15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:15–16 (ESV)
“The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man was the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God.” – Martin Luther
“Error always goes to church because Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, infiltrates the systems of religion, particularly Christianity even true Christianity and plants his seeds of error there and a gullible, witless, uneducated, undiscerning church becomes a victim.” – John MacArthur
“False teaching is often revealed in false living… Following bad doctrine leads to bad practices.” – Douglas Moo
This week, we are going to focus on the importance of tightly holding to biblical truth and being aware of false teachers. It would be pleasant to think that false teachers are outside the local church. Unfortunately that is not the case. False teachers exist within the church; always have and always will until the Lord’s return. Therefore, those who hold to biblical truth must be on guard.
Today’s text begins with these cautionary words from Jesus; “Beware of false prophets.” Let’s being to unpack these four words.
Beware (προσέχω; prosecho) is a present active imperative verb. This action is to be constantly, actively and obediently followed. It means to pay attention, to take care, to be on the lookout, and to consider carefully.
Believers in Christ are to constantly, actively and obediently pay attention to, to care of, to be on the lookout for and to carefully consider false teachers. False teachers (ψευδοπροφήτης; pseudoprophetes) are preachers of falsehood. They are deceivers ((Matt. 7:15; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; Acts 13:6; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). False teaching possesses them because they are by nature against biblical truth.
“Following His call for us to pursue the narrow way that leads to salvation (Matt. 7:13–14), Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15–20). Just as there are two ways, one of salvation and another of damnation, so too are there only two kinds of teachers: true ones and false ones. Being able to distinguish these teachers from one another is vital if we want to promote our spiritual well-being. Otherwise, false prophets will lead us to destruction,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.
Take time today to consider these quotes of those from church history and also texts from Scripture. Be on your guard for false teachers.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!