“But I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” Jeremiah:23:21-22
Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet” because of his tenderness of heart and the grief that possessed him on account of the defection of his people (Jeremiah:9:1). But he could also be very stern when rebuking iniquity. In these things he manifested the same spirit that was seen in all perfection in our blessed Lord, whose tears and denunciations were in perfect keeping. False prophets have ever been the bane of those who are ready to accept almost anyone claiming to speak with divine authority, instead of testing him by what God has already revealed. It was true of old; it is just as true now (2 Peter:2:1-3). Therefore we need to try the spirits whether they be of God (1 John:4:1), for Satan has his ministers who speak plausibly but are really seeking to mislead rather than to edify (2 Corinthians:11:14-15). Justin Martyr wrote long ago: “Many spirits are abroad in the world and the credentials they display are splendid gifts of eloquence and ability. Christian, look carefully. Ask for the prints of the nails.”
‘What think ye of Christ?’ is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of Him:
As Jesus appears in your view—
As He is beloved or not,
So God is disposed to you,
And mercy or wrath is your lot.
Some take Him a creature to be—
A man, or an angel at most;
But they have not feelings like me,
Nor know themselves wretched and lost.
So guilty, so helpless am I,
I durst not confide in His blood,
Nor on His protection rely,
Unless I were sure He is God.
--John Newton (from the devotional book, "The Continual Burnt Offering," by H. A. Ironside).