If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! -John 10:1
The scriptures warn us about false teachers, wolves dressed as sheep and sheep rustlers. Have you ever considered how to spot them?
How many stories are coming out of the Christian culture about people who have lost their welcome in the church community? Do you describe a ‘really good Christian’ by what he does and doesn’t do? What do you see happen in your group when one of you sins?
By their fruit you will recognize them. -Matthew 7:16
We usually refer to this verse as an excuse to judge the failures of others, but that’s not what Jesus was teaching. He used that analogy to describe the result of false teachers. Students behave as they’re taught and looking at the massive community of ex-church members, you can see that what ever they are hearing is causing them to scatter.
The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. -John 10:3
I am the Gate for the sheep. -Jesus, John 10:7
In contrast, when we hear our Master’s voice, we don’t scatter, we become one. Anyone who comes through the Gate knows us, who we really are, and they call us by name.
A stranger has entered the flock by crawling under the fence and we know who he is by the way he scatters us.
They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it. -John 10:5
The community of ex-church members and hurt believers is too large to be ignored. The church is not the enemy, but there is an enemy within the church that needs to be weeded out.
We heard the initial message of the Gospel and then watched it get thrown out the window as soon as we called ourselves Christians.
If you want to understand this transformation, just think about what they teach you to say when you’re ‘witnessing’ to someone. What do you say to someone who thinks they’re not ‘good enough’ to be a Christian? What do you tell them if they think they have to clean up a little bit before they give their heart to God? How do you respond if someone is convinced he has gone too far?
Now think about what is said about the Christian who starts going to AA meetings. What is said to the woman at church who got a divorce? How is the teenager in the Youth Group treated when her pregnant belly starts to show?
At what point does the Truth change? There is a prevalent teaching within the church community that supports a doctrine that is different than the simplicity of the Gospel. If that were not true, then you would not know exactly what I am talking about.
In making examples of people, you flee from them and let the wolves devour the fallen lamb.
He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. -John 10:12
The thing that throws most Christians for a loop is how to forgive without condoning the sin. They want to stand up for what is right, but aren’t sure how in that situation. First of all, you can’t worry about the way you appear. If you stand up for what is right, make sure you know what ‘right’ is. The ultimate ‘right’ is the sacrificial gift of grace that was paid for by the Son of God. Stand up for that and then expect to be given a hard time. It’s inevitable. The message of grace can’t be stomached by a group of people who have lost sight of the Cross.
How, then, do you spot a false teacher? The point of the Gospel is Jesus and his redemption. Anyone who downplays the sacrificial death is a false teacher. This is not a blatant statement made by people who advertise their false doctrine. It’s a sneaky evil disguised as an angel of light who goes undetected by those who don’t know the Truth.
Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. -1 Corinthians 11:13-14
Look to see who is scattering the sheep. Watch who is causing divisions and dissociations. Watch who leaves the lamb when he falls. That’s your false teacher. He’s not a shepard, he’s a hired hand. He didn’t come through the Gate, he crawled under the fence.
I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed. -Galatians 1:6-9