True and False Prophets

How can we discern and distinguish between true and false prophets? This will help us tackle characteristics of false prophets which can creep into our lives.

Overview

Matt 7:15-23; Luke 6:43-45; Luke 13:25-30

Discerning “false prophets”

  • Innumerable
  • Indistinguishable externally
  • Inappropriate fruit
  • Invalid Christians

Contrasting true disciples

Examining ourselves

  • Current Trends
  • Dangerous Traits

Objectives

To:

Discern and distinguish between true and false prophets

Understand and tackle dangerous characteristics of false prophets which can creep into our lives

Bible Passage

Matt 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Bible Passage Cont'd

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Introduction

On the heels of Christ’s discussion on broad and narrow way. Jesus describes Christian leaders in the broad and narrow way – true and false prophets. And with leaders will come followers. Discerning these influences is critical to the growth of the church.

Discerning false prophets

They are:

  • Innumerable
  • Indistinguishable externally
  • Inappropriate fruit– no good fruit, bad fruit, deceptive fruit
  • Invalid Christians

Innumerable

Matt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Matt 7:22 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Innumerable

Contrast the “many” here to the “few” going down the narrow road. Imagine if these are leaders how many more followers there would be.

Jesus makes a statement “wherever there is a carcass vultures will gather” Matt 24:28 in a very odd place. It could refer to the false prophets look for Christian “dead meat”.

Indistinguishable

Matt 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Externally:

  • Sheep’s clothing – They look the same
  • Do the same stuff in Christian meetings
  • Speak the same language – smooth, attractive
  • Even appear warm and fuzzy as sheep – harmless

Indistinguishable

Inwardly:

  • Ravenous – insatiable greed for power and position
  • Wolves – ready to sink their teeth on any who opposes them

Some profiles of a “false prophet” and their “followers”

  • The flamboyant crowd pleaser
  • The hardworking “do-gooder”
  • The loudmouthed “busybody”
  • The smartass activity absorber
  • The immovable committee sitter

They flood churches crowding out God’s people and God’s word

Inappropriate Fruit

Matt 7: 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruit.

Inappropriate Fruit

No sign of “good fruit”

Galations 5:22b – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Signs of bad fruit

Gal 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. 

Fake fruit

Matt 13:28 Prophecy, casting out demons, miracles

Invalid Christians

Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

From Jesus,

The saddest words you could ever hear

I never knew you

Contrasting True Disciples

A true disciple or leader on the other hands:

  • Demonstrate the fruit of the spirit.
  • Is constantly renewing their life, getting rid of sin and growing in their relationship with God.
  • Is consistent in words and deeds.

Dangerous trends

Teaching and living external moral values and not truly transformed lives

Believing we are righteous when we are little known by Jesus

Weak connection to God’s power source

Current traits

Popular teachings instead of spirit led messages

Leadership by worldly power and influence as opposed to leaders hand picked by the spirit

Spiritual results evaluated by worldly methods as opposed to unleashing the deep power of God

A lot in the head, a little in the heart.

YET FEW REMAIN TRUE IN ALL SITUATIONS

THESE ARE LEADING A LITTLE SEEN BUT POWERFUL GLOBAL REVOLUTION FOR CHRIST

Discussion

1.What subtle qualities of a false prophet do we need to eliminate in our lives?

2.What are the dangerous trends we see around us affecting us? Our families?

3.How can we protect ourselves, our near ones and church from this menace?

4.How can we go all out to be on the side of the Good Shepherd?

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