True from False: Knowing the Messages Influencing You

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When others of influence share their message (whether through teaching, preaching, books, songs or prophesy), we want to be discerning of the emphasis of the message, of who or what it promotes.

“For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.”
Matthew 24:5 (AMPC)

Often I have seen this passage in Matthew referring to people claiming to be Jesus Himself. I once thought that myself. However, we know that people aren’t so foolish as to fall for such a claim 99% of the time.

It seems more appropriate that this verse refers to people who claim to belong to Christ, people claiming “yes, I say Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ,” and claiming to come in His name and serve Him. And yet they are leading people astray.

Far more easily than falling prey to someone claiming to be God, believers could potentially be deceived by someone who claims to be a servant of God.

This is why it’s important to know the message of someone who claims to be a believer in Christ, especially if someone claims to be a teacher, prophet, leader or other person of influence. We must ask some important questions:

  • Are they leading us to serve God or to serve idols?
  • Are they leading us to serve ourselves and other things above or instead of our Creator?

Revelation 19:10 says, “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (NKJV). David Guzik comments on this verse, The true spirit of prophecy always shows itself in bearing witness to Jesus.”

Any message being proclaimed by a prophet, teacher or otherwise ought to bear witness to Jesus. It should not lead us to worship anyone or anything other than the Lord; if it does, it is not a message of His.

In Deuteronomy 13:1-4, God warns not to listen to those who try to draw us away from loyalty to Him, instead attempting to lure us in service to other gods:

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (ESV)

In our current time of history, other gods rarely take the form of actual deities. The idols of our day instead disguise themselves. These idols may include our very own selves, money, career, dreams, goals, pleasure, even ministry or seeming legitimate things.

An idol is essentially anyone or anything taking a place in our lives that is above God or belongs to God. It steals us away from our first love which is to be Him alone.

When others of influence share their message (whether through teaching, preaching, books, songs or prophesy), we want to be discerning of the emphasis of the message, of who or what it promotes.

Who or what is their message (and even their lifestyle) calling us to serve? Is it God and truly based in His ways? Is it self-serving or serving something or someone else? Are they really coming in Jesus’ name and for His glory, exalting Him and calling us to deny ourselves and serve Him above all else, or are they promoting things that would be classified as idolatry?

Such messages can actually be God testing us to see who we will serve. Amazingly, this is what is written in Deuteronomy 13:3.

Beware of any message or Scripture interpretation) that calls you to put your own dreams and self above God. Jesus called us to deny ourselves, not give in to them. He does love us, He does care for us and our needs, but there is a fine line to watch out for especially in our self-focused world.

Look at the message being presented. What is the focus? Does it align with God, His truth and principles in the Bible? Does it glorify Him or man? Does it lead you to do what you want above obedience to God?

Father God, give us hearts after You that desire always to glorify Your Son with our lives. Give us discernment by Your Holy Spirit and lead us in Your truth apart from the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil. As for me, I desire to serve You, Lord! May this be our highest ambition. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you want to study more on this topic, check out the Scripture-centered book Prophetic Masquerade by Kevin Kleint; I highly recommend it!

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