[SW195] 07/17/2015 message notes by
Evangelist Susan J. Wynn ©2015
“Marks of a True Prophet”
When people are trained to easily identify counterfeit money, they don’t study counterfeits. They study real money. In these days, we must know the true so we can discern the false.
What are the marks of a true prophet of God? How can we recognize one?
Texts: Jeremiah 23:22, 1 Kings 22:7ff
Jeremiah 23:22 True prophets stand in the Lord’s council. That means they intimately know God. They stand before Him, and hear His words.
And they announce His words to His people. What words does God speak to His true prophets?
Repentance. That they would turn back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. What? God’s people do evil things? Beloved, not all of God’s people follow Him.That’s why He sends prophets — to warn.
What else is the mark of a true prophet? He or she doesn’t stop speaking God’s words, even though the words they speak are rejected by God’s people. They continue, until they are murdered or die of old age.
The Lord told Jeremiah that the people would not listen. In Ezekiel 2, He told Ezekiel eight times that His people were a rebellious people, and that they were stiff-faced and hard-hearted.
Samuel didn’t leave out a word of what God showed him (1Samuel 3:17), even when Israel rejected the Kingship of the Lord over them (1Samuel 8:4-7). He also encouraged them when they saw their sin and feared God (1Samuel 12:19-25). But he continued to warn them as long as he lived.
And as long as the hearts of God’s people remain unchanged, they will continue to rebel. He sends His prophets to announce His judgment, but also to tell them that Jesus Christ is a Heart-Changer, if they will turn away from their sin.
Another mark of the true prophet is that his message is rejected by God’s people:
— Sawing the true prophet asunder, as with Isaiah
— Hatred because the prophet does not prophesy good about them (1Kings 22:8)
— Closed hearts (2Corinthians 6:11-13)
— “Don’t judge me” (though it is God who judges and the prophet announces His judgment). Judging is for the church, too (1Corinthians 5:12,24 and 1Timothy 5:20).
— “Don’t speak out” (Micah 2:6)
— “Go back home” (Amos 7:12)
— “Get out of our way; let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 30:11)
So, the marks of true prophets are that they will faithfully proclaim all the words of the Lord at all costs, and that they will be rejected and accused of judging by God’s rebellious people.
And that’s not just Old Testament stuff, beloved. John the Baptist lost his head for Jesus at the hand of Herod, and the Apostle Paul lost his head by way of the Roman emperor Nero, because Paul would not stop proclaiming the truth.
Peter was crucified upside down. All of the apostles were martyred but the Apostle John, who was tortured but survived, exiled so he may write the Book of Revelation to warn the churches and the world to repent.
Going back to Jeremiah 23:16ff, we see the marks of false prophets:
— They lead people into futility (fill them with false hopes)
— They speak a vision from their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.
— They keep saying to those who despise the Lord, “Everything is fine, you will have peace.” To those who stubbornly rebel, they say, “Calamity will not come upon you.” Modern false prophets speak only of all the ways God wants to bless you, regardless of your rebellion against God.
— They run (with a message) without being sent by God. He does not speak to them, but they prophesy.
Lamentations 2:14 They see false and foolish visions, and have not exposed your sin, so as to restore you from your chains of capacity. What they say is false and misleading.
Paul warns Timothy of the conceit, lack of understanding, and depraved minds (minds given over to evil) of those who do not agree with the sound words of Jesus Christ — the doctrine of godliness, which means a transformed life, when hearts are transformed through the baptism of the Holy Ghost (see 1Timothy 6:3-5).
Knowing these things, how will you respond to them? Examine yourself and examine the prophets you like to hear. Are they true, or are they false? Do their words prick your conscience, or stroke your ego and feed your greed?
Seek true prophets, and heed their words, for they have been sent by God for your own good. If you obey and follow what the Lord says through them, you will have eternal life.
Seek no other blessing, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness to be established inside of you (Matthew 6:33). There is nothing that can compare with fellowship with the Father and the Son, by way of the Holy Spirit, and all else that you need will be supplied by Him.