Warning against false prophets – Part 1
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the good Shepherd and His warning is to make His sheep to be watchful. He does not want to lose any of His own to “ravening wolves.” “Beware” – be watchful, be on your guard, take warning.
In sounding this alarm and giving this warning, Christ was motivated by perfect love on the basis of His perfect knowledge. There would be no warning if there were no danger.
Knowing the presence of false prophets, even during His own time, and foreseeing the rise of teachers of damnable error in our time, He gave this warning over and over.
The Apostles have also given us the same warning. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders. Behold, I have told you before. After my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Therefore watch.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways.
Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (Matthew 7:15; 16:6; 24:11,24,25; Acts 20:29-31; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 2:1,2; 3:17).
“Beware of false prophets.” If it was a necessary warning at the time of Christ and the Apostles, it is a much-needed warning today. Satan, the world and the flesh are not the only dangers in the way of the believer; there is another great danger: false prophets – wolves in sheep’s clothing. Beware, watch and be on your guard.
Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the great King and true Prophet, the faithful Teacher Who came from God, had just described the narrow way of life and righteousness that leads to heaven, and the broad way of sin and self that leads to perdition.
Then, He immediately gave the warning and sounded the alarm: “Beware of false prophets.” The chief aim of false prophets is to deceive us and point us to the wrong way, thereby leading us astray. They call good evil and paint evil as good. They encourage people to walk on the broad way that leads to hell and discourage them from walking in the narrow way that leads to heaven.
The warning was necessary for sinners who were already accustomed to the broad way, sinners who were thoughtless about spiritual matters, sinners who took religious deceivers as their final authority, sinners who entrusted the eternal destiny of their souls into the hands of ignorant leaders in religion.
This warning is needed by awakened sinners on the verge of decision, sinners who are concerned about their spiritual welfare, who are asking what to do in order to have eternal life. Which way should they turn – to the right or to the left; to the narrow way or to the broad way? Which people should they identify with – the multitude on the broad way or the few on the narrow way?
The warning must be taken to heart by new converts who have just repented and believed in Christ, by believers who are suffering persecution, by Christians who are under pressure to reconsider their commitment to Christ, by disciples who are feeling the weight of the cross they bear, by preachers of the gospel who are not popular with the world and whose lone voice is almost being drowned by multitudes of world-acclaimed preachers.
“Beware of false prophets.” For the sake of souls, take heed.
Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 7:15; Matthew 7:15; 16:6-12; 24:4,5,11-13,24,25; Jeremiah 14:14; 23:21-32; Deuteronomy 13:1-11; 2 Corinthians 11:2-4,11-13; Galatians 1:6-10; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1; Jude 4,12-19; Revelation 22:16-19.