According to the Lord Jesus, there are "many" false prophets in our present day that will "deceive MANY people" (Mt. 24:11). Though these false prophets might claim to know and communicate God's truth, they are spreading lies (Jer. 14:14). According to the loving Lord Jesus, false prophets are really hungry, dangerous, ferocious wolves dressed in sheep's clothing (Mt. 7:15). Hence, they can be as spiritually deadly and dangerous to Christians (sheep -- Jn. 10:27) as a concealed, savage wolf is among a flock of sheep!
False prophets can be known by their "fruit" (Mt. 7:16), not their personal claims or "gifts." Many are very popular, good speakers and friendly. In fact, some false prophets can even produce miraculous signs (Mk. 13:22; Rev. 19:20) and accurately predict an event (Deut. 13:1-4). Other false prophets can be identified by their false prophecies made in the name of the LORD (Deut. 18:21,22). In Jezebel's day, the false prophets feasted at the king's table (1 Ki. 18:19), while the true prophets were hid out in a cave and secretly fed there (1 Ki. 18:4). Popularity and affluence, therefore, must not be a criteria either when trying to identify a false prophet, since they sometimes have large followings. False prophets speak with conviction, since they expect their lying words to be fulfilled (Ezek. 13:6). False teachers can also sound authoritative in their teachings (1 Tim. 1:7).
A New Testament example of a false prophet was Bar Jesus (Acts 13:6). As Paul was opposed by him, other servants of God in the past were likewise resisted by the popular false prophets in their day. Jeremiah is one such example (Jer. 26:7-15). Another was Micaiah, who was slapped in the face by a false prophet (1 Ki. 22:24). The misleading messages of false prophets can give comfort in vain (Zech. 10:2), fill sinful people with "false hopes" (Jer. 23:16), dress the wounds of people as though they are not serious (Jer. 8:10, 11) and not expose the people's sins (Lam. 2:14). The false prophets, who had lying spirits that deceived Ahab, predicted success and victory in the name of the LORD (1 Ki. 22:11, 12). Because Ahab believed their message, he went into battle and died (22:35)! Similarly, Paul predicted the day would come when a great number of teachers would be speaking what itching ears want to hear, not what they need to hear (the truth), as found in the Scriptures (2 Tim. 4:3).
Again, "many" will be deceived by religious, innocent-looking-but-deadly enemies of Christianity, who bring the way of truth into disrepute (2 Pet. 2:1,2). The Apostle Paul clearly stated that there are teachings which actually come from "demons" through false teachers (1 Tim. 4:1, 2) and that Satan has servants which masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15). Though disturbing, these are facts!
To add to all of that, according to the Apostle John, it is actually possible to share in the wicked work of a false teacher:
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work" (2 Jn. 9-11).As we obey the command not to be gullible, but "test the spirits" (1 Jn. 4:1) so that we won't be deceived, we will have to carefully evaluate teachers and ministries by the Scriptures, which are always final authority (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). It is important to test everything and hold on to the good. (1 Th 5:21)
Friend, Jesus wasn't joking when he said beware of false prophets and teachers that come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ferocious wolves (Mt. 7:15). They are here NOW! Be on guard. It's a matter of life and death. Learn the Scriptures, so that you won't be deceived. Eternity hangs in the balance.
The true plan of salvation is repentance towards God and faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:21). We prove our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20). The Lord Jesus taught the road to life is hard and only a few will find it (Mt. 7:13,14, NKJV). Many get saved, but afterwards fall away (Lk. 8:13; Jn. 6:66; 1 Tim. 1:19; etc.). In other words, after initial salvation we must endure to the "end" to enter the kingdom of God and escape the lake of fire (Mt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11). Eternal life comes to the repentant the moment such believe on Jesus for salvation (Jn. 3:16; 6:47; 1 Jn. 5:12,13), but there is another important aspect of eternal life that many are totally unware of in our day because of the false teaching of once saved always saved (OSAS). According to true grace teaching, eternal life is also a HOPE (Titus 3:7), yet to be REAPED (Gal. 6:8,9) in the AGE TO COME (Mk. 10:30) for only the ones who PERSIST IN DOING GOOD (Rom. 2:7) and DO NOT GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP (Gal. 6:9). It is only a trusting, submitting and enduring faith in Jesus that will get us an entrance into the kingdom of God. We need to get saved and stay saved to escape the lake of fire.
If a saved person sows to please his sinful nature he'll die spiritually (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8,9). The prodigal is a clear example of this (Lk. 15:24,32). The end result of sin is spiritual death, so DO NOT BE DECEIVED (James 1:14-16). For more information regarding the believer's security, see our book, The Believer's Conditional Security, the most exhaustive and comprehensive refutation to OSAS ever written. It will not be refuted!
Because of the teaching of once saved always saved, grace has been taught as a license for immorality for so long, and without challenge, that when Scripture is quoted, such as 1 Cor. 6:9,10 or Rev. 21:8, it is disregarded, and the giver of God's Word is falsely accused of teaching legalism, bondage, works, etc. This reflects how truly dark are the days in which we live! Take the ACID TEST.
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