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Summary: Continuing to work through Matthew 24. This message discusses Jesus’ warnings about false prophets and false Christs.

False Prophets & False Christs

Matthew 24:23-24; 1 John 4:1-6

April 19, 2009

General Intro:

I’m going a bit out of sequence regarding the Scripture passages we’re going to be looking at the next few weeks.

As we work through the gospel according to Matthew, I’ve been going from section to section, the way they’re laid out here in the Bible, which would mean that we should be looking at verses 15-22.

But as I mentioned before Easter, this is a very hard passage, and there are so many different interpretations of portions of it, even among conservative commentators, that I want to take some more time to be able sift through it and give you something useful.

We will be touching on the passage, eventually. I’m not going to ignore it simply because it’s tough to wrestle with.

It’s good to wrestle with tough passages, because then you don’t take anything for granted, and you’re not likely to just swallow something just because it’s the first thing you read about it.

But for now, we’re going to move on to another section of this chapter, okay?

The guy on the screen is Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda. He lives in Florida and claims to be the second coming of Jesus.

He also claims to be the anti-Christ, and has “666” tattooed on himself.

People are flocking to him and are part of his church in 24 countries.

They give their lives, their money, and anything else they can give, and many are even having “666” tattooed on themselves to match his because they believe he is Jesus returned.

But he is a false Christ. Jesus warned us about such people, and we’re going to talk about them and false prophets today.

God: The section of this chapter that we’re beginning to look at contains a ton of stuff that we need to look at and understand.

And unlike the issues of the abomination and the tribulation, these are things that are a bit more black and white, and the great thing is, the different interpretations of these other things don’t affect what we can learn from these verses.

In other words, understanding and applying these verses here don’t hinge on having everything completely figured out in the previous verses.

We’re also going to be looking at another passage of Scripture that dovetails nicely with this one.

First, we look at Matthew 24:23-24 (p. 701) –

23 “At that time if anyone says to you, ’Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ’There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”

False Christs and false prophets have been around since the time of the New Testament and are still around now. They’re nothing new.

They’re sneaky – they don’t won’t wear signs that say, “I’m a false prophet – don’t listen to me!” Or, “Hey – I’m claiming to be Jesus returned, but I’m not really Him, so you can just ignore me!”

They’re usually smarter than that. They can look good, smell good, talk good, and can hide the lies very well.

They often hide their lies in a cloak of truth. In other words, they’ll say enough true things, or things that seem true on the outside to get credibility for the rest of what they want to give.

For instance, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus died. But they deny that He was God. They quote Scripture left and right, but they have a ton of false teachings that if followed, will lead a person straight to hell.

Another example is what I call the “angel cult” that was real popular a few years ago, maybe it still is today.

Angels are biblical. They’re mentioned throughout Scripture. They’re very real – as real as you and I.

But where does Scripture say we’re supposed to pray to angels, or worship angels, or believe that we have the authority to order them around? No where.

And yet, a lot of people around the world, looking for hope in a desperate world are being told that angels will take care of it all, if they’ll only trust in them, or wear a certain angel charm, or pray to a

certain angel or certain kind of angel.

These people seem to forget that we’re supposed to pray to God and God only. Not to angels, not to saints, not anybody. God calls that idolatry and He hates it.

My point here is to show that false prophets disguise their lies by cloaking them with just enough “truth” to pass a quick inspection. They are very sneaky.

You wouldn’t believe how slick some of these people are.

The website of the guy I talked about in the beginning is really well done, and a person who isn’t real familiar with the Jesus of the Scriptures could be taken in easily.

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