Discerning False Teachers and False Prophets, and Knowing them By their FRUITS

Discerning False Teachers and False Prophets, and Knowing them By their FRUITS

Deception is not a matter of intelligence. Deception is a matter of character, integrity and love for the truth.

According to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, God is sending a strong delusion. Why? To manifest who is in love with truth and who isn’t. This is why you have to love the truth more than you love your life. This is not about intelligence; because a high IQ doesn’t prevent deception. This is about character, integrity, and love for the truth.

If you were living in John chapter 6 and you took out a YouTube clip of Jesus saying “eat my flesh and drink my blood…” you could call Jesus a false teacher. You could say He was teaching cannibalism.

Obviously Jesus is not a false anything. He is the truth. But sometimes Jesus had a purpose in saying things without necessarily making sure that everyone understood. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not speak in parables to make things clear. Jesus spoke in obscure parables so that the hardhearted could remain hard, and the soft-hearted would ask for more. He wanted those who loved the truth to continue with Him.

Mark 4: 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Anyone and everyone can be a false teacher or false prophet if their words are taken out of context, even Jesus Himself.

Now the balance of that is: it’s very important to use our tongues in a way that does not cause people to stumble away from obedience (James 3). Our communication should be to encourage obedience and hunger for God. But we don’t use lies or deception, even if for the purpose of getting people to do whats right. Titus 2:7-8 instructs us to have sound, sober, and grave speech that cannot be condemned.

However, Jesus did not instruct to try to catch inarticulate people in their mistakes. Jesus did not instruct us to condemn people that are not as smart as we are. Jesus instructed us to “know them by their fruits.”

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.

We don’t get to condemn people for having a different communication style than we prefer, whether it be free-flowing, or systematic and structured. Jesus said to “know them by their fruit,” so we don’t get to judge people for their preference of communication style instead of their fruit. The Holy Spirit is available to give you a gift of discerning of of spirits, but ultimately, only those who are obedient to God’s will really understand doctrine (John 7:17). But if you want to know people by fruit like Jesus instructed us, then here are some of the actual biblical evidence and fruits of error:

  • Consistent and persistent communication of error that moves people hearts away from the living God (Jeremiah 23:1-22).
  • Saying everything exactly right or even doing supernatural miracles, but moving people’s hearts away from the living God (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).
  • Physical adultery, sexual sins, fornication, and unfaithfulness to marriage covenants. (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Peter 2:14)
  • Partnerships with the ungodly in ministry, and mixing the holy with the profane in worship (James 4:4, Revelation 2:14)
  • Clear evidence of covetousness. Not wealth from diligent work, but from greed. (Colossians 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:3)
  • Drunkenness or dependence upon addicting substances, a lack of sobriety (1 Timothy 3).
  • Ungodly children, that are not in subjection or respectful (Matthew 11:19, 1 Timothy 3:4,5).
  • Consistent and persistent apostasy, divorcing from truth, denying the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1, 1 Corinthians 12:2).
  • Persistent resisting of the Holy Spirit, holiness, and the power of the living God. Having a form of godliness but denying the supernatural power thereof (Acts 7:51, 2 Timothy 3:5)
  • Seeking glory for self, brand, ministry, or group, instead of God( John 7:18). A different agenda, to sell a product instead of freely communicate the glory of God.
  • Using doctrines of grace to strengthen subtle rebellion against the Lord instead of strengthening prayer, holiness, and obedience (Hebrews 10:29, Jude 1:4, Jeremiah 28:15-17, Hananiah = Yahweh is gracious)
  • Consistent and persistent teaching that moves people’s hearts away from prayer, holiness, or obedience. They will never articulate these things directly, but there will be a communication of fancy deep teaching or revelation that will result in this heart direction. This is a crucial point, because a prophet or teacher could say everything right, but have an overall agenda that leads people away from the heart of God. Someone else might not have the best speech, but when you get to understand their heart, they lead people into sanctification, prayer and obedient partnership with God through Jesus Christ. These people may be assisted to help them communicate their points better (Acts 18:26).

2 Responses

  1. You said it in a few words: “Consistent and persistent teaching that moves people’s hearts away from prayer, holiness, or obedience.” That’s all anyone needs to know to decipher a false prophet.

    I like that you include all three, because there are ministries that just focus on prayer, or just obedience, or just holiness, but all these must be working together while drawing folks closer to God. Amen.

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