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Previous Message From Virtual Church

The Wolves

This week’s message is sent out to you so you will not be hurt or injured. This message is sent to you in a spirit of love and protection.

Christians must beware. In too many places, in too many circumstances, Christians are devoured by the wolves prowling around in the faith, and in the world. As Christians, we find it natural to be sheep or sheep-like. Yet, we must be vigilant. Last week we spoke about how careful we must be not to be judgmental. This week we speak about how we must beware of the wolves amongst us. Being vigilant requires judgment from us. Oh, how difficult is this faith, yet how rewarding it is to be a child of God.

Matthew 7:15:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (NIV)

The wolf in sheep’s clothing represents himself or herself as standing for one thing but ends up standing for another. In your daily walk, you need to beware of persons who gossip. Beware of persons who, (A) either want to know everything about everyone else’s business, or (B) who actually do know everything about everyone else’s business. Beware of those persons whose spirits are not meek and mild, persons who easily reject advice, persons who rebel against leadership of any kind, and persons who come into the group overly eager to help.

Beware of persons who are suspicious of others, who are weak willed, and/or who will easily compromise their positions on issues. Beware of persons who whine, complain, and who make excuses. Beware of persons who ask you to do things that are not Godly or that are questionable. Beware of persons who believe they have been ordained by God to give others a message. These people can easily be false prophets. Beware of persons who believe God has worked in them to interact with others. Beware of persons who especially like to tell and remind others they have been anointed by God. If a person has really been anointed by God, then the person will not feel the need to tell others. The anointing by our Savior produces in every heart a great feeling of humility.

Matthew 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (NIV)

Remember, the focus of the wolf is entirely upon itself. The wolf’s message or speech is often interlaced with things about himself or herself, not upon Christ and being Christ-like. If the wolf pays attention to you, it is only to manipulate, control, and maneuver you to benefit the wolf’s ends. So good are these wolves at hiding who they are that Christ gives advice on how to tell who is a wolf and who is not. In Matthew (above), we find Christ telling us to watch the fruit produced. The wolf will say one thing and do another. The wolf will fake being meek and mild but will in reality be plotting to get you.

It is only the shrewd and wise who can tell the wolf from the real sheep. In most cases, the sheep do not see the wolf, and because the sheep do not recognize the wolf, the sheep do not care. So depraved is modern society that in nearly every country people are called or regarded as "sheeple." In most parts of the world today, there is no more outrage about immorality. There is no more outrage about sin. There is no more collective conscience which prods the conscience of a nation. Instead of a collective conscience, the populace makes excuses for crudeness, lewdness, and unacceptable behavior. What a great place for a wolf to come into the flock and devour the sheep.

They wolf can hide in the skin only so long. Eventually the wolf will howl. The wolf, by its nature, is a wolf. Eventually the wolf will reveal itself by the howling or the fruit the wolf produces. When you deal with human beings, you must be discerning so you can identify the wolf. If you will watch, you will see the wolf does not eat what the sheep eat. A wolf is a meat eater. Sheep eat or graze on grass or vegetable matter. A sheep is a slow moving creature while the wolf can run with speed and agility. Although you can compare the physical attributes of wolves and sheep, looking at the physical differences between them does not really help you discern between the wolves and sheep in our faith. In our faith, you can discern the wolves from the sheep by the fruit they produce.

Galations 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Every person produces fruit. People produce an end result or fruit in every aspect of their lives. A parent produces an end result or fruit in the child. The employee produces an end result or fruit on the job. The member produces an end result in the group. The citizen produces an end result or fruit in the country in which the person lives. The consumer produces an end result in the marketplace. Every second you breathe the breathe of life you produce a fruit of some kind. The hermit who lives alone in an isolated place, who spends hours every day praying, may produce a greater spiritual fruit than the most famous ministers on earth.

The word of God in Galatians speaks to you and is a guide for you to discern between the wolves and sheep in your world. Not only are these words a help in your discernment, these words are a help in showing you the kind of person you are supposed to be. These words show you the kind of spirit you are to carry inside of yourself.

Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (NIV)

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (NIV)

With these two verses planted in your heart and mind you can be more discerning. When you interact with people, whether they are Christians or not, there are questions you must ask yourself to discern whether these people are of the wolf variety or the sheep variety.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about the leaders in your daily walk, in your faith walk, in your nation, and in your world. The sheep attribute is indicated by (S) and the wolf attribute indicated by a (W) to help you in your discernment.

Is the person a person of love (S) or anger, bitterness, or hate (W)?

Does the person show love in attitude (S) or hatred and anger in attitude (W)?

Is the person alive in spirit (S) or dead in spirit (W)?

Does the person seem dead inside of himself or herself when no one is watching (W) or is the person just tired from being a servant (S)?

Is there joy in the person (S) or is there a smile without the joy (W)?

Do you see joyous actions or hear joyous words (W)?

Is there praise in the speech of the person (S) or condemnation (W)?

Is there hateful gossip in the person’s speech (W) or an expression of genuine concern and compassion for others (S)?

Does the person indicate to you that they humbly walk in another’s shoes (S) or does the person just speak about how they serve others (W)?

Is there a peace about the person regardless of the circumstances they are in (S) or is there always an inward or outward turmoil in the person’s life (W)?

Is there a disagreeable nature and a war mentality within the soul of this person (W)?

Is the person patient (S) or does the person have to have what they want as soon as they want it (W)?

Is the person kind (S) or is there an underlying cruelty and crudeness about them? (W)

When the person laughs, do they laugh at things because they are crazy and out of place (S), or do they laugh at the misfortune of others (W)?

Does the person want to become an immediate leader in a group they are in without any regard for who is in the group (W), or is the person willing to be a servant in the group and serve others (S)?

Does the person want to be noticed (W) or is the person willing to be unnoticed (S)?

Is the person willing to attract attention to himself or herself by behaving in certain ways (W)?

Does the person live to do good things for others with no thought of reward (S) or does the person live to do good things for others to be rewarded for doing good things for others (W)?

Does the person talk about the good things they do for others (W) or does the person keep quiet about their service (S)?

Does the does the person live to do things only for themselves to feed their own interest (W), or does the person live to do things for others with no thought of reward?

Is the person faithful to God (S) or does the person fall from the faith easily (W)?

Has the person been able to stand the tests of faith and remain faithful despite hardship (S) or is the person infected with doubt and cynicism because of hardship (W)?

Is the person suspicious of others only to protect their own position (W) or is the person suspicious of others to protect others (S)?

In the person, is there a gentleness or gentle nature (S)?

Is the person self-controlled (S) or is the person controlled by forces outside of themselves (W)?

Is the person self-controlled (S) or is the person’s life controlled by alcohol, drugs, mental factors of various kinds, or by emotional forces (W)?

So good are the wolves among you that any person can be deceived. Satan is at work in the lives of both believers and non-believers. A believer who is not vigilant in their spiritual life can become an instrument of Satan or a wolf without realizing it. This is why we must always pray that God will keep us persons of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

May Christ Jesus bless you and keep you in His grace and love.

   

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018