Command Of Christ #20

Hello! It is interesting how God can bring things into your life at the exact moment that you need to hear it. I have heard from many of you that the week's command directly related to something in your life that week. Isn't God good, He is so creative!
This week's command is 'Beware of False Prophets.' The warnings throughout Scripture are far and wide about the destructiveness of false prophets and teachers. Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit" (Matthew 7:15-16). Because these false prophets come in sheep's clothing, they are often hard to detect at first. They have a 'form of godliness' but deny the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5)...they may sound good, but inwardly they do not know God. God spoke of the true condition of these false prophets, "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hand of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness..." (Jeremiah 23:14).
So in a day where we don't exactly have 'prophets', how can we be alert to false teachers? Now when I speak of false teachers, I mean those who are opposed to the ways of God and deliberately fight against the Word of God. What I don't mean by false teachers, are Christians who either by ignorance or fault misinterpret the Word. We should deal with false teachers differently than we deal with Christian teachers who have missed the mark.  Today we are talking about false teachers, which can give us insight into false teachings as well.
Characteristics of false teachers/prophets:
1) They produce poor fruit. Do they have the fruits of the Spirit in their lives? Or are their lives characterized by continual sin, such as greed, lust, pride, etc? Do they lead people to righteousness or do they cause sinners to be content in their present state?
2) They do not proclaim Jesus: "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (I John 4:3).
3) They oppose the Truth: "Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart" (Jeremiah 14:14).  A teacher of God will be dedicated to speaking the truth according to the Word of God.
4) They despise authority: "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities" (Jude 8).
There have been many false prophets throughout the history of time, especially those who claim to know when the world will come to an end.  Some prophesied that we would be taken over by aliens, that a flood like in the days of Noah would come, or that a great meteor would destroy the earth...all of which have not come to pass obviously. These are somewhat amusing, but according to God's Word, only God the Father knows the time, and so those who claim to know the date have been proclaiming a lie.
We often want to put all the blame on these false teachers for turning away God's people, but in reality we have to take a good look at ourselves. While false teachers will definitely come into condemnation, we as Christians are responsible to stand in the faith and not get tossed about with every wind of doctrine.  How well do we know God's Word? How much time do we spend in God's Word so that we can actually discern what is the truth?
-Are you diligently studying the Word of God?
-Have you tested every teaching against the Word?
-Have you asked the Lord to protect you from being led away by false doctrines?
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

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