Look Out for the Sheep That Growls

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It’s not a pleasant picture. As hard as we work to introduce people to the forgiveness and new life they can have in Jesus Christ the majority will not believe. As convincing as the Spirit of God is as He works to show men the depth of their sin and the sufficiency of the Saviour most will refuse to listen. We are to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) of the nations, but the nations will not necessarily respond positively.

Pessimistic? No, realistic.

Matthew 7:13, 14 tells us what Jesus said about the matter. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Does this stop us from sharing the Gospel at every opportunity or praying for family, friends, neighbours, and the lost wherever they may be found? No, it shouldn’t. We don’t know who those few are who will eventually find the narrow road and the small gate. And because we don’t know we need to share the Good News at every opportunity.

While all truth is God’s truth, not all those who speak in the name of God are God’s. And these “false prophets” may be among those who have some responsibility in changing the road signs and directing people, not to the narrow road, but to the broad road that leads to eternal destruction. Jesus speaks forcefully about these people in Matthew 7:15-23, warning His listeners to look at their actions. What false prophets say will not match up to what they do and “by their fruit you will recognize them” for what they are—fakes. On Judgement Day, the Lord will reveal these wolves in sheep’s clothing, as they are described in Matthew 7:15, for what they are.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, your evildoers!’” (emphasis mine)

Notice that there will be “many” who speak for God but who are not from God. That’s scary. Many will choose the broad road and many will speak for God who are not sent by Him, False prophets can do miracles, but their miracles are powered, not by God, but by His adversary, the devil.

How can we know who they are? By their lives. Do they model Jesus in love, self-sacrifice, humility and a life characterized by grace and truth?

How can we know? Like the Bereans of Paul’s day, we need to be students of the Scripture. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).

Earlier in Matthew 7 Jesus outlined the process that leads to being able to judge clearly. Here, in this latter part of the chapter we find another reason why we need to follow the process of allowing God to examine our lives and clear our spiritual vision of impediments and impurities that would prevent us from being able to recognize the wolves even when they are cleverly disguised,

In a day when a lot of evil passes for good we need discernment and good judgment more than ever.

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