29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of your night and day with tears.
We discovered last week that Jesus is the Truth, The Holy Spirit reveals the Truth, the Bible is where we find the Truth and the Gospel is the Truth that we carry out into the world.
Sadly, in the Church, Truth can be lost or distorted. It can happen to and within individuals and within and to the local church or even a denomination. How does this happen?
- The Wolves – False teachers inside the Church.
- The Sheep – People will follow their own desires and move away from the Truth.
- The World – The pressure of Culture from outside the Church.
False teachers inside the Church
The Wolves are among us…
- There are many false teachers. There are basically four types:
- Some will “come in among us” and others “will arise from our own number”
- Some will target the Church – Con Artists, haters of God, opportunists.
- Others will fall into sin and become false teachers – their own desires will lead them astray.
- Others will respond to the “needs” of the people – they will preach what people want them to preach.
- Others will love the world and be influenced by culture.
- Wolves who target the Church – Savage Wolves
- Con Artists, haters of God, opportunists
- People who see the church as an industry, as an opportunity for money, fame and power.
- People who are skilled speakers, but who have no conscience.
- They are like their father the devil – when they open their mouths, they lie.
- They can be very convincing.
- They distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
- Why would people do this?
- Disciples = money
- Why would people purposefully mislead others – even though their eternity is at stake?
- Do they not fear God?
- 1 Timothy 6:5
- and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
- Often con-artists are sociopaths:
- They don’t have a conscience like you and I do.
- They have no real compassion.
- They don’t see what they are doing as wrong, and even if it is wrong, they don’t care.
- It’s all about them!
- They do false miracles
- They are selling grace and healing.
- They are preying on the weak, the poor and the vulnerable.
- They are misinterpreting the Bible to prove their point of view.
- They have a distorted focus on God’s promises, on wealth and health.
- There is an over-emphasis on their pet agenda.
- Wolves who fall into sin and become false teachers – their own desires will lead them astray – Disguised Wolves
30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard!
- Often they start to drift in the direction of their secret sin – justifying it, denying its severity and even becoming proponents of it – usually sex and money.
2 Timothy 3: 1 – 8
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
- The problem of doctrinal drift!
- Unsaved people in the pulpit
- No discipleship
- No Character of Christ
- No transformation
- They are often in the academic world – people who become ashamed of Christ and try to please the world and their peers.
- Wolves who respond to the “needs” of the people – they will preach what people want them to preach – Enabling Wolves.
2 Timothy 4:1-4: 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Note: the number…
- A Great Number of teachers
- Keeping the people happy
- No longer connected to the truth
- Not led by the Holy Spirit
- No longer in the Word
- Pandering to the desires of people – teaching, not the truth, but myths.
- Making man the center of the message.
- Disconnected from the true Gospel.
- Wolves who love the world – Pathetic Wolves
- They have no backbone.
- They have lost their way.
- They are influenced by politics and culture.
- Swayed by their fear of persecution.
- Desire popularity and acceptance.
- They want to make Christianity cool and acceptable. Drawing whole churches and denominations down a path of destruction.
- More about this in a later message in this series.
The Wolves are among us. Do you have the discernment to distinguish between a wolf and a shepherd? Or are you easily led astray? Now more than ever we need to heed Paul’s warning to beware! We need to hold on to the truth. We need to be deeply rooted in Christ and the Word. We need to be led by the Spirit, not the flesh. When someone starts appealing to your flesh, you can almost be certain there is a wolf in the house.