I.   Verse 1-5 - Beware of deceivers among the prophets.

A.     Verse 1 - IF - This word ought to make us aware that it is a possibility that false prophets will come.

1.       The false prophets will arise from among the people of Israel.

2.       We are to beware of them even if the sign or wonder they give comes to pass.

3.       Israel will know they are a false prophet because the end result of their message will be to turn them from the worship of God.

B.     A warning to us today.

1.       Acts 20:28-31 - Paul warned the churches that false Christ and false prophets would arise from their own midst, trying to draw disciples away from God toward themselves.

2.       Matt.  24:24 - False Christ and False Prophets shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

C.     Verse 3 - The Lord God proveth thee.

1.       It is not that God wants to find out what we are made of, for He already knows.

2.       It is that God wants us to know what we are made of, for we don't know or we fool ourselves into thinking we are stronger than we really are.

D.     The judgment on the false prophet.

1.       Verse 5 - He shall be put to death, for he desires spiritual death for Israel.  Israel is allowed to kill people for they are a nation, and a nation has the right of capital punishment.

2.       In a church today, the worse punishment is to exclude such a person from the fellowship.  If we don't exclude this person, they will eventually spoil the entire church.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump.  A church doesn't have the right of capital punishment for a church is not a nation.


II.   Verse 6-11 - Beware of deceivers in your own family.

A.     These verses teach that our religion is be a very individual thing.  We are to be so careful of keeping pure before God that even our closest relatives cannot draw us away.

1.       If any member of our immediate family asks us to go and worship other gods of those around us, we are not to go.

2.       2.      Note: This enticing is done secretly, not publicly.      This is one of the lures of Satan.  He doesn't attack us openly, but secretly and privately.  Your religion is what you do when you are all alone.

B.     Verse 8 - Our reaction to this private attack by Satan through our loved one.

1.       We shall not consent.  The person must be told that you will not do such a thing.  Don't be overly concerned about losing your friend, be concerned about losing your faithfulness before God.

2.       We shall not hearken to him.  This means we don't even listen to what they have to say.  If we have to be rude to them, this is okay.  It's better to be rude to deceivers than it is to be rude to God.

3.       We shall not spare him.  We can't spare their feelings, for they need to realize they have done a horrible thing is trying to get us to go somewhere else to worship.

4.       We shall not conceal him.  It is our duty to make his enticement public.

a.      We have an obligation to others.  If the person has approached us privately, he has probably also approached others privately.  They may not realize that others are being enticed like they are.

b.      We have an obligation to warn others.  If it is made public that a particular person is enticing people away from God's service, others who may also be thinking about enticing people away will be warned when they see the judgment upon them.

C.     Verse 9-11 - It is the duty of all Israel to kill him.

1.       The person that made the enticing public shall be the first one to cast a stone, then all Israel shall follow.

2.       This shall be a warning to all Israel that such wickedness will be taken care of.

3.       3.      In a church, the person shall not be killed, but excluded from the fellowship.  The one making the accusation shall be the one to make the motion, then the entire church will vote to exclude the person.      Nobody has the right to try to listen to the excuses and feelings of the one excluded.  They must understand that the future of the entire church is at stake, not just one person.  If one person is allowed to disrupt the fellowship of the church, then there is no limit to what the devil can and will do.


III.   Verse 12-18 - Beware of deceivers in your own nation.

A.     Israel is to be careful for the religion of their neighbors.

1.       Verse 12 - "If thou shall hear" - There shall be religious communication among the tribes of Israel.

2.       Verse 12,13 - If it is heard that certain cities are led away from God's service, then something shall be done about it.  The people that shall act are those that hear about it.  They are not to sit around and say that they heard about it, but they assumed somebody else would take care of the problem.

B.     The proper procedure to follow.

1.       There shall be an inquiry.  It shall not be assumed that the story is true.  It could be a rumor.  Make sure before any action is taken.

2.       Search shall be made.  This means that somebody with authority will go to the place to find out if the story is true or false.

3.       3.      It shall be asked about diligently.  Nothing is to be assumed.  Questions are to be asked directly, and answered directly.  The person checking out the story shall not go into the city, look around, assume everything is okay, then bring back a good report.  He shall not go into the city, look around, assume everything is wrong, then bring back an evil report.      There may be a lot of things beneath the surface that won't be found out if diligent search is not made.

C.     The judgment upon the guilty.

1.       All Israel shall arise against the city and kill all the inhabitants and cattle.

2.       All the goods of the city shall be gathered into the midst of the city where it will be burned along with the city.

3.       Nobody shall take any of the spoils home with them.  If they take any spoils home, they will bring the judgment of God upon themselves.