Date written: May 6th, 2007
Scripture ref: Matthew 7:15-20
SUBJECT: Truth, Warning, False Teachers
TITLE: "Beware of False Prophets"
PROPOSITION: What are the dangers of listening to false prophets? 1) Diversion, 2) Division, 3) Damnation.
Objectives: That we would be keenly aware that God expects us to believe and obey the truth and that to be lead astray by false teachers is serious business.
1. Read: Matthew 7:15-20
2. About the Text:
1) We have a warning here from Jesus, "Beware of False Prophets."
2) This warning comes in the midst of Jesus discussion regarding the narrow vs. the wide way.
3) Just as many will enter in at the wide way, so also there will be false prophets try to deceive us out of the way.
4) Jesus says that false prophets come to us in disguised.
5) They are really devouring wolves while they appear to be sheep.
6) Jesus then tells us that we can know these false prophets by their fruit.
7) False prophets generate bad fruit.
3. What was a false prophet?
1) Deuteronomy 18:20 "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die."
2) Moses goes on to say that the prophet that prophecies and the thing he prophecies does not come to pass makes him a false prophet.
3) However, in Deuteronomy 13:3, we read that even if that thing comes to pass, yet the prophet tells them to do wicked things, we still are not to follow after that prophet.
4) So the ultimate test of whether someone is a false prophet is whether he speaks beyond the things that God has written, that is, whether he speaks presumptuously.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
1. One of the dangers of listening to false prophets is diversion.
2. By listening to the false prophet we are diverted off of our right and true course.
3. 1 Timothy 1:5-7 "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
4. 1 Timothy 1:19-20 "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."
5. When is it that a ship ends up wrecking? It is when it has lost its course; when it has been diverted.
6. This is what Satan wants from us, to be diverted.
7. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
8. 1 Timothy 6:20-21 ESV "O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith…."
1. The result of individuals who are diverted from the faith is division.
2. Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 16:17-18) "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."
3. Those who teach contrary to the doctrine which we have learned bring divisions among us.
4. To the church at Corinth the speaking of different doctrines resulted in great divisions among them. Paul wrote, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
5. Consider Paul's warning to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:28-30 "28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
6. False teachers desire to draw people away and divide the church and conquer it through division.
1. Those who teach a different gospel are accursed. Galatians 1:6-9 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
2. 2 Peter 2:1-3 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
3. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
4. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
5. Damnation is a certain result of being or believing false prophets.
1. What are the dangers of listening to a false prophet/teacher?
1) What can we do about this?
2) We need to learn to recognize false prophets.
a. They come in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15-20).
b. They speak smooth words. (2 Timothy 4:3)
3) We need to learn to test false prophets.
a. 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
b. Remember what God told Moses in Deuteronomy 18:20 "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die."
c. Let us not be presumptuous, but test all things said against God's word.