In my earlier years as a Christian, I would read about false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing and really have no idea what Paul or Jude or Peter meant. In my youthfulness, every one who attended church was to be trusted and respected.
But as I’ve walked a longer path, I realize the truth of all the New Testament warnings. There are people in the church we need to be cautious around, proving just how important discernment is.
I’m reading through the Bible in a year. Today’s reading cemented my latter revelations about the need for caution and discernment. Read this with fresh eyes. Put on your discernment hat. Are there wolves nearby?
This is taken from Jude:
8 Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones. 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse Satan of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (This took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people mock and curse the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction.
11 How terrible it will be for them! For they follow the evil example of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they will do anything for money. And like Korah, they will perish because of their rebellion.
12 When these people join you in fellowship meals celebrating the love of the Lord, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are shameless in the way they care only about themselves. They are like clouds blowing over dry land without giving rain, promising much but producing nothing. They are like trees without fruit at harvest time. They are not only dead but doubly dead, for they have been pulled out by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the dirty foam of their shameful deeds. They are wandering stars, heading for everlasting gloom and darkness.
14 Now Enoch, who lived seven generations after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Look, the Lord is coming with thousands of his holy ones. 15 He will bring the people of the world to judgment. He will convict the ungodly of all the evil things they have done in rebellion and of all the insults that godless sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loudmouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favors in return.
From these verses, folks like this have these characteristics. They are:
- often defying authority
- always doing whatever they feel like
- eager to do anything it takes to have more money
- dangerous to the church
- often using flattery to get what they want
In a world of niceties, what would the Lord have us do with folks like this?
Don’t eat with pretenders:
1 Corinthians 5:11: What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people.
Stay away from teachers like this:
Romans 16: 17-18: And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.
Have you ever encountered wolves in sheep’s clothing? How? When?
What helped you navigate your relationship with them?
How has God helped you grow through that discovery?