Summary: God has called us to carry the light in the darkness of this world. He has called us to be change agents. He wants us to shine His light so that men can see and be changed. The question is how do we consistently do this thing that God has called us to do?
Sermon: “Sheep In Wolves Clothing”
Scripture: Matthew 5.14-16
Introduction: Do you guys remember the cartoon with Wiley Coyote and Ralph the sheep dog. I use to love that cartoon. Every morning Ralph and Wiley would meet at the time clock which was mounted on a tree. As they clocked in they would great each other and then they would go to their respective departments.
Ralph the sheep dog went to his post on the cliff and took his position as head of the sheep protection department. Wiley, true to his nature, would slink away in to the forest to plan his strategy as head of the sheep acquisition and consumption department.
As the day wore on Ralph sat patiently at his post with a protective eye looking over the flock as Wiley tried one scheme after another in hopes of making his quota of sheep for the day. However, no matter how hard he tried it seemed that poor Wiley’s plan was always thwarted by Ralph at the last moment. Inevitably as the day drew to a close just before the whistle blew, Wiley would pull out all the stops and slip into his sheep costume and meander into the fold with the hope of finally catching his prey only to realize after his pray was in fact none other than Ralph the sheep dog who had dressed himself up as a sheep in anticipation of Wiley’s scheme. Poor Wiley never caught a break.
Wiley’s sheep costume illustrates a tactic that is used by our enemy the devil. In fact in Matthew 7.15 Jesus warns us that in similar fashion Satan will send ravenous wolves into the fold dressed in sheep’s clothing to catch the sheep unaware and snatch them away by false teaching. As we learned last week Satan will do what ever he can to destroy the flock. Therefore, it is imperative that we have discerning spirits so that we can discern the motives of those who are among us.
However, our generation, as I’m sure it has been in generations past, I believe the greatest danger to the work of the Kingdom of God is not as much when wolves come in dressed as sheep, but it is when the sheep go in to the world dressed in wolves clothing. The greater problem in modern American Christianity is when “so called” Christians wear their sheep’s clothing on Sunday only to put on their wolves clothing on Monday.
One of the biggest excuses that many un-churched people use to justify their lack of interest in the things of God is the fact that the church is filled with hypocrites. Unfortunately, although an excuses, that excuse is often based upon fact.
The fact of hypocrisy is manifested in our actions and our attitudes. It is manifested in our speech and our social activities. Un-church people often see our hypocrisy when we cut them off in traffic and they get a close up view of our Christian bumper sticker that says honk if you love Jesus. The world often hears our hypocrisy when we sit together at lunch and share the local gossip about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The lost often taste the bitterness of our hypocrisy when we express our racism when we tear down someone just because they are different from us.
All too often we are our own worst enemy when we walk in this world as sheep in wolves clothing. But, God has called us to something so much better than that. We do not have to be ashamed of our Christ or our Calling. God has called us first to himself and secondly He has called us to be interments of reconciliation. He has called us to be bearers of light rather than propagators of darkness. In fact He is calling us to be light in this world of darkness. He has passed on the baton of light for you and me, His children, to carry.
I know this because Jesus said in John 8.12 that He was the light of the world. I know this because He said in John 9.5 that as long as He was in the world He was the light of the world. But, now He is no longer in the world in the flesh. He is at this moment seated at the right hand of the Father carrying out the role of intercessor for you and me. Since He is no longer in the world in the since of His physical existence He has passed on the baton of light to His Church. This is why He tells us in Matthew 5.14 “You are the light of the world.”
Sadly many of us have taken that light and put it under a bushel by living like the world rather than shining the like of Christ bold and bright. We have hidden what Jesus said should not be hidden. We by our worldliness have prevented the world from seeing the light of Christ.