I. THE MARKS OF A FALSE PROPHET.
A. They lead people into a false sense of security.
1. Here they were saying peace, when war and desolation had been determined by the Lord.
2. The people had only one hope, and that is to repent and seek the mercy of the Lord.
3. Because of the false prophets they were going on in their iniquity down the path of destruction, not realizing the urgency of repentance.
4. They were assuring the people in sin that God would not bring judgment upon them.
5. What they say sounded good, and what they were doing seemed good, they were building a wall that looked sturdy, but they were daubing it with untempered mortar.
B. They cause people to trust in a false hope.
1. They were assuring them that salvation was coming from Egypt.
2. A false prophet today would lead you to trust in something other than Jesus Christ for your salvation.
3. Many people are looking to psychology for their answers today.
4. Many are being led to the powers within. The enlightened consciousness.
5. Others are saying that through hypnosis, you can solve your problems. Stop smoking, quit biting your nails, or sleep better at night.
6. Still others are looking to the stars and their influence on their lives to lead them into success.
7. The bottom line is what are they leading you to trust in?
C. Another characteristic of the false prophet is their desire to reach into your pocket.
1. God spoke of the prophetesses who were polluting God among the people for handfuls of barley or pieces of bread.
2. When Peter warns of the false prophets in his second epistle, he declared that with feigned lips they will seek to make merchandise of the people.
3. The big event of the evening is the offering.
4. I am always amazed that these men who teach so much on faith, and are always encouraging you to give in faith, and expect God to give you a miracle, never seem to have enough faith to believe that God can supply their needs, or the needs of their ministry.
II. THE EFFECTS OF THE FALSE PROPHET.
A. They bring the people into destruction.
1. They would keep the people from the very thing that would save them.
2. There are many false prophets in the world today just as there has been in every age.
a. There are men in pulpits today who deny the existence of heaven and hell.
b. They deny the atoning work of Jesus Christ.
c. They deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
d. They deny the inspiration and inerrancy of the scriptures.
e. They preach the gospel of self-esteem, and to them being born again is to come into a healthy appreciation of your self worth.
f. There are false prophets who are teaching people that they are gods, and that faith is the greatest force in the universe, and if you will only understand how to use faith, you can create your own realities, and you can control the issues of your life. They mock the prayer of Jesus when He said, "Nevertheless, not what I will but Thy will be done."
3. Jesus warned the people to beware of false prophets who were really wolves but they came in sheep's clothing.
4. Any man who would lead you to trust in anything other than the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross for your sins, for your salvation and hope of eternal life is a false prophet. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me."
5. Any man that would comfort you in your sinful state as to your eternal destiny is a false prophet. This is basically what was happening in Jerusalem. The false prophets were giving false hope to the people who were in gross sins of the flesh.
a. As Paul was listing the works of the flesh that included adultery, fornication, perversion, hatred, wrath strife, he ended the list with these words, "And we know that they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
b. Any man that would tell you any different is as false prophet.
6. Notice in verse 22 what God says about the false prophets, they had strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not turn from their wicked way, by promising them life.
a. The people were not warned that they must repent or face the judgment of God. They were just encouraged to feel good about themselves.
b. As a result the people and the city were destroyed.
7. Much as the Pharisee's in the days of Jesus, they would not enter into the kingdom, but they also hindered those that would.
III. GOD'S WORD TO THE FALSE PROPHETS.
A. First of all, God said, "I am against you."
1. Paul said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
2. One of the greatest comforts of my soul is that God is for Me.
3. I cannot imagine how horrible it would be for God to say that He was against me. Who is able to stand against God?
B. The hand of the Lord would be against them.
1. They had destroyed others with their lies now they are to be destroyed.
C. They would not be allowed in the assembly of God's people.
1. There would be no place for them in heaven.
2. When God's people would be assembled in heaven from all ages, they would be absent.
D. Their names would not be found in the book of life, here called the book of the house of Israel.
1. In Revelation 20:15
we read, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
IV. WORDS OF WARNING.
A. Beware when a man would seek to comfort you in your sin.
B. Beware when a man would tell you that God needs your money.
1. God's word teaches us that we do owe to God a tenth of all the increase that He gives to us.
2. We are told that God loves a cheerful giver.
3. We are never told that we are to give because God needs it.
C. Beware when men add to the word of God, telling you that the Bible is not enough.
1. Peter tells us that God, in the scriptures, has given to us all that is necessary for life and godliness.
2. There are those who would discourage you from just reading the Bible. They say that you need them to interpret the Bible for you.
3. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was given to guide us into all truth.
4. Read the Bible and ask the Spirit to teach you.
D. Beware when a man would lead you to trust in anything other than Jesus Christ for salvation and the hope of eternal life.