THE fact that someone is ministering and quoting from the Bible is not enough to qualify what is being taught as truly coming from God.
Demons too can speak biblical truths and this has given leverage to the false prophets and ministers of today. Every Christian needs a safeguard against falsehoods coming from the charlatans and the false prophets of the 21st century.
When Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he used the word of God exactly as it is written. He had tried to manipulate Jesus to do what he wanted and not what God wanted.
In the same way a person can use the word of God to propel a false doctrine and manipulate you for his own evil end.
“My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.” 1 John 4:1.
And Jeremiah 23:16 warns, This is what the LORD of Heaven’s armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD!
The warning is clear: Don’t give the charlatans an audience, if you do, you give them an open door, you have come into agreement with them and given them permission to ensnare you.
Spirit of divination
In the book of Acts we meet a slave girl who had the spirit of divination but speaks the word of God truthfully about Paul and Silas. Acts 16:16-18. Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days.
Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
There are many diviners earning a great deal of money through the trade of fortune-telling. The false prophets use the word of God and pose as true servants of God and minister deliverance, but are relying on the evil spirit of divination.
When Satan wants to deceive a Christian, he will not come with a tail and horns. 2 Corinthians 11: 14 tells us- And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Who is ever tempted by something that is unattractive? Satan presents himself as something that is 80 per cent truth and 20 percent false. It will be mostly light with some elements of darkness. We therefore, need to be alert and discern for deception.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has already taught us how to spot the false prophets.
Matthew 7:15-16, 21-23 – “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. …”
“ Not everyone who calls me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.Many will say to me that day Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ’Í never knew you. Away from me you evil doers.”
A true prophet of God cannot preach the word of God on Sunday and live a double life from Monday to Saturday-committing adultery, stealing, having problems with anger, lying and provoking his children or beating up the wife…
No matter how powerful a person’s preaching is, if his life does not display the fruit of the spirit, ignore what he says and find another church where the pastor or spiritual leader “walks the talk.”
Watch out for the false prophet
We need to watch out for the false prophets, teachers and ministers who deceive us by their gifting but have no character; that is how deception creeps in and taints the ministry.
A mature Christian was greatly deceived by a messenger of darkness(servant of Satan) masquerading as a man of God.
The man started off by telling her how important it was to read the bible and pray to Jesus. After that he told her how God wants us to pray secretly.
He used Mathew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen. Then your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” He told her that whatever is done in secret was between her and God.
He told her to buy red candles, representing the blood of Jesus. She was also to buy a red head scarf and red cloth to cover “the altar” that he wanted her to make.
This was to be a small table put in a corner of her bedroom. Every time she prayed she was to cover her head with the scarf. He handed her the prayers to pray so that God would reward her.
This crook became her “personal prophet” and fleeced her of a lot of money before she realised he was a scam.
What do you think made the woman in the story above believe this messenger of darkness?
He came as a genuine prophet, “an angel of light,” even quoting scripture and telling her to pray through Jesus Christ; that made her believe him.
She did not have proper teaching and grounding of God’s Word. And, most likely she was not walking in fellowship with other believers who may have strengthened her.
This believer also did not read and study the Word of God for herself as the scammer clearly twisted the scripture out of context.
We must be grounded in scripture, sound doctrine and share with other believers as we cannot successfully walk the Christian walk alone , exclusive of other people.
We need to be vigilant for signs that people ministering to us are not deceiving us. When your guard is down and a person quotes scripture you may become gullible.
Be careful about running to a prophet or a deliverance minister for spiritual guidance, but test everything with the word of God. Examine everything they are saying carefully.
Christians are deceived by fake ministers of the gospel because they are not grounded in the Word. We depend on others to read and interpret sscripture for us.
We have an intelligent enemy who is capable pf twisting the truth of God’s word to deceive us. He twisted scripture to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and dared to quote the Word to Jesus! (Luke 4)
Sometimes we believe so much in the messenger that we don’t evaluate the message. We need to go back to study scriptures for our selves like the Bereans.
When people are born again, many times there is improper teaching and discipleship.
Christians are deceived when they are after the benefits from God and not a relationship with Him; they are seeking after his hand (blessing and miracles) and not his face (intimacy). They want a quick fix!
We are deceived because we still have the love of things in our hearts, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, the love of the things of the world. 1 John 2:15, 16. Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
All deception happens around the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. There is always a spirit of mind control at work.
Ephesians 6: 10, 11, 13 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
We need to be strong in the Lord and put on the armour of God. According to you which two pieces of armour do you think Christians ignore most?
Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ gave us the blueprint of spotting a scam in the ministry : You shall know them by their fruits not miracles.
How do they treat the people around them, are they behaving like a shepherd of God or are they rearing tendencies of wolves in sheep’s clothing?
The word of God must first transform a person’s own life before he can stand on the pulpit to teach it. The deliverance minister must themselves first be free, before he or she can set the captives free.
There are still true servants of God who minister the truth and power of the Word faithfully and strive to live it out by the help of the Holy Spirit. It is your responsibility to ensure you are not deceived. Don’t rely on anybody, rely on God!
If we let a minister’s physical appearance, his enthusiasm or what he or she says at face value be the yardstick for evaluating his or her authenticity, then we only have ourselves to blame when we fall to their deception.
The Bereans, “were more noble…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul taught was true.”
These people could as well have believed all that Paul was teaching because of his reputation, but they went an extra mile of letting the scriptures be the final test of authenticity of the teaching.
Make it your habit, a responsibility, to go back and examine the scriptures to see whether what is said or being ministered the true word of God.
Many fake ministers have taken advantage of Christians who have given them that leverage through their own gullibility. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.” Philippians 1:15.
There would be probably fewer deceived people in Christendom if believers sought a relationship with God first and not benefits. If they learn to discern, ground themselves in the word and regularly go back to the word to verify and authenticate.
“The spirit clearly says that in the later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1.