It’s a horrible feeling when someone lies to you. Especially if the liar is someone that you held in high esteem. No one likes to be deceived. The word ‘deceived” means to catch by guile or to ensnare and the word “guile” implies that someone is skilled at being deceptive. There are multitudes of deceivers in the world who are trying to get you to buy their product, whether that product is a politician; a particular brand of washing powders or a religion.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 says: “Let no man deceive you by any means” and 2 Peter 2:3 states about false prophets that “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.”
T.L. Lowery in his book, Apostles and Prophets Reclaiming the Biblical Gifts, states that there are four areas in which most false ministries will demonstrate their true nature. The first is by the manifestation of their lives.
[Jesus said], “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:20-23).
This Scripture suggests that a person who does not have a relationship with Jesus may operate in miraculous powers.
T.L. Lowery states, “It is important to know that the fruit of the Spirit, not the gifts of the Spirit, determine the authenticity of a ministry.” The fruit that a tree produces identifies the tree. Oranges grow on orange trees, apples grow on apple trees. Likewise, the fruit it produces identifies a ministry.
An authentic minister will live a life separate from sinful behavior. Paul referred to the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 which include love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
The second sign of a false ministry is the motive of their ministry. The motivation of a person’s life will be manifested in two areas: The content of their conversations and by the way they handle finances. Matthew 12:34 “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Beware of prosperity preachers.
1 Timothy 6:5:“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
The third sign of a false ministry is the message of their ministry. Jesus warned that in the last days “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
The major focus of the message in an authentic ministry is the exaltation of Jesus, not the marketing of their ministry. False apostles and prophets place themselves as the exclusive connecting link between the believer and God.
The fourth sign of a false ministry is the manipulation of people. The Book of Jude says these false ministries “mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage (v. 16). Paul dealt with those who used psychological tactics to manipulate, referring to “the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).
Paul rebuked the Corinthian church because it allowed itself to be manipulated and intimidated by false apostles. In 2 Corinthians 11 20, he described the behavior of the false apostles with five expressions in one verse: “You put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.”
(1) The false apostles preached the bondage of keeping the law as a prerequisite of salvation. (2) The church allowed the false apostles to “devour” their resources. (3) The false ministries took large amounts of their income and their abilities to increase their own lifestyle. (4) The false apostles exalted themselves at the expense of the church. (5) They resorted to humiliation tactics, such as slapping people in the face.
I can think of multiple false ministries that are in the world today. One particular false prophet on YouTube stated that “god” told him to kick an elderly lady in the face so that she would be healed. Brothers and sisters in Christ, this type of behavior is not of God. Our precious Savior was and still is a gentleman. Jesus would never kick people in the face to heal them.
I challenge each of you to read the Bible daily. 2 Timothy 2:15 encourages us to, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.
If you hear anyone preach or teach anything that doesn’t sound quite right, then please search the Scriptures for yourself. You have direct access to God Almighty through the precious blood of Jesus. Pray and ask God for guidance.
1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Father, thank You for Your precious word. Thank You for the precious Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth. Give us the ability to discern good and evil. Make us wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Protect us by Your mighty power. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.