Matthew 6:9-13 - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
The Sermon for this week is: Watch Out For Wolves! - Matthew 7:15-20 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in
sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
1. Many people like to think that you can trust religious leaders...
a. Ministers normally rank high in polls concerning people you can trust
b. People will often accept whatever a preacher, priest, or rabbi says as the truth
2. Yet Jesus told His disciples to beware of false prophets - Matthew 7:15-20 - Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even
so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt
tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and
cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
a. They may appear like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves
b. We need to be able to identify them, knowing what to look for
3. Are you concerned about false prophets today? You should be!
a. The great diversity of teaching suggests that many are being misled
b. We need to be reminded of the danger, and know how to spot any “wolves” that might come
[With the words of our Savior in Matthew 7:15-20 (see above) fresh on our mind, I wish to use this
opportunity to remind us to “Watch Out For Wolves!” Let me first reemphasize the point that...]
I. THERE WILL BE FALSE PROPHETS
A. AS PAUL WARNED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS...
1. To the Ephesian elders - Acts 20:28-31 - Take heed therefore
unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which
he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not
sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore
watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
a. Telling them to take heed
b. For even from among themselves would men arise, misleading people
2. To the church at Corinth - 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 - For such are
false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is
transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also
be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
a. Referring to false teachers present even then
b. Appearing as ministers of righteousness, even as Satan appears as an angel of light
3. To the young preacher Timothy - 1 Timothy 4:1-3 - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that
in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies
in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding
to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.;
2 Timothy 3:1-9 - This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their
own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection,
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers
of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For
of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever
learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also
resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly
shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
a. Warning of the apostasy that would come
b. Describing the character and tactics of those who would mislead others
B. AS DID OTHER NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS...
1. Peter, in telling of the rise of false teachers - 2 Peter 2:1-3 - But there were false prophets
also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even
denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways;
by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise
of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2. John, in calling for people to “test the spirits” - 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.
3. Jude, in writing of some who had already come - Jude 1:3-4 - Beloved, when I gave all diligence
to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you
that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in
unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,
and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
[With so many warnings, this is not a subject to take lightly! But how can we spot such “wolves”
when they appear so disarming (like sheep)? Thanks to Jesus and the Word of God...]
II. WE CAN IDENTIFY FALSE PROPHETS
A. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR LIFE...
1. We can know them by their “fruit” - Matthew 7:16-20 - Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of
thistles? Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot
bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring
forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into
the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
a. What is truly in their heart will eventually come out
b. For from the heart proceeds any sin that may be there - cf. Mark 7:21-23 - For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness,
wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and
defile the man.
2. Thus false teachers and false prophets are often betrayed...
a. By their greediness (e.g., as manifested by their lavish lifestyles)
b. By their immorality (e.g., as manifested by adulterous relationships)
c. By their lust for power (e.g., as manifested by religious empires)
-- Given time, the true character of false prophets will be exposed by the fruit of their life!
B. BY EXAMINING THE FRUIT OF THEIR TEACHING...
1. Taking notice of their methods
a. Working secretly - cf. 2 Peter 2:1 - But there were false prophets also among the people,
even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that
bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
1) Their ministries (especially finances) will be shrouded in secrecy
2) Rather than being open to one and all - cf. 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 - Avoiding
this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in
the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
b. Appealing to covetousness - cf. 2 Peter 2:3 - And through covetousness shall they with feigned
words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
1) They draw people with an appeal to what people often covet (such as health and wealth)
2) Rather than preparing people for what Christians can expect - cf. Acts 14:23 - And
when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom
they believed.; 2 Timothy 3:12 - Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
c. Using deceptive words - cf. 2 Timothy 3:13 - But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and
worse, deceiving, and being deceived. ; 2 Peter 2:3 - And through covetousness shall they with feigned words
make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
1) Twisting the scriptures to support their message (as Satan did in tempting Jesus)
2) Rather handling the word of God rightly - cf. 2 Timothy 2:14-16 - Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive
not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself
approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2. Taking notice of their doctrine
a. How they twist and pervert the scriptures - cf. Galatians 1:8-9 - But though we, or an angel
from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before,
so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received,
let him be accursed.
1) Their gospel may start out right, but becomes twisted along the way
2) Their teaching often expressed in the terms of man, not Scripture
b. How they teach that which is clearly contrary to the scriptures - cf. Deuteronomy
13:1-4 - If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign
or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and
let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God
proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the
LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
1) Even if they appear able to perform signs and wonders!
2) The final test is how their teaching compares to the word of God and that of His apostles - cf. 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.; 1 John 4:16 - And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God
is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1. It is not necessary to judge the hearts of those who claim to speak for God...
a. We need only to be “fruit-inspectors”
b. The fruit of their life and teaching will become apparent soon enough
-- This is how we can “Watch Out For Wolves!”
2. Of course, this presumes that our knowledge of God’s word is sufficient...
a. To know what to look for in the life of a false prophet
b. To know what to listen for in the teaching of a false prophet
-- Otherwise we will be no different than Israel, of whom God said: “My people are destroyed for
lack of knowledge...” - Hosea 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected
knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will
also forget thy children.
equipped to identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing if you saw one?
Matthew 28:19-20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15-16 - And
he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Lord I truly thank You for giving me the opportunity to present these words to my brethrens. I pray that You will
give them Your eternal blessings and accept them into Your heart - this I pray
in the name of Thy Son, Jesus, the Messiah, Your only begotten son which Ye sent to save mankind from themselves. Amen
6:23-24 - Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
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