Lesson 11 – A WOLF’S WARDROBE
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).
Not long ago, the treasurer for our congregation brought a 20-rupee note (Indian currency) to ask what he should do with it. He said somebody had put it into the collection plate and he could not deposit it in the bank for fear of going to jail. Of course, what he had in his hand was a counterfeit note and not a real one at all. Neither my husband nor I could look at the note and tell the difference between the fake and a real one. Comparing two 20-rupee notes side by side would scarcely show any differences at all. It is the same way with false teachers (wolves in sheep’s clothing).
False teachers wore the same clothing as did the true prophets of God. They walked the same way; they did the same things, yet their intent was to deceive the hearts of the people (Rom. 16:18). Take, for example, what happened in Acts 13:5-12. The deputy, Sergius Paulus, worked closely with Elymas the sorcerer the whole time and could not tell he was deliberately, and actively undermining the teaching of the gospel until God through Paul struck him blind. Elymas had determined to turn the deputy away from faith in God and Jesus, but from all appearances he seemed to be a true seeker.
In such a way, wolves (false teachers) are still in the flock of God deceiving the sheep. As one such ‘brother’ confessed privately when asked what the rest of the brethren thought of his new teaching, “I know what not to tell the brethren.” Change Agents (wolves) know when to ‘swerve’ and when to be ‘godlier and more dedicated’ than everyone else. They know how to ‘show the brethren‘ how much they love God. Unless we are willing to note the signs of a wolf and beware (Matt. 7:15), we will never recognize their fruit (Matt. 7:16). When someone seems ‘too good to be true,’ watch him closely; he probably is. If we are not sick sheep, we should know to follow the one true Shepherd (John 10:3-4; John 10:16; John 10:27).
- Consider this article carefully to see if you can tell why a “wolf” would want to wear “sheep’s clothing?”
2. In this lesson, what is a wolf? Why are “wolves” in the church so dangerous?
3. What two words describe Elymas (also called Barjesus) in Acts 13:6?
4. What did Paul say Elymas was in Acts 13:10?
5. Who was Sergis Paulus? Was he a simple, uneducated man?
6. How could Sergis Paulus not understand what the sorcerer was doing while he was right there with him?
7. How can we know if a man is a false teacher (Matt 7:16-17)?
9. Find at least two scriptures that tell who is the true Shepherd that we should follow. How (what way) is He our shepherd?
10. Find as many passages of scripture as you can that describe sheep. You may use Old Testament scriptures as well as New. From what you read in those scriptures, write a short article about the good qualities of the sheep and why God has a special place in His heart for them. Notice this question has two parts.