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Beware of false prophets

Rev Enoch Thompson | MARCH 3, 2023 | MATTHEW 7:15-20


"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Matthew 7:15 (NIV)


From the onset of His ministry the Lord Jesus indicated that there would be false prophets, and towards the end of His earthly journey, He indicated again “²⁴ For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if that were possible. ²⁵ See, I have told you ahead of time. (Matt 24:24-25 (NIV). The presence on the religious scene of those who claim to be prophets and are false prophets should not surprise the informed Kingdom citizen. What is important is to identify the false prophets and steer away from them. Our text is helpful because the Lord gave us some insight as to how to identify them.

False prophets are very good pretenders. They present themselves as harmless agents of God, but their intentions and purposes are evil, seeking to take advantage of the Kingdom citizen and to enrich themselves.

How can we identify the false prophets? Over time and by close observation, and some spiritual discernment, the Kingdom citizen should be able to read between the lines; the behaviour of the false prophets will show who they really are. Their character and behaviour, more than their words and any signs and wonders they may produce

¹⁶ By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? ¹⁷ Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. ¹⁸ A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. ¹⁹ Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ²⁰ Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:16-20 (NIV).

Jude helps us further in how to identify the false prophets in Jude 11-13;16-19;

¹¹ Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.¹² These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm — shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted — twice dead. ¹³They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude 16-19

¹⁶ These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. ¹⁷ But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. ¹⁸ They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." ¹⁹ These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. NIV


In an era that is excited about prophets, you need to examine whom you are listening to or following as a prophet. Please pay close attention to the attitudes, words and behaviour of any person in the position of spiritual leadership. Pay close attention to the fact that the display of sexual sins, boastful claims, flamboyance, disrespectful language and extortion of money from people, by supposedly spiritual leaders, are red flags, that you are following a false prophet.

Study your Bible and measure the teachings of these persons to ensure that you do not get caught in the net of these agents of Satan. You may not be following someone who calls themselves a prophet per se, but anyone who assumes spiritual leadership over you must be subjected to the test discussed above. Beware of false prophets, pastors, and self-styled spiritual leaders whose behaviour does not measure up to the Bible or what they rightly teach from the Bible.

Are you a Kingdom leader? Is your lifestyle consistent with your teaching?


Jesus my Prophet, Priest, and King, thank you for the insight into the possibility of coming under the influence of false spiritual leaders. Please help me to have the abundance of your Spirit so that I may discern falsehood in the Church and all around me. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



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