The Gifts Part 56
Another criterion by which we can judge prophecy has more to do with the individual delivering the prophecy than it does with the word itself. Yes, I am well aware of the scripture passage that says, ‘judge not, that you be not judged’ but I am also aware of the words of Christ in the selfsame chapter warning us to beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep’s clothing.
Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
No, it’s not enough for someone to have a winning smile, it’s not enough for someone to be polished, primed and immaculately dressed, it’s not enough for someone to seemingly say the right things, they must also possess fruit.
It is none other than Jesus who warns us, and admonishes us to beware of false prophets, because they do not come to us like the ravenous wolves they truly are but they come disguised in sheep’s clothing. The only way you will be able to penetrate the disguise, the only way you will be able to see beyond the sheep’s clothing they have fashioned for themselves is to observe, inspect their fruits and see if the fruit is good.
It is because we have grown careless, outright lazy, or thought ourselves too wise to heed Christ’s counsel, that there is no shortage of horror stories and cautionary tales concerning the damage such false prophets can do, and the sort of carnage they leave behind.
From those gullible souls who every few years give away everything they possess, put on white robes, climb on some high hill and wait for the return of Jesus because their ‘prophet’ told them the day He would be returning, to the easily swayed women who are coerced to leave their husbands and children behind to follow after ‘the man of God’ as his spiritual wife, the damage wrought when we do not heed the words of Christ, and inspect the fruits of those who come in the name of the Lord, is astronomical and far ranging.
When it comes to believing prophecy, it’s good to be thorough, it’s good to take the time and follow the steps that Christ and the word of God laid out, that when we believe something we will know it is the truth, and not a mere shadow of the truth.
Notice that Jesus called these false prophets who would present themselves in sheep’s clothing ravenous wolves. One can neither expect mercy, understanding, pity or quarter from a ravenous wolf, one cannot expect to be spared by a ravenous wolf, one cannot be neutral toward the advances of a ravenous wolf, because it is understood that the wolf’s purpose is to kill you, and your duty is to do your utmost to remain alive.
When confronting a ravenous wolf one of two things will happen: either the wolf will fell you and devour you, or you will defend yourself in such a way that the wolf will either be felled or be caused to retreat. If the wolf goes unnoticed long enough, and gets close enough, wounds and bites are inevitable, this is why it is wise and prudent to be wise and prudent and see the wolf approaching from afar off by being vigilant in inspecting the fruit of those who would claim to be men of God.
God’s standard remains the same in perpetuity. God does not differ in His standard by geography or region, He will not require more of those that are being persecuted and beaten and tortured for His name’s sake than He would of those living in freedom and comfort. It is we who have twisted the standard, it is we who have allowed for this erroneous and dangerous conclusion that although God might require a certain standard of some, He will let us slide by and not demand as much of us, because we give more to missions than those who are suffering do by way of the material.
‘Well, we know we’re supposed to inspect fruit, but we can’t expect our teachers and our preachers and our evangelists and those among us endowed with spiritual gifts to be as strict and uncompromising and Christ centered as those living in third world countries being persecuted. Yes, there were a few scandals and a few affairs, and a few compromising photographs, but he’s just too great an asset to the denomination to do away with, plus he’s been restored in three easy steps and a weeklong retreat wherein he contemplated his sins. We can’t expect someone leading a congregation of ten thousand to be as humble and self-sacrificing as someone leading a congregation of a hundred, it’s just not done, there has to be a little leeway, a little variance.’
The excuses are plentiful, wide ranging, some even inventive, but in the ends the words of Christ drown out all the justifications made on certain men’s behalf, ‘by their fruits you will know them.’
Good fruit, bad fruit! No leeway, no variance, no leniency, no excuses for geography or size of ministry, either the fruit is good, or it isn’t! Either they are true men of God who obey the voice of God and preach the word of God, or they are ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing whose only interest is their next meal, their next house, or their next yacht.
We make excuses for the wolves until it’s our own wool stained with blood, until it’s our own heart that’s broken and bruised, until it is we who have suffered the deception of seeing them for what they truly are.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
P.S. To Scott, Becca, Holly, Rob, and all others who inquired about this extended series, a brother has offered to publish it, and it is being edited as I go. I will have all the information on the book both on here, and on the hand of help website when it is available. This series is a work in progress, I write each morning, so I know not when it will be complete. Thank you all for your kind words, your encouragements, your prayers, and your interest in this series. Mike
Saturday, January 7, 2012
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