Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 20 : Beware of False Prophets | Day 135

Be a Fruit Inspector!

In this command, we are told that we can recognize false prophets by their fruits, but what should we be looking for? First, a fruit inspector must determine if a message is true by comparing it to the standard of God's Word. The Bereans were expert fruit inspectors because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things that the Apostle Paul taught were actually true (see Acts 17:10-11).

Another factor we should look for is the result of the teaching in the life of the one giving it and in the lives of those following it. Peter explains that false teachers “walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed ... . Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls” (II Peter 2:10, 14).

To be classified as "good," fruit must exhibit certain characteristics that can be observed by a fruit inspector.

The type of tree determines the type of fruit. Because of this, we can expect to see good fruit coming from the lives of those who are indwelt by God's Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 explains the type of fruit that results from God's work in a person's life: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. Notice that this is one fruit with nine qualities to look for.

The nutrients and level of care that a tree receives will affect the quality of the fruit. Christ said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. ... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. ... If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:1-8).

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:18).

Why should we be fruit inspectors? Peter warns of “... false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them ...” (II Peter 2:1). The tactic of false prophets is to infiltrate churches and homes, appearing to be true disciples. It is for this reason that we must become skilled fruit inspectors, comparing everything we are taught with the truth of God's Word in order to protect ourselves and our families from being led astray.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard