Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Character of a False Prophet by John House

Mt 23:37; 24:4:14;Ezekiel 13,14..

1. Just as there have always been religions, there have also always been false prophets.
2. Thwarting the works of God is Satan’s delight.
3. In addition to that, human beings are easily persuaded to become false prophets.
(1) Many really desire to be real prophets.
(2) They think they can do it on their own.
(3) It’s surprising how many people think they can use some magic word, or in some way force God to do their bidding.
(4) Steve Martin played the lead as a tent revivalist in a movie some time ago. He performed fake healings. When he was faced with a person really being healed, he quit preaching. He could not measure up to the real thing! That’s always true. The false fades away when faced with the true!
4. In the text we read, Jesus warned us that false prophets were coming. He also said that they would proliferate as time went on.
5. But false prophets were not new. They go back to Genesis 3. Satan told Eve that they would be like gods when they ate the forbidden fruit! That was a false prophecy, and it did not happen! Instead of being like gods, Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Garden of Eden!

I. Let’s look at some other O.T. false prophets.

I. When Moses stood before Pharoah, Pharoah had his own prophets to face Moses.
2. When the Children of Israel were in the desert, and King Balak called on Balaam to curse them. Balaam did as God told him, but later Balaam taught king Balak how to persuade Israel to sin. That is being a false prophet, too.
3. When God caused a drought in the land of Israel, Ahab tried to find Elijah to kill him. When Elijah was sent by God to face Ahab, Ahab had 850 false prophets with him.
4. Some of the most poignant accounts of a prophet being mistreated are found in Jeremiah. The false prophets were popular with the people, and they told Jeremiah to leave. He continued to prophesy. They beat him and put him in prison. Later they threw him into a cistern full of mud where he stayed an ethiopian eunuch persuaded King Zedikiah to get him out.
5. Ezekiel 13 and 14 talk about false prophets. It will be good for you to read it for yourself.

II. How do you recognize a false prophet?

1. First ask yourself why they are prophesying.
(1) Some prophesy for personal gain. Many of those in the Old Testament were sycophants, “Yes” men, the personal pets of the kings.
(2) When Billy Graham was asked how to tell a false radio/tv preacher from the real, he told the reporter to ask, ”Do they ask for money?”
2. Second, does what they say really honor Christ?
(1) God does not give prophecies that dishonor His Son.
(2) Neither does He give prophecies that contradict the direct teaching of the Bible!
3. Third, are the miracles they perform real?
(1) The pastor of Wynn Baptist Church in Arkansas was handing out tracts in Little Rock’s poorest section. It was a requirement for one of his college courses, and of course, was good training. While he was there, a man dressed in a white suit came along. He handed out tent revival invitations to
rummies, and with each invitation, he told them he would give them $5.00 if they came to the service that night and got healed! Of couse, there was nothing physically wrong with them. My friend realized it was a scam to get Christians to attend and give their money, and he did achieve fame.
(2) There are always people who think it is all right to use evil methods to accomplish good!
(3) It’s not godly. There is no evil in God!
(4) You have to ask, is what they are doing really Christian? Or is it Christian in name only?
4. In Ezekiel, God told the Israelites that His prophecies would be fulfilled in the very near future.
(1) That*means we need to ask, How long do they say it will be before their prophecies are fulfilled?
(2) It’s true some are for the distant future, but in every case I’ve studied in the Old Testament, there was a fulfillment for the people then living. Ill. Isaiah 7:14 comes to mind. The birth of Jesus fulfilled it about 800 years after it was given, but it was also fulfilled in about three years after it was first given! It had real meaning for the people to whom it was given, and God’s prophecies always do.
(3) We need to be wary of prophecies that are scheduled for some distant, future time.
5. If a prophet fails any of these tests, then watch out! He may be a false prophet!

III. The Greatest Prophet of all time is Jesus.

1. He prophesied his own death, and He told us that it was necessary. He told us it would be at the hands of His Own people. He pointed out a number of prophesies in the Old Testament that applied to Him.
2. He prophesied the persecution of His disciples,
and He told them why it would take place. It happened almost immediately, and it will happen
again and again until God sends Jesus back to take us all home with Him!
2. The reason prophecy is so hard for us is that in many ways much of it was fulfilled almost immediately.
3. That causes us to ask ourselves, was this just for the time right after Jesus left the earth, or was it for a later time. i.e. Was the antichrist emperor Diocletian, or Nero, or some other Roman emperor? Or are we waiting for another antichrist?
(1) Some say there is no antichrist. All of that referred to the past. A well-known, highly respected minister I knew years ago told me, “There isn’t going to be a second coming. That’s already happened.”
(2) Some were certain that Hitler was the antichrist. Others thought Musselini was.
(3) All of those who made such statements had to do some fancy footwork to avoid saying they were wrong!
4. What does the Bible say about this? I John says, (Read I John 2:18-23).
(1) John used “the” in front of “antichrist.” That meant he was not referring to someone in the far distant future, but to people in his own time, people he knew!
(2) John knew that antichrists would appear in future times, too, and he was trying to prepare Christians for them.
In I John 2:24, he tells us exactly what we need to combat the antichrists. (read it)
(3) You have believed the good news about Jesus, and you’ve committed your life to Him.
5. Your faith, if it is real, will sustain you, and the Father and the Son will dwell in you until you stand
in their presence in heaven!
(2) I John 2:25 tells us eternal life is ours.
(3) Jesus prophesied that before He went to the cross.
6. Jesus is the greatest of all prophets.

Conclusion:

1. Of all the false prophets in all of history, not one can come close to the perfection of Jesus.
2. All of the real prophets speak when God tells them to speak, and they remain silent when God tells them not to speak.
3. Christian pastors are prophets, but if that is all they did, many Sundays there would not be a sermon.
4. Christian pastors are also teachers, and when they are not prophesying, they are teaching God’s word.
5. False prophets and antichrists are around right now. We need not fear them. All they can do is make us uncomfortable, perhaps kill our bodies, but they cannot destroy both body and soul the way God can.
6. Our trust is in God. Jesus bought our salvation and we receive it by faith. We need never fear what anyone in the world can do.
7. All of your fears can be handled by putting your trust in Jesus, and you can do that right now.

Emmanuel Community Church 1/1/2006

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