Woe To You, False Prophets
QUACK doctors find their way into the health profession. And fake police and military personnel infiltrate the security services. Similarly, false apostles, prophets, evangelists, bishops (pastors) and teachers creep into the Christian faith. In a fallen world like ours, a person or thing may be true or false, good or bad, right or wrong and positive or negative. This is an undeniable fact in all human institutions including the church.
The Bible reveals true and false ministers who preach in the name of Jesus Christ. The quality of training a minister receives from a seminary or Bible College alone does not necessarily guarantee their genuineness or inauthenticity, but their individual appointment, preparation and baptism of the Holy Spirit by Christ Jesus which is proven by their works. Indeed, pastoral training goes beyond classroom instruction in the Word. It goes beyond knowledge of exegesis, homiletics, hermeneutics, psychology and liturgy.
A professional is often exposed as fake if their works or practices fall below prescribed acceptable standards. Evil men and women who hide under Christianity to engage in irreligious activities for fame, material wealth and riches were known to the early Apostles of Christ. And, today, there are many of them who infiltrate the church to distort the truth of the gospel, exploit unsuspecting believers, tarnish the image of the church and eventually make it unattractive to the lost souls.
Currently, in Ghana and most parts of the world, false prophets in particular have succeeded in getting many people to criticise and hate Christ and His church through their nefarious activities. This obviously is by the manipulations of the devil, the enemy of our soul. The Apostle Paul wrote of these wicked ministers when he revealed to the Corinthian church the two key groups of men of God in the world. He wrote:
“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2: 17, ESV). Let us also read what the New Living Translation (NLT) puts it: “You see, we are not like those hucksters – and there are many of them – who preach just to make money. We preach God's message with sincerity and Christ's authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.”
From this verse of Scripture, we see two main groups of ministers who preach in the name of the Lord, but with different motives. The first group preaches just to make money for themselves. And the Bible says they are many. I believe these ministers are filled with the lying spirit or the spirit of error which controls them to distort the truth of God's Word thereby succeeding in deceiving people to pay money for consultations, prayers, healing and concoctions in the form of oils and water.
Paul, again, spoke about these deceitful ministers in his letter to Titus, saying “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers…TEACHING FOR SHAMEFUL GAIN (money) what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1: 10- 12, ESV, emphasis mine).
From 2 Corinthians 2: 17, Paul also spoke about the second group of ministers, and he was one of them. He described them as sincere men prepared and sent by God. They also take money but follow sound biblical principles in applying it for the glory of God. These ministers go about their duties with the understanding that God is always watching them so they are careful to walk worthily of their holy and heavenly calling.
Now, it is necessary that believers learn to identify false prophets operating these days. Many are magicians, necromancers, sorcerers, herbalists and traditional healers who have sneaked into Christianity, established what looks like Christian churches. But they are false ministers, operating in false churches and producing false Christians. They are into neo-paganism.
So, now, woe to you, false prophets, fraudsters! “For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter nor allow those who would enter to go in” (Matthew 23: 13). Woe to you, false prophets, deceivers! “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23: 27).
Woe to you, false prophets, swindlers! For you make noise about your mansions, luxurious cars, investments and expensive wardrobe, saying you are rich, you have prospered, and you need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked spiritually. Your utterances and lifestyle expose you as false because true servants of Christ boast only of the souls they have been used to win for the Lord.
By your fruit, you witness against yourselves that you are sons of the devil. Fill up, then, the measure of your father. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell. You can continue to exploit people, distort the truth of the glorious gospel and dent Christianity, but the day of accountability will surely come. Where will you go from God's presence? How will you abscond from God's judgment?
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi
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