“Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”
As men and women of God, Jesus Christ, we must keep a watchful eye for those who would dare to take advantage of us, or those we love, or the people of God. It is our duty, our charge, our responsibility to make sure that we ourselves and those we have influence over, that we walk as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. That means that we must study the word of God and just as importantly, it means that we must apply that same word to our lives. It means that we must live out the existence that Christ has preserved for us by way of His life, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. While it is a path of abundance and power, it is also a path of difficulty and suffering. It is in this area of difficulty and suffering that we find our weaknesses. It is in this area that we find our willingness to compromise the most excellent way as designed by God for the path of least resistance and momentary ease.
C.H. Spurgeon suggested that wherever the stern demands of true discipleship are taught, there are false prophets who promote the wide gate and the easy way. They water down the truth until “There is not enough left to make soup for a sick grasshopper.”
In Matthew 7 Christ is speaking and He proclaims that these “false prophets” come in wearing sheep’s clothing. In other words, they come in looking good spiritually. They say all the right things. They look and act as you would expect. They have the spiritual look and feel of those who are honoring God and who are looking to bless you. They appear to be someone that you can trust, in the spirit. But Matthew 7 goes on to say that while they might look good on the outside, “inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Christ is saying that their motives are not pure. He is saying that their hearts are not right before God. In fact, their entire relationship with God is in question. While they look good and talk good and look to build up trust with you and those around you, the truth is that they are looking for the opportunity to devour you, to take advantage of you for their own selfish motives.
The obvious question, that Christ quickly answers, is “How do I know when someone is a false teacher?” Matthew 7 suggests that the only way to recognize a false teacher is by the fruit they bear. When we think about the process of bearing fruit, we must understand that plants don’t bear fruit over night. It takes months. And they bear good fruit year after year after year. These fruit bearing plants go through times of storm and intense heat, as well as times of beautiful weather. These fruit bearing plants are given their names by the fruit they bear. A tree that bears oranges is an orange tree. We do not call a tree that bears apples a plum tree. And so it is with teachers. Before you make a decision about whether a teacher is false or real, allow them to go through the process. It is in the difficult moments, the storms and intense heat of life that we all show who we really are. In our moments of suffering and pain, are we willing to apply God’s word to our lives and walk in the path of righteousness that Christ preserved for us?
If we are angry, resentful, un-forgiving, complaining, rebellious and the like, God has not called us to speak into anyone’s life. If we refuse to honor God with our lives, as we quickly tell others “what thus says The Lord”, we are false. False prophets give a false witness about who they are and who God is. They deal in false matters and give false reports. Their words are false. Their ways are false. They give false gifts and have false visions and dreams. They have false burdens and false revelations. BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS! Beware of those masquerading as apostles of Christ. Look for the long term consistent good fruit of a life lived in humility and grace in compliance with God’s holy word. Let our God arise and His enemies be scattered!