[Beloved, test every spirit]
In the book of Psalms, those who belong to God are referred to as the sheep of His pasture. Jesus also referred to us (His followers and disciples) as His sheep (or in other words His flock). Jesus is our good shepherd, for He protects, cares for us, and leads the way. (John 10:11-13)
“Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” –Psalm 100:3
Scripture refers to those who aren’t truly part of the flock as wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Or false teachers or prophets.) These are people who look and sound like they belong to the flock, however, what they teach can’t be trusted and can be detrimental to the flock. (Matthew 7:15) If you study them for long enough, however, it will become evident that one of these things is not like the others.
How can we protect ourselves and the flock from the counterfeits?
We absolutely can protect ourselves, but it takes some education on our part. The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the real deal. This means studying Scripture and praying for discernment and wisdom. By doing so flock fakes will become clear by what they say and do.
“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. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” –2 Timothy 3:8-9
This means willing participation. The truth is there to set us free. If we don’t study Scripture, we wont know Jesus voice; instead we’ll be pulled away by those who say what we want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3, John 10:27)
Flock Fakes know Scripture well, or at least it appears this way. They may know the words, but they are ignorantly false teachers. They don’t know the truth because the truth isn’t in them.
“Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says He abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked.” –1 John 2:4-6
Are you like the Berean Jews who recieved God’s message with eagerness? They were considered more noble in character for that eagerness. (Acts 17:11) We can quench the Spirit of God, leaving us vulnerable to false teachers.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. —1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
Not sure if someone is a wolf? Here’s some great verse to study up on.
- Matthew 7:15-20 (You will know them by their fruit)
- Do they conform? (Romans 12:2)
- Is what they’re saying true? (Ephesians 5:9-10)
- Are they proclaiming Jesus? (1 John 1-4, 1 John 4:1-6)
- Are they walking in the light? (1 John 1:5-10)
- Do they cause divisions? (Romans 16:17-18)
- Do they engage in godless chatter? (2 Timothy 2:16-18, 1 Timothy 6:3-10 )
- Do they fight over words (2 Timothy 2:14-19)
- Scrutinize their claims (Revelation 2:2)
- Do they turn to myths? (Timothy 4:3-4)
- Let them be accursed. In otherwords, have nothing to do with such a person. (Galatians 1:8-9)
We have an amazing defense system–that is, if we’re willing to armour up. (Ephesians 6:10-18 ) Never take anyone at their word. Test (or scrutinize) the spirits by examining things closely, and back everything up with Scripture.
I make mistakes too, so if you’re “following” me–follow Jesus first and foremost. Do the homework!
Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be very convincing, so please pray for discernment. We’re all still learning. This means that we’re all blind and ignorant in areas.
Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” –Spurgeon
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” –1 John 4:1