Summary: How do you tell the wolves from the sheep?
ILLUSTRATION: Years ago, the "Glory Barn," led by Hobart Freeman, was a wondrous experience. His church had established a beautiful auditorium inside a refurbished barn. It was packed - even on Sunday nights - as people left their communities and traveled 30 to 100 miles to attend and hear this dynamic speaker preach from the Bible. Ordinary workmen were studying Hebrew and Greek there throughout the week and worship services were "exciting." I know, I went a couple of times. Still after a couple of weeks visiting, I came away troubled.
Jack and Mary (not their real names) were a young couple from my home church that regularly attended the Barn on Sunday Nights and who also attended a Bible Study I was involved with. One night, at that Bible study, I shared a song I had written that quoted a prophecy about Christ from Isaiah. Mary took me aside afterward and told me that the way I’d used that prophecy was not the proper interpretation. She said that Dr. Freeman interpreted it entirely differently.
I smiled and replied "That’s OK," I replied. "I can be wrong…and Dr. Freeman can be wrong."
"Oh no," she said, almost shocked. "Dr. Freeman can’t be wrong - he’s a prophet"
Suddenly, I knew what was wrong at the Barn.
In time, the "Glory Barn" and it’s "Faith Assemblies" began to infer, if not outright teach, that if you had enough faith, you wouldn’t need to go to a Doctor to be healed (in fact if you went, it was a sign you didn’t have enough faith). Jack (Mary’s husband) who was diabetic, believed Freeman and his teachings and - after several incidents where he blacked out because he hadn’t taken his medicine- died of a lack of insulin.
Jesus said "Watch out for false prophets, for they come to you in Sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
People die physically and spiritually at the hands of false prophets (pause) because wolves devour their prey.
I. What are these wolves hungry for?
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM" (Acts 20:28-31 (quickview) ).
Wolves desire YOU… because you are their power base. You give them importance. You become their flock.
Jude condemns such devourers in very direct terms: "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord…. these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals— these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.