Identifying False Prophets – (Part 2)
Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
As we continue this article from Part 1, please remember that Jesus said that a false prophet / teacher will look like a Christian but however you will be able to recognize a false prophet by the fruits they bear.
Don’t be deceived, a false prophet will do good things such as give to charity, help the poor etc – however – the basis upon how you recognize a false prophet is upon the word of God and whether what they teach exalts and glorifies God and NOT themselves and their “radical” teachings which appear to be godly but rather they have been distorted. Remember that even the Satan himself quoted the Bible in order to get Jesus to sin when he was tempting Jesus while He was fasting.
Matthew 7:15-16 NKJV
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
Their fruits refers to their lifestyle, their character, their attitude about God & His word, and the negative effects their false doctrine has on their followers.
Therefore to recognize a false prophet / teacher, you need to look out for the following:
- THEY PREACH FOR MONEY & MATERIALISM – There is nothing wrong at all with having money or possessions. Also there is nothing wrong with preaching about prosperity – God indeed wants us to be prosperous. However, the problem is that false prophets / teacher focus MOSTLY on money and materialism MORE than any other issue. Also no matter what subject or topic they preach about, it will always end up about money and materialism. Prosperity is NOT only linked to having money or materials. In Genesis 39:2 Joseph was a prosperous or successful man – yet he was a slave of a Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2-3 – The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand). Joseph was prosperous and successful even as a slave in an Egyptians house. Even the Egyptian master – though he had material wealth, noticed and realized that God was with Joseph – even though physically as a slave – Joseph owned nothing or very little of material wealth. Jesus taught that we should beware of covetousness and materialism but rather seeking God’s righteousness and God’s ways is more important than seeking after material wealth and that material wealth only lasts for as as long as we are alive. Luke 12:15 (And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.). As a Christian you are made to feel that if you are not wealthy, if you do not have certain material possessions, then God is somehow not with you and that perhaps you are not praying correctly or that your sins are preventing you from acquiring enormous money. However Jesus taught that we should focus on laying our treasure in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and that our focus should be on God’s provision which He give as the right time. (Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.) and (Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also)
- THEY SHOW ARROGANCE, PRIDE & REJECT THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST – Let’s be clear, please don’t be deceived – a false prophet / teacher will talk about Jesus; they will mention Jesus’ name as they teach – but it DOES NOT mean that they are genuine and not false. (Jesus said : “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.- Matthew 7:21 NKJV) and that on the day of judgement, Jesus will totally reject some false prophets / people who have claimed to have prophesied and cast out demons in His name (Matthew 7:22,23).
- THEY ADOPT A CELEBRITY LIFESTYLE – False prophets / teachers however do not operate in Godly authority nor do they speak for God. They will take on more of a celebrity status or lifestyle where because of fame, they expect to be adored and “worshipped” by people. They would rather draw people to themselves and their doctrine – rather than to point people towards Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was a prophet who prepared the way for the coming of Christ – and as Jesus became more popular, John’s disciples questioned him as to why Jesus was suddenly becoming more popular than John himself. John in humility said to his own disciples that his job as a prophet was to point people to Jesus and that he (John) must decrease, while Jesus increases (John 3:30 NKJV – He must increase, but I must decrease.). John the Baptist as a prophet of the Lord was not interested in drawing people to himself and to his doctrine, but rather he was more interested that the name of Jesus be magnified and glorified above himself by speaking the unadulterated word of God.
- THEY SELDOM TEACH / PREACH AGAINST SIN – False prophets / teachers seldom preach about having a good and godly character in Christ Jesus. They will focus on subjects that are “politically correct” and subjects or issues that do not “provoke” or “offend” people or their followers. In some churches today, homosexuality, promiscuous sex, abortion and all sorts of sin is now subtly tolerated, accepted and ignored and never preached about. Jesus was not afraid to confront the issue of sin – even if it meant that people were going to dislike Him or even kill Him. God does not tolerate sin – which is why Jesus died for us. God wants us to take Jesus’ example in teaching regarding the issue of sin and living a godly life and not be afraid of the worldly / sinful opinions of others. (2 Timothy 3:12-15 NKJV – Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.)
However, false prophets / teachers will for example make you believe that somehow God is not with you, or God has left you, or that there is something wrong with you if you have not acquired or if you are not seeking after various sums of money or materials. Rather than helping you to seek after God – a false prophet / teacher will put MORE EMPHASIS that you should seek after money and material wealth. Jesus taught the following “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
TODAY. Remember that it is important for you have a personal relationship with God, and for you to know God’s word and allow the Spirit of God to reveal and teach you through God’s word.