Summary: How to tell the difference between a false prophet and a man of God.
“Who do You Believe?”
March 28, 2009
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"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. 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?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ Matthew 7:15-23
It was 1970 and shortly after I got out of the army I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I knelt down in my little apartment on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota and I committed my life to the Lord. Jesus gave me a reason to live. He gave me direction. I began to read my bible and pray. I still hadn’t made a decision on going to church yet when the owner of the apartment building I lived in invited me to join him for a bible Study. I felt a little hesitant, but I accepted. That night a group met in someone’s home and sang songs and read Scripture - then they pray. They prayed in a very unusual way. They were making strange sounds and praying in, what I learned later, was tongues.
I wasn’t put off but it or frighten by it – or attracted to it. It was just interesting to me. I didn’t think of it as being bad or good. But God made it clear to me that it wasn’t for me. Confusion and ecstatic utterances didn’t jive with what I was reading in the Bible. There was no doubt in my mind that these people where good God fearing people – but I felt the Spirit leading me away from them.
A short time later God clearly led me to the Nazarene Church. The Church back home definitely had some problems. It was pretty cold and dry and not very evangelistic – but I knew this is where God wanted me. Later I realized that God had placed me here in this denomination because the doctrine is so biblical. I didn’t have to rationalize or stretch the Word. So I joined the Church of the Nazarene, NOT because I believed what THEY believed – but because they believed what “I” believed. I had read the New Testament seven times that summer, and I knew what it said and didn’t say. I found a Bible believing church that stood for those things that I saw in the Bible.
We all will have to make a choice of what we believe and what we don’t believe. Who do we follow and whom do we reject? What is the false and what is the true. It can be pretty confusing. Let’s look at some Scriptures and see what the Word says about false Teachers.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” 2 Timothy 3:1-9
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.