Matthew 7: 15-23
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:15-23
The false prophets make themselves appear as if they are Christians. In many ways, they look just like the real thing. They appear as understanding and compassionate people. In fact, they can be so accommodating that they will even modify the church’s doctrines and practices to avoid making you feel inferior, and they will redefine biblical discipleship so that you can call yourself a disciple without making even the smallest changes in your life.
Jesus says that we will recognize false prophets “by their fruit.” No matter what a person claims about himself, the kind of spiritual fruit that he produces betrays his true spiritual condition. When we examine the “fruit” in one’s life, we are to examine both his words and actions, both his creed and his conduct.
False prophets were common in Old Testament times. They prophesied only what the king and the people wanted to hear, claiming it was God’s message. False teachers are also common today. Jesus says to beware of those whose words sound religious but who are motivated by money, fame, or power. You can tell who they are because in their teaching they minimize Christ and glorify themselves.
Just as trees are consistent in the kind of fruit they produce, good teachers consistently exhibit good behavior and high moral character as they seek to live out the truths of Scripture.
False teachers deliberately teach false doctrine.
Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to do right, not just say the right words.
Jesus warns Christians against false prophets and deceptions in the church. The term false prophets includes in its meaning teachers of false doctrines in the name of God. Outwardly the false prophets look like true men of God, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
They cannot deceive Christians who thoroughly know and understand the Bible.
We need to be thoroughly grounded in God’s word in order to quickly and accurately discern false teachers in the church. Christians must test the spirit of every teaching in the light of scripture. False teachers may not always be immediately recognizable, but their doctrine will betray them to Christians who test their teachings against the pure word of God.