The presence of false teachers in the Church is no new thing. The Bible shows us that they were in abundance in the first century church. The Apostle Paul said that after his death, grievous wolves would come in not sparing the flock. The imagery of a wolf tearing apart the sheep is a very graphic one. Physically, to witness a wolf attack a sheep is a dreadful sight, but how much more abhorrent is a spiritual wolf in sheep’s clothing entering the sheep fold and tearing apart the sheep in a spiritual sense. The fold is the Church, the body of Christ; the sheep are the sons of God; and the wolves in sheep’s clothing are those Christian ministers who bring falsehood, wrong teaching and errors which lead the flock of God away from the narrow road that leads to wholeness. They do this in the name of Jesus Christ, uttering words like God bless and teaching from the Bible. They lead the sheep towards destruction through their own love of the error of the wicked. They don’t spare the flock but they devour them. Behind them is Satan whose mouth is open wide. He eats up the people of God without ever being satisfied. He wants more and more.
Those who have been devoured in these ways are most unlikely to realise it. Some have been devoured beyond recognition so that the image of Christ is no longer recognisable in them. In Galatians 4:19, it happened to many Christians in the Galatian church. Christ was no longer recognisable in them. The Apostle Paul said he laboured again with them so that Christ could be formed in their hearts. Others have been devoured in part or in varying degrees. This is all a matter of the heart. Satan wants our hearts. The Lord wants our hearts. We have been taught by the Lord that it is a battle for the heart. He wants to grow us up in the liberty of God’s truth so that we may be free indeed. He wants us to grow up in His image, to be fashioned into Him which is through the narrow gate that leads to life. Ephesians 4:15 shows us God’s will: we are to grow up into the head of the one body which is Christ. We are to grow up into Christ in all things that Christ is. And Ephesians 3:17 shows us that Christ is to dwell in our hearts so that we become as he is, and so that we will look like him spiritually. Paul said that the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery was for the obedience of faith.
These wonderful truths are part of the Great Mystery that the Apostle Paul taught the Church. He said that this Great Mystery is how the Almighty Father wants the Church to be governed. He said that this Great Mystery is how we become obedient to God. He said that all Christian ministers should first be proven in this Great Mystery and shown to be blameless in it, that they should hold this Great Mystery in their hearts strongly and ably so as to teach the flock of God properly. If we take an honest look at these instructions in the Bible, we can see who are the false teachers today. The wolves in sheep’s clothing today are all those Christian ministers who fail to teach the sheep the ways of the Lord in the Great Mystery. They deny it, or twist it, or dilute it, or refuse it. They suppress the truth and keep the flock from finding out the true way to wholeness. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to charge some leaders that they teach no other doctrine, but rather that they should teach the Great Mystery.
So who are those Christian ministers today who do not teach this Great Mystery but teach other things? The list would be long indeed. They do not have the fruits of Christ in their heart. They don’t look like him spiritually. They look like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
How these false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, keep the Church from the obedience of faith.