Summary: Message from the sermon on the mount on how to figure out what a false prophet is.
Title: False Prophets
Theme: To show the importance of recognizing false prophets.
Text: Matthew 7:15-20
We read this morning how David brought the ark back into Israel. Into the city of David which is Zion. Yet it would be another 40 years, during the reign of Solomon, that God would bring it into the temple. As we know David could not build the temple but prepared it to be built by Solomon.
Let us read here and see what happened. 2 Chronicles 5:1-14.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20 AV)
I believe that the teaching on false prophets is very strategically placed after the teaching on the ‘broad and narrow way’. The reason so many people fall into this broad way is because of the teaching of false prophets.
Yet false prophets are not new to the new testament age. We trace their origin all the way back to the early Old Testament writings. It seems as long as God was telling people the right way there have always been men and women trying to convince us that there is a better, easier and greater way. As God put a desire in mans heart to worship man created the desire to worship something other than the creator.
As Jesus taught on this subject of false prophets the Israelites would reflect on the many false prophets that infested the Jewish religion.
In the Old Testament we see many false prophets although the word is not actually used. These were men or women who would lead Israel in the false direction, away from the worship of the Lord. Elijah faced 800 of them on Mt. Carmel.
Today’s False prophets
Then we see today’s false prophets. Such as Jim Jones who led 900 people to a mass suicide in Guyana. Or David Koresh, over 80 Branch Davidians killed. Or Heaven’s gate, 39 members committed mass suicide led by Marshal Applewhite looking to ride on the Hale-bop comet comet.
Yet I believe these are not the ones who do the most damage. These have blatant errors in their theology that would cause any normal person not to follow. It is those who try to ride the teachings of Christianity and add to it other teachings contrary to what Christ taught.
Vance Harver has said, “More harm has been done to the church by the termites on the inside than by wood peckers on the outside!”
In other words, “More harm is done to the Christian church from within than by persecution from without”.
Zephaniah wrote of false prophets in Israel, “Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons”. Zeph. 3:3-4
My wife and I were discussing this the other day. As we prepared to send a cloth to her sister in law, a hard shell Baptist, we knew that we had to chose our words carefully in our explanation of what was transpired. For many have used this Biblical method as a way of material gain. It has caused healing as well as Pentecostalism to come under great scrutiny in the non-Pentecostal church.
It is so important that we learn to recognize the false prophets in the church. It is so important that we “call a spade, a spade”. When we see false doctrines being taught we need to challenge that doctrine. Not walk around with our hands in our pocket and say, “no harm”. False teaching is false teachings and false prophets are as the word says false prophets.
I believe it is just as wrong for people to receive and pacify a false prophet as it is for a person to purport false doctrine. Paul told the church that it was just as bad to sit around and say nothing about the sin in the church as it was for that person to commit sin.
We need to learn to recognize this in the church. Especially in the last days where there is every kind of wind and doctrine. There are so many religions today. So many “ways to God”. In the religious world hardly nothing surprises me.
Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 AV)