It’s no secret that 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least. Church has been closed for about 3 months and in many ways, and I’ve been a little harsh these past few months when talking about the church and what God expects from us as His people.
But, there is a growing trend in our culture that I want to shed light on tonight.
My goal is that you leave this devotional more alert, watchful, and motivated to know God’s word for yourself.
Season 3 of the Her Faith Inspires podcast is all about the truth of God’s word and sound biblical teaching and how that is in direct contrast to what culture deems as acceptable.
There are plenty of warnings throughout God’s word that tell us we are to be aware of wolves in sheeps clothing.
What is a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Jesus said in Matthew 7:15 that wolves in sheep’s clothing are false prophets. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
Not only are they false prophets, but they have ulterior motives. They are there to tear apart the sheep.
1 John 4:1 says we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God.
Rom 16:17-18 tells us that they create obstacles and teach a doctrine contrary to the word of God.
2 Tim 4:3 tells us that some will recruit these wolves who preach words that will make them happy and tell them what they want to hear.
That means they may be hard to identify because they look like sheep.
And in our country today, we have a lot of wolves in the church. They look like sheep, but on the inside they are ravenous wolves waiting to devour and cause division.
Do you know how many Americans call themselves Christians?
I recently checked, after seeing stats just a few years ago holding at 76% and rapidly declining.
It is now at 65% since 2019, and the stats for atheists, agnostic or no particular religion is up from 17% in 2009 to 26% in 2019.
Those numbers should astound us. However, they should also let us know that although 65% of the American population is supposed to be upholding truth, something isn’t adding up when we see what’s going on within the church as we speak.
You and I have a job to do. We are to contend for the faith.
That means we are to struggle with these who try and come in and preach a false doctrine. We are to struggle to overcome.
Jude 3-4 says, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing to you that you contend earnestly for the fifth which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Jude tells us we are to contend for the faith with those who have crept into the church and disregarded the commands of God’s word (that’s what licentiousness means).
So, how do we do it? How do we contend for the faith? We must identify the wolves and call them out.
3 Ways to Spot a Wolf in the Church:
- False teaching. Someone who does not belong to God preaches the word in deception. Remember what Jesus said to them, “You are of your father the devil.” And the devil uses this same tactic.
If you go back to Genesis 2, you will see the enemy came to Eve and asked her, “Did God really say you cannot eat from any tree in the garden?”
Wolves in sheep’s clothing will always tell you what God really said about anything to do with what’s acceptable in culture. And they’ll be as convincing to you as the Devil was to Eve.
Many of them call themselves scholars, pastors, bishops, deacons, and because they wear this title you are convinced they must know more than you.
How do you know if they’re a wolf? The only way to know that is if you know the Word of God. When teaching someone in the banking industry how identify counterfeit money, no one ever shows them the fake money. They show them how to spot the real deal and then they measure everything else up to the standard of the real money. That is how a counterfeit is identified.
It’s the same when it comes to God’s word. I can’t say it enough.
2) You will know them by their fruit.
Again, Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that we will know them by their fruits. Bad trees cannot bear good fruit. It is only by the Holy Spirit that the fruits of the spirit are evident.
To have the fruits of the Spirit means we allow God to work in us. There is no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, or self control in a wolf.
What do they condone and what does their lifestyle speak of them? It is our responsibility to evaluate the fruit in their lives.
This is not the same as spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts can be mimicked by false prophets and that’s why the Bible tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God.
3) Wolves in sheeps clothing speak to emotion more than truth because they want a following.
Today, we see many teachers in the church speaking to what they call “felt needs”. A felt need is something you’re struggling with or a need you want God to meet.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but the biggest need that will take care of every other felt need is sin … and not many preachers want to speak against sin.
It’s not popular. 1 Cor 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
And because wolves want to gather the pack, have lots of followers and gain from their following, sin isn’t something they want to preach on.
If you follow a preacher/teacher who does not speak to sin, stop following them. Every message that is preached should and will always lead back to Christ.
I want to close today by saying this: it is yours and my responsibility to do several things when it comes to wolves in sheep’s clothing and what we call progressive christianity today:
- Know your word. If you don’t know the Truth the only thing left is deception. And you will be deceived. Study the word.
- Uphold the truth and when you do, hold those who call themselves beliebers to it as well.
3) Live the word and speak it in your home, teach it to your children and be aware of what’s going on in our world today.