Perhaps the major problem within professing Christendom stems from the fact that church people judge a minister’s standing with God by his personality, charm, speaking voice, congregation size, miracles, signs, wonders, etc., and not by his strict adherence to God’s Word. It is commonly assumed that the larger the crowds, the greater the miracles, the more geographically extensive, etc. the ministry, the closer the minister is to the Lord. However, the Scriptures tell us that nothing could be further from the truth. Those factors have nothing to do with one’s relationship with God. The Lord warns us about emphasizing a minister’s acts and not listening to his words in Deuteronomy 13:1-5.
In this passage God warned His people–the “church in the wilderness” of Sin (Acts 7:38)–along with His church in the religious wilderness of today–“the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16)–about following false prophets. He noted that He (the Lord) would send prophets to them (and us) who, having performed miracles, would then point the people to other gods. The Lord warns us not to follow such miracle-workers. Why would a loving God do such a thing? He tells us: “for the Lord your God is proving (testing) you to determine if you LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” In John 14:15,23 Jesus said that WE MUST PROVE OUR LOVE FOR HIM BY OBEYING HIS WORDS/ COMMANDMENTS. Note that Jesus went on record as EQUATING HIS COMMANDMENTS WITH HIS WORDS–the are one in the same.
Having once been a miracle-working false prophet, I can vouch for their power in convincing people to worship and serve the gods of Catholicism/Protestantism, joining those churches, believing their doctrines and following their customs. These “ministers of righteousness” have been deceived by the “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:15) into following him (Satan) and rejecting God and His Words. Just as he seduced Adam and Eve into believing his lie, the devil convinces his prophets to do the same. They in turn persuade the Scripturally ignorant to follow in their religious footsteps. The key to Satan’s success is to keep people from studying God’s Word, which forces them to look to his false prophets for “truth.” His success is undeniable.
Today we have numerous miracle-working, church-building, world-renowned preachers performing real, verifiable miracles. These men and women heal the sick, cast out demons, predict the future, etc. as in the days of old. For this reason God warns us not to “harken” to a minister who works miracles until we have checked his “fruit”–His strict and unchangeable adherence to God’s Word. Jesus warned in Mark 13:6 that men would come in His name and “deceive many” by preaching great soul-rousing, miracle-producing sermons. They would then convince the people to follow the “gods many and lords many” of professing Christendom. This is life and death truth which comes from the “mouth of God.” This is the same Truth Jesus obeyed and tells those who would spend eternity with Him that they must also obey (Jn. 15:10). L.J.