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Signs of Wolves In Sheeps Clothing

Discussion in 'Full and Part Time Ministry' started by pastorkevin73, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. pastorkevin73

    pastorkevin73 Senior Member

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    I have been in ministry long enough to see and notice that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing. It becomes tiresome to see so many people who say they are a Christian and then undermine all that God is doing in and through the church. This doesn’t come as a surprise since Satan is continually trying to undo what God is doing. So we know that Satan is also at work in the church. Jesus warned us about such people when He said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matt 7:15, NIV) So what do these wolves look like?

    1. Wolves gossip. They go around talking about people they are offended with and don’t actually talk to the person they are offended by. This may involve lies and slander. Always beware of those who gossip. They are bad news. (2 Tim 3:1-5; 2 Pet 2:3; 1 John 4:20)
    2. Wolves are easily offended. (Prov 18:19; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 1 John 4:20)
    3. Wolves misuse the scriptures. (2 Tim 4:3; 2 Pet 2:1-2, 12)
    4. Wolves speak against the spiritual authority God has placed over the church. This applies to speaking against the elders, but primarily against the pastor. (2 Pet 2:10; 1 John 4:20)
    5. Wolves are always right. They have the attitude: “it is my way or the high way.” (2 Tim 3:1-5; 2 Pet 2:14)
    6. Wolves are argumentative. It is as if they look for fights. (Prov 18:19; 1 John 4:20)
    7. Wolves do not seek all the information needed to make a decision. They will only listen to what supports their opinion. (2 Tim 4:3; 1 John 4:20)
    8. Wolves vie for power. (2 Pet 2:14, 19)
    9. Wolves undermine the work of the church as commanded by Jesus, to make disciples through discipleship and evangelism. (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Pet 2:1-2, 12)
    10. Wolves are unwilling to admit when they are wrong and never apologize or ask for forgiveness. (2 Tim 3:1-5; 1 John 4:20)
    11. Wolves are proud. (2 Tim 3:1-5)

    How can you tell if you yourself are a wolf in sheep’s clothing? You read the above list and are offended by it.

    This list does not mean that Wolves fit the whole of it. Even if we see one of these points we must be cautious at the possibility and wait for more signs before concluding that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    Church leadership needs to be aware of such people, because these people are very destructive to the church. Church leadership also needs to watch for it in their own ranks, because church leadership are not immune to having wolves in sheep’s clothing. When a wolf in sheep’s clothing is identified the church leadership needs to deal with the issue promptly so to keep the damage at minimum. Some may be afraid of dealing with these wolves because of how this might affect the church. Let me be clear with this. No matter what you do, wolves will cause damage; it’s just a matter of how much damage you allow them to do. The sooner the wolf is dealt with, the less damage there will be.

    The next question may be how do we deal with wolves? We must follow the example Jesus gives us in Matt 18. We are first to go to the person. If there is no change, then two witnesses must be brought. If the person still does not comply they must be brought to the church leadership for discipline. This discipline may include expulsion from the church should the person fail to comply with the church leadership. This doesn’t mean that the person cannot come back to the church; but that they can, should they follow the directives given by the church leadership. Remember, church discipline is always about restoring. It is up to the person being disciplined to comply with the standards God has given in order to be restored to fellowship.

    It is always good to be proactive so there is less chance of a wolf to gain power within church leadership. One way is to be diligent to follow 1 Timothy 3 when choosing elders and deacons. This will minimize the possibility of selecting wolves in leadership. The pastor or search committee must ask good questions of the elder or deacon candidate. This includes asking the person if they agree with the vision of the church and support the pastor. If they don’t, DO NOT ENTERTAIN HIS/HER NAME TO STAND FOR LEADERSHIP. They will cause problems.

    Here are a few vital questions to ask of a elder/deacon candidate.

    1. How frequently have you been reading your Bible in the past four months?
    2. How frequently have you been praying to God in the past four months?
    3. In your prayer times have you been praying for the church and it’s pastor?
    4. How have you been helping to fulfill the vision God has given this church?
    5. What has God been teaching you in the last week? Month? Year?

    If the elder/deacon candidate cannot answer these questions to the degree expected for the church leadership, then do not entertain the person for church leadership. They will cause problems in the church, because they are not hearing God’s voice for the clear direction needed to be a part of church leadership.

    Let us be diligent in the work God has called us as leaders, to lead the church in His direction, while protecting the flock from ferocious wolves.
     
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  2. Brandlynn

    Brandlynn Member

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    I know of a pastor that is a wolf. All 11 signs fit Sam Austin to a tee.
     
  3. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

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    The wolf at the old church I went to left (still in ministry...just not preaching). They immediately redid the government system and laws so no one could have that much power in the future.
     
  4. Red A.

    Red A. Newbie

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    Excellent list. Amazing how many of the first ten come down to pride.
     
  5. pastorkevin73

    pastorkevin73 Senior Member

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    It is true that sometimes the wolf can be the pastor, but we must be careful when we speak against those God has placed in authority over us. This is where 1 Tim 5:19 is so important.

    One other caution, be sure not to list names; it can and usually does end up becoming gossip whether it is true or not.
     
  6. pastorkevin73

    pastorkevin73 Senior Member

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    Great point.
     
  7. singpeace

    singpeace Senior Member Supporter

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    PastorKevin,

    I agree with your post on all counts, and it is important that we remind ourselves and others about being aware of wolves in sheep's clothing.

    I would like to add one thing, though - a point I think a lot of us overlook and that is how we are to treat sinners. When Jesus told the disciples how to handle the situation of being sinned against by another person, he ends with "treat them as you would pagans and tax collectors". Jesus routinely ate with pagans and tax collectors - healed them - fed them - raised them from the dead - befriended them...

    Matthew 18:15-17 (New Living Translation)

    Correcting Another Believer

    15. “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16.But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.


    Yet, Jesus apparently associated with such people at dinner parties. The Pharisees charged that Jesus was "a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7:34). Even though Jesus belonged to the middle class, he reached out to people of the lower class. On one occasion Jesus said to some religious leaders in Jerusalem, "The tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you" (Matthew 21:31).

    Of course, Jesus did have a message to proclaim to them. But his message was not, "Straighten up your life and keep the law." Rather, his message was, "The kingdom of God is yours; you are included." By eating with them, he was extending to them the kingdom of God.
     
  8. Brandlynn

    Brandlynn Member

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    Sorry, Kevin. Just the thought of him scares me to death.
     
  9. MunterHiller

    MunterHiller Saved & Redeemed

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    Would you mind if i share with friends on Facebook?
     
  10. pastorkevin73

    pastorkevin73 Senior Member

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    MunterHiller, if you are asking about the op I'm fine with you sharing it with your friends on facebook. I also have this posted on my blog. PM me if you would like the blog address.
     
  11. j4given

    j4given Newbie

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    For the last 3 years I have been forced into relative seclusion and isolation with my now 'former' church... the only church I joined as a member since becoming a Christian in my teens. As I read the list of characteristics of 'wolves' I admit that I can relate from time to time to some of them.

    About 3 years ago this Calvary Chapel church adopted a 'boot camp' approach to the flock. This seemed to coincide with an incidence of being publicly rebuked by the senior pastor at the start of the Wednesday night service. He had come by to shake my hand and my guest's hand... an elderly man about to be evicted from his apartment. I saw an odd look in this senior pastor's eyes... one that I now think was 'lust.' The open rebuke he made while staring directly at me was in the form of a question. He said "Are you a blasphemer?" with a huge smile on his face. I was mortified and quickly retreated into isolation watching live services online.

    There have been a couple other rebukes done in the sanctuary to me whenever I have tried to return... which is never for very long. This church also uses its advanced fiber optic technology to make its rebukes long distance.

    I have NEVER had one single elder or pastor talk with me directly about any issue... just rebukes like... Are you a blasphemer/We don't want bad sheep/Don't come back until we call you. The remarks done online (and usually edited from replay) are too many to post.

    This pastor's daily email today was about wolves in sheep's clothing. But I wonder exactly who is the wolf in this situation. Those eyes I referred to earlier... those eyes could have been like those of a wolf AND he wanted to put me in isolation to have me for his dinner. In some ways I have been in spiritual bondage to this church, but they don't want me to come around anymore.

    What made all of this true tale the more unbelievable is that this all started AFTER I made a $19,000 contribution to this church's new campus fund. I gave tithes and offerings faithfully for year, but I won't give to local churches anymore. j4given
     
  12. sarahelizabeth

    sarahelizabeth 7-18-12

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    This is Awesome this is what I needed thanks soo much for posting this :)
     
  13. bulldog129

    bulldog129 Newbie

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    Sadly I know of about 3 wolves within a small church. They also all happen to be elders. Their main goal right now is to undermine and destroy the pastor.
     
  14. Blaine01

    Blaine01 Guest

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    Excellent post although I would put 11 as number 1.

    Why are we so reluctant to confront the wolves and get them out of the body?
     
  15. 1christian

    1christian elect

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    I agree that a wolf in sheep clothing is a very real danger , because they will do damage to the true sheep . I think that their intent is to do damage to the sheep .

    But I think that there are many Tares also that look like Wheat but are counterfeit , I do see them as being a similar problem , but not quite the same thing as wolves in sheep clothing.
    Tares think they are Gods people but they actually are the devils . They are a product of devils doctrine or gospel , that may be similar to Gods but not Gods .
    Tares are very numerous , but they do not know the true God or follow him or respect his word in truth , etc...
     
  16. lookoutman7

    lookoutman7 Member

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    As most have heard and read the Scriptures that specifically apply to this sort of thing -- I have watched and lived amongst the tyranny that are the 'wolves.' The gossipers and story creators are one thing -- human nature. Some of the biggest dangers however, come from those supposed Christians, that have no idea that they are actually helping Lucifer fulfill his goals -- the 'adversary' getting a good laugh out of being on the inside. Imagine...not knowing, that you are actually an enemy of God, and are holding back sections of the flock.

    I have seen dualing 'tongues' -- and other critical things that come out over a pastor's lips, while they don't practice what they preach. Then there are the others, that use a Scripture verse or substance against you, but realistically, they know nothing of what they are talking about. I have even had my German mother-in-law, step out from Service...look around, and try and pull you close for a 'Judas kiss' while other wolves watch. And think about this -- a person going to a Church Service...and then stepping out onto the steps, and using the Lord's name in vain.

    These things being said, many do not realize, that they 'only' possess the 'spirit of the world,' rather than the actual Holy Spirit. And if they can't fool us, how do they hope to slip it by the Creator. (These are the people of the 'secular church' -- some of the ones doomed to spiritual darkness.)

    Sadly, these days, like never before, a person must negotiate the gauntlet that the wolf has formed. Then you can get to the Sanctuary. God still waits there. Fear not -- their sins are getting to the Judgement before they arrive. Then their real father will show up to reward them for their deeds. (And what a surprise that will be...)
     
  17. MPaul

    MPaul Covered by the Blood

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    I have seen Matthew 7:15 used more often by wolves to condemn honest believers, than by true Christians against wolves. In fact, I have seen many church attenders obsessed with Matthew 7:15 to accomplish their righteous condemnation of others. I'm more concerned with people who abuse Matthew 7:15 in application than the wolves referenced in this thread. The latter seem like a simple matter compared to the former.
     
  18. candle glow

    candle glow whatever I want to be

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    it's not often I hear someone speaking against gossip. Thank you for this.

    I looked up to verses you quoted, though only the verse from proverbs seems to be dealing specifically with offense. I think a bit more context may be helpful here because I sometimes feel easily offended, though I don't necessarily show it.

    An example of HOW scripture is misused would be helpful here. Otherwise, it's like the emperors new clothes; everyone assumes only the "bad guys" misquote scripture when in reality probably most of us do quite often.
     
  19. MPaul

    MPaul Covered by the Blood

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    People use the Matthew 7:15 reference to false prophets more just to condemn people they do not like in the church, than to discern the real warning intended in the passage. A false prophet is one who denies the true person of Christ, not someone who is immature in his/her Christian character, or who professes a different teaching than what someone else likes. I quote below some verses to distinguish the difference between an immature Christian and a false prophet. The verses on immaturity come from Corinthians... and how did the apostle Paul deal with these believers regarding their immaturity and incorrect doctrine... he was very patient with them, until the right circumstances arose to teach them in a way they could understand.

    False Prophet

    I John 4:1-3
    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    II Peter 2:1
    But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

    A false prophet is someone like a Mormon or Jehovah Witness -- someone whose representation of Christ changes his essential nature.


    Immature Christian

    I Corinthians 3:1-4
    And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

    II Corinthians 12:20
    And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

    In these Corinthian passages, when Paul notes that he could not speak to them, he is defending himself for what he did not teach them at a prior meeting, because they just were not mature enough then to accept the truth of the doctrine --which was on the gifts of the Spirit, which in the first epistle he then went on to set out in detail. Using Matthew 7:15 just to condemn people is an example of being a carnal Christian, one who seeks strife and divisions through envy.
     
  20. MPaul

    MPaul Covered by the Blood

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    Maccurt,

    There are two positions in the thread. It isn't clear who you are addressing. You can use my posts, with credit given, but I will be setting out something similar on my own websites eventually. :)
     
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