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Wednesday, June 22, 2022 Commands of Christ – 24a
A Christian's Relationships: To False Prophets
Last week we looked at Jesus’ command in:
Read Matthew 7:13-14
Matthew 7:13–14 (NLT) “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.
The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.
14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Matthew 7:13–14 (TPT) “Come to God through the narrow gate, because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! 14 The narrow gate and the difficult way leads to eternal life—so few even find it!”
How do the narrow and broad gates and ways relate to false prophets?
I think that looking back at Question 15 we might can find one reason anyway: 15.
Why is it difficult to stay on the narrow road?
There are sad times on the narrow road and false prophets and teachers will tell us:
Where was God when you ...
If God is loving then why ...
There IS no God, certainly not all all powerful and loving God.
Job 2:9–10 (NASB95) Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity?
Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.
Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Because there will ALWAYS be MANY of the devil’s emissaries who will tell us that it doesn’t have to be so hard.
Just compromise here and there and then, pretty soon, you have left the Narrow way and gotten onto the Broad way.
We can START well, but not finish because we listen false prophets with seducing spirits:
On this narrow road it will not get easier, but harder because of the days in which we live.
Jesus said in:
Matthew 24:9–13 (NASB95) “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.
11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
1 Timothy 4:1–3 (NASB95) But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
2 Timothy 4:9–11 (NASB95) Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me.
Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
Craig Keener, writing in his (2009).
The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary: makes the connection in this way:
Most first-century Jewish people believed that they were saved by virtue of descent from Abraham (3:9).
Yet Jesus regards the assumption of salvation as a deception; most of his contemporaries were unsaved (7:13–14).
Those who led them showed by their lives that they were not God’s true representatives (7:15–20); indeed, professing servants of Christ would themselves be banished from God’s presence in the judgment (7:21–23), for only those who truly obeyed Jesus’ teaching would stand (7:24–27).
Matthew intends this part of the discourse not only to challenge his community’s opponents but to prevent his community from becoming like that of those opponents.
The history of the Christian church has been a long and dreary story of controversy with false teachers.
Their value, in the overruling providence of God, is that they have presented the church with a challenge to think out and define truth.
But they have also caused much damage.
Jesus' warning "Watch out for false prophets" (Matthew 7:15) is addressed to us all.
If the church had heeded his warning and applied the tests in this passage, it would not be in the perilous state of theological and moral confusion in which it finds itself today.
Matthew 7:15–20 (NLT) “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.
Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.
18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.
19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.
20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
What kind of inner alarm (if any) alerts you to the fact that a person is a phony?
Why is it significant that Jesus' warning about false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20) comes immediately after his discussion of the narrow and wide gates?
Jesus says that false prophets "come to you in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15)?
What disguises might they wear today (see Matthew 7:21-23)?
So many people today think they are doing a good job of keeping an eye out for false prophets.
And yet, many are sitting in the room with them unaware, serving them coffee and cookies.
“For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”
We read this verse and often think we’re looking for a man dressed in a white robe with long hair proclaiming that he is literally Jesus.
What I believe Jesus was saying was that many would come in His Name (representing Him) and claim “I have the real Christ,” (a better and more acceptable concept of Christ) and deceive many.
In many churches today a false Christ is being preached.
He’s a Christ that overlooks sin, and loves people so much he would never say, “Depart from me.”
He doesn’t want to offend anyone, so he never preaches against sin.
He wants everyone to see him as tolerant and accepting.
He hangs out with sinners and shows them love by participating in their sins.
He would never ask them to do such a thing as to pick up their cross and follow him.
He tells people it’s easy to be a Christian, and very little is expected of them as long as they’ve purchased their ticket to heaven.
He preaches prosperity on earth as well as in heaven.
He says all roads lead to heaven and he’s not the only way.
Choose your own path.
He encourages you to serve yourself instead of him or others.
To many he sounds like an awesome dude.
Who wouldn’t want to jump on board with him?
I’m sure you could probably add to the list of things he probably teaches and preaches.
Because he is a false Christ.
He is not the Jesus I, and many of you have come to know, love, honor, and serve.
Which Jesus do you believe in?
We live in a society who has made Jesus whatever they want Him to be.
They serve their own concept of Jesus, and have been deceived.
Paul was very clear about this in his instruction to the Galatians.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
I take that very seriously, and I certainly don’t want to be cursed.
That’s why I must preach and speak truth.
Souls are valuable to Jesus, and He doesn’t want anyone to be led astray.
The warnings are severe for leaders, and I want to be sure I’m doing what God has called me to do.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” Revelation 19:11-16
I love you!
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