Beware of Wolves, Part 4
The Wake-up Herald
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
Robert McCurry, Editor & Publisher
February 25, 2011
Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
by Robert McCurry
Wolves will not spare the flock
The Apostle Paul said that wolves in sheep's clothing are "grievous wolves." The grievous wolf will always leave a trail of grief, sorrow, and heartache wherever it goes. Paul's description of the wolf "not sparing the flock" is most fitting. Turmoil, strife, and trouble is the wolf's game and he gets increasingly more skilled at causing problems as time goes by. Wolves thrive on troubles and problems; wolves fight over food, they fight their mates, they fight authority. A church wolf is never satisfied in a church that promotes peace and unity. His very nature calls for continual stormy conditions, and he answers the call with pleasure. Church wolves in sheep’s clothing love church business meetings.
Wolves will always adapt well to their surroundings
Church wolves in sheep's clothing do not want to appear dangerous to their prospective victims when they first arrive in an area. They will take extreme measures not to spook their prey. The Scriptural description of "wolves in sheep's clothing" is of special significance. Pastor Milby provides the following excellent insights regarding "wolves in sheep's clothing":
"Wolves have been observed lying down and going to sleep within a few feet of their intended next meal. They have even been seen to touch noses in a friendly fashion with musk oxen and other animals that herd. Many times these animals will be very nervous and excited at first and will take great pains to make every effort to surround and protect their calves. However, after a while they see no harm in these peaceful-seeming creatures and will soon forget to be on guard. The flock will then grow lax and tolerant in their watchfulness and seem to forget that only last year these outlaws destroyed some of their babies. The flock then drifts apart and separates.
"The wolves, however, are not as asleep as they seem to be. They will slowly shift their position to lie down again between the two groups. They will continue this process until some young or crippled animals have been isolated and then without warning the wolves will strike like lightening and kill without mercy.
"The wolf that comes to kill and destroy in a church uses the same tactics. He has the battle strategy of 'divide and conquer.' down to an art. He can seem so friendly, so harmless, and so persuasive. They usually become very friendly with certain individuals who might help them in their push to gain power and destroy those that oppose them. If they cannot gain by these tactics, they will make statements that are designed to gain sympathy and to put others on a guilt trip. If they feel that a good number are on their side, a coup will then be started that will end in great upheaval.
"A very strong, bold shepherd is more valuable here than words can describe. The pastor, with the backing of the church, should tell these beasts and their cronies to find themselves another den in which to spread their garbage and their hellish wares."
Shepherd attacked by a pack of wolves
The popular opinion that wolves will not attack humans is naive and dangerous. On February 5, 2001, a Tuscan shepherd in Italy was recovering in a hospital on Epiphany after being attacked by a pack of wolves near Siena. Agostino Cossa, 52, tried to intervene after four wolves began attacking his flock in the countryside outside Rapolano, when a she wolf in the pack suddenly went for him. The shepherd tried to defend himself with his crook but was overcome and fell and hit his head. He was injured on his thighs, arms, and hip.
The wolf is the terror of sheep but usually flees from the shepherd. However, as this news report demonstrates, wolves will attack the shepherd when the shepherd attempts to protect the sheep from attacking wolves.
Notice that this news item is not about sheep attacking sheep. Sheep do not attack, slaughter, and devour sheep. It is wolves that attack, slaughter, and devour sheep. Nor is this a story about sheep attacking the shepherd. Sheep do not attack a shepherd. It is wolves that attack a shepherd.
Wolves and rabies
Rabies is a Latin word meaning "rage" or "fury." No doubt it received its name because infected animals often become excited and attack any object or other animal in their way. Because one of the major symptoms of rabies is the inability to swallow water, the disease is often called hydrophobia, which means fear of water. When the virus attacks the body it travels by way of nerves to the spine and brain. Muscle spasms in the throat make swallowing very difficult. Sometimes even the sight of water creates such painful throat contractions that drinking is repulsive. Many times the drinking or even the sight of water will cause convulsions or fits. During this time the animal may wander great distances. He will also be very aggressive, growling and barking almost constantly, and will attack without reason. There is no known cure for the disease, and the prevention is vaccination. Anyone bitten by one of these animals should wash immediately in soap and water. (World Book Encyclopedia).
Church wolves in sheep's clothing are often affected by this disease of rabies. Because of the rage and fury which characterizes them and their readiness to attack anyone who gets in their way, "rabid" is an appropriate way to describe them. However, "hydrophobia" probably better describes the condition. They are unable to swallow the truth of God's Word. Their fear and dread of water - the Word of God and the Holy Spirit - are astounding. When in the presence of Holy Ghost anointed preaching that exposes their sin, they respond with great anger and rage. This will usually cause the wolves to flee to other churches growling and howling as they go.
The nature of the wolf endangers the sheep
Wolves are cunning. They hide themselves in rocks by day and leap into the fold at night and seize their victim by stealth. Wolves are powerful predators. They can kill animals many times their size. Wolves are so swift and strong that they are able to carry off a Iamb at full speed.
Wolves are deadly killers. Man has never been able to outfox this killer and rid himself of it.
Wolves run in packs to kill. While one wolf snaps at its preys head, another may snap at its heel and a third attack its midsection.
Wolves do not kill just to satisfy hunger. They often kill just for the sport of it. Many times they kill large numbers of sheep but eat only a part of one. They may attack just simply because you happened to come near them.
Sheep endangered by their own nature
Sheep are easily frightened, and when frightened they may stampede. When they stampede they may pile up against obstructions and smother.
Although sheep are gregarious, they are also known to wander away from the flock (Isa. 53:6).
A sheep has no sense of direction to guide it home when it gets lost.
Sheep cannot protect themselves. They are easily killed by predatory animals such as wolves, coyotes, or dogs. Sheep are dependent upon a shepherd to guide them.
The Pastor — the Lord's under-shepherd — is to protect the sheep
If you ask, ‘Where does the title ‘pastor’ fit into this?’ the answer is that the word ‘pastor’ is based on a Greek word that simply means shepherd. Pastors are the shepherds being spoken of here. The New Testament does not distinguish between elders and pastors and overseers - they are all the same. The term "elder" highlights their maturity and the respect they command in the church. The term "shepherd" or "pastor" highlights his responsibilities to the church as a flock. The term "overseer" reiterates the same point without utilizing the images of sheep and shepherd.
In summary then, "elder," "pastor," "shepherd," and "overseer" (sometimes translated "bishop," 1 Tim. 3:1) all refer to the same person in the Lord’s Church. They aren't separate people or separate rolls.
The pastor's role as shepherd is to feed and protect the sheep from enemies that cause them harm. Notice that the Apostles identify these enemies by name.
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:2-4).
"Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words" (2 Tim 4:14, 15).
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom 16:17, 18).
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor 1:10).
"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme (l Tim 1:18-20).
Of course, church wolves in sheep's clothing do not heed a pastor's preaching and warnings about anything. And, sadly, some sheep influenced and infected by the wolf spirit will not heed a faithful pastor's warnings about ravening and grievous wolves. Pastor Milby sums it up with these solemn words: "Any member who will not take a stand in the night seasons is a spiritual zero and is a quitter and a coward and will never be an asset to the church."
But the redeemed covenant people of God who are living in obedience to God's Word and orderly way will take a stand in the night seasons and they will welcome and heed a faithful pastor’s warnings given by Jesus and the Apostle Paul regarding ravening and grievous church wolves in sheep's clothing. They are the ones who will:
"Hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim 1:13)
"Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12)
Wake-up, Pastors! Wake-up, Christians!
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The Wake-Up Herald is published by Robert McCurry. The publication is designed to exalt the true God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, and inform, inspire, and challenge its readers regarding biblical truth and real-life issues. The contents are the sole responsibility of Robert McCurry and do not represent or speak for or on behalf of any other person or group. There is no subscription charge. The publication is a ministry of faith dependent on the contributions of its readers. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Send all correspondence to: Robert McCurry,605 Moore Rd, Newnan, GA 30263 or firstname.lastname@example.org Remove? Send reply with “remove” in Subject line