Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
d) The False Prophets
(Matthew 7:15-20)
15Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn-bushes or figs from thistles?17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew24:4-5; John15:2.6;2Corinthians11:13-15; Galatians5:19-23)


Christ warns us against false teachers, who mislead those who seek righteousness with their high-sounding words. Satan uses impostures and counterfeits, hypocrites pretending humanity and knowledge. He inspires them with the gift of public speaking that they may draw the public with visions and prophecies and by magic powers performs clever miracles through them. People like to see miracles and believe afterwards quickly but superficially.
Be cautious and do not commit yourself to any spirit nor trust every religion. Examine the different doctrines carefully through the gospel, for the church and its pastors do not save you, the living Christ is the only Savior.
He who preaches another gospel and does not offer the forgiveness of sins in the blood of Christ is like a wolf with a destructive heart, even if he appears in the mildness of a lamb. Likewise every priest or metropolitan who does not preach the new birth by the Spirit of Christ is an offense to others, for Christ has died that we may receive eternal life through faith.
Whoever tries to mislead you to fabricated and false sanctification through fasting, pilgrimage, or almsgiving is a deceiver, for man is justified not by his own acts but by the grace of God alone. If you seek salvation, do not cling to theologians and preachers who bring you into the bondage of law and rituals to satisfy God through human services and external keeping of certain days. Such legalism does not bring sanctification. You are only sanctified by the atoning death of Christ, and He is satisfied with your faith in His blood.
Lay aside angel visions, luminous appearances, shining lights, and any kind of spiritism. Resort to Christ alone, for Satan can turn himself into an angel of light, seducing men and bringing out fascinating miracles to draw many and take them away from the crucified One. If you hear voices or dream dreams, do not worry about them, for Satan is able to project evil ideas into your mind so that you may think yourself a chosen prophet and a mighty reformer. As a result of that you become puffed up with yourself and look down upon others. Remember that you were a great sinner on earth. Answer the tempter that you are weak and small but saved in Christ, and he will break away. You have no worldly honor, place or position in the salvation of Christ, who says to you, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Every priest or preacher that draws his audience to himself with partiality is of the lower spirit, for the true ambassadors for Christ turn the believers from looking at themselves to the faith in the person of Christ alone. So do not be impressed by the greatness of anybody, seek and follow only the footsteps of the Crucified. By the fruits of their persons, their words and actions and the course of their conversation, you will know them.
If you would know whether they be right or not, observe how they live. Their works will testify for them or against them. The scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses’ chair and taught the law, but the majority of them were proud, covetous, false and oppressive. Therefore Christ warned his disciples to beware of them and of their “leaven.” If someone pretends to be a prophet and his life is corrupt, that disproves his pretensions. False prophets hate the cross of Christ. Whatever they profess, their God is their belly. They are not inspired nor sent of the real God. Their lives evidence that an unclean spirit leads them. They may declare God’s law, but their actions contradict their sayings.
Be cautious, do not think that you by yourself can lead people to Christ. If you do not reject all your sins through faithful repentance and keep away from sources of spiritual death, you will remain a misled wanderer. Ask your Lord to give you a contrite heart and more of His holiness and mercy, that you may not preach your own ideas, but live humbly and contentedly in the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who hate their enemies and despise the ignorant are not of God. The Eternal has sent His merciful Son into the world to save and strengthen the sinful poor. Those who seek honor and high respect are not followers of Christ. He has always honored His Father as the Father honors Him forever. Just as He did not collect nor lay up money, but remained content, we also should not cheat ourselves with the vanities of riches and ease, but toil and strive to get the daily food to support our lives. Paul has presented himself as an example. The purity of your heart and cleanliness of your speech are clear evidence that your origin is of God, for he who speaks with the power of the Holy Spirit shall live happy and protected.

Prayer
O Heavenly Father, we thank You because Your Son has saved us from lying and self-centeredness, and His messengers have guided us to You. Please open our hearts to Your Spirit of Truth that we may not go astray, but be able to discern the spirits, bear good fruits, not offend anybody, but guide them to Jesus, the only Savior.
Question
Who is the deceiver?