. If everyone recognized these false teachers and hypocrites as harmless fools, then no real harm would result in the lives of the people, and there would be no need for warning. But the people did listen, because they saw these teachers as having authority and supposed that they should give heed to them. In the verse from Matthew 23 that I just read, Jesus is saying to them that they shut off the kingdom of heaven from men.
How do they do that? Well, by not giving them the correct information about how to get to heaven for one...and those that have the right information and are going in, the false teachers actually try to hinder them by leading them astray. Tonight from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, let’s see what He is going to teach us about false Prophets and teachers.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 7:15-20
I. Warning of False Prophets
Vs. 15 “Beware of false Prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
Jesus warns us – Beware of them!
Beware means to “To take heed, guard, watch, keep yourself.”
The word is emphatic – present active imperative verb. Means: You are to do this!
What is a prophet? One who foretells of things to come. A biblical prophet is one sent from God.
What is a false prophet? One who deviates from the truth in a deceptive way to fool the hearers of his message into thinking that God has sent him to deliver to them.
“Who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves”
False prophets Approach us in Two Ways:
Outwardly – Who come to you in sheep’s clothing
Inwardly – they are ravenous wolves.
Outwardly: they come in sheep’s clothing.
False prophets/teachers outwardly appear as all ministers and sheep of God in their profession, behavior, call, position, and message. They come in a deceptive manner. Pretending to be what they are not.
False prophets do not deceive the flock by impersonating sheep but by impersonating the shepherd, who wears sheep’s clothing in the form of his wool garments. Just as the ancient false prophets often wore the [same type] of garments of the true prophets, so false shepherds often disguise themselves as true shepherds