Monday, November 12, 2018

One of the greatest distinguishing marks of false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a six flags over Jesus.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions – St Timothy: (was an early Christian evangelist and the first first-century Christian bishop of Ephesus, who tradition relates died around the year AD 97.)

Gospel Text: (LK 17:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples,
"Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'
you should forgive him."

And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

False teachers and false prophets have been and will always continue to be a very serious threat to the Church and to each and every baptized Christian. Jesus warns us in his Sermon on the Mount about false teachers and false prophets and describes them as wolves in sheep’s clothing and not has harmless people who should be ignored—or worse—tolerated. Here’s what our Lord said:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15–20)

Notice that Jesus warns us that false teachers and prophets disguise themselves to look like Christians. But also notice that Jesus says the sheep-like camouflage won’t work too well because we will be able to recognize the wolves by their fruits. So what are these bad fruits that make wolves easy to recognize? Answer: their messages.

The fruit of false teachers, prophets and ravenous wolves is easy to spot. If they preach themselves, not Christ, then they’re wolves.

Wolves preach about their lives, their victories, their dreams, their visions, their ideas, the tips and tricks they’ve discovered to achieve success. Jesus, if He’s mentioned at all by them, is merely held up as an example to be followed. The goal of their preaching is to convince you to apply the pastor’s insights and life tips so that you can be successful, just like the pastor is successful.

Faithful teachers of the one true faith, on the other hand, are not like wolves but are like the apostle Paul who said:

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God….For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:2, 5)

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