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False Prophets

April 7, 2010

So a couple weeks ago we had a little family meeting and pulled a you’re-not-a-prophet intervention. Good times.

And so the issue of false prophesy has been tucked in the back of my mind. And yesterday I was reading through Matthew, and Jesus decided to talk about it. He doesn’t always make things easy – I’d even dare say He rarely makes things easy – but yesterday He did. So as a little “PS” …

You will know false prophets “by their fruits.”

I hear that phrase all the time. “You will know them by their fruits.” We use it to refer to “real” Christians – you will know them by their fruits. (“Fruits” = “the product of their lives” for anyone who doesn’t have a Christianese-to-English dictionary handy). We use it when people do things they shouldn’t.

But here it is, actually in it’s scripture-context, and Jesus is using it to identify false prophets.

Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?”

So when someone shows up with a real ear for “God,” or someone suddenly develops a hyper-active “gift,” a good place to turn is his “fruits.” What has his life produced? Is he respectfully involved with a local congregation, volunteering in some regard, respected among peers, in peace at home? Maybe he really is being smothered in prophecy. Is he kind of a wanderer, not really serving or helping anywhere or with anyone, not responsible for much good, family kind of a mess? Maybe there’s something else going on.

Don’t go overboard. There’s a difference between “knowing” and “judging.” And God can certainly use people who are seriously messed up. But at the same time, let’s not be shamed out of taking some clues from the produce of someone’s life. Jesus said so.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. bianca permalink
    April 9, 2010 11:14 am

    I was encouraged and sharpened by this today… our fruit as Christians should be easy to decifer, but I was nervous to read your definition— which was good. A healthy dose of fear of the Lord is important! :)

  2. bianca permalink
    April 9, 2010 11:14 am

    pout.pout. angry face again!

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