The Most Dangerous Wolves

Growing up in ATI, I was taught to be very careful about “wolves”. Not that the word “wolves” came up that often, but the teaching was still there: Beware of anyone who doesn’t have our standards. Beware of the world. Don’t let your children get deceived and defiled. Hunker in the bunker.

Who should we be concerned about? What kind of wolves are most dangerous? Who is most likely to destroy us spiritually?

Jesus told us what kind of wolves to look out for:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
(Matthew 7:15)

When a wolf shows up with no disguise, the sheep immediatelyWolf in sheep's clothing recognize it as a wolf and run. He can’t trick them into thinking that he’s there peaceably, or that he’s a friend.

But when the wolf is disguised and looks like a sheep, he can sneak into the midst of the flock, become a trusted friend, and slyly attack when it works best.

Unfortunately, today, many people tell us not to identify wolves. People who call out someone as a wolf are told not to judge the other person—they are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus, and a brother in Christ. We must overlook the signs that they are not true believers.

Granted, it’s not a good idea to call everybody who disagrees with you a wolf. In fact, I would be suspicious of someone who did so. But when you see someone who claims to be Christian (follower of Jesus) but doesn’t walk like a Christian, it’s time to beware.

When Jesus sent His apostles out to preach, He warned them:

Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
(Matthew 10:16)

As sheep, we are not big, fearsome animals like bears or lions. In and of ourselves, we do not have the ability to overcome a wolf. Therefore, we must be wise, realize that there will be wolves among us, and look out for them.

It’s significant to look at who these wolves were:

Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
(Matthew 10:5-6)

These wolves that Jesus was warning his apostles about were not Gentiles. They were Jews! They were people like the Pharisees who claimed to be following God but were, in reality, children of the devil.

God warns us that Satan’s workers may appear to be righteous, and teachers of righteousness:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

The danger of being attacked by a wolf is serious. You could be killed spiritually. Your very eternal destiny could be changed.

However, do not think that somehow, a wolf will overcome you and kill you, and there will be nothing you or God can do about it. Jesus has promised us that no one can pluck us out of His Father’s hand (John 10:28-29). Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who gives His life for the sheep.

All I’m trying to say is that the Good Shepherd has warned us to beware of hidden wolves, and the consequences of being overcome by a wolf are severe. And it is something that we must take personal responsibility to look out for. Otherwise, if Jesus automatically kept all wolves from attacking us, there would be no need for Him to have warned us.

To ignore the signs of a wolf is a perilous choice.

But what are the signs of a wolf? That’s what we’ll look at in the next post.


UPDATE: For more on this subject, please check out my free ebook, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How to Recognize and Avoid False Teachers.

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Do you know how to recognize wolves in sheep's clothing? For over 20 years, false teaching damaged my relationship with God and caused untold grief to me and those around me. In this book, I share what God taught me about the signs of a false teacher. You may find them quite surprising.

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2 Replies to “The Most Dangerous Wolves”

  1. Matt 7:15 is part of Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount”. Jesus has drawn a crowd and they follow him up on a mountain. This action is very prophetic in nature. Jesus is drawing on a number of cues – mostly Moses from Scriptures under whom God initially constituted Israel to begin with. In this sense, Jesus is prophetically reconstituting Israel from within Israel, and instead of doing so based on the 10 commandments (we might call them the Constitution of Israel), now he reconstitutes True Israel based on being “with him” (to use the words Mark’s Gospel uses to sum up in just a few verses what Matthew takes 3 chapters to say. (see Mark 3:13)).

    Also, around this time in Israel, “messiahs” are a dime a dozen. They are popping up everywhere and leading revolts – mostly against Rome. A few of them are successful, starting with the Maccabbean family who set the trend that lasted nearly 300 years. Jesus, and thus his ministry, falls right in the middle of this time frame. And like a lot of hot-head rebels, he too leads a crowd up on a mountain to prophetically stress that God is reconstituting Israel.

    What sets this Messiah apart from all the pretenders??? Well, for starts, the others all look very similar in some profound ways! They speak of God’s zeal for his people, for their holiness, and a promised future. And by far, most of these messianic pretenders wind up dying on crosses! Shoot… even John the Baptist sent word asking if Jesus was really the One or should we wait for another! It can be hard to tell who truly represents God and who is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a rather scary notion.

    But Jesus, as we know, fights evil, not with the love of power, but with the power of love. He lays down his life. He confronts the principalities and powers, but then gives up his life to save it. Couple this with the FACT that his mission is vindicated in RESURRECTION, and we have the two truly remarkable and undeniable features of Jesus’s Messiah-ship, that set him apart from those others. Because most of them too died on crosses, but they all died fighting evil WITH evil and were NOT raised from the dead. They all were wise like vipers, but not innocent like doves. They even probably meant well at some levels, but they did not represent God and turned masses of people into killers for God. Wolves in sheeps clothing is what they were.

    Your remarks on Matt 10:5-6 are quite illuminating. What jumps out at me in that is how offensive the sheep are amidst the wolves! Jesus is sending them out AS SHEEP AMONG WOLVES! He is doing battle with evil, and his army is the sheep! This is not actually a picture of sheep tranquility, it is an army turned into sheep! I mean just look at where we are here in the story! We are three chapters past Jesus taking his army up on the mountain for a rebel rally, only he sucked the fire out of the rebellion there and now sends his top lieutenants out AS SHEEP AMID WOLVES!

    Some battle strategy! It dovetails with the idea of picking up a cross to follow! It dove tails with overcome evil with good! But it is soooooooo counterintuitive! We want to fight fire with fire! And it is so easy to sign up with a leader who wants to blow up our enemies, demonize them, kill them – all in a self-righteous zeal, and so hard to love our enemies.

    I mean take ISIS for instance. We can send in the tanks and the SEALS or we can do like Jesus and send in the missionaries.

    So, in the end, it is the sheep who are attacking the wolves and truly winning here, rather than the wolves entering a tranquil sheepfold and killing sheep! And that is God’s mysterious master plan!

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