A TREE AND ITS FRUIT
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15, 15.
False prophets abound today as much as they did in Jesus’ day. What is a false prophet?
A prophets is a person who hears from God and speaks for God.
“I did send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” Jeremiah 23:21, 22.
False prophets are those who put words in God’s mouth to get their own way. This is even more despicable than lying because they use God as the mouthpiece for their lies.
“’Therefore,’ declares the Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,’ declares the Lord, ‘I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ declares the Lord. ‘They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, and yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,’ declares the Lord.”” Jeremiah 23:30-32.
There are many so-called prophets who stand in places of authority to speak for God but they do not speak according to the word of God. Let me give you a few examples.
- Preachers who tell you that God wants you well and wealthy. If this is true to the Scriptures, why are so many believers not healed and poor? I know this is a big subject, but here are a few pointers from the Scriptures.
- We live in a world where sin has entered to cause sickness and death. This will not change until Jesus returns to renew all things.
- Believers are not immune from sickness and death. We will all die unless Jesus returns to take us.
- Jesus did not heal everyone – healing was a sign that God’s kingdom had come but not fully.
- Ill health is often because of a person’s lifestyle or emotional state. Unless he chooses to repent and live differently, he will remain ill.
- Wealth is not always a sign of God’s blessing. Many preachers become wealthy by milking their followers with lies. They live in luxury while people around the world are starving and need the gospel. Missionaries and Christian workers are crying out for money while some live in multi-million-dollar houses, drive the best cars and wear designer clothing claiming that they are enjoying the blessing of God.
- The Apostle Paul did not view wealth as a sign of God’s blessing but rather as a terrible temptation:
“If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree with the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he knows nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
This teaching contradicts what Jesus said about suffering and about taking up the cross and following Him.
- False prophets get people to follow them, not Jesus. They say that their teaching is right and everyone else’s is wrong. They cut people off from fellowship with believers outside their group and threaten them if they want to leave. There is no salvation outside of their church.
- False prophets are often dictators. They rule people with fear and do not allow them to make their own decisions. They are accountable to no one, not even their church leaders. What they say goes.
How do we know who the false prophets are? Jesus said, “Look at their fruit.”
The fruit of the false prophet’s ministry in his people is fear, insecurity, hopelessness and increasing slavery to a man.
The fruit of a true prophet is increasing love, joy and peace in his own life and the lives of those to whom he ministers, freedom to follow Jesus and unity in the body of Christ.
Jesus said we must check their fruit before we believe what they say.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
Watch this space. My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, will soon be on the bookshelves.