Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.Matthew 7:15
If someone came to you dressed like the devil in the cartoons with red skin, horns, and a pitchfork, you would tell them to go away on first contact. That is why false prophets don’t do it that way. They don’t sound alarms letting people know they are dangerous. They try to blend into the crowd and influence our minds with subtlety.
Jesus warns us that false prophets do not try to come into our lives openly like the dangerous animals they are. He says they dress up in sheep’s clothing. This means they look Christian. They look like other people we would associate with church or Jesus Christ. However, they just look that way.
They do not desire to help or build up the people of God. They actually want to consume them like prey. In fact, have you ever considered the saying “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”? They don’t shave the wool from sheep. They kill a sheep and are wear its skin! They are extremely dangerous!
Jesus has been drawing the Sermon on the Mount to close in these last few verses of Matthew 7. He just charged the children of God to choose the path they will walk in this life here on earth. Will the child thankfully choose to walk the path of righteousness or will he choose to go along with the crowd forgetting that Jesus has saved him from such behavior?
This section of the sermon, teaches us how to choose the correct path. Depending on what teachings influence us, we will choose the path as we are motivated. Therefore, Jesus teaches us to be very careful about who we allow to teach us!
It is obvious that we should shun the influences of the vulgar music and video in the media. (At least, it should be obvious.) What is not so obvious is that we need to make sure we are following the truth when we seek to live righteously. This is where the false prophets enter in.
We need to carefully examine all the things that come into our lives. This includes what we have accepted as Christianity and Biblical truth. Just because the influence wears the garment of Christianity does not mean that it is teaching Biblical truth!
Just because previous generations believed and followed a teaching does not mean we should. Further, it is particularly important to not be fooled into going along with the current religious fad or movement.
In the following verses of Matthew 7, Jesus will teach how to recognize false prophets and remind us that He will deal with them in the end. All we need to do is know they are there. Learn how to recognize them, and then avoid them.
The Apostle John gives a similar warning in his 1st epistle when he writes:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.1st John 4:1
John tells us to put all influences on trial. That means we compare everything that comes into our lives with the truth of God’s holy word, the Bible. If it does not match up to the entire message of the Bible, we should kick it out of our lives – especially if it is claiming to a message from God!