Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 7:15
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” – Matthew 7:15
Jesus in this verse is warning His followers that they need to beware of false prophets. The word ‘prophet’ has various definitions. One is a person who foretells the future. This is how the word is generally used today. Now Jesus’ use of the word can in some ways be applicable to those who declare future events. However, in the time of Jesus it was normally used to describe a public instructor on the subject of religion. These religious teachers go out and instruct those in the ways of their religion.
Now, in our focus verse Jesus is warning them that these false teachers will attempt to instruct them in incorrect doctrine, claiming falsely that they have learned these through divine inspiration. Their purpose is to lead them into heresy. This statement from Jesus is probably in reference to false teachers regarding the Jewish faith. He spoke specifically of some of the Jewish scribes later in His ministry. “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Luke 20:46-47. These scribes referred to here are those who have a different outside appearance then what is inside. They take advantage of people using religious words and distorted principles, yet outwardly, before the people, they pretend to be great and devout teachers, teaching false doctrine and principles for their own profit, while pretending to be God’s servants. Notice what it says at the end of the verse; these will receive greater condemnation.
As in those days, we need to be as careful now because there are many false teachers in our churches today. They profess incredible knowledge and credentials but teach doctrine that is counter to what the Word of God actually teaches. Just because they have many followers does not mean they are true children of God. They may look and act godly and have a great outward spiritual appearance, however, their goal is to deceive us into following them and what they have to say. This is why it is so important that we study God’s word on a regular basis. We need to have this knowledge deep within is us so we can compare what they are saying with the truth. Comparing the differences between the two if they exist will tell us if they are a true teacher of the word. We must be as the Bereans Paul describes in the book of Acts. “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:10-12. Never just accept what anyone tells you if you have any questions as to what they taught. Check it out. This will prevent a wolf from deceiving you who comes across as a wonderful sheep but proclaiming great deception in the hope of leading you astray.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.