Summary: How to deal with false prophets.
Phonies In The Church
People get too excited about nut cases, which claim to be prophets of God and various other lads/lassies that get into all sorts of scams and jams. Many people lose faith because their hero or favorite alma mater takes a nosedive. First, none of us are exempt from nosedives. We all are feeble and frail and oftentimes fail. The only difference from the big guys and us is that we are not in the spotlight so our failings are kept among a smaller circle and not broadcast by the media. Failings we are to forgive and restore the brother that repents and God forgives. The fallen are not phonies only temporarily defeated. Secondly, we are to keep our eyes on Christ and not men, so if our faith fails with them it is because our faith is misplaced. Fame and power are great blessings, but they are only handled well by a few, so when it gets the best of someone I am not surprised.
It is the false prophets that we will deal with in this message. I am never shocked or surprised by people who claim they turn sticks into snakes and such. I was invited to one of those places once. I told the lad that if they were turning snakes into sticks, I might be interested, but as far as I am concerned, there are more than enough snakes in the world. I t’ain’t fer makin’ more of ’em!
I have heard of hookers and strippers for Jesus. There is that one weird cult that practiced "flirty fishing" where the girls turned tricks to make converts. If the "prospect" did not convert, they would take an offering for their time. Other groups try to turn the Holy Spirit into a sideshow act where He does miracles on demand for the crinkley and not the tinkley money. The "ministers" perform in such a way that most Christians think they are nuts, let alone a lost person. Somehow, that does not fit with Scripture and all things being done in decency and order.
I am not soon shaken when a man or institution I admired goes off the deep end and denies truth or teaches some "new" heresy. Saddened and bummed out as we once said, but not shaken in my own faith. False prophets must not shake us. They were present in the first century, throughout history and predicted for today.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. KJV
We are not to be shaken, but we are to try the spirits. This means to examine and by discernment approve or not approve those spirits. The word spirits does not mean beings like demons or angels though they influence what is said and taught. It is referring to the mind or mindset of the speaker and what mindset those teachings reflect.