(1) Compare his message and ministry to the
See if what he has to say, lines up with scripture. God's Word is the
foundation upon which every true man of God will base his life, ministry and
message. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
(2 Tim. 3:16). Jesus said "...My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me"
(2) Check to see if Jesus Christ is the
center. Who does he attempt to lift up and glorify? Himself or
Christ? A real man of God doesn't seek to promote himself, but seeks to
glorify Christ in everything he does or says. "He who speaks from himself
seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is
true, and no unrighteousness is in Him" (John 7:18). (See also 1 Cor. 12:3)
(3) Inspect his fruit. As we have
said, the Bible says that we shall know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16).
Just like preachers, a lot of trees may look alike from a distance, but a
close inspection of the fruit hidden among the branches will reveal their
differences. Fruit is the natural product of a species which provides
If an alleged man of God is truly rooted in fellowship
with Christ, he will obviously bear Christ-like fruit (John 15:4-5), not
corrupt, immoral qualities. In Paul's epistle to the church of Galatia, he
gave a description of the kind of spiritual fruit that should be a natural
product in every believer whose life is in harmony with Christ, and
contrasted this with the bad fruit of the works of the flesh:
Works of the Flesh
Fruit of the Spirit
How important it is that every Christian is genuinely
led by the Spirit — but even more so for spiritual leaders, as it is the
Holy Spirit which also leads us unto all truth (John 16:13). If any
spiritual leader does not bear spiritual fruit, he is not genuinely led by
the Spirit of God, and if not led by God's Spirit, neither can we risk that
his teachings, ministry, or alleged revelations are led of God's Spirit
either! Jesus gave us this fruit test to protect us from deceivers. "You
will know them by their fruits..." (Matt. 7:16).
It is clear that any preacher or purported man of God
who exhibits the immoral works of the flesh is definitely not led by God's
Spirit. Furthermore, this lifestyle pattern is evidence of an absence of a
personal relationship with God, as it states bluntly that "those who
practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:21).
It is biblical and necessary for Christians to examine the fruit of their leaders. However, exercise caution. "Fruit inspection" is not meant to be the same thing as fault finding. Examination of fruit should be confined to spiritual standards necessary for leadership, not every little personality trait, habit, or preference. Constant criticism and finding fault must be avoided, lest we discourage our godly leaders and find ourselves serving the purpose of the Devil as an "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10).