Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 14:1-17
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.
False prophets—people who speak falsely for God, people who tell you the gate isn’t strait and the way isn’t narrow.
Sheep’s clothing—external religious appearance, easy, happy messages about happy subjects with some verses thrown in.Ravening—extortioner, robber.
Know by fruit—you don’t need to be intellectually superior, or able to argue, just watch who they are. Good tree good fruit—good doctrine brings forth good behavior/character.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Fountain is the heart; mouth reveals the heart. Send forth—gushing, bursting out.
Tree and vine—Plants don’t bring forth fruit inconsistent with their nature.
--Paul’s qualifications for church leadership are all moral.
2 Peter 2:1-3
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.2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
The people—Israel, OT is our example. Pay attention! Privily—as a spy, an infiltrator, not openly and directly. Damnable Heresies—divisions, dissension over diverse opinions, parties of destruction. Pernicious ways—the broad road, licentious, false doctrine and immorality go together. The existence of these immoral people disparage, blaspheme the way of truth.
Feigned—molded to fit their evil desires. Make merchandise—their glory is in having followers and money.
1 John 4:1-4
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Try—test, examine, this is for every believer to do. Do this because there are many false prophets. Your attitude toward Jesus Christ is a good indicator of the truth and falsity of your teaching. Dismissing Christ is a bad sign.
In you—the Christian society, not the individual necessarily, as opposed to in the world.
He in the world—Satan.
1 John 4:5-8
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Of the world—their teaching is derived from the world’s opinions. Those on the broad way like to hear teaching about the broad way. Character of the teaching matches where it came from. Error—wandering about, straying.
God is love—biblical love, not sentimental tolerance. If love is not the fruit of your learning, then your learning is wrong and you’ve been led into error.
John 13:34-35—the fruit that lets you know the truth of the teaching.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
love is the fruit of the followers of Christ
wanting you and your money is the fruit of the false teacher
2 Corinthians 12:14—I seek not yours but you