Jesus gave many warnings in scripture about false prophets and their nature. Suddenly, in many churches I have attended in the last 10 years, I have run across one or two - but there has been an increase of them in our American churches and I am sure elsewhere. Deception does not have a geographic location - it is a lying spirit and it is infiltrating our Lord's churches.
This past Sunday, I made a decision to just walk out of a Sunday service. About a month ago, I heard a young man preach and his prophesying did not bear witness with my spirit. He was all over the room, getting people's names mixed up (there were three people in the same service with the same name). He was telling The Holy Spirit of God, "come on Holy Ghost get it right"- totally outrageous, disrespectful to the Spirit of Grace and a mockery of true prophecy - that leads people to Christ and a deeper communion and obedience toward Him and His revealed Word.
After that experience, I decided I had enough of the phoney-baloney. The real spirit of prophecy is Jesus Christ - He is the Word made flesh (Read the Gospel of John, First Chapter). The Holy Spirit of God testifies of Him (Read John's Gospel, chapters 16 thru 18). I attended a church and sat and watch what I thought was an outlandish display of showmanship, confusion and disorder in the House of God. This "pastor-bishop" was commanding people to "hurry up" to get their prophecy from him. He was telling people, "I see this on you, but I'm not saying that you are going to get it". What does that mean exactly I said to myself. God's Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He is not confused; He is not leading anyone to imply something - He is God and tells the truth at all times and directly - there are no "maybes" in prophesy. Either it is true or not.
The man continued with other "antics" including an earlier service that asked for everyone to get $23.00 in their hands but never explained the significance of the "number" and why $23.00 and why not $30.00? Or $10? Because he had his own figure in mind for an amount to raise out of the service. That is confusion and God is not the author of it! He then derided people "who didn't have the $23". What a shame to use God's house for a market place or a banking center. We give to God's house so His Word can be lifted up; so Jesus' name and His finished work on the Cross to save mankind can be lifted up so people can make a choice by the power of the Holy Spirit drawing them, to believe and accept Jesus as their Savior. Not to just to build churches, pews, or become famous....in the church? That's an oxymoron for the Christian believer! That is not our aim.
I left the service as I said. I decided I was not going to sit and watch, hear and see something that was really taking my attention off of God but onto as the pastor said, "be patient, your turn is coming.." because people were watching him and not praising God - the exact thing that false prophets do - take the attention off of The Lord and put the attention on their spiritual gifts (or lack thereof).
Beware, beware, beware of false prophets and false christs and people who say they know the Lord and yet, they do not exhibit the fruit of the Lord consistently. Beware of money grabbers; people always talking about money, money, money - that is not the Lord. God gives us money, not to watch or store up or to buy tons of materials that perish - but to help somebody; help somebody know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I am sick and tired of going to church and hearing a 30-minute offertory service. Not necessary. Jesus has already told us to give in secret, give to others, give joyfully, give abundantly and God will rewaardrd us openly.
So many of these false prophets are deceiving even the saints - sincere believers in Jesus Christ. I am asking God for more discernment and purity in my own life. That's what we need to pray for individually and corporately. These false prophets are not full of the Word of God. They don't make you excited about knowing Jesus, about heaven, about eternity with Him. They want you to get excited about stuff, titles, promotions, and what you are going to get from God and miracles. All of that comes from God when He wants to give it to you - but we are not serving God for the "stuff". Don't you want Jesus alone? I am learning that I must really watch my own spirit - so much is going on around. I need Jesus' help and the help of The Holy Spirit to live for Christ. It is a real battle to stay clean, pure and focused on the Lord. "Lord, hear my prayer".
Here are some scriptures to remind you of what Jesus said. Meditate on them. Obey the Spirit's leading when He says, "that's not my Word". We have to be more committed and dedicated to the Word of God and what the Word says above all other "words". Real prophets turn people back to God. To Christ they lead you to...not to themselves, heaping up disciples after themselves or trying to get the money in your purse. True prophets are those who love the Lord and love God's people.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15).
...and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (Matthew 24:11)
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. (Matthew 24:24)
The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.(John 10:12)
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.(2 Peter 2:1)
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1).
Keep watch...hold on to the faith and listen to Jesus and His word.
Loving the Lord and His people everywhere - Sis. Verinda M. Birdsong, for the Examiner