Jesus did not want His people to be gullible. He told us how to avoid that. However, many believers are duped because they must not understand His words or did not obey His command.
He said to watch out for powerful people. When someone prophesies or ministers in healings, miracles, or other gifts of the Spirit, watch out. Yes, watch out!
I know we all want to see more miracles and healings. I know we all want to see more of the power of God working among us. That is why it probably sounds odd to see the words “Watch out!” follow the mention of such great things.
But it should not be odd. Jesus said it. Yes, He literally told you to look out for people who work miracles. Yes, yes, I know He is the miracle worker. Yes, He gives others the ability to heal the sick, cast out devils, and speak for Him. Yet, He tells us to watch them closely.
In Matthew 7:15-23, He said to check their fruit. There are fake prophets who actually cast out demons and work miracles. The gifts are at work in their lives. They know how to operate in the power of God to see dramatic things happen. Yet they are wolves.
How do you know if a minister is a wolf or not? By not being blinded by his power. Instead, look at his fruit.
You see, a wolf can slip in among the sheep. Unlike sheep, however, wolves have a strong sense of individualism. They will survive at the expense of the sheep. If they have to devour a member of God’s flock they do not care.
This is how damage is done inside the true church. People rebel against Jesus’ command to inspect fruit. Instead, we inspect gifts.
You see, if the lame walk or blind eyes see, we have convinced ourselves that whoever prayed that prayer or spoke that word must be a good person. If a man gives a prophecy and it comes true, we do not do what Jesus said: Watch out!
Who is that person behind the scenes, not in public? That’s what matters. Gifts of the Spirit only tell us how great God is (I Corinthians 12:7-11). Fruit of the Spirit shows us how surrendered that person is. Is there peace? Joy? Love? Self-control? Humility?
Too many people who manifest gifts of the Spirit also manifest works of the flesh: sexual sin, outbursts of rage, envy and jealousy, and much more (Galatians 5:12-23). It does not matter how greatly used of a God a person is, where envy exists, so does “every evil work” (James 3:16).
Don’t throw your support behind a person until you know they live with right motives and a pure heart. Some operate in God’s power yet build their own kingdoms. Some feed their own pride off of what God does instead of being humbled by what He does.
Such people might do great things but they will not be in heaven. Jesus said they also have faith in the works of the Spirit rather than living by the Spirit’s fruit, too. They will show up and say, “Lord, Lord, we did great miracles and cast out devils in Your name!” And He will say “Depart from Me you workers of inquity.”
He will not judge us by our miracles but by our motives. Some spiritually powerful people have no regard for others and are driven by jealousy. Don’t follow them. Some dynamic preachers do not have holy hearts—don’t let them devour you. Watch them. Inspect their fruit. If their hearts are evil, it does not matter how many miracles their hands can work. Run!
Be careful who you follow in ministry. Fruit inspections are always in order. Only a fool would disregard Jesus command to beware of false prophets.