Beware the Wolf!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beware the Wolf

By Larry R. Lasiter

1997

It's a beautiful night in the Falkland Islands, just off the coast of Argentina. These British Islands are known for their rich pasture land. The air is still this evening as the sheep graze. The sun is setting, and the sky appears as a lavender canvas gently caressing stars sparkling like diamonds. The steady sound of the Atlantic can be heard in the distance. It is a familiar sight in this part of the world.  

There is Danger lurking!  

Although this paints a serene picture, there is danger lurking! A killer is on the prowl, and is hungry. His prey tonight are the unsuspecting, grazing sheep. This predator is an expert in stealth and is rarely seen. Carefully, he positions himself with his face in the wind so as not to reveal his presence. He then waits patiently for the right moment.  

Ordinary sheep are no match for him, but somewhere in the herd is a fearsome ram. He must know where he is, so that he is not taken by surprise. An encounter with the ram could spell disaster for him. He could be seriously injured or even killed, or at the very least, driven from his fallen prey, thus losing his meal. Once he spots the ram, he will strike sheep that are a safe distance away.  

The enemy's strategy  

As sheep graze, they slowly gravitate in one general direction. The predator's strategy is simple -he will attack the young or weak that are on the outer-edge of the flock. Suddenly, the destroyer will lunge from the darkness and bite a young sheep on the backbone, then vanish back into the night! The sheep will cry out! But will be too far away from help.  

As the sheep continue to move on, this wounded one can no longer keep up. Soon, the lamb will be alone. From its hiding the killer will move in, sensing the time for the slaughter is right.  

The deadly result!  

At first light, the sheep farmer will realize the magnitude of the carnage. He may find as many as 10 to 15 sheep slaughtered! But only one will be found to have been eaten, the rest were simply victims of the predator's thirst for blood.  

Who is this dreadful beast? His name is Canis Lupus Linnaeus. Or to the common man, the wolf.  

Folklore of wolves  

Perhaps no animal has captured the imagination of man like the wolf. The wolf has permeated the mind of man in legendary proportions. Thus, his folklore is full of stories about the wolf.  

"Folklore also has contributed to the wolf's bad reputation. In many old sayings, the animal is a symbol of badness or evil. For example, "to keep the wolf from the door" means to prevent hunger or poverty. "A wolf in sheep's clothing" describes a person who acts friendly but has evil intentions. Fables and other folk tales pass on the misleading notion that wolves attack people. In the story of Little Red Riding Hood, a wolf threatens to eat a little girl." (World Book Encyclopedia, vol.21)  

The wolf's bad reputation is not without foundation, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt once called the wolf, the "beast of waste and desolation". This statement was a result of observing the seemingly senseless slaughter of sheep by wolves. Why did they kill so much more than they could eat? This was contrary to the nature of predator and prey.  

Their hunting techniques  

Wolves vary their hunting techniques. They hunt and kill many different animals, such as deer, moose, caribou, birds, rabbits, sheep and even mice. But sheep are the only animals that wolves slaughter in apparent compulsion, and in unnecessary numbers. What makes this more compelling, is that wolves are extremely intelligent hunters, not marauders. But there is simply something in sheep that causes the wolf's thirst for blood to explode into furious attacks!  

Sometimes, wolves will slowly herd larger prey onto frozen lakes, water or loose snow. The purpose is to make footing and balance treacherous. In this vulnerable state the animal can be attacked from different directions and be unable to protect itself.  

Wolves can literally run all night long. They can wear down their resistant prey by following at a constant distance; adjusting to the animal's speed until exhaustion sets in. Even strong animals that are not without defense against the wolf will eventually succumb to this relentless pressure. As the old saying goes, -"Fatigue makes cowards out of strong men". The same is true in the animal kingdom.  

Some animals unwittingly set themselves up to be killed because they feed or travel alone. Musk Oxen, practically invulnerable to attack when standing in a defensive formation together, are easy prey for wolves once they stray from the herd. Working in unison, the wolves will surround a large animal such as this, making it impossible for it to face all the intruders. The wolves will strike from the sides and rear, slashing at the hams, ripping at the flanks and abdomen. The animal will weaken from the continuous harassment, and loss of blood, then the wolves will move in for the kill.  

The haunting howl of the wolf  

Feeding the haunting, almost mystical perception of the wolf, is its howl. It can be heard deep into the night, and is often associated with danger in the human psyche. Hunters that have encountered the wolf are often struck by the intelligence in its eyes. It has been said, -"a wolf takes your stare and turns it back on you". The Bella Coola Indians believe that someone tried to change all the animals into men, but succeeded in making human, only the eyes of the wolf. The deadly stare of the wolf has made cowards of many brave men.  

Their social relationships  

In spite of their savage reputation, wolves carefully care for their young, not denying them part of the kill. After many years of work in the wild studying the wolf, Adolf Murie wrote that the strongest impression he was left with was the wolves friendliness toward each other. Even as adults, wolves play tag with each other or romp with the pups.  

Wolves are intelligent creatures, as animals go, they are playful and protective parents to their young. And they kill many animals for food, but in all this, slaughter sheep compulsively. Notice this quote from Senator Kendrick of Wyoming in the late 1890's -"Recently I've received quite a few letters from university people insisting, as I recall, on moderate action in connection with the extermination of predatory animals, but I am unable to conceive of anyone making that plea who had a personal acquaintance with either the terrific disaster wrought upon herds and flocks by wolves...or with the method employed by these animals in connection with the destruction of their prey. It is the most barbarous thing imaginable. No doubt the motives of these people are the best, but I believe they are uniformed."(Hearings before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry)  

Wolves among the flock of God!  

Jesus said that He would build His church and the gates of hell (Greek "hades" -grave) would not prevail over it. Jesus, and other inspired writers of the New Testament called the church the "flock of God". Notice Luke 12:32 -"Do not be afraid, LITTLE FLOCK, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." In John chapter 10, Jesus says that He is the true Shepherd of His flock, and that unlike a hireling, paid to oversee the flock, He will not flee when danger comes, but protect the flock even risking His own life for them. Notice Verses 11-13 -"I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not owner of the sheep, beholds the WOLF coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the WOLF snatches them, and SCATTERS THEM. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep." The Apostle Peter instructed those that God had made under-shepherds of Christ, to-"Shepherd the FLOCK among you.."(1 Peter 5:2)  

Out of all the animals in the animal kingdom, God inspired His church to be likened to sheep. And like real sheep, the flock of God has formidable enemies also. These enemies of the church are called different things, but when likened to the animal kingdom, they are referred to as "ravenous wolves". Notice Jesus' warning inMatthew 7:15 -"BEWARE of the FALSE PROPHETS, who come to you in SHEEP'S CLOTHING, but inwardly are RAVENOUS WOLVES."  

Paul's warning to church at Ephesus  

The Apostle Paul had stayed in Ephesus for three years teaching the true doctrines of the faith. After being compelled to travel to Jerusalem to answer the accusations that he was teaching against the Law of God, he left this final admonition to the church in Ephesus. Acts 20:28-31 -"Be on guard for yourselves and for 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. I know that after my departure SAVAGE WOLVES will come in among you, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears."  

Just what did happen to the church in Ephesus after the Apostle Paul departed? Did they heed the warnings enough to avoid being overtaken by these "savage wolves"? The Scriptures reveal that years later false teaching had become a major problem in this church. Paul urged Timothy to slow the flow of erroneous doctrines being taught there. Notice 1 Timothy 1:3 -"As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, (not Jerusalem, this was years later) remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines."It is obvious that the church in Ephesus was having problems with men among them "speaking perverse things".  

Jesus' warning to church at Ephesus!  

To this same congregation, the resurrected Jesus Christ gave warning to, through the Apostle John. NoticeRevelation 2:4-5 -"But I have this against you, that you have LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and DO THE DEEDS YOU DID AT FIRST; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent."  

This letter from Christ through John was actually sent to the Ephesus church about thirty years after Paul commissioned Timothy to correct their faulty beliefs. But the church had lost its first love. They no longer had a deep love for the true doctrines of the faith. Jesus warned, that if they would not repent, and recapture their first love, He would remove them from being a part of His church.  

Now think for a moment. Just what happened to this church that was departing from the true faith? Did they suddenly cease being a congregation? Did they no longer hold services? Were they no longer teaching and praying in the name of Jesus Christ? Did the membership believe they had lost their first love, or did they believe these new doctrines were true? Do you think they still considered themselves true christians?  

False Teachers are deceived themselves!  

The answers to these questions are obvious aren't they? These false teachers believed in what they were teaching, and the congregation trustingly accepted their teachings. And they were convinced they were acceptable to God. But as we found in Revelation 2, if they would not change and repent, Jesus would disfellowship them from His Body.  

These "SAVAGE WOLVES" that had infiltrated the church at Ephesus had succeeded in separating the flock from the true Shepherd, which is Jesus Christ. They did it through deception and false teachings. They had crept in unnoticed by the flock, and the flock had not heeded Paul's admonition to "BE ON GUARD FOR YOURSELVES and for ALL THE FLOCK". This saddened him because he had lived there and taught them for three years.  

Wolves in leadership positions  

When Wolves get into positions of leadership in the church they may use whatever means necessary to DIVIDE the FLOCK from its TRUE SHEPHERD. In 1 Corinthians 1, the brethren were rallying around certain religious leaders. Some were saying -"I'm of Paul", others -"I'm of Peter", and still others -"I'm of Apollos". Now all these men were godly men and true servants of God. But Paul told them that by doing this they were acting as carnal men.(fleshly or worldly) Each nation, around the world, has its leaders that they rally and support, don't they? The Apostle Paul asked the Corinthians -"Was Paul crucified for you or Christ?" The Corinthians were only doing what was natural for them, but Paul told them this was not a spiritual approach or attitude. Then in verse 13 he asked the searing question, -"HAS CHRIST BEEN DIVIDED?!!"  

They are instruments of Satan!  

Wolves are instruments of their leader, the Devil! They may not realize it, they may be deceived themselves, but nonetheless, they do the work of Satan. He seeks to scatter the FLOCK from the TRUE SHEPHERD. The sheep are safe if they remain close to the Shepherd, but are in danger if they stray away. Wolves that are false teachers will try to entice the sheep to follow them, in order to lead them to slaughter.

Again, wolves usually don't know they are wolves, and are being used as instruments of the Devil, but their fruits tell the tale. Matthew 7:15 says they come in "sheep's clothing". In verse 16, Jesus tells that we will know them by their "fruits". They may look and sound good, but does their teaching hold up when carefully examined by the Holy Scriptures? Is it in line with the teachings of Christ, the Apostles and Prophets? It is your responsibility to test those who come to you in the name and authority of Christ, to see if their teachings are right and true.

Jesus explained that many would come in His Name. Sincerity matters little, because many false teachers are unaware that they are teaching error. Many preach and teach only what they have been taught from childhood. Most ministers preach the beliefs they were raised to believe. If one was raised in the Baptist faith, he may attend a Baptist School of Theology in order to receive training and ordination. Most christian denominations have colleges to train their ministerial force for service in their churches.

Very few men indeed, ever really study themselves approved by God's Word alone. No, their doctrines and beliefs are established and approved by the denomination that they will be employed by, before their ordinationinto the ministry. Once in, they must teach the doctrines set forth if they are to remain in good standing, and employed. Consequently, there is little incentive to put their doctrines to the test of God's Word.  

The TRUE SHEPHERD  

Jesus is the TRUE SHEPHERD.(John 10) He is also the WAY, the LIFE and the TRUTH. Notice John 14:6 -"I am the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." God the Father has opened the door for man to have a personal relationship with Him. But there is only one WAY to achieve this, and that is through Jesus. There is only one WAY to LIFE eternal, and that is through Jesus. And there is only one WAY to abide with the TRUE SHEPHERD, and that is to not stray from the TRUTH. He is TRUTH! The true doctrines of the faith teach us how to honor God and love our fellow man. Remember, it was the "perverse things" that were being taught in Ephesus that caused the brethren to lose their first love. I'm sure these teachings did not sound "perverse" to the church. But they did not match the Word of God given in the Bible. Note that Timothy was sent to rebuke these false teachers with the pure Word from Holy Scripture.  

Hirelings are thieves and robbers!  

When referring to "hirelings" in the FLOCK, Jesus calls them "thieves" and "robbers".(John 10:8) Now noticeverse 10 -"The THIEF comes only to STEAL, and KILL, and DESTROY; I came that they may have LIFE, and might have it abundantly."  

Just what do these agents of Satan want to "rob" you of? What could they rob you of that would "kill" and"destroy" you? It could not possibly be your money or material possessions. Jesus had to be referring to youreternal inheritance, your eternal life in God's kingdom. The FLOCK of God are His because they have the indwelling of his holy spirit, and have passed from death to life through the power of His Son, Jesus Christ. True christians possess the seed of eternal life,(holy spirit) it is theirs if they continue to hold on to the true faith. The Bible teaches that many will fall away from this faith.(2 Thessalonians 2) "Fall away" from what? Well, the teachings of the TRUE WAY of LIFE. If you abide in Christ you have the promise of eternal LIFE. These wolves desire to rob you of your eternal inheritance! To do that they must draw you away from the SHEPHERD and His teachings. To remove you from Him, in whom is the resurrection and the LIFE. Once this is accomplished, you are easy prey for them.  

Notice 2 Peter 2:1-3 -"But false prophets (wolves) also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies (false doctrines), even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality (Greek "apoleia" -means "destructive ways"), and because of them the way of the TRUTH will be maligned.(evil spoken of) And in their GREED they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."  

Meaning of Peter's warning  

In this general epistle to the churches of God everywhere, the Apostle Peter warns them of the infiltration of false teachers. Once in positions of leadership in the congregations, these teachers would introduce false doctrines designed to lead one to deny his Master, who is Christ. The MANY that would embrace these teachings would eventually think evil of the TRUTH.

Peter said these wolves in sheep's clothing, would be driven by GREED. He could only be referring to greed for money, or material possessions, but I believe this is unlikely. These men among the churches are likely the"RAVENOUS WOLVES" among the "FLOCK" that Jesus spoke of that are there to "rob", "steal" and "kill". As active agents of Satan, they are motivated by his mindset, -to scatter the flock from the true Shepherd, and His protection. He knows the sheep are safe as long as they abide with the Master.

The Devil owns the world, and all the things in it at this present time. He has no real greed for money. He covetsthe people of God. His is greedy for the flock of God, he wants what belongs to God and His Son, Jesus. Satan is the original "bloodthirsty" beast. Notice 1 Peter 5:8 -"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls about like a ROARING LION, seeking someone to devour." His false teachers, the wolves among God's flock are greedy for blood, more than money or material possessions. They seek to lead the christian away from the Lord, and into the ways of eternal destruction.  

Paul warned the brethren in Ephesus that "SAVAGE WOLVES" would come in after his departure, and not spare the FLOCK.(Acts 20) Later he encouraged Timothy to combat the false teachings of these men there. At about the same time Paul wrote Timothy concerning the doctrinal errors in the Ephesus church,(early 60's A.D.) Jude, the brother of Jesus, sent a general epistle to all the churches.  

Jude warned of false teachers  

The contents of this letter give us a vivid account of what was happening in many of the congregations of God. Tragically, only thirty years after the church of God's glorious beginning, MANY were falling away from the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Notice Jude Verses -3-4 -"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt it necessary to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered 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 had become aware of a great need for true christians to fight for the faith already delivered. There were false teachers (wolves) perverting the original doctrines. How did "certain men creep into the flock unnoticed"?Because they came in "sheep's clothing".  

Test those who come in Christ's Name  

It is necessary to test those coming in the Name of Christ, and it is your responsibility to weigh their teaching against the mighty sword of God, the Holy Bible. Apparently, the church at Ephesus did finally put those"savage wolves" to the test, and judged them as false teachers. But by this time, so much damage had been done, the church had been "robbed" of its first love of the truth. Many years later, in about 96 A.D., Jesus sent a letter to the church through the Apostle John. In it, the Lord calls for them to recapture that first love, but also commends them for TESTING the teachings of those who had come to them in His Holy Name. NoticeRevelation 2:2 -"I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you PUT TO THE TEST those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them TO BE FALSE."  

The great END-TIME wolf to come!  

The ultimate wolf to come in sheep's clothing is yet to come! The Bible calls him the "beast". This great leader will soon, come quickly on the world scene as the ruler of the European Commonwealth; along with his sidekick, the great "false prophet" that will call fire down from heaven, and cause the entire world to worship the beast. This political leader will claim to be God! The false prophet will also declare him to be God in the flesh, and will perform miracles in order to confirm their word, and to deceive the people of the earth. All that do not have a deep love for the TRUTH of God will succumb to deception at this time.(Read 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13, Daniel 7,11,12)  

Tares among the wheat  

What about wolves among the flock that are not in leadership positions? Notice Jesus' parable of the Tares among the Wheat. Matthew 13:24-30 -"He presented another parable to them, saying, -The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain then the tares became evident also. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' And He said to them, An enemy has done this!' And the slaves said to him, Do you want us, then, to gather them up?' But he said, No lest while you are gathering up the tares, you may root up the wheat with them. Allow them both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'"  

Now notice Jesus' explanation of this parable, -Verses 37-40 -"The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom;(church) and the tares are the sons of the evil one;(wolves) and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  

Tares resemble wheat  

The "tare", also known as a "darnel", is a weed that so closely resembles wheat, that it is virtually impossible to distinguish until the ear is developed. The difference? Like true christians, the wheat bears fruit, and the like false brethren, the tare does not.  

Notice also, that Jesus said these tares were sown in the Lord's field while the servants slept. This is why it is so important to "be on guard" as Paul warned the Ephesians. Wolves work best under the cover of darkness. Like their father, the Devil, they are masters of stealth and deception.  

They come in sheep's clothing  

As wolves come in sheep's clothing, the tares come in the appearance of the wheat. It is not until the wheat develops grain, can one readily recognize the difference. As it is when a wolf enters the flock, so it is with tares among the wheat. Much of what goes on is beneath the ground, hidden under the cover of darkness, covered by deceit. By the time they sprout from the earth, the roots of the tares have become entangled with the roots of the wheat. If you were to rip up the tares, it would uproot the wheat also.  

Tares entangle the young and weak  

Likewise, false brethren acting as wolves in the flock, often seek to entangle the young and weak in the faith. They may get involved in their life and act as some spiritual guide. After all, they have "been in the church many years." But usually these wolves cannot even tend to their own affairs. Their own houses are almost always in disarray. Once entangled into the fabric of another, they will slowly, but surely, water down their faith, conforming them into the likeness of their own unrighteous lives, rather than the holy likeness of their heavenly Father.

They will try to get their focus off the True Shepherd and on them, or some other hireling they may follow. Even if this is a godly man, as we learned from the principle of -"I am of Paul", "I am of Peter", (1 Corinthians 1-3) it still replaces the one who gave His life for them. It separates one from Christ. That is why Paul asked, -"Is Christ divided?" Paul reminded them that it was Christ that was crucified for them. God does not want the believer's devotion divided between Him and another. Our God is a "jealous God" when it comes to His chosen ones. Mixture is never acceptable to God.  

Wolves don't know they're wolves!  

Wolves are sometimes very hard to detect. No one introduces himself as the local church "wolf". And indeed, most do not even know who they are, as they are deceived themselves. Once a wolf such as this is discovered, he cannot always simply be put out of the assembly, because his "root system" may be so entangled with others young or weak in the faith. To rip him up suddenly, would uproot others that may think of him as their spiritual guide. A situation such as this must be handled with much care, fasting and prayer.  

God does provide true spiritual guides  

This is not to say that God does not provide teachers for His church, certainly He does. But they are to have the same humble attitude of Paul and Peter. True under-shepherds of Christ, are to gently guide the spiritual growth of the flock, watch out for the dangerous wolves, and be helpers of the brethren's joy. And perhaps above all, point them to their true Lord and Master, Jesus Christ and God the Father. Notice 1 Peter 5:1-4 -"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as LORDING IT OVER those allotted to your charge, but proving to be EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."  

Wolves among the flock want to stop the christian in his tracks. Since he is driven by the spirit of the Devil, he will use the same tactics. He will seek to engender doubt, and attempt to spread the feeling of hopelessness while the believer is enduring a trial. He will often act as an accuser of the brethren. While with you he will poison you with accusations of another brother or sister, while with someone else, he will use your own words against you. He seeks to cause division and strife in the assembly of the Lord. Notice Proverbs 16:27-28 -"A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are as a scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends." He may comfort you in a wrong way, causing you to believe you are justified in your sin, hampering you from coming to real repentance.  

Christ is replaced!  

Remember, wolves come in sheep's clothing. He will seek to befriend you, especially if you are a new convert, spiritually weak or going through a severe trial. Soon, like tares, they will begin to entangle you with their roots. You will begin to feel you need, or must have them in your life to survive. Sadly, after a period of time, you willreplace the living Christ as your pattern for living your life, and pattern your life after theirs. This is a common occurrence in many religious organizations. How often have you heard someone say that have joined the "Baptist" church, or the "Lutheran" church, etc? They then do or don't do what everyone else does or doesn't do in that church. Few rarely ever look seriously into the Word of God to see if their way of life matches that of Christ. After all, their root system has become entangled with something other than the True Vine, which is Christ. Notice John 15:5-6 -"I am the VINE, you are the BRANCHES; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for APART FROM ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."  

The LIFE is in the VINE. If a branch is not connected to the Vine it will dry up. The Bible tells the Christian that he will have to endure FIERY trials in his life. They come upon him in order to test him. A branch that is green and alive, is full of "living water" from the Vine that it is connected to. It can withstand much heat and flames. Everyone knows, freshly-cut green wood is too moist inside to burn well.  

Likewise, the christian that is abiding in the True Vine, can withstand the fiery trials that God allows the Devil to throw at him. But if he is separated from the Vine, which is his source of life, he will dry up, and will burn easily and quickly in the fiery trial.  

Some Scribes and Pharisees were wolves  

These wolves are like the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus pronounced the seven woes to in Matthew 23. They are"white-washed tombs"! They look good on the outside, but inside there is no life, just dead men's bones. They are "dirty cups". They spend all their time cleaning the outside, but inside are full of unrighteous deeds and motives. Their lives are a lie, only delusion.  

They may have said "No" to God!  

Wolves are sometimes true christians that have said "No" to God. God has tried to take them through bitter places and they have refused to go. Rather than overcome a bitter trial, they allow themselves to be overcome with bitterness. They have lost their joy. They can no longer rejoice in their trials, as Jesus said. They can't rejoice, because they are no longer living for tomorrow, but for today. By becoming a friend of the world, they have become enemies of Christ.(James 4:4) Have you ever tried to worship God, while being critical, or a fault-finder of others?  

They have refused to repent  

There may have been sin in their life that was difficult to repent of. Satan may have continually accused them because of it, causing doubt and discouragement, and eventually hopelessness to the point of tempting them to give up. They have said "No" to the dealing of their sin when God asked for everything. Remember, one of Satan's tactics is applying constant pressure. He attempts to wear down the patience of the saints.(Daniel 7:25)  

After giving up on God, and giving in to the Devil, they will focus on the sins of others, whether real or imagined. To cover their own guilt, they will blame others for whatever problems they have. They may put on a front of joy and happiness, especially in the assembly, but it is only an illusion. It is not there the rest of the week. By quenching the spirit of God, they are becoming a hollow shell.  

Without true repentance, in time they will become a wolf, if they stay in the assembly. They will have lost their true salvation, so they have to recreate the terms of salvation. Not based upon the holy Word of God, but by the dictates of their own deceived heart. Notice 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 -"And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, BECAUSE they DID NOT RECEIVE the LOVE of the TRUTH, so as to be SAVED. And FOR THIS REASON God will send upon them a DELUDING INFLUENCE, so that they might BELIEVE what is FALSE. If one rejects the truth long enough, refusing to allow it to convict him, -bringing him to repentance, God will actually cause him to believe a lie!  

They recreate terms of salvation  

By creating their own terms of salvation, they destroy the standard of God. All that is left is a spirit of delusion.They become bent on leading others into their permissive behavior. They become haters of truth and light, and lovers of deceit and darkness.

They may appear righteous on the outside as the Scribes and Pharisees who Jesus called hypocrites, but there is no longer any light in them. By rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, these men sealed their fate as wolves among the flock. They not only denied Christ, but in the name of God, actively caused others to deny Him as their Savior. Notice Matthew 23:13 -"But woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you SHUT OFF THE KINGDOM (and its King- Jesus) of heaven FROM MEN; for you do not enter in yourselves, NOR DO YOU ALLOW those who are entering to go in." They love darkness because their deeds and motives are evil. They will seek to extinguish the light in any way they can.  

Somewhere in their life they have said NO! to God, -"This is as far as I'm willing to go!" They have failed tocount the cost of being a christian, or have determined the cost is too high. They are not willing to pay the price of salvation, which is continuance repentance from sin. But like the church at Ephesus, they usually do not suddenly stop professing Christ. But by this point, they have already began denying His Way of life, the only Way that leads to salvation.  

GOSSIP! An effective tool of the wolf.  

One of the most effective tools of the wolf is gossip. With gossip he will poison the minds of the unsuspecting. He may come to you with the words, -"Just between me and you". Then proceed to poison your mind toward another brother or sister that is not there to defend themself. The wolf will say he is telling you because "you need to know" and because he is "deeply concerned". What he tells you may be 100% true or some truth mixed with lies. But his real purpose is to get your mind off holiness. By enticing you into critical evaluations and conversations of other brethren, he will succeed in hampering your prayers, thus achieving the first step in separating you from your Savior, and true Shepherd. Again, the wolf probably is not aware of his own motives, he has been given a spirit of delusion.  

Biblical principle is clear  

The Bible is clear in its instruction toward helping a brother or sister if you see him practicing sin. You are to go to him directly in a spirit of love and humility, motivated to restore your brother. To reconnect him to the Vine.  

The wolf will not follow this Biblical procedure, because he is not really motivated by the spirit of restoration of the brother or sister. He may offer various excuses, such as, -"I would talk to him, but I'm sure he won't listen to me", or "That person thinks he knows it all". And like the Pharisees who would not accept Jesus, and would not allow others to either, the wolf will not want you to go try to help the person he is accusing, even though he says he is concerned for them. He may say, "I'm going to tell you this, but please don't tell anyone I said it."

You may give your word to keep it confidential, then receive into your being poison that would eventually destroy your soul. You won't really know if it is true, and now you won't have a means of finding out. You may never look at that brother or sister in the same way again. You will have received "seeds" of division. Notice Paul's instruction toward them in Romans 16:17-18 -"Now I URGE YOU, brethren, keep your eye on those who CAUSE DISSENSIONS and HINDRANCES contrary to the teaching which you learned, and TURN AWAY FROM THEM. For such are SLAVES not of our Lord Christ but of THEIR OWN APPETITES; and by their smooth and flattering speech they DECEIVE the hearts of the unsuspecting."  

God gives the christian a spirit of unity not division. They are to be separate from the world, but united in Christ and their love for one another. Notice 1 John 4:20-21 -"If someone says, `I love God', and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."  

Not corporate unity  

This is not unity through corporate organization, or religious affiliation. The church of God is the living Body of Christ. Each member must be united together through Him, and His spirit. As each branch is connected to the Vine, the true christian will be connected to Jesus Christ. As the life is in the Vine, it is in Jesus for the christian, and in no other. It is not wrong to be a part of a religious organization, but one must always remember that his salvation, and his relationship with the Father comes only through the Son. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE.  

This love John speaks of, will motivate the true christian to go to his brother if he sees him begin to fall away from the faith, or becoming bitter. Notice James 5:19-20 -"My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will SAVE HIS SOUL FROM DEATH, and will cover a multitude of sins." Christ does not want His followers to quietly stand by and watch another whom He died for, fall away. He would be acting as a hireling in the flock that has no real concern for the sheep.  

National wolves, enemies of Israel  

In 586 B.C. the Jewish nation was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Most all the educated were taken as slaves to work in Babylon. Years later the Medo-Persian empire attacked and conquered Babylon. Under Cyrus the Great, the Persian King, the Jews were allowed to rebuild their holy city, Jerusalem. Ezra and Nehemiah were entrusted with this task, but it would not be easy.  

As we read in Nehemiah 4, there were enemies of these people of God. And they did not want Jerusalem rebuilt. In a national sense, we can liken them to wolves. They were happy the city of God and His holy Temple was in ruins. But the Jews had a mind to work, to restore what was lost. They wanted the glory of the Lord to fill His Temple again. They wanted to resume the daily sacrifices and offerings to God.  

But the enemies were equally determined to prevent this from happening. Like wolves, they schemed to come in stealth to kill and destroy the work of God. Notice Nehemiah 4:11 -"And our enemies said, They will NOT KNOW or SEE until we come among them, KILL THEM, and put a STOP TO THE WORK." But notice also what the Lord inspired His people to do, Verse 9 -"But we PRAYED to our God, and because of them (wolves) we SET UP A GUARD AGAINST THEM day and night."  

The Christian is the temple of God  

The Apostle Paul says the christian is the holy Temple of God today, the dwelling place of the holy spirit of God.(1 Corinthians 3) The christian is the work of God. Living stones built upon the chief corner Stone.(1 Peter 2) The christian is the work that wolves in the church want to stop. True christians BUILD UP the Body, wolves try to tear down the Body. True christians encourage one another to GOOD WORKS, while wolves lead the unsuspecting into unholy conversation, compromise and ungodly living. Like the Jews of Nehemiah's day, christians must SET A GUARD AGAINST WOLVES that seek to rob the Lord's "little ones" of their eternal inheritance.  

WOLF CHASERS!  

Here are some "WOLF CHASERS". To the suspected wolf in a leadership position in the Body, one must ask,-"Prove to me by the Word of God that what you are teaching me is true." "If the Bereans were considered noble-minded because they searched the scriptures to SEE IF PAUL'S TEACHING WAS TRUE, then you must allow me to judge what you say by God's Word." (Acts 17) "Paul said that he and all other teachers in the church, must be proved trustworthy, therefore allow me to put you to the test of the Bible." (1 Corinthians 4)  

Here are some "WOLF CHASERS" for the suspected wolf among the brethren, or the possible tare that may be attempting to entangle themselves into your "root system". "Why are you telling me this about brother so and so?" How do you know what you are telling me is true?" Why haven't you gone to him privately as the Scripture says?" "If you are really concerned, do something about it other than telling others about it." "Can I quote what you are telling me?" "Let's you and I go to that person and help restore him." "Even if what you say is true, isn't it still gossip?" "Didn't Jesus say we will answer for every careless word we speak?"  

Notice Matthew 12:36-37 -"And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For BY YOUR WORDS you shall be JUSTIFIED, and BY YOUR WORDS you shall BE CONDEMNED."  

Satan and his wolves know this Scripture well. He knows that if he can get you involved in unholy, critical and accusative conversation, you will bring condemnation upon yourself. Then he will have succeeded in "killing"and "destroying" your hope of glory, and will have "robbed" another from the Lord's flock.  

God allows this to happen. He put man on this planet, knowing it was inhabited by the Devil and his Demons. He wants you to CHOOSE to do what is right. He wants you to resist the Devil. To say "no" to Satan and "yes" to Him. He has set before us LIFE and DEATH, and says "Choose LIFE". Those that do, will receive glory, honor and eternal life in the wonderful Kingdom of God. 

 

 

Points of Truth Ministries