Summary: A discussion of false prophets and false followers.
"My, What Big Teeth You Have!"
False prophets and false followers
August 28, 2005
Most of us are familiar with the children’s story of Little Red Riding Hood. But let me just re-cap it for everyone.
Little Red Riding Hood was a little girl who decided to pay her sick grandmother a visit.
But a big bad wolf gets there ahead of her, and gets rid of grandma so he can try and eat the little girl.
His plan is to trick Red Riding Hood by getting her close enough to pounce on. So he puts on grandma’s nightgown and cap and pretends to be the grandma.
Everything goes as planned, until Red Riding Hood makes a few astute observations. And the plan begins to unravel.
She looks at the wolf and says, "My, Grandma, what big eyes you have!" And the wolf answers, "All the better to see you with, my dear."
The she says, "My, Grandma, what big ears you have!" "All the better to hear you with, my dear!"
Then the girl says, "My, grandma, what big teeth you have!" At which the wolf replies, "All the better to eat you with, my dear," and lunges for Red Riding Hood. Thankfully, the woodsman comes to her rescue and kills the wolf.
Today, we turn our attention to some more words of warning from Jesus, as we begin to wrap up the Sermon on the Mount.
Here Jesus addresses the issue of false prophets and false followers. And let me tell you, this is just as much of a problem, if not more, today, than maybe ever before.
Why is it such a problem? Because, as we find in these verses, the end result is eternal condemnation for those involved.
This is much more than disagreeing with someone about what Bible version you should or shouldn’t use or about the "correct" way to be baptized.
You blow it here, it has eternal consequences. So you can see that this is extremely important.
So let’s read these words of Jesus from Matthew 7:15-23. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, you can find our passage today on page 685.
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 "Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
I’ve listed three questions that I’d like to address that need to be answered for us to get a grip on what Jesus is addressing, okay?
My hope is that when you leave here today, you’ll be better equipped to spot false prophets and false followers.
But more than that, I hope that our time today will cause you to cling even more closely to the Scriptures, so you can not only come to know Christ better, but you’ll also be able to spot error more quickly and act on it.
What makes a prophet "false?"
Prophecy in Scripture has two main functions:
* "Fore-telling" - predicting future events.
In Scripture we find a lot of this: God is going to do this or that, or something is going to happen that will convince you that God is real. Things like that.
There are many people within the Church of Jesus who feel that this type of prophecy no longer exists, since we now have the complete New Testament, which contains all we need to know about future events, God’s plans for the end of the world and the nature of the kingdom he’s establishing.
I’m not sure I’m ready to say God is done with this yet, because God has chosen to not live in my little box, or anyone else’s for that matter, but I can see their point.
The second function of prophecy is:
* "Forth-telling" - a message from God for other reasons.
Calls to repentance, reminders of God’s care, etc.
I think this is where the majority of modern-day prophecy functions. Basically, the function of the modern-day prophet is to remind people about the Word of God, and of the need to call on Jesus for forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. Or to compel people to give up their lives of selfish sin and live for Christ.