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You all must read my title and think “my pastor lost it today.” How can you learn from a false prophet? I did. When I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan as a Marine I found Jesus Christ in a local church. I found God and I repented of all my sins. Like new christians, I dove into the church and listened to what the pastor taught without challenge. But after a period of time, I started to realize that the bishop was picking and choosing what he wanted to preach by manipulating the scriptures to make his point. At first, I thought there was a meaning to the madness, and then I realized shortly after there was not. There was the O/T, the N/T, and bishops testament. I started to fall away from church and my walk with Christ. The same man that help me find him, was turning me away and then I stopped going to church all together and was back in my daily rut.
You may ask what I learned from this man? I learned an important lesson, that the bishop was a man. I could not expect perfection from an imperfect creature that is natural born sinner. Secondly I learned to read the bible and study it. I learned to not just take someone’s word or their interpretation of the scripture as gospel, but to study those same verses and let the Holy Spirit guide me in what God wanted me to know at that time and place. I learned to take the scripture as a whole and try to understand the history of the scripture, why the author wrote the epistles and parables for the audience at that time, and by meditating on that word how it applies to us today. You see, without that “false prophet” I would not be in my current walk with Christ today. You can learn from others, either good or bad. It could be as simple as, “I never want to be like him,” or as deep as what happened to me in making me want to dive into scripture. I bring this personal story of mine to you, because like me, I want you to know what the bible teaches about false prophets. By knowing that they are really here, you will understand the importance of knowing who the are. That way they will not interrupt your walk with Christ buy teaching false doctrine. Lets begin!
“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 in thorns, or figs of thistles. Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
This is a powerful verse of scripture. I want to pull out two words in this passage to give some more clarity to this passage.
Pseudoprophetes: This is Greek for false prophet. Term terminology for the word is one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies.
Karpos: This is Greek for fruits. The term that is defined as something that originates from; your works, actions, or deeds.
I highlight these words to give you a better picture of this passage. False prophets look like us, try to walk in a godly way. But they slowly bring poison into our thoughts by misinterpreting scriptures and do so in an inspired way or charismatic way so people just want to hang on to their words. But pastor how do we identify them? The scripture is very clear on this, by their fruits. How do they work? Are they honest, or do they not have good deeds? No matter how good a wolf is disguised, sooner or later he will fall into his predatory nature, just like the scripture explains. This scripture warns us to carefully watch the actions of those preaching the scriptures. That is how I found out that the bishop was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. By watching his fruits, I found out the truth about him.
1 John 4
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are from God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Pneuma: I want to further define the word spirit for you all. In Greek, the spirit is the rational spirit. the power by which the human being feels, thinks, and decides. This passage can not only be interpreted by just a ghost, but a person’s intentions. During this time, John wrote this because there was a lot of false teachers that were trying to mislead the 1st century Christians by denying, among many things, the true humanity of Jesus. These false teachers were the Gnostics. They believed that they were superior in knowledge of the truth. They made their own interpretations of the scriptures. Many Christians do this very thing today. I just want to speak the truth, because the Christian community sometimes feels superior to non believers or feel that the more scripture they know, the better they are to the people to the left or right of them. Please be careful and keep your thoughts clean. As Christians, we must be humble and fight our natural instincts to do these types of things. When I see this happening , it just reminds me of that bishop. He would always tell people that he knew more then them and manipulate their life . He turned more people away from Jesus Christ then he brought to him.
1 John 4:3
“But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person does not come from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.”
John had to remind his people about Incarnation, fellowship between Jesus and themselves, to love one another, and the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error. He wanted to explain the difference between the teaching of light and the teaching of darkness. Anyone that deny the truth of Jesus Christ does not come from God. How can someone say they come from God, but do not represent Christ by their actions and deeds. This attack on the church is not just something that happened back then, but it is attacked now in a daily basis. Think about all the people trying to lead churches away from what the bible teaches. How many churches teach just moral teachings and barely have any scriptural backing? Everything is feel good and not teaching in dept of the scriptures. They at first slowly walk away from Jesus teachings and become some sort of a community club more than a church. Who do you think does this? It does not come from God. God wants us to read the scriptures and learn the lessons being thought of humanities falling, and redemption. The great I AM did not intent churches to be a club. Jesus himself started whipping people in his father’s church for making a mockery of the church, but today no one stands up and says anything about what’s happening to our churches today. Please, watch out for these kinds of people. Do not let their corrupt words into your mind.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itchy ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”
I want to further define three main words in this scripture to better clarify this passage.
Hugiano: Is Greek for sound doctrine. Metaphorically of Christians whose opinion are free from any mixture of error.
Didaskalos: Teachers in this scriptures sense in Greek is of false teaching among Christians.
Muthos: Is Greek for fables. It is an invention or falsehood. It could also mean a misinterpretation of the scriptures.
Timothy was not only warning about false teachers or prophets, but to not seek them. Many times people do not want to make all the sacrifices that God teaches us. See, nobody said being Christian is easy. You have to make sacrifices of the flesh and your mind. As a Christian you need to think different, act different and work on being spiritually grounded. A lot of people then and now, do not want to hear how much of a sinner they are. They wanted to hear the fluffy, happy go lucky teaching. But if you invite that into your life you will never know how much you need Jesus Christ in your life. It takes being rock bottom and understanding how much of a sinner you are to understand how much you needs God’s grace in your life.
I wanted to explain why these scriptures are important for you today and how the truth back in the days these scriptures were written is relevant today!
First of all we need to all be aware that there are many false prophets in this world. Maybe you have been a false prophet without knowing it. Many people have done it in the past and many will do it in the future. I mean this in a sense that you manipulate a bible verse to win an argument, or maybe pushing a message in the scripture that is really not there. You have to be very careful with this. This is a terrible sin! Maybe you got away with this in the past, but what are the consequences of your actions? I want to leave you to meditate on:
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
The bible is guided by the Spirit of God! To think that someone will misuse scripture or willinging seek a misinterpretation is a horrible thing in the eyes of our God. Martureo is Greek for prophecy. It is to utter honorable testimony, and to give a good and honest report. It does not matter if you are a preacher, or a Christian conducting a bible study. It is of the utmost importance to meditate on the scripture and give an honorable testimony! You may feel tempted to take short cuts, but there are no short cuts to the Kingdom of Heaven. Like what happened to me with the bishop in Okinawa, many people still followed him even though they knew he was teaching falsely because it was what they wanted to hear. Please adhere to John and Matthew when they were teaching their brothers and sisters then, we as a whole Christian faith are going through the same issues today.
Are you staying faithful to the scriptures? If not, this is the time to go home and reflect on the type of Christian you should be, not the one you want to be, or even the one you want people to see you as. Please do not become a wolf in sheep’s clothing!