False Prophets (Matthew #37)

Text: Matthew 7:15-20

Warning! (vs 15)

  • Beware of false prophets…
  • What is false about these men is their prophesying. They are false prophets. Apparently you can’t tell anything about them by their appearance. But because the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart, it’s not necessary to judge them by their appearance – which is evidently deceiving – but to judge them by the words that come out of their mouths.
  • There are repeated warnings about deception. Consider Revelation 20:4-8 and Satan’s ability to deceive.
  • …which come to you in sheep’s clothing…
    • You won’t be able to tell anything by their appearance. In fact, their appearance is their deception.
    • 2 Corinthians 11:7-15 and particularly verses 12-15. Paul explains that he did not take money from the Corinthians, but instead accepted money from other churches while with the Corinthians to show his sincerity. And to highlight the covetous motives of the false apostles that would come in.
  • …but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    • These false prophets and false teachers desire only to live off of the congregations. They are consumers who have found out how to reach into people’s wallets with religious teaching.
    • 2 Peter 2:1-3. Notice in verse 15 that God uses the example of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness.
  • Ezekiel 22:24-28 …to get dishonest gain.
    • Acts 20:29

The fruit of their lips (vs 16)

  • Ye shall know them by their fruits.
    • Proverbs 18:20-21 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
    • These are false prophets and so beware of what comes out of their mouth.
    • Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
  • …thorns…and thistles…
    • False teachings are thorns and thistles that entangle souls.
    • Heresies that bring bring damnation upon people like Balaam (2 Peter 2:15-16). Balaam taught Israel to live in such a way as to bring the judgment of God on them. Revelation 2:14 and Numbers 25:1, 9.
    • 2 Peter 2:18-19
    • 1 Timothy 6:3-6 (…even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ… Paul isn’t teaching something different than the Lord Jesus Christ.)
    • Try the spirit, but how? 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. The spirit will be what comes out of the mouth.

Tree illustration (vss 17-18)

  • Matthew 3:7-12 was John the Baptist’s warning to the religious leaders.
  • Matthew 12:31-37… the Lord Jesus Christ’s warning to the religious leaders.

Firewood (vs 19)

  • Matthew 12:43-45 and 2 Peter 2:20-22 – reform of your lifestyle or swapping one religion for another does not constitute a new birth by the clean holy Spirit.
  • Reformation without Jesus Christ is very dangerous. The Pharisees outwardly clean and pious lives hid inward devil possession.