Well, as we look at Ezekiel Chapter 13 this morning, I'm going to break some rules.
In fact, please don't share this message with Pastor Gil because he will come back and rebuke me because one of the things that he would often tell me when I was working through courses and classes with him on how to teach the Bible is make sure you always.
Have one message for the people and not more than that.
And sometimes I would teach and he would say, Jerry, you gave me 3 messages tonight.
That was too many.
You need to reduce it to one.
Well, today I'm going to give you 2 messages.
Is so I apologize if I break some rules and mess up your head a little bit but as I wrestled through this chapter and these things there's really two kind of segments two groups of things that we need to consider and so message number one this morning will walk through never become a false prophet and.
I pray that you don't need to hear that message.
And yet I also recognize and understand and would encourage you to understand that we all need to hear this message and to guard ourself against becoming a false prophet, a false teacher, one who misrepresents the law.
But secondly, we also need to be encouraged to never believe a false prophet.
And so there is the warning for ourselves not to go there and become that, but also the warning for us to not fall into the trap that other false teachers have set for us.
And so this is an exhortation for us too.
Really, be alert and understand where we're at in regards to the truth of God and the falsehood that the enemy seeks to promote and deliver everywhere and even through us as well as.
US, the apostle Peter and Second Peter Chapter 2 tells us there were also false prophets in Israel. Just as there will be false teachers among you, they will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the master who bought them. In this way they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.
And then it tells us in second Peter two too many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality.
Notice two important truths here.
There will be false teachers among you.
That's truth number one.
Many will follow their evil teachings.
Now, it would be different if it said there will be many false teachers, but hardly nobody will follow them.
That would be a little bit more of an encouraging message there from Peter, but the reality here is there will be false teachers.
They will be among you.
From among you they will be some of you, is what Peter is saying, and also many will fall.
So then something important to consider as you think about this passage and this concept of false teachers is does a false teacher, does a false prophet know that they are a false prophet?
And I think the Bible is pretty clear on this, that sometimes they do, but sometimes they don't.
And that's why it's important for us to consider and to exhort ourselves never become a false prophet because there is the potential for us to be false prophets, false teachers, and not.
Really be aware of it.
Paul tells us in Second Timothy Chapter 3.
Evil people and impostors will flourish.
They're going to abound more and more.
They will deceive others, and themselves be deceived, but you must remain faithful to the things.
Which you have been taught.
In the last days as we head towards eternity.
There is going to be more and more evil people and impostors, Paul says.
Some of them are deceived.
All of them are deceiving others, and sometimes a false prophet is deceived, not aware that they are a false prophet, not aware that they're a false teacher.
And so there is that need for us to be encouraged and warned and exhorted to watch out for that, to beware of these things, so that we guard our hearts.
That we must, so that we can remain faithful to the things that we have been taught, and so some important truths to consider.
As we get started this morning, there will be false prophets.
False prophets will increase.
They're not going to get less and less and less and less.
They're going to get more and more and more and more false prophets will come from among you.
It's not always going to be, you know, some teaching or teacher or doctrine from outside the church, but from with inside the church, from with inside the body of Christ, there is going to be.
Those who rise up and become these false prophets and false teachers.
There's many people will follow false prophets.
And so it's not a rare phenomena like whoa, you know, it's like that one time somebody heard a false teaching and believed it.
Now it's common many people will follow false prophets, and so you must remain faithful.
And so here as we look at Ezekiel chapter 13.
Never become a false prophet and never believe a false prophet.
We're going to work our way four points.
But kind of doubled, right?
So four points in each of these messages.
To consider what the Lord has for us and to help guard ourselves against both of these things, here's point number one.
Or I should say points number one.
Never pretend to hear from God in order to avoid.
Becoming a false prophet?
Make sure you never pretend to hear from God.
And in order.
To ensure that you don't believe a false prophet verify claims to hear from God.
Look at verse one and two.
Again it says this.
Then this message came to me from the Lord son of man, prophecy against the false prophets of Israel, who are inventing their own prophecies, say to them.
Listen to the word of the Lord.
God here calls Ezekiel to deliver a message specifically to false prophets.
This was a group of people that Jeremiah also had to deal with and rebuke, and the Lord had him interact with them.
And now God calls Ezekiel to a similar ministry.
He says, look, there are these false prophets.
They are teaching things that are wrong, that are bad, that are destructive, and so look.
You need to announce the word of the Lord to them.
They need to hear the word of the Lord.
And throughout these verses we get some characteristics about false prophets that are good to understand and recognize.
In verse 2 the Lord says that they are inventing their own prophecies.
They're inventing their own prophecies.
The false prophets of the day were announcing things like Jerusalem was not going to be conquered by.
Babylon, they were announcing things like there's going to be peace and you're going to have victory.
They were announcing things that were completely the opposite of what God had been saying through Jeremiah, through Ezekiel, and through many of the other prophets that.
God had raised up.
But their message came from themselves, from their own hearts, from their own minds and imaginations.
It was their own invention.
It was their own invention that they were bringing forth as prophecy.
Verse three tells us they are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all.
And here's where I think it's important to recognize that some of this for sure happened with full knowledge of the false prophet.
They knew they had no message.
They knew they had seen nothing at all.
Deliberately, overtly lied and said, I have seen a vision from the Lord and made-up that vision that they imagined at the same time. I would suggest that there.
Is a great possibility that some of these false prophets thought they had seen.
They were deceived into thinking they had received something from the Lord, but it was.
Not that they.
Had a blank mind and then just made-up something that their imagination generated a vision that they believed and then passed along as the word of the law.
And so they have invented their own prophecies.
Whether they knew or not, it was their invention.
They invented their own prophecies.
They followed their own imaginations, maybe knowing it was their imagination, or perhaps.
Mistaking their imagination for a vision from the Lord.
God says in verse.
Six that they have told lies.
So whether they intended to lie and speak false prophecy or.
Whether it was.
And they believed what they were saying, and yet it was wrong either way.
It's lies that they are telling.
And so they have told lies, they've made false predictions, he says in verse six.
False predictions, they're predicting things, they're talking about the future, and they don't come to pass.
Verse six also says they say this is the message from the Lord, even though the Lord never sent them, and this is important to understand and recognize that there are those who boldly claim the name of the Lord.
Without actually being sent by the Lord or inspired by the Lord.
And so there is blatant, completely evil, false prophets.
And there is deceived evil nonetheless, but deceived and confused false prophets.
The end result is the same, telling lies, making false predictions, inventing their own prophecies at the end of verse six.
It's interesting it says, and yet they expect him to fulfill.
They're saying these things.
There's this expectation.
In other translations at words it with the word hope, they hope that their prophecy will be fulfilled.
And so there were things that they were sharing that they didn't know for certain because the Lord had told them.
But they were sharing the things that they hoped would be fulfilled.
They were waiting for them to be fulfilled.
They expected them to be fulfilled.
Some false prophets would teach, and they wouldn't expect it actually to be fulfilled because they knew they had invented it themselves.
But some were deceived and they thought.
That the message that they shared would be fulfilled.
They thought that they had figured it out or had some insights, and so they shared it as if it was from the Lord, even though it was not, but with that hope, with that expectation that that word would be fulfilled.
And I think it's important to understand the balance between these two things and these two types of false prophets, because, you know, it doesn't necessarily have to be a Disney villain in your mind when you think about a false prophet.
Some you know, overtly, radically evil, intentional, wanting people to suffer and hurt.
Sometimes false prophets are the most bright and bubbly and optimistic.
And you know that that's the kind of false prophecy that was going on in Jeremiah Day.
They wanted the best.
For people, they wanted victory and peace.
They wanted all of the things that they announced.
The main problem was they had not heard their message from the Lord, Pastor David Guzik says.
The source of their false prophecy wasn't necessarily directly demonic.
There was simply a large element of their own hearts in what they said.
Their own desires, their own hopes, their own wisdom, their own need.
For acceptance prompted, there were there's lots of things going on there.
It was their own heart, their own dreams, or what they wanted.
Also their own need for acceptance and their own desire for position and prominence was sometimes a motivating factor because they would be able to be elevated and highlighted if they delivered a message that was favorable to those.
And authority into those who are listening to them.
And so here we understand as we get started here in these first few verses that.
There are false prophets, there are false prophecies, and we need to guard ourselves.
And make sure that we don't go down that path.
And I wouldn't expect that you would be listening to me if you're one of those who.
Plan on and intentionally are entering into false prophetic ministry.
If you are listening, great.
You know, come talk afterwards and I'll send you to talk to Omar.
He's really good at that kind of stuff.
But, you know, I I'm.
Really thinking about us.
Who not intentionally would become false prophets or misrepresent the Lord, or say something that is intentional against God?
Through our own deceptive hearts and imaginations.
There is the possibility that we communicate.
Under the name of the Lord, the very fact that we're Christian.
The very fact that we, you know, have this.
A season in church this, you know, history in church and this history in walking with the Lord there there is a weight that comes with our testimony.
And so when we speak.
We need to be very careful to never pretend to hear from God.
And this happens.
And it's tempting, and it's easy for us to slip into.
And you could become a false prophet to your family.
You could become a false prophet to the neighborhood.
You could become a false prophet here in the church.
You could become a false prophet on YouTube or Tik T.O.K or, you know, whatever other venue if you pretend.
To hear from God.
And there's some things that we want so badly and we want to see them so much, and we want people to hear them so badly that that there is a temptation for us.
To pretend to imagine, to hope that this is what God wants us to say.
God challenges them in verse seven, he says.
Can your visions be anything but false?
If you claim this message is from the Lord, when I have not even spoken to you.
Is there any other option when you say this is what God says?
You're speaking on behalf of God, and then you call in God as a witness and God says I've never told him that.
Is there any other option than for your message to be false for you to be a false prophet?
To say in the name of the Lord what the Lord has not.
Said I I think you know, as we read through the prophets and see their work in their ministry in the Scriptures.
We were encouraged by them, and their boldness is admirable.
And sometimes it kind of encourages people to be bold and to just say things out.
Without really understanding whether or not God has actually.
Said it. I've always appreciated Jeremiah and Jeremiah chapter 32, when the Lord tells him to buy his cousin's field.
And he hears this from the Lord, and he's.
Perplexed to by it a little bit, he's talking to the Lord about it, wrestling with about the wrestling about it with the Lord, and then his cousin comes in and Jeremiah Chapter 32, verse 8.
And says, hey Jeremiah, why don't?
You buy my field.
And so God had already been talking to him about it.
And then here comes his cousin.
Now Jeremiah is in prison, so, you know, this is out of the blue.
The cousin comes in and it tells us in Jeremiah 32 eight, Jeremiah says. Then I knew the message I had heard was from the Lord.
And that confirmation that Jeremiah received was helpful to him to discern this.
OK, OK, I I thought I was going crazy for a little bit, had too many bad burritos last night, and so this is really a word from the Lord.
I need to buy this field in in a similar way.
I would encourage us to make sure.
That we learn how to hear from the Lord, that we get confirmation when we are going to be invoking the name of the Lord and attaching his name to anything that we say.
To protect ourselves and to be very cautious that we never pretend to hear from God that we don't just fake it.
In the hopes that God will fulfill and confirm the thing that we are seeing.
How many stories have we heard about people walking up to someone and saying God told me I'm gonna marry you, right?
Like, that's a, uh, a thing that happens very often.
It's like a common thing.
It's not even like a rare thing.
It happens regularly.
And there is invoking the name of God.
And yet there is the big question mark.
Did God really say that again?
Sometimes we're emotional, sometimes we're confused, sometimes we have great imaginations.
Sometimes we have too many burritos.
And we mistake.
Our own thoughts and ideas.
For the word of the Lord.
And we need to be very careful.
That we don't deceive.
Ourselves, and that we never pretend to hear from God, but that we wait for that confirmation.
But we also need to be on the alert for those who give that message to us.
And so someone walks up to you and says thus, says the Lord.
It's appropriate for us to verify.
The claim to hear from God.
God tells his people in verse four.
Oh people of Israel, these prophets are yours.
Of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins.
They have done nothing to repair the brakes and the walls around the nation.
They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the Lord.
God wants his people to know these prophets that you have, that you're excited about, that you are are fans of.
They are not what they seem.
They are not helping you the way that you think they are.
They're like jackals digging in the ruins.
And the idea there is they're just wild out there doing their own thing, just taking care of themselves, but they're not actually helping to build the walls.
They're just taking advantage of the ruins and getting any, you know, scavenging that they can get in order to provide for themselves.
But there's real work that needs to be done.
And the Lord.
Has sent prophets to do that work.
But the people have grasped hold of these false prophets, instead of Jeremiah, instead of Ezekiel.
They didn't verify the claims to hear from God.
They just accepted it.
They just believed it.
They just embraced it.
And that is not the model.
For us to follow.
There needs to be a test.
The apostle John and 1st John Chapter 4 tells us dear friends.
Do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the spirit.
You must test them.
You notice you must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.
For there are many false prophets in the world.
This is how we know if they have the spirit of God, if a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body.
That person has the spirit of God.
John tells us, guys, you can't just believe everything that someone says because they set it in the name of the Lord, or they set it in a very spiritual way where there seemed to be a real dramatic and emotional movement of the spirit.
And so you're you're likely to believe.
It it's easy.
To believe it but don't, you must test.
Test those claims.
Test those teachings, test those prophets.
And so John gives us a test to perform.
Check where they're at in regards to Jesus Christ.
What is their doctrine about the Lord Jesus?
And this isn't just.
And I can't get into all of the details here.
This isn't just, you know, say words that we can agree with.
This is test.
Them or are they?
Be genuine in their faith in Christ.
Do they believe the true doctrines about the Lord, that he being God became man?
All of these things are essential and you need to keep the core test.
Not OK what you know, political party?
Are you part of or what's your background?
Who taught you?
Where did you come from?
But who is Jesus and and?
Listen, what we believe about Jesus.
Impacts all of what we believe.
And so John brings it back to the core and you can find out false doctrine, false prophets, false teachers.
Where they stand with the Lord, the test is really is this teaching consistent with the whole person of Jesus?
Past, present, future.
Is this teaching consistent with the nature and character of the Lord?
And so we need to be on the alert and to watch and to guard ourselves.
Never pretend to hear from God and verify claims when people say that they've heard from the Lord.
Moving on for the second point this morning, verses 10 through 16 never pretend to work for God.
And verify claims to work for God.
Never pretend yourself to work for God.
And when someone else is claiming to work for God, it's appropriate and necessary to verify those claims.
Verse 10 says this will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying.
It's for when there is no peace at all.
It's as if the people have built a flimsy wall.
And these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash.
Here God gives a little bit of an illustration.
This is what it's like when these false prophets are on the scene.
It's like building a wall.
Not just any wall or any kind of wall, but building a flimsy wall.
Now in the context of being under siege, like Jerusalem is, Babylon is attacking Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is under siege when you are under siege or under attack.
What kind of wall do you want between you and the enemy?
A strong fortress wall or a flimsy wall?
What kind of wall do you want?
Right, you want that strong wall, but but hear God saying there is this building of a flimsy wall, but instead of dealing with the reality that the wall is flimsy.
They're pretending like the wall is strong by covering it with white wash.
Now, white wash you could think of.
Here's how I like to think of it.
Drywall mud or that kind of stuff might be a little bit more appropriate, but spackle, you know, in my head just makes the the picture a little bit more vivid.
Imagine if these walls were structurally unstable.
And so there is cracks all over the place.
Now, cracks all over the place doesn't necessarily mean the.
Buildings are about to come down.
Could have a strong wall, but just with settling and earthquakes and those kinds of things right.
That's not necessarily a big deal but but if there were cracks and then now we get it investigated and we say Josh, can you check this out and he you know gets inside and and looks at the structure looks at the framing and and.
Comes to the conclusion, woo, this wall is in bad shape.
And so he comes back.
He says, Pastor Jerry, this this wall.
I don't know if this is gonna last.
It might not.
Be safe to have church in the building anymore.
Now if I said.
Listen, we're just going to trust Jesus and give me some spackle and I'll just patch the cracks.
We're just going to trust the Lord.
It's going to be great.
There's going to be peace.
We're going to have good service.
The walls are not going to come down.
That would be an incredibly foolish approach.
To the reality of a flimsy wall.
This is what was happening with the nation of Israel.
Spiritually speaking, their walls were flimsy.
They were believing all kinds of false things and wrong things.
They had sin issues that had to be dealt with.
But instead of dealing with those sin issues, these false prophets were coming.
And saying let's just kind.
Of cover over.
All this stuff and make it look nice and look strong and that will be sufficient hoping that God would fulfill.
Their promises and prophecies, Pastor David Guzik says the message of the false prophets was attractive and even seductive.
Their message was filled with hope and inspiration, packed with optimism and confidence.
God will deliver us and we will win against the Babylonians.
It's not a pleasant thing to deal with sin and to talk about repentance and to call people to the truth.
And so let's not talk about and deal with those things the false prophets would prefer to.
Let's think positive thoughts and just cover over those real issues, that flimsy wall that is there.
To work for God, that's what this is.
To pretend to work for God is just to use spackle.
It's fake, and it might make people feel good for a moment before the wall comes down.
But it's fake and it's temporary, and it doesn't last.
This is what the false prophets were doing.
And so we also need to verify claims to work for God.
If I'm talking to you.
And you put spackle on me because, yeah, there's an issue there and there's a problem and you just kind of like cover over it.
Like, let's just kind of like soften it.
I don't really want.
To deal with.
I don't like confrontation, you see, and so I.
Don't really want to deal with the actual issue.
It's not a faithful approach.
It's not a faithful approach.
To serving one another and ministering to one another.
Verse 11 God says tell these white washers.
Their wall will soon fall down.
A heavy rainstorm will undermine it, great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down.
And when the wall falls, the people will cry out what happened.
To your whitewash.
Guys, he told us all these promises you said everything would be great.
What happened to all those words that you said?
All those promises that you made?
And when the wall falls, these false prophets will be revealed as the false prophets that they are.
Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says.
I will sweep away your whitewashed wall with a storm of indignation and with a great flood of anger and with hailstones of fury, I will break down your wall right to its foundation, and when it falls it will crush you.
Then you will know that I am.
The Lord, the false prophets don't actually know that he is the Lord.
They're not operating in that understanding and recognition that he is and that he is the Lord.
They're thinking they're going to get away.
They're crafty enough.
They're they're slick enough with their words, they're able to spin these tales and then.
When it all happens differently than they said, they're able to come up with some other crafty approach and and understand some way to manipulate the people to continue to trust in them even though their prophecies have fallen short.
And so God says I'm going to prevent that this time, and the wall is.
Going to come down.
You're going to be crushed by it and.
Then you're going to be face to face with the reality that I am the Lord.
Verse 15 that lasts my anger against the wall and those who covered it with whitewash will be satisfied.
Then I will say to you, the wall and those who whitewashed it both are both gone.
They were lying prophets who claimed peace would come to Jerusalem when there was no peace.
I, the sovereign Lord, have spoken.
God reveals them to be the false prophets that they are, and he will always do that.
It will always take place.
Nobody gets away with speaking in the name of the Lord when God has not actually sent them.
Pastor Warren Wisby says a true prophet tells people what they.
Need to hear?
But a false prophet tells them what they want to hear.
A true servant of God builds carefully on a strong foundation and keeps the wall in good repair, but a hireling builds carelessly and whitewashed things to make them look.
And so here is a warning for us never pretend.
To work for God.
Never whitewash things that need to be really dismantled and taken care of and addressed that the issues that are there. Don't become a false prophet to your family, to your neighborhood, on YouTube, here at the church.
By pretending to work for God.
Pretending to address things.
That are not actually being addressed.
Paul tells us in First Corinthians Chapter 3 talking about the work for the Lord.
He says no one can lay the foundation aside from the foundation we.
Have Jesus Christ.
Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials.
Gold, silver, jewels, wood.
But on the Judgment Day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.
The fire will show if a person's work has any value. We need to check our work and never pretend to work for the Lord, but to be careful to make sure that we're using the best materials, the actual resources of the Lord, to do the work of the Lord. Not man-made resources, not our own inventions or imaginations.
Our own desires.
Never become a false prophet and build with whatever you think is best.
A true prophet, a true servant of the Lord.
Ministers to people what they need, not necessarily what they want.
And as people ministered to you and are doing.
The work of.
The Lord supposedly it's appropriate and it's right to verify those claims.
Jesus told us we ought to be fruits inspectors, he said in Matthew Chapter 7.
Beware of false prophets.
Who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
This is the reality.
That the enemy.
Through those who are disguised as sheep.
They look like normal people around us.
In our midst.
There are those.
Who could potentially lead others astray?
Beware of false prophets.
They don't come out in the open and announce I'm a false prophet.
They don't come again like the Disney villain.
They show up on the scene, that's who.
The bad guy is.
Now they come disguised.
But verse 16 of Matthew 7, Jesus says you can identify them by their fruit.
That is by the way they act.
Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.
The way that you identify a false prophet, Jesus says is.
By the fruit.
By their actions, by the way that they live.
Not Even so much necessarily by the latest message that they shared.
But what does their life say?
What is their conduct? Show?
Yes, you can verify the message and compare it with the scriptures.
But it's more than that.
Again, is it a life that's consistent with the Lord, the person of Jesus Christ?
And the life that is lived out according to the Scriptures and.
Jesus tells us to.
He tells us to beware.
He tells us how to identify them.
It's appropriate for.
Us to ask?
It's appropriate for us to investigate.
Not in a, you know, we're always suspicious of everybody, bad attitude kind of way, but but in a cautious hey.
I don't want to allow myself.
To be deceived or received from anybody who is pretending to do the work of the Lord.
And so let me see the work of the Lord in your life.
Let me meet your family.
Let me, you know, hear from your coworkers.
Let me see what happens and the fruit that develops in your life.
Let me watch your life for five or ten years and see how it goes and see if you're consistent in these things.
Things and and that is part of the way to identify.
You can't always identify.
On the spot.
Even you know, in the parable of the wheat and the tares, right, the enemy sowed seed amongst the good seed.
And so then there was this sweet as well as the tears that were growing up and.
In the parable, the master said.
Just leave them at the end, it'll be revealed, and we'll be able to separate the wheat from the tares.
And so it's OK to have that kind of approach that hey, we might not know right now, it might be too early to tell.
And so we're going to hold that thought.
We're going to not necessarily embrace that ministry that minister.
And so there's evidence until there's fruit that is consistent that can be verified.
In their life.
Now that makes it a little bit hard in our data, in the digital things, right? Can you verify the fruit of people on YouTube or, you know, on the radio?
Like that's really hard.
So that should give you an idea of how much you should trust and receive those words.
That really it should be those that you can come in contact with and communicate with and talk to, that you can interact with and see their life that.
You can see the fruit that is.
Evident in their life.
Well, moving on to verses 17 through 21. The Third Point in both of these messages this morning, never pretend to have power and verify claims to have power, verse 17 and 18 says now son of man speak out against the women who prophecy from their own imaginations.
This is what the sovereign Lord says.
What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike.
You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils.
Do you think?
You can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves.
Here, for the Third Point, we're looking at a similar concept, but a different group of people. In Ezekiel's day, there were these ladies.
Thing also, but in a different way, in a different form.
And don't think of this as a male versus female thing.
This was just how this practice was happening in Ezekiel Day and who was doing the practice.
You could swap the genders on, you know, both sides.
The prophets before could be female today or the the people that as echo is dressing here could be mailed today that.
That part is not significant.
It's not about who's delivering the message or what gender they have or what gender they identify as what.
What's important here is that, again, they're speaking from their own imaginations, he says in verse 17.
They're prophesying, but in a different form, a different fashion.
Still false prophets, still not consistent with the Lord, and So what sorrow awaits you, he declares in verse 18.
But the way that they would bring forth their prophecy.
Verse 18 tells us through Magic charms.
Binding Magic charms on their wrists and furnishing them with magic veils.
Impression of magic power that was being conveyed.
By these false prophets.
And they weren't even necessarily saying thus says the Lord.
At least that's not mentioned here.
But they were pretending to have.
Special power, whether that be supernatural power, spiritual power, magical power.
Star Wars, you know, force power.
I don't know.
Whatever power they can, you know, were trying to convince people they had, they were, they were pretending to have this extra power to help.
People when Murphy says they manufactured magic charms that people could wear on various parts of the body and thus ward off evil.
They also told fortunes and enticed people to buy their services.
Like the false prophets, they were, using the crisis situation for personal gain and praying on the fears.
Of the people.
In a lot of ways, false prophets, these kinds of workers of magic.
There are con artists taking advantage of a very convenient opportunity in the.
Midst of a crisis?
In this case, they're using superstition, fake spirituality, fake power.
To the people, verse 19 says that you're lying to my people who love to listen to lies, and so God announces judgment on them as well. This is not some rare thing that only happened in Ezekiel's day.
There is an abundance of opportunity for us to consider those who would pretend to have power.
Those who would pretend to.
From some evil spirit or some work, those who would sell some blessing some, you know, thing that they have blessed, some means of protection some.
Foretelling for them some.
Fortune telling some, palm reading some.
We could go on and on and on.
Pretending to have power.
Work on behalf of God with.
These superstitious things, now there is real power of the enemy.
There is real demonic power.
And there's a little bit of a different thing that's like, you know, a step further that I'm not delving into, but.
There is also the pretending to have power.
That happens many times.
And and we.
Need to be very careful that we don't allow.
Superstition, traditions, things that are not rooted in the scriptures.
To take hold of our message and to be what we Minister to people.
And you know, there's things that we practice, even that we practice as the church today.
That we need to be careful that we don't allow them to have a prominent position.
That is disproportionate to what the Lord has revealed.
In his word.
I'm debating with myself, so I want to just go over the time or.
Do I want to?
OK, I'll be faithful to the time.
You can meditate on that.
Never pretend to have power.
Be careful to check the practices and things that you do.
With the word of God and make.
Sure that those.
Are rooted in instructions that God has given, and not superstitious traditions even that we've handed down over generations within the church, but also verify claims to have power.
So when those claim that they can protect.
Again, fortune tellers, those who would announce that they have spiritual power, I I would throw into this really, you know, everything that we deal with and around us in this world is philosophies and false religions.
And even when it comes to politics, there's political power that is that it's all.
It's all wrapped up in false religion.
And and there's, you know, false philosophies and ideals that are going on all around.
And there's claims to have power and insight and prophecy in the political arena as well.
In the scientific arena, there is.
Much religious expression.
They wouldn't call it religion, but but it's a disregard of the facts to embrace the truth that we want.
And we see this evident everywhere, and so we need.
To be vigilant, verifying claims to have power.
You say you can predict, you know, those things and announce those things and protect me from this and protect us from that.
Where's the source of this power?
We need to check the Scriptures and what the Lord says about those things and make sure that they are consistent with the word of the Lord.
Isaiah Chapter 8 tells us to the law, to the testimony. If they don't speak according to those things, it's because there's no light. And then finally point #4 and verses 22 and 23 never misrepresent God.
And verify claims to represent God in verse 22 and 23 says you have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn't want them to be sad.
And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins.
Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw.
Will you make predictions?
For I will rescue my people from your grasp then?
Will know that I am the Lord.
There's not really a lot of new thoughts here in these two verses. This is similar to what he said of the prophets just moments ago, but what I wanted to just camp out on to finish up is in verse 22.
He says you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life even though they continue in their sins.
And here's the problem with these false prophets is that were in engaged in their activities that they fortified people in their position and so instead of seeing their need and repenting, they continued on in their sin.
And experience the full judgment for those practices.
And so by being a false prophet, by claiming to be able to protect them and preserve them, hey, wear this bracelet and you'll be protected when Babylon comes, or you'll be protected from these evil spirits.
You know, I've prayed over this, so hold this handkerchief tight with you and send your $25 donation and you know you'll be blessed and you'll have, you know, the workplace promotion that you need or whatever. Like those.
Kinds of things fortified people in their position, and so they just continued in their wrong path.
They continued in their sinfulness, grasping hold of this vain hope that was offered to them.
What I think is more interesting is in verse 22 also it says you have discouraged the righteous with your lies.
But I didn't want them to be sad.
So there were the wicked, who were fortified in their position and continued on in their wickedness.
But there were the righteous who were impacted by these these false prophets as well.
And you brought sadness to the righteous.
The righteous people were impacted by the false prophets.
How is that possible?
I would suggest they they didn't verify the claims.
They loved the Lord and sought the Lord and and were wanting to walk with the Lord in that way there.
There was a sadness that took place in the hearts of the righteous because they received.
To make sure this is from the Lord.
One of the ways that this happens.
And there is a lot of manipulation that happens or is.
Attempted to happen upon us by false prophets and guilt is a powerful powerful.
And we the righteous, who want to be right with the Lord and honor the Lord, can be manipulated.
If we lose sight of Romans 81, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ.
And yet there are so many who feel condemned and live in a state of condemnation.
Because there is this guilt upon them, this manipulation that happens and that can often be abused and used.
By agents who are not from the Lord.
And so we need to be very careful to never misrepresent God, never to be those ones.
And we can always do this with, you know, good motivations, at least to start.
There's a great temptation to go beyond what God has actually said, to try to get people in the place that we want them to be.
And so we take scriptures out of context ourselves and we apply pressure that God isn't applying.
And it comes from even the that we want the best for people kind of place.
But in doing so.
We can make the righteous sad.
And we can bring guilt and condemnation upon people that God is not bringing guilt and condemnation about.
Never express anger when God is not angry.
Mathman wrath does not accomplish the work of God.
Never apply guilt where God is not applying guilt.
Never assure peace where God is not assuring peace.
Never become a false prophet.
And misrepresent God in any form, in any capacity.
We're all going to do it, and so we need to repent as soon as possible.
But to not continue on and prevail.
In that misrepresentation of the Lord, and so.
Today I pray that you would be warned and guarded against don't become, never become a false prophet pretending to hear from God, pretending to work for God, pretending to have power, some sort of mystical ideas or or concepts that would protect or assure or provide peace or provide for people.
Never misrepresent God.
And never believe a false prophet. Make sure, like the Bereans, you're checking things out with the whole Council of God's word.
To hear from God, to work for God, to have power to represent God.
All of this.
Is verifiable and God has given us the tool, the fruit in their lives.
And the word upon our hearts that we can check out for ourselves.
What it is that God has for us.
But I pray for our hearts that you would keep us in right relationship with you with clear Vision, Lord.
If there are some veils and some cloudiness Lord that has been placed there or been bought into by believing lies of the enemy God, I pray that you would remove those things that you would.
Help us to see clearly, Lord, what your word says.
About the things on our hearts, the things in our minds, the things that we're doing and living out.
May we not be deceived.
Protect us, God from that.
May we be your faithful representatives to honor you.
To each other.
And to the world around us I pray this in Jesus name.