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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Beware of False Prophets
Who Are Only after Your Money


< Matthew 7:13-29 >
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”



With the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has given us the ability to discern true prophets from false ones, and His true Church from false churches. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Our Lord told us to beware of false prophets. And just as He warned us, we must indeed be wary of false prophets. When a pastor fails to preach the gospel Word of the water and the Sprit, the Word of God, to his congregation, then he is not fulfilling his proper ministry. How can such a pastor call himself as a minister of God, when he does not even solve his congregation’s problem of sin with the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God?

Such liars are only interested in how they appear outside, hypocritically pretending to be serious and holy when they preach, and ultimately, all that they preach to their congregations is for them to abide by the ethics and morals of the world. Morals and ethics, of course, should not be ignored. But what pastors must do is not to just emphasize ethical life, but they must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The reason for this is because people need to be washed from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, for they sin everyday.

‘False prophets’ here are all those who stand opposite to the truth. Pastors themselves must have been remitted from all their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Anyone who ministers as a pastor or a preacher without knowing the gospel of the water and the Spirit and without being born again are all pitiful false prophets. The Bible calls such people ‘false prophets.’

Our Lord said to us, “Bewared of false prophets.” We must indeed beware of such people. You must all stay away from these liars in this world who are not able to solve the problem of your sins.

The Bible tells us in Titus 3:10-11, “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” This passage refers to those who still have their sin intact with them even as they claim to believe in Jesus. Their faith advocates that it is right for them to remain sinful even though they believe in Jesus; they are, as such, actually committing a grave sin against the Lord. How can they still be sinners when they claim to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior? By professing this kind of faith, all that they are doing is sinning against the Lord on their own.

When they say that their sins are with them before the Lord, this only shows their mistaken belief that they still to be condemned for their sins. Yet they think that considering themselves as sinners before the Lord is the right way to believe. Such believers, however, are not the true saints before God, but they are no more than liars. Jesus told us to beware of such false prophets and their followers.

We must keep in mind always what the Bible warns us: to watch out for all such people as false prophets, false pastors, and false preachers.



Jesus Said That We Can Discern False Prophets by Their Fruits


Referring to false prophets, our Lord said, “You will know them by their fruits.” It is by their fruits that we can discern false prophets. What kind of fruits, then, reveals false prophets? Our Lord rhetorically asked, “Do men gather grapes from thornbushes?” Just as thornbushes cannot bear good fruits, the pastors who have not been remitted from their sins and therefore still remain sinful cannot possibly lead people to be born again. They bear only sinful Christians, while the born-again workers bear sinless saints and nourish them. If a pastor cannot turn sinners into sinless saints through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he is clearly a false prophet then.

Just as the Lord said that a tree is known by its fruits, if his fruits of faith are all far removed from those of the righteous who have received the remission of sin, then we can know that they are liars and false prophets. False pastors put on sheep’s clothing and mislead their followers, deceiving them with their smooth words. Many are deceived by such false prophets, for outwardly they look as if they are very holy. Therefore, the Bible warns us not to be deceived by such liars, saying, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Faithful enough to their calling as false prophets, they only teach their congregations to live virtuously, not to commit sin, and to be kind to others. But inwardly, they are like ravenous wolves who exploit their congregations for their money. Their sermons invariably reach the same conclusion, telling their congregation to live virtuously, and that all that they have to bring to God is just money. They may give many different sermons to their congregation, but in the end, all their sermons boil down to telling their followers to offer lots of money to God. They give such sermons for what is a patently obvious reason: they themselves want to get paid more. They don’t care about their congregations’ salvation. They don’t care what will happen to their Christian sinners including them at the last day. They don’t want to listen to us no matter how earnestly we have tried to share the true gospel of the water and the Spirit with them. Such pastors are invariably the false prophets without any exception.

The Bible tells us that we can know false prophets by their fruits. We can discern them by seeing whether or not they preach the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, and by examining whether there is anyone among their followers who came to believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit and receive the remission of sin through them. Of course, they preach the Word of God apparently, but no work of salvation arises out of what they preach. By believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, we not only can know whether they are true prophets or false prophets by their faith, but also cannot be deceived by such liars. The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the barometer that sets apart false prophets. Therefore, we, the born-again of water and the Spirit (John 3:1-10) are God’s own people and His servants who can discern bad trees from good trees.

Let us now examine the characteristics of false prophets in more detail. The first characteristic of false prophets is that each of them has sin before God. Therefore, if a certain minister is a sinner before God, then he is a false prophet. Such one would no doubt tell his congregation day after day to come out to God only with money. And he would not be interested in the gospel of the water and the Spirit at all, nor would he believe in it. Such a pastor is a false prophet. Such prophets see their congregations merely as the source of their wealth. Whether their followers are born again or not is of no interest to them, and all that they are interested is in money.

I am not sure if you have heard such a sermon before, but every sermon given by false prophets has something to do with money in one way or another. Their sermons might go like this: “Brothers and sisters, we must live according to the Word of God. In Deuteronomy 28, God said that if you honor your parents and keep the Law, He will give you such and such blessings.” But even as they open their sermons like this, in the end, they are all bound to say that God’s blessings are conditioned on how much money we offer.

But this is not the way for us to receive heavenly and earthly blessings from God. On the contrary, all blessings from the faith that believes in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God. It is to those who hear and believe in this gospel Word of the water and the Spirit that God gives His blessing of salvation, as well as all the blessings of the earth. However, the conclusion of the false prophets’ sermons invariably revolves around money. They may speak of the Law, but when they say, “Serve God well; give offerings to your church; and respect your pastor,” what they are really saying is, “Bring a lot of money; if you offer wads of money to God, you will be blessed.” This is how they try to deceive you. And all their purposes of ministries are lie in money. They teach people to give the more offerings, saying, “The more offerings you give, the more you get blessed and the faster your faith grow.” But those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and understand its message are not deceived by such liars.



We Must Escape from the Deception of False Prophets

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” False prophets are like wolves. They stand before the flock in sheep’s clothing, but their hearts are that of a wolf, revealing sharp teeth that are ready to devour the flock, obsessed with money. According to the Bible, all false prophets are no more than wolves. Far from spreading the gospel of new life to their flock, they lead their followers to believe in something other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and by doing so they steal their money and cover their souls with sin to die. Those who do these things are none other than false prophets.

Not everyone realizes that false prophets are good for nothing. But, because the false prophets of this world are so skilled at deception, and as a result, because people are prone not to recognize false prophets’ lies, they still can easily hoodwink many people with their slick tongues. Nowadays, confusion reigns in many people’s mind, as there are too many lairs all around. But the fact of the matter is liars exert nothing but bad influences on everyone.

Even the things of this world have imitations. For instance, some meat shops put up plastic imitation meat on their window display. At first look, you may think it is real meat, since it looks so fresh and nice and appeals to your appetite. But once you look at it more closely, you can realize that this is not real meat, but only an imitation. You may then feel like you had been duped. The same goes for bread: as there is real bread baked with flour, so is there imitation bread made of plastic. Can any of you eat this imitation bread? Of course not. It’s simply uneatable, as it was actually made with plastic only to look like real bread. But no matter how real it looks, eating plastic can only cause serious health problems or even death. This false bread is exactly like everything that false prophets preach.

Brothers and sisters, no matter how appealing the leaders of your churches are, no matter how much they love you, and no matter how nicely they treat you, if they fail to preach to you the gospel Word of the remission of sin that enables you be born again of water and the Spirit, you must all realize that they belong to false prophets. All such people are false prophets who are no more than spiritual wage earners. The Bible tells us clearly to beware of these people.

Our Lord described false prophets as ravenous wolves. Are you still under the care of such false prophets? These people are not only exploiting your money, but even more gravely, they are also stealing your souls. All that such false prophets want is to extract as much money out of you as possible, to build a bigger and better church building, while whether your souls are heading toward the fire of hell or not is of no interest to them whatsoever. What should you then do now? You must know a tree by its fruits. Anyone who speaks of only money whenever he opens his mouth, whose words inevitably revolve around his greed for money, is no more than a wage earner and a false prophet.

As such, we can know false prophets by their fruits. What are these fruits of false prophets then? They are the fruits of deception that defraud people’s souls. Their fruits, in other words, are bad in and of themselves. False prophets are willing to say that you are sinless, and that everything is fine, so long as you would only give them money. And they say that all is okay if you would just give your prayers of repentance, be sanctified, and, of course, bring a lot of money to church. All these are the fruits of false prophets.

How do their bad fruits appear then? The fruits of their wicked ministries appear as ceaselessly trying to enlarge their congregations only in number when they run their churches as if they are running a business. What schemes do they employ to draw more people to their churches? Among others, one of the most egregious schemes is offering worldly prizes and rewards as an incentive for their followers to bring more people into their churches. For instance, they would offer the prize of a large refrigerator for someone who brings in 20 new members a year to the church; a high efficiency air-conditioner for someone who brings in 30 new members; a subcompact car for someone who brings in 50 new members; and a family sedan for someone who brings in 200 new members a year. Offering prizes in this way, false prophets extort their followers to bring in ever more members into their fold. You may think this is all too unbelievable, but I am not making up the story here, but it is what is actually happening in some Christian communities around the world.

Just how wicked is this? Is God’s Church no more than a shopping mall or a bank? And having thus drawn them into church members, what do false prophets then do to them? God would approve them were they to preach the gospel of the water and the Sprit and help their followers to receive the remission of sin, but we can see all too clearly that money is their only interest.

So now that false prophets have drawn in souls into their churches, how do they then preach to them? “Jesus loves you. Incidentally, for those who came to our church for the first time, we will give you a luxurious, premium parasol to each sister, and to each brother, an extra large umbrella so that you can use it with your girlfriends.” They figure that if these new members come to their churches for such prizes, eventually become deacons and elders-even as they do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit-and fill the church coffers with all kinds of offerings-from tithe to thanksgiving offering, to this offering and that offering-until the day they die, then all in all, it would be an extraordinarily profitable venture.

For such false prophets, today’s small investment effectively translates into tomorrow’s immense profit. This is why false prophets hold such gatherings with prizes; were they otherwise to suffer a loss, there is no way that they would do this. Of, say, 500 such new members, even if just 10% of them stick around, then it’s still quite profitable, given how these 50 members would be filling the church coffers for their entire lifetime. None other than these are the fruits of false prophets.

In Korea, such commercialization of Christianity has been so rampant that a while ago, there was even a song that poked fun at this. Its lines went something like this: “They told us to come to their church; and they told us to believe in Jesus; then they asked money, money, and money.” All that false prophets ever speak about is money, money, and even more money. One of them might say, “So let us build a holy temple and dedicate it to our God. Brothers and sisters, God wants to bless us here. In the Book of Haggai, God told the Prophet Haggai to build His Temple. And God also said that those who do not unite their effort to this endeavor will all be cursed. The passage also tells us that to those gave much to build the Temple, God also gave great blessings. You should pay attention to this passage from the Book of Haggai!” So he writes the passage from Haggai in a banner and puts it up high, brings in a revivalist preacher to stir up emotions, and passes around collection dishes. He then tells deacons that they should pay for around 300 square feet of land each; elders to pay for at least 1,500 square feet; and ordinary members to pay for 5,000 bricks. Forming a construction committee, he starts to squeeze out money from his congregation like there is no tomorrow.

Brothers and sisters, if a larger church building is indeed necessary before God, then it must be built. I am not saying that this in itself is wrong. But if there is no real need for this, if the current church building is big enough to accommodate all the congregation, must a larger one still be built? False prophets are so keen with money that they find every excuse to extract more and more money from their congregations, and the drive for this unnecessary and gratuitous church expansion is no more than such an excuse. They keep saying that we must offer them loads of money to serve the Lord well, and if someone indeed does their bidding, they declaring that his faith is great. Some of them even put up a graphical chart to record everything, showing which deacon gave how much offering and how much tithe. They make it impossible for those without money to even come to their churches. This is the very faith of false prophets, and this is none other than their fruits.



We Must Do the Will of the Father God

We want to do the will of God the Father. We must not carry out our own will obstinately, but do every good work according to the will of the Father. Who can do the will of the Father God? Only His children can. Who is willing to do the will of the other one’s father? The ones who are willing to do their Father are His sons only. Therefore, only the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can follow the will of the Father. And, because we have received the remission of sin by thus believing, and become His sons, we are following the very will of the Father God. To do the will of the Father is for us to receive the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to let all people be delivered from all their sins. This is what ‘doing the will of the Father in Heaven’ means.

However, there are so many false prophets in today’s Christian community. They practice lawlessness instead of doing the will of God. God will surely reject all such liars on the last day. These false prophets will then protest to Him when they are rejected, “But Lord, why are You rejecting us, when we have worked tirelessly for You? Have we not prophesied so much for you? Have we not prophesied so that everyone would believe in You? We cast out demons in Your name, healed the sick, and we built and dedicated the largest church all to You! And we sent out thousands of missionaries from our denomination, and we planted thousands of churches all around the world! How can You then say that You do not know me when I did all these things for You? Isn’t something wrong here? Isn’t this just too unfair? Aren’t you doing something gravely wrong to me? Are You suffering from Alzheimer’s disease?” Saying to the Lord, “Have we not prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders?” they will advertise themselves as God’s faithful workers, and protest to God.

But our Lord will say to them, “Who told you to serve Me, you who practice lawlessness? Who told you to spread My name? Who told you to teach the Word? Did I tell you to build churches? Did I tell you to cast out demons? Who told you to work by stealing My name, you who practice lawlessness? Who told you to labor? Who told you to devote yourselves? Depart from Me you evil-doers, for I have nothing to do with you! Had you not done all these things, it would have been much easier for My real servants to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but all that you have done is to hinder their efforts. You ended up doing the works of Satan as the servants of the Devil. Now together with the Devil, be cast into the everlasting fire of hell, you the servants of Satan! Listen, angels! Let these Satan’s servants be thrown into darkness!”

What we must realize here is that these false prophets and those who are not born again will all be forsaken by our Lord. Their final end is to be cast into the everlasting fire of hell. We need to recognize that among today’s religious people, there are many who will be thrown into this place.

“We’ll know for sure only when we are actually in hell! But I heard that hell was already all filled up. Will there be room for me? Perhaps God will send me to Heaven instead, since there is no vacancy in hell!” There are many who say such audacious, reckless and foolish things. They need not worry, for though there are countless people bound to hell, hell itself is wide enough to accommodate all of them and yet still have some room left.

Take a look at the stars of the sky. It is more than likely that some stars we see now had actually existed billions of years ago and already disappeared. Do you know just how big this galaxy really is? When we look up the galaxy in the night sky, for many of its stars, it took them billions of light years for its light to reach us and be seen by our eyes. And just how many stars are there? When this is the case, would there not be enough room in hell to receive you?

God is everlasting, and His omnipotent divinity abides in the endless universe. Our Lord is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. There is no place in the universe where He is not, and there is nothing that He cannot do. Do you then still think that our God would be forced to let sinners come into Heaven because He could not find enough room in hell to put all sinners and false prophets? If someone only think twice about God when he look up the sky or the wonderful phenomena of nature, he would give up his unbelief, saying, “Oh my God, there is nothing else to do but believe.” God said in His Word, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

We must know false prophets, and by what lies the misled are deceived. If we just follow them blindly, we will all end up in hell. Our Lord said, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” As Jesus said that whoever hears the Word of God and does it is one who built his house on the rock, there is no one else who hears and does the Word of God apart from the born-again. Only those who have been washed from their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can do the will of the Father.

Only the born-again build the house of faith in the Kingdom of Heaven. By believing in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit and standing firmly on the Word, with this faith we are all building our house of faith. Such a house that is built with faith never flounders. Later on, even when floods overwhelm this world, hurricanes rage on, and we are hit by tidal waves, because we have built our houses on the rock, and because this rock protects us from all the waves, these houses will never fall down. In contrast, those who believe in Jesus without being born again have built their houses on sand, on their own thoughts, and therefore when the Day of Judgment comes, their houses will collapse, and great will be their fall. No matter how well they might have built their houses, because they had built them on sand, when the floods come and water seeps in, their foundation will be swept away and the houses will collapse spectacularly.

Brothers and sisters, all of you must beware of the false prophets who do not know the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and therefore have not been born again, and who lead people to the wide way of destruction.



A Good Tree Bears Good Fruits

A truly good tree bears good fruits. Since the tree itself is good, it is bound to bear good fruits. The born-again are like trees planted by a river, always bearing good fruits according to season, no matter how insufficient they might be. A good tree, if it is nurtured with fertilizers and water by the farmer, bears good fruits without fail. It is not so much because the righteous want to bear good fruits, but it is because they hear the Word of God and believe in it that they bear the fruits of His righteousness. It is only from the righteous that the good fruits come. Every good tree bears good fruits.

What about you then? Are you spiritually good trees? Have you become the people of God who have received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Have you been saved from your sins by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit, and have you thereby become righteous? It is only the righteous who are true saints before God. Only the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit can become God’s servants.

Just as Jesus said that a tree is known by its spiritual fruits, all those who keep talking about only money are false prophets. But those who preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and bear the fruits of righteousness are true prophets. When pastors are obsessed only with money and raise all kind of racket to build their churches even as many of their congregations have been laid off and are struggling to meet their ends, how could we describe them as good trees? Is God really pleased when they complete their scandalous and needlessly big churches? Is He pleased with the blind Christians who fill the huge churches?

Brothers and sisters, of all people, at least you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and spread it to everyone. For all of us, our lives on this earth is only ephemeral, and in no time we will all find ourselves standing before God. A life that is spent to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit so that others would receive the remission of their sins is the right life to live before God. Those who guide others so that they would reach the righteousness of God by hearing the gospel of the water and the Spirit with their ears, understanding it with their heads, and believing in it with their hearts, and so that they would be saved from their sins by confessing it with their mouths-none other than these are the good trees that bear good fruits.

In this age and time, all of us must spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, to everyone in this world. We must teach others who the false prophets really are. Lately, we have been distributing our gospel newspapers, and we have frequently been getting phone calls from our readers, asking us to teach them who the false prophets are.

For us to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit is like delivering them to God from the exploits of liars. We must teach everyone who the liars are and what is the correct faith, and preach the true gospel of the water and the Spirit to them, so that all who believe would be saved from their sins.

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What we must realize is that the narrow way, the difficult way, is the way that leads us to life. Yet there aren’t that many people who knock on the narrow gate of life and seek it. Still, we must continue to spread the gospel truth of the water and the Spirit to everyone. And we must alert all those who are heading toward their destruction that they are now being deceived by false prophets. This is what you and I who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must do. Our Lord said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). And our Lord said that we, the righteous, are also the light of the world. He also said, “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 8:16). We must shine the light of faith that knows and believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that all would see this light, come to it, and have this light also.

In conclusion, let me reiterate the key admonition that I have made to all of you. In these end times, we must fulfill our duty to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must do the will of God the Father continuously, no matter how difficult our circumstances are. The darker this world is, the more we must spread this gospel, for it is during these end times when there are even more people who must be delivered from the sins of the world and its false prophets. Let all of us, then, keep on planting the seed of the gospel of the water and the Spirit with even greater determination and devotion.

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