When teaching the disciples about false prophets (remember that apostles are also prophets), Jesus used some hard hitting words and described them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. In fact, He actually:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt 7: 15).

Here are some biblical descriptions of these wolves:

  • They exploit people in order to take their money (2 Pet 2: 3; 2 Cor 11: 20).
  • devour widows’ houses (Mt 23: 14; Mk 12: 40; Lk 20: 47).
  • take advantage of silly women/are sexual predators (2 Tim 3: 6)
  • scatter the brethren with all kinds of dissensions and doctrines (Jn 10: 12).
  • practice and condone all kinds of heinous sins (2 Pet 2: 4-17)
  • they teach that Jesus is not the virgin born Son of God or even that He was not hte Son of God (1 Jn 4: 1-2)
  • desert the brethren in times of trouble (Jn 10: 12)

SOME FALSE PROPHETS ARE PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND CASTING OUT DEVILS

Jesus was the one to draw this unfortunate truth to our attention. While many false prophets and apostles are teaching another Jesus, another gospel and another spirit, there is ANOTHER GROUP comprised of those who actually preach the gospel and cast out devils in His name.  Here is what Jesus said about them:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt 7: 21-23).

WHAT DOES THE WORD “INIQUITY” MEAN?

The word iniquity here means evil deeds and wickedness. These  people had drawn crowds, doing wonderful works  IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. Why did the Lord refuse to accept them? The answer may be found in 1 Cor 3 in which Paul described those who preached the gospel for the WRONG REASONS. 

People who do things for the wrong reasons will use any means possible to achieve their objectives.  In 1 Cor 3, Paul identified several possible reasons for which people may preach the gospel:

  • They may do so for fame. This can be indirectly inferred by his response to the believers’ arguments as to whether Paul or Apollos was the greater of the two Apostles. Paul did not encourage them, but reproved them, telling them that neither of them was more important than the other, but God was the One who caused the ministry to grow (1 Cor 3: 7).
  • Some people build their ministries/works to obtain things/rewards that can perish. These rewards are represented by “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble” (1 Cor 3: 12). This is a false sense of prosperity represented by large buildings, mega numbers, large scale ministry activities, popularity etc.  When God gives the increase, all of these will come, but those who build ministries for these reasons will  fall into snares of the devil.
  • There is a false kind of doctrine in the body of Christ today that leads ministers of the gospel to peddle their gifts in every place in order gain recognition. I  listened recently to a famous  political activist who carries out his activities in the name of the Lord.  To my shock, his program recently highlighted an interview with a witch. His choir director is a known music minister with a powerful anointing. What kind of message is he sending to the body of Christ? Is this what Jesus refers to as working iniquity? 

TEST OF A TRUE MINISTRY

Paul taught that fire will come to test the work that was built so that its true value could be tested (1 Cor 3: 13). The builder of the work that remains will be rewarded. The builders of the works that are destroyed will be saved by “the skin of his teeth” (1 Cor 3: 14-15).

Fire is represented by adversity and  tribulation. Here are some tests that can be applied:

  • Does the work/ministry represent gold tried in the fire? If yes, it will shine brighter after the  test.
  • Do the sheep remain steadfast or are they all lost in the time of testing?
  • Does the individual come out of the fire unscathed or is he/she totally destroyed? e.g Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego.
  • Does the fire purge the work and people from dead things, taking it to another dimension of the anointing or do ashes remain
  • Does the fire rouse the people to prayer and fasting or to dissension? – 2 Chron 20.

There is a reward for those ministers who go on in their folly to the end,  reaping “false riches” for their labor rather than “true riches” (Lk 16:11).  Jesus will declare that he never knew them. I must be honest and confess that this is a rather difficult teaching to grasp, since we assume that people with “power” are filled with the Holy Ghost and love God.

Scriptures teach us that the anointing is dimensional and not linear as we often think. When I say linear, I mean that people often see the anointing as represented by the manifestation of spiritual power. Even satan has power, but he does not possess the fruit of the spirit, knowledge of God, fear of God etc.  He was allowed to retain his gifts after the fall. This is because spiritual gifts are not withdrawn (Rom 11: 29).  It is possible for a believer who is deceived to operate in spiritual power gifts without demonstrating the fruit of the spirit or the fullness of the anointing as described in Isa 11: 1-5 and 61, for example.  Judas was a perfect example. God referred to this kind of anointing as strange fire, after the example of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Lev 10: 1).

As  I listened to a preacher on a gospel radio station one Sunday morning in January, I suddenly saw a vision of a wolf with a halo  of white light around his head.  I interpreted this to be a warning about this particular preacher about whom I know nothing.  Was this a warning that this person is a false prophet? Maybe. Time will tell.

Just in case you wonder about all of this, read Jesus’ reproofs to His church for allowing false teachers to seduce them with  practices of sexual immorality and idolatry (Rev 2: 14, 15; 20). Time has shown us that some people preaching the gospel practice these sins covertly with members of the congregation. Same difference, as we say.

My prayer is that we will all remain true and faithful and receive the reward of “true riches” here and those eternal blessings that are laid up for us. Blessings

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