sermon by Bernie Parsons
presented to the Globe church of
Christ on 05/03/2009
Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, which come to
you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Jesus warned against false preachers. They appear to represent good, and to
offer that which seems to be good to their listeners, but are actually
Matthew 7:16: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles?
17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit.
19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast
into the fire.
20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Jesus said that false prophets can be recognized by their fruits. In other
words, you watch a fruit tree to see whether it brings forth healthy, mature
fruit, or whether the fruit is withered and bad. Or whether there is any
fruit at all. What are false prophets telling you, and why are they telling
Today, we are faced with many preachers on television and radio, and some
who travel about the country holding so-called revivals or crusades. What do
they preach? The ones that I hear primarily say, “Send me your money, and
the Lord will richly bless you.” Who ends up rich as a result? The preacher,
not the folks sending him their hard-earned money. Many of these people end
up with two or more huge mansions in choice parts of the country. Meanwhile,
many of their followers struggle day to day to survive.
Matthew 7:21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is
Many preachers tell their listeners that all they have to do to be saved is
to call on the name of the Lord. Many promote what they call the sinner’s
prayer, not something that you find in the Bible. Yet, Jesus said that many
who call on the Lord will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Instead, those
who do what God tells us all to do will be those who enter the kingdom. In
order to do what God wants, we have to study the scriptures, and have a
prayerful, receptive heart to receive His teachings.
Matthew 7:22: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy
name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye
that work iniquity.”
Many who claim to be servants of God prove otherwise. Many preachers make up
their own doctrine, and claim that it is from God. They have people doing
all kinds of things, and saying that this is what God would have them do.
Ezekiel 13:1: “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2: Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and
say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word
of the LORD;
3: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their
own spirit, and have seen nothing!
4: O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5: Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the
house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
6: They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and
the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they
would confirm the word.
7: Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying
divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
8: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and
seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.”
There is a similar warning in Ezekiel 22.
Jeremiah 23:30: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the
LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31: Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their
tongues, and say, He saith.
32: Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD,
and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their
lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not
profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”
God has never liked preachers who prophesy falsely, attributing their words
Matthew 7:24: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26: And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
Jesus urged His followers to not only hear His words, but to do them as
The Apostle Paul also warned about people who tell people what they want to
hear in order to take unfair advantage of them. Such men, whether through a
desire for riches or to feed their egos and gain power, will lead people
astray in order to achieve their goals.
Colossians 2:4: “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with
5: For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit,
joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in
6: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been
taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after
the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after
9: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
He warned the Corinthian Christians about false apostles and deceitful
workers. They put on a show of righteousness merely to mislead the people
and get what they want.
2 Corinthians 11:13: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14: And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as
the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their
The Apostle Peter was also cognizant of the dangers from false prophets.
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
2: And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of
truth shall be evil spoken of.
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
Some people follow charismatic people even if they lead them in the wrong
direction. Some preachers make merchandise of their followers, growing rich
off their gifts.
2 Peter 2:4: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them
down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved
5: And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a
preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the
6: And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them
with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live
7: And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed
his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
9: The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to
reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
10: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,
and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not
afraid to speak evil of dignities.
11: Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing
accusation against them before the Lord.
12: But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed,
speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish
in their own corruption;
13: And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it
pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting
themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14: Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling
unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed
15: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the
way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16: But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice
forbad the madness of the prophet.
17: These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest;
to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”
God punishes all who oppose Him, whether angels or men, false preachers
2 Peter 2:18: “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they
allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that
were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19: While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of
corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in
20: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the
knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled
therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21: For it had been better for them not to have known the way of
righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy
commandment delivered unto them.
22: But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is
turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing
in the mire.”
False preachers entice followers with false praise, deceit, and false
promises. You must always be aware that there are those who would lead you
where you should not go in order to achieve personal riches or fame. You
must be constantly vigilant, lest you become one of those deceived and led
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