Wednesday, October 28, 2009



Jesus discussed two gates-wide and narrow-and now He paints a picture of two kinds of fruit-two kinds of prophets or leaders. He says: "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20)

This brings us to SECRET #38: The follower of Jesus is cautious of false prophets and teachers. This is a significant and strong teaching about the deception that is present within the circles of those who claim to know Jesus and His teachings. For years I have asked, "Who are these guys?" And, the usual answer is filled with a listing of everyone just to the right or left of the one who is answering. But Jesus gives us a clear understanding of who these people are so that we can identify those who are false and those who are genuine with respect to their relationship with Jesus.

Now, don't get the idea that a false teacher or false prophet has an FT or FP tattooed on his forehead. It's not that recognizable. However, Jesus does make it clear what the difference is. That difference Jesus articulates is more for a personal examination first before you use what He says as a litmus test to be applied to others. Jesus warns that there will be false prophets who seem harmless, but are out to destroy. He says that you can decipher them by their fruits. But even this may be difficult to judge (conclusively judge) whether or not a prophet is false or genuine, because many false prophets show a certain kind of fruitfulness in what they do. That's what makes them so attractive!

But NOTE what the test here really is. The term fruit is the operative word here. In order to check out a prophet's fruit (not their show or outward demonstration), you need to observe the person and ministry over a prolonged period of time. It takes time to produce fruit. There is no instant fruit. So watch for the fruit over a long period of time and you'll know.

Now NOTE what these false prophets actually do. This is amazing! "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus says that there will be people who come before Him in the last days, calling Him Lord, but will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Just using the right language will not get a person into the kingdom of heaven. HOWEVER, the one who does the will of the Father will enter-the person who not only talks a good game, but walks it and proves it out by his actions.

These people, Jesus says, will do 3 things that will make it all the more difficult to discern whether or not a person is a false prophet. They speak in the name of Jesus-"Did we not prophesy in your name?" They cast out demons in the name of Jesus. They perform many miracles in the name of Jesus.

WOW! These are some powerful things that the false prophets do. So how can you tell the difference between the false and the genuine. Jesus offers two identifiers here of what false teachers and prophets are all about. First-Watch their fruit! Second-"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."

The deceptiveness of these false prophets is another good reason why it's necessary to keep: 1-Walking with Jesus 2-Walking with others 3-Waiting on Jesus to lead out. THE BEST DEFENSE AGAINST THE COUNTERFEIT IS TO KNOW THE GENUINE VERY WELL. HIS NAME IS JESUS AND ALL HE REQUIRES OF YOU IS TO FOLLOW HIM! SECRET #38 is The follower of Jesus is cautious of false prophets and teachers.