August 17, 2020
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).
In my older years I have grown fond of raising flowering plants and decorating the yards and patio with them. Back in the early Spring I found a plant bulb lying out in the back yard. I hadn’t seen that bulb before, I don’t know how it got there, and I didn’t recognize what plant species it belonged to. So, I took this bulb and planted it in a nice spot in the flowerbed.
After a while I was delighted the bulb had sprouted and had grown a spike about 1 foot high. It had put on leaves, but no flowers. After another few weeks the plant had grown significantly taller and produced a delicate white bloom. After another week or so, the flower faded and fell off. In its place was a cluster of small green pea like ‘fruit’. Interesting. After another week or so the cluster of ‘peas’ turned a deep red and formed a shape I was very familiar with - polk salad. I immediately pulled the plant up and threw it in the trash.
As a boy in Arkansas, I was very familiar with polk salad. Grandma use to make it for supper once in a while, but you have to harvest the plant while it is young and tender - like okra. When the plant puts on red berries, it becomes poisonous. It will kill almost anything that eats it.
False preachers and teachers are like the polk salad plant. You can’t really tell what they are to begin with - they look just like a lot of other ‘Christians’. They can be attractive and a welcome addition to the group, but their ‘fruit’ is deadly. You take in what they offer and it will make your spirit sick unto death. They will ruin the Christian fellowship. They will destroy the church.
Outward fruit identifies true from false preachers, teachers, and Christians. You cannot always tell by their conversation, or by their countenance, but you can always tell by their ‘fruit’, their conduct. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said our ‘fruit’ is doing the will of God. False preachers, teachers, and Christians are not in to that. They follow their own will. They do their own thing. They have no concern for the Lord or His will for themselves or anyone else. We must ‘beware’ or ‘watch out’ for them. Like a deadly rattlesnake - walk away from them.
“Father, keep me alerted to the deception of those who profess to be saved and serving You, when in fact they are on mission from Satan to destroy Your kingdom here on earth. Help me alert others to these false prophets by remaining faithful in preaching and teaching Your truth, Your Word, the doctrines of Your Kingdom. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”