False Prophets - 2
August 16, 2020
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15).
I was on staff as Youth and Education leader in a small church in S. California. One Sunday I saw a group of 5 people enter and sit on the back row in the sanctuary after the service had started. They looked like a pulpit committee to me. I looked at Pastor Findley to see if he had seen them. He did, but the look on his face was not one of appreciation.
After the service ended, Pastor made a bee-line to the group. I overheard him tell them they were not welcome and he did not want to see them at the church again. They left without saying a word. Pastor then spoke privately with me and told me he knew one or two in the group through his association with fellow pastors and churches. They were ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ (he used those exact words). They were troublemakers and were guilty of splitting up churches in the area. He then said it was part of every pastor’s ministry to protect the church from such people.
Jesus said false prophets (preachers and teachers) come to us in sheep’s clothing. I’ve never seen a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but I understand the point. They are sly and sneaky; they blend in; they pretend to be something they’re not; they appear to be gentle, but they’re deadly.
The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian elders of these ‘wolves’ as he bade them farewell from Miletus, I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears (Acts 20:29-31). He said the same to the Roman Christians, I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive (Romans 16:17-18; see also 1 Timothy 1:3-7).
Jesus said these people are to be confronted, rebuked and corrected (2 Timothy 3:16), the church is to repent for having such people among them (Revelation 2:14-16), and believers are to remain faithful to the Word of God (Revelation 2:20-25).
“Father, may Your people stay focused on Your Word so that spiritual liars and thieves will be exposed and rebuked for their deceit. Encourage met to be alert to these ministers of Satan whose sole desire is to ruin the fellowship of saints and destroy our witness for Jesus Christ. To His honor and glory I ask, Amen.”