Christian Universe ™
May 19, 2013
Not every prophet (preacher or teacher) has your best interests in mind. Some like to preach in order to get dishonest financial gain (as opposed to being supported), some to gain honor to their names, and others to control other people. Sometimes, they preach for two or three of the above reasons. This also leads them to preach what the listeners want to hear in order to achieve their goals. Believers must be on guard against these wolves in sheep clothing. Find and follow those who truly follow Christ, His teachings, and His walk of life.
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 05-19-2013
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 05-26-2013
In our last lesson we studied warnings against following traditions of men which become doctrine and commandments. Today, I want to look at more warnings against departing from the teachings of God while embracing the teachings of men. Jesus warned:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
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."
Check the claims of men against their actions, and the scriptures. They may not be what they claim. If their lives and teachings do not measure up against God’s word, steer clear!
Some Prophets (Preachers) Seek Dishonest Financial Gain
Ezekiel 22:25 “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing
vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when
the LORD hath not spoken.”
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
As Jesus warned, those who claim to be God’s prophets are often men and women who are using that as a cloak of deceit, in order to take advantage of the gullible and get dishonest profit.
Some Prophets (Preachers) Seek Personal Honor
1 Timothy 1:2 "Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
1 Timothy 4:7 "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness."
Luke 20:45 "Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
47 Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation."
As Jesus pointed out, some prophets seek honor and dishonest gain at the same time.
Some Prophets (Preachers) Seek To Control Others
2 Timothy 3:1 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."
Some Prophets (Preachers) Seek To Please People For Any, Or All, Of The Above
2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
We are to follow Christ, the Chief Shepherd, and those true shepherds who follow Him and lead the believers in the way that Christ has walked.
The True Prophets Follow The Chief Shepherd
2 Peter 1:16 "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
1 Peter 5:1 "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. "
Our job is not to lead as we see fit, but as Christ taught in word and