“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” ( Matthew 7:15 ).
As Christians, we want to grow in the Lord and learn more about Him. We must consider the fact that wolves are among us in sheep’s clothing. What does it mean? Jesus says “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). False prophets are the kind of people who appear to be the most kind, gentle, and full of love, but inside there is hate, evil intentions, and full of the things that are totally opposite to the word of God. They pretend to be one of us, but in reality, they are not.
False prophets might show their godliness and righteous deeds in order to gain your trust and the whole church’s trust, but their goal is to fulfill their own agenda and take God’s children away from God. They mix up their own false doctrines and thoughts with the true word of God and represent it to you as holy and acceptable in the eyes of God (2 Peter 2:1–3, 2 Timothy 2:17-18). They talk so sound that you would not even know when you have accepted their false teachings unless you know/study the Bible.
How to identify false prophets?
The Bible talks about false prophets in Matthew 24:11 and as well as Mark 13:22-23. As children of God, it’s very important to stay awake in the spirit and notice everything that will hurt our relationship with God. When Jesus warned us about the false prophets, He also told us how to know them: “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20). Jesus says every tree is recognized by its fruits. Good trees cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit and also nobody picks grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles.
It’s very important for us to know the word of God in order to find out the misleading teachings. If you want to know the lie, then you must know the truth first. The truth is inside the Bible. Unless one knows and studies the Bible, the true living word of God, it’s difficult to understand the false fruits.
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Jesus told us to“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” in Matthew 10:16. One who cannot understand the importance of being wise among wolves might end up with a lot of damages in his spiritual walk with God. How can a person be wise? It is by reading and studying the word of God, spending time and knowing the true will of his heavenly Father, and asking wisdom from God. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The wisdom that comes from above will help you stay on track.
Few Signs of wolves in sheep’s clothing
1. Keep your eyes on every teaching and if any teacher denies Jesus is God, they are not a true teacher but a false prophet. “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:1–3).
2. They don’t have the fruit of the Spirit. No matter how good and gentle they behave but when they are confronted, they lack the characteristics of a person who genuinely follows Christ. There are preachers who have such a gift for teaching and put a such a great show when he preaches, but go home and mistreats their family with their words or actions. They completely lack the fruit of the Spirit at home with family, where there is no loving behavior, patience, gentleness or kindness, etc.
3. Every preacher must teach the biblical Gospel and not apart from the Bible. So always consider that any gospel that is out of the Bible is always condemned. “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:9). God’s word is perfect and He watches over His word to perform it, He has given us all that we need in His Word, and anything added or removed is not acceptable and is also condemned. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).