If I were to tell you the word ‘Beware’ is spoken nine times in the Bible by Jesus, would you take a second look at it? In the dictionary the word “beware” is defined as: to be cautious and alert to the dangers of; in the Bible the word in Greek is “prosecho,” defined as: something to give attention to or something one must take heed to.
If you study the New Testament, you will find the word BEWARE is used by Jesus only nine times, and each time Jesus speaks this caution, it is spoken directly to His disciples. If Jesus tells us to Beware, and take heed, we definitely should.
Matthew 7:13-15 “Enter in by the straight gate; because wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads one away to destruction, and many are those that will enter in because of their own selves. For straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads one unto life and few are those that find it, so BEWARE of the false prophets who come among you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are extortioners and wolves.”
Matthew 10:16-18 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But BEWARE of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”
Luke 20:45-47 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, BEWARE of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.
Matthew 16:6-10 “Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and BEWARE of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?”
Matthew 16:11 “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But to BEWARE of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Luke 12:13 “In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, BEWARE of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Matt 6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Luke 17:35 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, I repent, you shall forgive him.”
Luke 21:34-36 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Three of the warnings are against the false teachers (men, false prophets and scribes), three times it is concerning the yeast (false doctrines) of the Pharisees and lastly there are three warnings for the disciples to watch themselves against doing righteous deeds before men to receive glory (Matthew 6:1), also to beware of not forgiving their brothers once they’ve repented (Luke 17:3) and lastly they are told to beware from numbing the frustration and anxiety of this life with alcohol so that the day of the Lord does not come upon them at a time when they are not prepared (Luke 21:34).
Three times to BEWARE of False teachers (men, false prophets and scribes) Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16-17 and Luke 20:46
Three times to BEWARE of False doctrines (yeast of the Pharisees) Matthew 16:6, Matthew 16:11 and Luke 12:1
Three times to BEWARE of Themselves (wrong motives) Matthew 6:1, Luke 17:3 and Luke 21:34
In the Bible there are incidences of the number three serving as a reminder or an, ‘I told you beforehand,’ spoken by the Lord, such as in the case of Peter denying the Lord three times before he heard the rooster crow. The rooster crowing was a wonderful choice for the Lord, because we associate the sound of a rooster crowing to being woken up. Jesus was telling Peter that He would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed as a way of showing him, “When you hear the rooster crow, you will wake up and remember I have told you this.”
Whatever it is we decide to take away from these cautions of Jesus; we should keep in mind that He made sure to warn His disciples three times concerning all three specific avoidances.
Listen to Paul the Apostle plead with and caution the overseers of the Gospel to take heed and beware of; themselves, men and false prophets and that by the speaking of perverted and twisted things, (false teachings) men would draw disciples away from the true Gospel message.
Acts 20:28-35 “BEWARE therefore of yourselves, on account of the flock over which the Holy Ghost has appointed you as overseers, that you may be able to feed the church of God in which He has purchased with his own blood. For I do know this, that after my departing grievous wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also among your own selves, men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of THREE years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have sought after no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. You yourselves know, that these hands have ministered to my own necessities, and also to those that were with me. I have showed you all things, and how by laboring you are able to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Matthew 7:15 “BEWARE of false prophets that come in among you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are extortioners and wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”
Matthew 7:20 “Therefore it is by their fruits that you will know them.”
We are being told in these scriptures how to discern and keep watch for the false prophets that teach us false teachings, which cause us to falsely discern our own motives, that eventually cause us to deceive ourselves. We are told to judge the fruit of those that call themselves prophets and teachers, and see if they line up with the example of Kingdom principles.
Lets take Paul the Apostle of Christ as example. In Acts 20:28-35 Paul states that false prophets will come among us like wolves in sheep’s clothing v. 29 and have certain characteristics that will set them apart from his own ministry. Paul made sure to lay it out for us:
1. Do they say perverse things (false teachings) to draw people away to their way of thinking? Acts 20:30
2. Do they seek after mans silver, or gold, or apparel? Acts 20:33
3. Do they live by the work of their own hands to minister to their own necessities and also to the necessities of those that are with them? Acts 20:34-35
4. Do they offer the gift of their service and ministry for free, believing that it is better to give than to receive, or are they extortioners? Acts 20:35, Matthew 7:15
We need to ask ourselves these same questions concerning our chosen spiritual advisors, their teachings, and lastly we should be sure to examine ourselves. Let us take a closer look at what Jesus cautioned us about, to prevent others and ourselves from failing to Beware or take heed of these nine cautions of Christ.
My conclusion is this; out of all the things Jesus taught His disciples; these nine warnings are crucial for our success in walking out the call of God upon our lives. Jesus knew the very things that would become a snare and a stumbling block to us all, and He gave us all ample warning.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.”
God bless you, Keep watch and Beware!