AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #20
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matthew 7:15–16).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
This is not a casual matter. Jesus is giving a stern warning, an alert. Jesus is saying beware, be alert, be careful, pay attention to, be attentive to, take heed, devote thought and effort to the discerning of false prophets.
A prophet, in the context and as defined in these verses, is anyone who is acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet.
A false prophet is one who utters imaginations, falsehoods or deceit under the name of divine prophecies. A false prophet can be a preacher, a pastor or anyone confessing to be a Christian. Those who would ‘give a word of knowledge’ or ‘speak in tongues’ to an assembly of Christians, saying they are giving a “word” or an “utterance” from the Holy Spirit can easily be a false prophet.
Jesus compares false prophets to “wolves”. Wolves come in ‘sheep’s clothing’, i.e., they will act like a Christian, in order to conceal their real intentions, and they are ravenous.
Jesus is showing no tolerance for this type of person. The word Jesus uses to describe this person, ‘ravenous’ means rapacious, ravenous they are extortioners, robbers and thieves. Of course these ‘wolves’ don’t necessarily see themselves as such, which makes them all the more convincing and dangerous.
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18)
Jesus gives His disciples a key to recognizing a false prophet, a wolf. The Disciple of Jesus is therefore tasked with using discernment on this matter and responding accordingly.
Now it is your turn:
HOW MUST YOU DO IT? ________________________________________
HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? ________________________________________
Stay vigilant. Stay on the alert. The day draws near.
Your Brother and Friend,