“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16
Are you watching out for wolves? As Christians, we are called to be aware of the wolves in our midst. And no, I do not mean actual wild canines that howl at the moon, rather I am referring to a group of individuals that the Bible describes as spiritual wolves. Who are these spiritual wolves? They go by many names in the Bible: false christs, false teachers, and false prophets. Matthew 7:15 states, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Jesus often used parabolic imagery to describe the spiritual condition of those around Him. Thus, Jesus compared false prophets to that of ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing to express the danger of false teachers. Like wolves, false teachers seek to lead their prey astray for the purpose of destroying them. However, Jesus reveals that these false teachers are more cunning than that of a typical wolf. For the spiritual wolves can disguise themselves in sheep’s clothing. Meaning, they are skilled in the art of deception and are able to blend in with the flock of God without being easily detected. In Christ’s Olivet Discourse, He warned His disciples that there would be many false christs and false prophets that would rise and even show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24). Thus, Christians are called to be watchful for spiritual wolves.
Where are these spiritual wolves you may ask? They are everywhere! They are in politics, they are on the news, they are in entertainment, they are even preaching in pulpits on Sunday morning. Matthew 7:16 states, “You will know them by their fruits.” Meaning, you will be able to recognize a wolf by the content of their character as well as the content of their doctrine. Anyone espousing or promoting a teaching contrary to the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ found in Scripture can be identified as a spiritual wolf. Galatians 1:8 notes, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” The apostle Paul was adamant about preserving the integrity of the gospel message. Even if a supernatural angelic being were to come and preach a different gospel, Christians are called to reject and condemn it. Therefore, Christians must defend the message that Jesus Christ became a man without ceasing to be God. Christians must defend that Jesus lived a perfect life so that He could die on the cross to serve as the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world. And last but not least, Christians must defend that Christ rose from the dead solidifying salvation and eternal life for anyone who turns from their sins and places their faith in Him.
Every medium and every outlet is preaching a sermon. They are telling you what to believe, how to feel, and what to do. The question is, what sermons are you listening to? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit or ravenous wolves? No message nor teaching is spiritually neutral. The wolves of the world are crafting various narratives contrary to the message of the Bible and the church must resist their teachings. Sadly, it seems that many have been deceived by false teachings. They have bought in to the lies of the world and unknowingly embraced a false gospel leading them to a false christ resulting in a false conversion with a false sense of security. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 states, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” In American Christianity, many have set aside sound doctrine and embraced fables. They enjoy messages of health and wealth that scratch their ears. They prefer light-hearted messages of encouragement and positivity free from any accountability or conviction. If your church or pastor refuses to preach/teach on sin, hell, or the cross of Christ, then you must flee their teaching for you are among wolves. Though you may feel safe, your soul is in danger.
With so many false teachings, it is extremely easy to be misled. However, Christians can overcome the deception through the truth of Christ. Jesus is the good shepherd (John 10:11) and He will protect those who trust in Him. If we follow Christ and yield to His Spirit, He will make us shrewd like serpents and morally innocent like doves.
Let us always look to Christ when we find ourselves in the midst of wolves.