27. Sermon on the Mount 12

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

Introduction
Millions of souls populate the regions of Hell because they refuse to be guided by the truth, but would rather follow error. God has ordained watchmen to direct the lost to the only place of salvation. What if the watchmen have fallen into a snare! The church has now become the den of false teachers, who, as agents of the devil, guide souls into Hell.

Who these false prophets are
These men twist the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). They misuse God’s word to fit into their false notions and doctrines. They never teach others to follow the path of holiness and righteousness, but instead invent easier ways to Heaven. They may use the same theological words as true men of God, but they mean something very different by them. They will speak evil of both the right way and those who walk it. They encourage worldliness, pleasure-seeking, and all kinds of ungodliness. These men are the worst of murderers, for they assassinate lost souls.

The tricks of false prophets
They are careful not to appear to be false prophets. If their true nature was evident very few would follow them. Instead they speak and act as though they are truly men of God, that is, harmless ministers of the gospel of Christ. They deceive the multitudes with an appearance of love and humility. They pretend to be concerned about the social conditions of the world, while they live in luxury. They caution against becoming ensnared by error, yet will never direct the lost to the truth. They are content to have their churches filled with nominal Christians, but will not tolerate a truly faithful follower of Christ. A believer living in holiness unto the Lord is taking religion too far in their eyes. They desire to rend the true sheep into pieces.

How to discern false prophets
It should be understood by now that it is not what they say or how they appear that gives them away. Their spiritual fruit will always unveil the evil inside. There are basically two rules we can apply when determining who the false teachers are.

1. Look at their lives. Do they live holy and godly? Is there any evidence that they have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)? Their activities outside of the church reveal their true nature. The wolf will always associate with other wolves.

2. Look at their followers. It is normal for disciples to follower their leader’s example. If all the church members are living worldly and reject the plain teaching of Scripture, it is certain that their minister is a false prophet.

We cannot expect evil men to produce anything that is good. Wolves may dress like sheep but they retain their true nature. 

Their fruit may appear desirable but it always leaves a bitter taste. The false prophet will only ever produce the fruit of sin and wickedness. If they accidentally produce good fruit, it will not endure. These men are blind guides leading the blind (Matthew 15:14), and “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28).

A word to false prophets
You lock souls out of the Kingdom of God by your teachings and example, and you love to devour those who are striving to enter in (Luke 11:45-52). God will require their blood at your hands.

You deceive others because you have deceived yourselves. You have given yourselves over to strong delusion and the lies of Satan. You may declare yourselves to be the messengers of God, but you neither know Him or the salvation He brings through the blood of His Son.

You will not escape the fires of Hell because of your damnable heresy and example. The tree and its fruit will perish in the bottomless pit. Yet, before the Lord brings this judgement you have time to repent and turn from your wicked ways. Instead of guiding souls to Hell you will then “turn many to righteousness” (Daniel 12:3).

Conclusion
We must be careful about what we hear (and read) if we are to avoid being deceived by false teachers. We should receive nothing until it is fully tested against the authorative word of God. This means that we are to completely reject everything that does not line up with the Scriptures.

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