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May 03, 2009

Beware of men who will tell you what you want to hear in order to make themselves rich, famous, or powerful. They will gladly sacrifice you and your salvation in order to achieve their own ends.

Bernie Parsons

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a 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 destructive.
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 you that?
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 in heaven.”
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 to God.
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 well. 
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 enticing words.
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 Christ.
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 Christ.
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 works.”
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 swift destruction.
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 slumbereth not.”
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 unto judgment;
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 ungodly;
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 ungodly;
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 children:
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 included.
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 bondage.
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 astray.


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