To the redeemed sheep of Jesus Christ:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:28-30)
In the words spoken by Jesus Christ to His disciples, and the Apostle Paul to the elders at Ephesus, a dire warning was given that is applicable today. It is a warning that seems to be ignored by many, either out of ignorance or from hearts in rebellion against God and His word. This warning is one that must not only be heard but also acted upon, lest many sheep are led astray into unbelief and sinful living to their own destruction.
The wolves in sheep’s clothing are found not only in pulpits, in the Sunday school rooms and amongst lay people; they are also found in institutions that claim the name of Christ, promoting themselves as a Christian institution, whether it is a k-12 school, a college or university; whether it’s a business, a charitable/humanitarian, or political organization.
However, the wolves are not easy to spot; hence, the disguise. They dress like Christians; they speak using ‘Christian vocabulary’; they may be faithful in their attendance at church and church activities. Yet, in their hearts they are not sheep, not Christians at all (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7). They have lifted up their opinions and the opinion of others above God’s word. They have become judges (in their own minds) of God’s word and God Himself. They speak smooth words, “smooth things,” as we read in Isaiah 30:10. What they say sounds good, easy to hear. It even makes sense as it is presented, though their premise is unbiblical and false; having a twisted view of Scriptures. What is said is pleasant to one’s ears. Their understanding and application of words like grace, mercy, love, etc. have no basis in Scripture but are rather a twisting of Scripture to fit a man-centered philosophy, a humanist world view that looks to man and others rather than pointing the hearers to Christ for salvation and deliverance from all the injustices and hatred that has so permeated the world through the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. They have a way of shaming those who would disagree; vilifying them as being unloving, uncaring, full of pride and conceit. As a result, they devour the sheep leading them down a path filled with half truths (lies, coated with a smidgen of truth).
Sadly, today many so-called Christian schools, colleges and universities are actually inviting wolves to speak to their students to stir up rebellion in their students, moving them away from looking to God’s word for wisdom and turning their hearts to embrace humanist philosophies and man-centered teachings. Have these so-called Christian institutions become a hot-bed of reprobate thinking, as described in Romans 1:32? I am sure they would certainly deny this vehemently; yet, we must ask why are they continually and repeatedly inviting speakers on campus to speak to you (parents: to your sons and daughters) that leads you (them), and encourages you (them) to embrace a sinful life style and embrace worldly thinking that is contrary to the Bible.
Have we become like the people of Israel in the Old Testament, where they were described as follows?
“. . . this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11 Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.’” (Isaiah 30:9-11)
Or, like what is prophesied in the New Testament?
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The wolves in sheep’s clothing are the ones that are welcomed, honored and embraced, because they say what people want them to say. They use words like love and mercy, grace and humility as a cloak for vice (1 Peter 2:16; Galatians 5:13). It is said that we must love the homosexual by accepting them in their homosexuality, embracing the false notion that they were born that way. Scripture tells us that we are all born sinners and homosexuality is one of many sins that keep us from entering the kingdom of God (Romans 3:10-18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Yet, by telling the sinner that you accept them in their sin without telling him or her that there is freedom from the bondage to their sin in Christ is to give them a false hope. Without calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, they will remain in a state of condemnation so long as they are unrepentant in their sin; whatever sin that may have gripped their heart binding it under its influence. The person in bondage to sin is only able to be set free from his or her chains of sin by God working grace in that person’s heart to repent of his or her sin, and by faith seek forgiveness in Christ alone and the freedom that is found in putting one’s trust in His redemptive work on the cross alone; freedom to live in the righteousness of God in Christ, as described in Scripture (Romans Chapter 6 & Colossians Chapter 3).
Yes, as Christians we must show love toward one another (John 13:34-35); we are to be humble and not arrogant thinking that we are better than others (Philippians 2:3). We are to speak the truth as it is revealed to us in Scripture; speak the truth in love (Ephesian 4:15). Scripture says we are to be gentle to all, correct in humility those who are in sin, either in doctrine or in their ‘life-style,’ so they may know the truth, not just half truths that fit the socially acceptable opinion of a fallen culture; but rather truth as defined and revealed by God Himself in His word (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
As Christians we must speak the truth in love, correcting others with the objective that they “may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (v. 26) There is no love not correcting, or declaring the good news of Jesus Christ to someone that living in sin, whether it’s homosexuality, stealing, adultery, fornication, gossip, or some other sin. For Christians leading a gay pride parade thinking you being an intermediary or intercessor is telling the homosexual that it is ok to be a homosexual; that God is ok with that life-style. He has told us in His word He is not ok with it and He hasn’t changed His mind about it. If it was sin 3,500 years ago (Leviticus 18:22) and 2,000 years ago (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 1:24-27); it’s a sin today. What was an abomination then is an abomination now. Truth doesn’t change, nor does morality. Society and the culture of a people don’t define truth or morality; God does and He alone, as He has revealed in His inspired, inerrant and infallible word. Furthermore, to suggest that Christians walk in front of a gay pride parade is like suggesting that they walk in front of a prostitute pride parade – that’s not showing grace or love that is reaffirming them in their sinful conduct; sinful mindset.
The smooth talker, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, will denigrate the significance of a particular sin because Jesus didn’t talk much about it (a lame reason to excuse sin). Just because a specific sin is not mentioned by Jesus in the Gospel accounts doesn’t mean He is telling us to not make a big deal about that sin; that He was okay with it. He didn’t mention that particular sin because it wasn’t a sin that was prevalent within the Jewish community where He ministered. (On the other hand, homosexuality was mentioned by the apostle Paul because he was ministering to the Gentile communities, where it was prevalent.) It’s a big deal today because it has been made a big deal by the homosexual community. If by Jesus not mentioning homosexuality during His earthly ministry tells us that He was ok with it, then we must say abortion is ok, since it’s not even mentioned in Scripture, much less Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke to sinners with grace. True enough. However, He also told them to repent of their sins such as the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11). He received those who showed true repentance, like Zacchaeus in Luke 19:2-10. (See also, Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15: He even told His disciples to go out and preach repentance, (Mark 6:12). On the other hand, He rejected the impenitent, the proud and those who were content in their sin, who didn’t struggle with their sin but embraced it as though it was ok to be that way and sought to justify themselves in their sinful ways (Matthew 20:25-28; 23:2-14, 28).
There is one thing that Jesus spoke of more than any other person and that was hell, where the impenitent and prideful sinner will spend eternity. Yet, today, you hear very little, or not at all, preaching on hell from many pulpits, or even so-called evangelistic efforts. Grace speaks the truth in love, including this truth (Ephesians 4:15). There is no escape for the sinner who doesn’t repent of his or her sin; and saying you were ‘born this way‘ will not get you off the hook; much less, make it ok to practice your sinful life-style. Repent of your sin, by faith seek the forgiveness of your sins obtained for you by Christ alone in His one atoning sacrifice on the cross, and put your trust in Him alone for your salvation. In doing so He will deliver you from your bondage to your sin by the power of His Spirit, just as He did with the Corinthians: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Those who teach and preach contrary to the word of God using smooth words to justify sin, don’t understand grace much less what it means to show love to sinners.
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).
Though sometimes difficult, the wolf in sheep’s clothing is not impossible to spot. Sometimes it’s not what the wolf says; it’s what is not said that is equally important though harder to assess. Scripture tells us 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “test all things”; and according to 1 John 4:1, we are told to “. . . not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
So how do you test what is said to determine if it is true or false? There is only one standard of right and wrong, truth and error and that is the Bible, the Word of Truth; the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. This is where you go help you understand whether the words ‘grace,’ ‘mercy’ and ‘love’ are being used properly, as believers in Christ. The Bible is the standard for our conduct. It alone tells us not only what to believe as true concerning God, man and the history mankind from the beginning of all things in Genesis to Revelation. Scripture also tells us how God, in His Providence has directed all that there was and is according to His good purposes and His glory. God didn’t it get wrong when He moved Moses to write the historical accounts found in Genesis and the other four books of the Pentateuch. (He was there when He created so we have an eyewitness account from God, not guess work from modern day scientists bent on undermining the authority and credibility of Scripture.) As Creator He tells us what is right and wrong; He alone defines morality, not some self-serving modern thinker, who will claim that morality from Scripture is out of date; that our culture defines what is morally right and wrong. Society doesn’t define what is right and wrong, or even the justices; God alone tells them what is right and wrong, which is recorded for all to read in His word, the Bible. Otherwise, it will cause strife, confusion and chaos as each one determines for himself or herself what is right and wrong, resulting in abortion (infanticide) on demand; and corruption, lying and stealing are given a pass being deemed acceptable for the ‘good of the people’ – really?! This is where we are heading; if not already.
Combating this perversion, corruption, wickedness and rebellion will mean spending time in Scripture, making it your delight so that you will be able to resist the wolf in sheep’s clothing; refusing to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1-2). Making God’s word your delight will transform you way of thinking so that, by the grace of God, you will look to God alone to give you wisdom from His word and the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen you to conduct your life humbly in a manner worthy of your calling in Christ to glory of God. When you do you will learn that grace is not accepting someone in their sinful behavior, but rather telling them that by the unmerited favor of God (His grace) He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save sinners, such as you and me, paying the penalty for their sins and delivery them from the bondage to the sin that has so gripped their hearts into thinking that because they were ‘born that way’ they don’t have to turn from their wicked ways and turn to Christ with a changed heart and life to the glory of God. Grace purchased through Jesus Christ salvation and redemption from sin for the sinner; grace didn’t embrace it, nor accept the sinner’s sin.
Let’s all BEWARE of the false teacher, the false preacher for there are many who have risen up in our midst deceiving and being deceived. Look to the Lord alone for wisdom in His word and strength from His Spirit in these troubling days for only by God’s grace will we be able to stand against the wiles of devil and his ambassadors, wolves in sheep’s clothing, to the glory of God.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Blessings to you all through Christ Jesus our Lord, the great Shepherd of the sheep,