Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
by Robert Driskell 8/03/2011 / Christian Apologetics
Jesus warned his followers to "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15). There are many who claim to be Christians today who are in the business of leading people into false belief in order to take advantage of them. Televangelists constantly promise financial peacefor a sacrificial donation to their ministries. Faith healers claim that they have been gifted by God to heal others, but if you don't get healed it's because you didn't have enough faith; not because the faith healer really doesn't have the gift of healing. There are many false claims, false doctrines, false theology, and false promises.
These are not new issues faced by today's church. In the New Testament, the Pharisees and Scribes were Jewish religious leaders. However, instead of leading people to a closer walk with God, they had begun to abuse their privileged status as God's spokesmen. They were now motivated by their own selfish gain. Jesus bluntly revealed that their problem was a heart problem.
And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' (Isaiah 29:13)
Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:6-9 NASB)
Jesus first identified them as 'hypocrites'. They were acting a part. They were not truly what they portrayed themselves to be. They were fakers and deceivers. They said they loved God, but that was not true. Jesus said that they worshiped God in vain. This meant that their hypocritical worship was uselessnot really worship at all.
These false teachers were not shepherding people into a closer relationship with God. They were actually teaching those who were seeking God to adhere to rules and regulations that they had made up themselves. They were constructing their own 'religion' that had little to do with God, His Word, or His love. Instead of submitting themselves to God, they were ignoring God, and His will, and following their own lusts and desires. They had hijacked the truth and replaced it with man's deception.
Many are guilty of doing the same thing today. Instead of studying the Bible, praying, and submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit, they fabricate false doctrine designed to bring them the things they desire. They pursue money, power, prestige, or some other selfish motive. They masquerade as representatives of God, pretending to carry out His work. All the while they are simply serving themselves and "storing up wrath for themselves" in the day of wrath, when God's judgment is revealed (Romans 2:5).
The cure for this problem is simply knowing the Truth. If Christians know God and His Word, false teachings will be easy to recognize. We should spend enough time in prayer and Bible study to know God's character, His promises, His warnings, and His commandments. This does take time, and effort, but the rewards are eternal.
Know the Truth and lies will become obvious.
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."