Wolves and Sheep
Rev. Sudha Mehta©
wolf in sheep’s clothing from wallpapercave
Jude 1: 3 Beloved, although I made every effort to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt it necessary to write and urge you to contend earnestly for the faith entrusted once for all to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed—ungodly ones who were designated long ago for condemnation. They turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality, and they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.(BSB)
How is a little lamb, freshly born, to know which sheep in the fold is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Wolf in Sheep’s clothing from pixabey
The Book of Jude is a single chapter but an essential if you are to seriously learn about what Jesus said about false christs, teachers and prophets.
It is interesting to note that Jude started writing with a purpose yet the purpose was changed by the Holy Spirit since God Himself had something else in mind. Jude found himself redirected and penned a chapter on fallen demonic entities, fake people and how to be alert, aware and to weed them out of church.
Once you are born again, and have some knowledge of the Word, even a little, you have some sense how to avoid certain things. It is easy, for instance to spot a false leader like this one:
False christ from bibliatodo.com
This guy in the above picture was arrested along with his followers for various things he was into. Easy to spot a false teacher like him for his teaching and behavior was so overtly out of line with basic morality that even a freshly born Christian would know this is wrong.
The ones that are difficult to spot are the ones that are based in a “Church.” These walk and talk like Christians, and mingle in with congregations, or may even be leaders in the church.
Jim Jones, a false leader from Ozy.com
That is where it becomes important for a Christian to know the Bible, and for a new Christian to be sure he/she is in a Bible believing church where the teachings of the Bible are not regarded as mere suggestions but a code to live by.
I know what you are thinking, “How can a new Christian not be afraid that he/she may end up in a church with erroneous teaching?” It is a valid concern. However, remember, anyone genuinely born again does have the Holy Spirit residing within. Assuming that the new Christian is praying for direction, and genuinely seeking God to lead and point in the right direction, I believe he/she will be led in the way of God.
Proverbs 3: 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.(BSB)
Says it all, doesn’t it?!
Here is another scripture that sheds light on the character of God and you should know it:
Luke 11: 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”(BSB)
I myself had such concerns when I was young in Christ. My pastor and mentor, Dr. Rodney Dukes shared this verse with me. I took it to heart. Our God does not thrive by misleading His children. When you ask Him for the Holy Spirit and guidance through His Spirit, that is exactly what you will get.
Additionally, every Christian, newborn or not has been given the responsibility to learn the Word on His own. I am writing to the World. So, I do recognize there are countless out there that do not even have a church anywhere close, or the freedom to go to one even if they could find it.
Today I share with you my personal walk. As a new Christian I was in the place you find yourself, even though my home was in this great country called America. As I have said before I have known persecution . . . this is a moment to share a bit.
My freedom was very limited and going to church was out of the question. Several times I was given a Bible only to have it taken away from me forcibly and removed from the house. It was years before I was able to attend Sunday service on a regular basis, and to that I could not drive myself. I had to learn to hide the Bible, and any Bible related book was out of the question.
Finally there came a time when I could have a Bible and read it, but I still could not leave it out in the open. Consequently I had One Teacher for a number of years . . . God the Holy Spirit Himself! He taught and led me, wiped away the many tears, lovingly raised me AND taught me to teach my children myself. I did not have the freedom to take my children to church or Sunday school for many years, they were taught at home by me.
My friend, be encouraged, in all circumstances, God doesn’t leave you alone.
Jeremiah 29: 13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.(BSB)
This is His promise.
Back to Jude and his warning about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jude, in this one chapter book issues a warning against people who creep in unnoticed and bring false, blasphemous ideas into the church. They are not called leaders or teachers, but the fact that they hide amongst the people, and are not easily recognized by the general laity, says they are just as, or even more dangerous than someone speaking false teaching overtly. These are the true wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Notice that nowhere in the list of signs does Jesus speak against other religions, only against people that mimic Christ but do not adhere to His teachings faithfully. Our tendency is to lump them all together, but Jesus did not. The reason was simple, other religions and gods were not to be followed anyway, God had made that abundantly clear in the Old Testament again and again, so the disciples already knew that. Hence it wasn’t necessary to instruct them again about other gods. The disciples had asked what signs to look for that would indicate His coming, not any other god’s.
When we refer to cults and their leaders we simply assess what they say of Christ Himself, and the Bible. Cults begin on the foundation of a charismatic personality that claims to have extra biblical revelation of the God of the Bible. They may begin with people entering the church as wolves among the sheep, and gathering a following and then leading them out of a church by causing division. They can also begin when a pastor, teacher claims to have some extrabiblical revelation that does not match the Word of God.
So, here are some ways to tell whether your leader is leading you to God or away from God:
1 God will never contradict His Word. What He says He will do. He will never lie, for He Himself is The Truth. (John 14: 6)
2 God will never change His mind based on current culture. Culture does not define God. God should define culture but faithless, corrupt humans do not follow as they ought. The Bible, however, is as relevant today as it was 2000 yrs and more ago. (Hebrews 13:8)
3 The Bible is all true and without error. (2 Timothy 3: 16)
4 The Bible is a complete revelation of God given to man containing complete knowledge leading to salvation, eternal life in heaven and instruction on how to live life here on earth.(2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
5 The standard of Christ is the only one and true standard by which to judge men. Men will fail and fall short, so do not place all your trust in any one leader, rather look to Jesus as your final Authority. (Hebrews 12:2)
6 False teachers and christs aim to misdirect people away from the revealed truth of the Bible.(Matthew 24:4,5)
7 False teachers and christs look to glorify themselves instead of God. Their only purpose is to take advantage of you. (Jude 1:16)
8 False teachers and christs are controlling and dictatorial. They will move to isolate you from others including family and friends if necesary in order to control you.(Jude 1:16)
9. False christs and teachers will demand more financial support and be like the bottomless pit asking for more and more money, and making promises that God never made in order to beguile you.
10 False christs and teachers will want to control your children as well, seeking to indoctrinate your whole family in their way. They use the name of God to control every facet of your life, but their own life is not surrendered to God. They are arrogant and follow in their own lusts. (Jude 1:16)
If you know the Bible, you will discover that these are toxic people and divide families, disrupt churches and mislead the weak and the vulnerable. As Jude says:
Jude 1: 16These men are discontented grumblers, following after their own lusts; their mouths spew arrogance; they flatter others for their own advantage.
17 But you, beloved, remember what was foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ 18 when they said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow after their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, who are worldly and devoid of the Spirit.(BSB)
So, know the Word, follow the truth, pray for discerment and steer clear of such leaders, prophets, teachers and pastors. Gather together with others and study, get to know the One who created you.
Bible reading from lightstock.com
As you walk wisely with Christ follow this admonition:
Jude 1: 20 But you, beloved, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God as you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life. 22 And indeed, have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; and to still others show mercy tempered with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.(BSB)
When you do this, you can truly trust God to keep you in the hour of need.
So take out the Bible, don’t let it gather dust.
Next post will be for the next sign given by Jesus.
photo from stream.org
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