GUARD YOUR SOUL AGAINST THE DESTRUCTIVE DECEPTION OF FALSE TEACHERS BY CHECKING THEIR FRUIT
I. WHO ARE THESE FALSE TEACHERS?
A. Characteristics of a Genuine Prophet:
1. Commissioned by God vs. Self-appointed
How does our emphasis on seminary education, candidating, volunteerism, etc. lend itself to danger of self-appointment?
2. Communicates whole counsel of God vs. subtle error
(truth mixed with a little error, or the truth minus some important truths, etc.)
tells people what they like to hear; tickles the ears;
offers a message of false comfort and assurance when confrontation and conviction are appropriate
B. OT Background Regarding False Prophets:
Deut. 13:1-5; Ezek. 8:1-15
C. They take the Initiative to Assume Positions of Doctrinal
Influence within the context of the Church
D. They Appear Genuine But are Actually Deceptive and Destructive
II. HOW DO WE RECOGNIZE THEM? BY THEIR FRUIT (:16, 20 bookends)
A. Check Out Their Doctrine
what they leave out might be more important than what they say
(cf. Lloyd-Jones Sermon on the Mount)
B. Check Out Their Character and Conduct -- Their Life
Calvin: "Nothing is more difficult than to counterfeit virtue"
C. Check Out Their Product -- Their disciples
cf. Paul to the Corinthians: "you are my letter of commendation"
Are they producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of their disciples and in their local church context?
IV. HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO THEM
A. Protect Yourself and Others From Their Influence -- "Beware"
lit. "hold (yourselves, others) away from"
be prepared for their attempts and be on guard
B. Don't Eat Their Fruit
(cf. rationalizations regarding attending poor seminaries, etc.)
C. Don't Envy Their Success Because You Know Their End (:19)