Beware of false prophets? Do we have false prophets? Oh, yes, we do, and they multiply daily. They may not appear to represent what we would call a prophet, but prophesying false information is their main line of communication.
In our world, the media, politicians, and many in the medical field have perfected the art of false prophecy. It’s grown so much that truth is difficult, if not impossible to find, apart from God alone.
While false prophecy is prevalent in our culture, it, unfortunately, is also present in the church. We are to be fruit inspectors—not only of our leaders but of ourselves. Are those who are declaring the truth, living it? Are the fruits of the Spirit flourishing in their lives? Are they flourishing in ours?
Here is the warning Jesus spoke.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:15-20
It is easy to speak a convincing message, but does it align with the Word of God? Do our lives align with the words we speak? One can work mighty miracles and speak powerful prophecy and yet not be the true prophet or leader God wants us to follow.
Ezekiel 13:1-8 speaks of false prophets in Israel and God’s perspective of them.
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ ”
3 Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts. 5 You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord. 6 They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. 7 Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.”
I encourage you to read this entire chapter.
Oftentimes, in our day of the ‘grace’ message, when someone is pointing out the need to follow God’s word, he is often accused of teaching the law or being legalistic. But Jesus repeatedly pointed out:
1. Saving faith not only trusts in Christ’s atoning work but also follows His teaching.
2. The saved not only believe in God’s promises but also obey His commands.
3. Saving faith abounds in good works born out of a heart fully dedicated to Him.
4. This kind of faith enables its possessor to endure trials, resist the devil and overcome the world (1 John 5:4)
5. None walk the narrow way except those who make God’s instructions their chief aim.
Hence, we see why a vast majority of our fellow professing Christians will likely fail to reach heaven because they prefer sin to holiness. They would rather indulge themselves in worldliness than walk according to God’s word. They are unwilling to destroy their idols, turn their back on the world and submit themselves to Christ as Lord.
Psalm 1 counsels us not to heed the words of the ungodly:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
When Joshua took over the leadership role to lead Israel into the Promised Land, God gave him this counsel:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8
This word still stands today. Meditate on God’s word—speak it over and over to yourself and let it guide your walk in truth. Your discernment when others speak will be heightened because you will have the truthfully established in your heart.
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:3
May we enter this new year with greater knowledge of the truth and be ones who will lead others in the way of the King.