Ravenous Wolves Among Us
Matthew 7:15-20 ESV
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
Those who are false teachers among us, who pretend to be followers of Jesus Christ, but who are ravenous wolves, are those who slip in among the followers of Jesus in order to deceive them, and to lead them astray, and to convince them of another gospel and of a Jesus not of the Scriptures.
They have the character of those who are fleshly, worldly, selfish, self-centered, egotistical, deceptive, sexually immoral, and spiritually unclean, who cheat, lie, and falsely accuse, and who betray others for their own advantage. They are those who oppose truth and godliness, too.
Their judgment and their discernment are of the flesh, not of God, and not of the Spirit of God or the word of God. So, they follow after the flesh, and not after God, although they may make a show of following the Lord Jesus. But they are dishonest, and they are not trustworthy.
They are those who, although they may appear as innocent sheep, are out to steal, to kill, and to destroy the sheep. They want to gain their confidence so that they can deceive them, and if they can’t deceive them, then they will try to hurt them in some way to try to silence them.
But even if they convince them of what is false, that is also wounding them, for they are leading many straight to hell on the promise of heaven when they die. For they are teaching them that a mere confession of Christ as Savior secures them heaven regardless of how they live on this earth.
We are to test them. We are to test everything we hear coming from anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus or who claims to be a minister of the gospel. And we test what they say against the word of God in context. For, many false teachings come from Scriptures taught out of context.
And we need to compare Scripture with other Scripture, for it may appear that a writer of Scripture says one thing one place but then says the opposite another place, so we need to read Scripture in context so that we get the whole picture and not just fragments of truth.
Just know and be aware here that not everyone is who he says he is. There are many liars and deceivers among us who portend one thing while they live another. And just because what they say sounds good doesn’t mean it is good or that it is true. So, again, test what you hear.
Not Everyone Will Enter
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
There are many people today professing faith in Jesus Christ who are not honoring him as Lord of their lives. And many of them are being told by these false teachers that they don’t have to submit to Christ or obey him or leave their sinful lifestyles behind them.
They are convincing them that a mere confession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to secure them their salvation from sin and eternal life with God in heaven, but that God requires nothing more of them. So, they are giving them carte blanche to continue deliberately living in habitual sin.
But the Scriptures don’t teach that we can pray a prayer once to receive Jesus and that we can then live however we want, and then one day when we die, we get to go to heaven. They teach what Jesus said here, and that is that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Who will enter heaven? Only those who do (obey) the will of God the Father in heaven. And what is the will of God? Yes, it is that we believe on the name of Jesus, but belief comes from God, it is persuaded by God, and it is founded by and perfected by Jesus Christ.
And the way faith in the Scriptures is described has to do with us dying with Christ to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, not like our old lives, and it has to do with us living to Christ and to his righteousness, and walking according to the Spirit, and not by the flesh.
It is God’s will that we obey him, that we submit to Christ as Lord, that we walk (in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that we do not make sin our practice, but that righteousness is what we practice, and that we live holy lives pleasing to him.
We are not to be those who merely listen to the word, but we are to be doers of the word. For, God’s grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return.
For, if we are those who walk according to the flesh, and who make sin our practice, and who do not practice righteousness, we will not be welcomed into God’s heaven, but we will be told that he never knew us and that we are to depart from him, for we are workers of lawlessness.
So, don’t be fooled by those wolves in sheep’s clothing who want to convince you that you can “believe” in Jesus but that nothing is required of you. It is those who do (obey) the will of God who will enter into God’s heaven. And his will is that we walk in righteousness and holiness all our days.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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