SHEEP, GOATS AND WOLVES
Jesus ties three metaphors into His teaching as our Door of protection. Jesus uses three animals to describe those that come before His doorway: sheep, goats and wolves.
When we study sheep, we see some fantastic facets about them. In most people’s minds, sheep are not an exciting subject to ponder. But if we stop and look carefully, we can learn a lot from them.
When a shepherd leads his sheep along and they come in contact with another flock and another shepherd, the flocks may intermingle and not get mixed up. From the outside, it would be hard to tell which sheep belong to which shepherd. But when the shepherd has to do is to speaks, his sheep will separate from the other flock and follow only him.
In my forty plus years of ministry, I have been amazed at the number of God’s children that don’t realize they can and probably are hearing God in their lives. The moment they were born again, they received spiritual ears to hear God’s voice. The intuitive recognition of Christ’s voice is built into their newborn spirits. They just need to be taught that they can and will hear from God.
Like sheep, we are innocent and vulnerable, but we are also equipped to follow the One that protects us at all costs. We can hear His voice and follow Him into safe pastures.
Next, Jesus discusses goats. Goats are like sheep with thick skulls. Jesus uses them to paint a picture of the Christian that is angry all the time at everyone, that doesn’t submit to anyone, that’s always got something to say. Goats are hard to deal with, but they are still His goats. Jesus watches over the sheep and the goats, as a good shepherd would.
The third animal Christ mentions are wolves: Jesus doesn’t tolerate wolves in His church. Every day, we need to take authority over spiritual deception in our homes, workplaces and churches. There are those that would try to creep into our lives and get a grip on the innocent and loving people within our realm of influence. Here is how Jesus goes about handling wolves:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:13-29)
Wolves are those that present themselves as trustworthy in the body of Christ but are full of evil works and bad fruit. There are false prophets and teachers and pastors and so on. We have to be on guard.
However, let’s be cautious and wise in how we look at those ministering in the body of Christ. There is a whole strain of the church that believes that any prophet is a false prophet. But Satan only counterfeits the genuine. If there are false prophets, there are real prophets. Jesus doesn’t want us to throw out the gifts He has given us (apostles, prophets, pastors, etc.). He is warning us, as the Door, to be on guard for false representatives of the Kingdom. We will know them by their fruits.
Here is how we evaluate if someone is a wolf:
- Do they live an immoral life? We judge people by their character. If their character is broken, if they are immoral and deceptive, we don’t want that person in our world. It doesn’t matter if someone prays and can know your social security number and address, if they live an immoral life, they have bad fruit. Their character needs to be equivalent to their talents and spiritual gifts. Our prayer every day must be for the nature of the Spirit of Christ – the fruit of the Spirit – to be grown in us. Then, we pray for the power of heaven to do God’s work on earth – the gifts of the Spirit.
- What is their doctrine? We know who someone is by their theology. False prophets and teachers almost always claim to have a unique, new understanding of scripture and theology. They claim to have an insight no one else has. When someone says, they know something by God that no one else has heard – flee. Measure ministries by scripture. Evaluate ministries by the Bible. If it is not in the Bible, it’s not from God.
- What do they produce? We know someone by what comes out of their lives. We produce out of who we are. A good tree cannot produce rotten fruit. Nor can a sick tree, edible fruit. Christ wants us to look at and examine what we have created in our lives. Is it good or bad? Does our past bear weight to our goodness or rottenness? If we see rotten fruit, we need to make changes. Almost every false prophet or minister will avoid their past. They don’t want you to know what they left behind—it’s full of train wrecks. We cannot produce other than what we are.
The greatest weapon that Satan has is deception. The devil can’t be everywhere. He uses smoke and mirrors. He uses deception because he has no real power — unless we give it to him. The devil cannot create. He has no creative ability in him. He can only manipulate outcomes through deception.
Satan is defeated. Jesus defeated him on the cross. Any place Satan rules in the world, he does it through lies. He has no power to destroy your family, to ruin your life, to make you sick, to do anything genuinely damaging to you. He can’t do any of those things unless we give him a place by believing his lies.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:18-23)
It doesn’t matter if we have been saved fifty years or fifty seconds, we have the Holy Spirit in us, and He will help us discern when things are not right. We have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to protect us from the wrong people. Ladies, the Holy Spirit will protect you from the man that looks right on the outside, but on the inside is a wolf.
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. (1 John 2:24-27)
As our Door of protection, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us. When things are right on, our spirit knows it because the Holy Spirit says to us, “This is the truth.” The Spirit of Truth guides us into all truth.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:1-4)
Jesus doesn’t let anything false in our lives. That’s God’s promise if we walk with Him. He will protect us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He will help us to test spirits because there are so many false things in the world. The Holy Spirit inside of us can register when something is right or wrong. The Door won’t open to the wrong person. The Holy Spirit will guard the Door and tell us who to let in.
We can do some practical things ourselves, steps that don’t require the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance necessary. The first thing we can do is to stay away from shady sources in regards to the knowledge of God. Plain and simple: don’t get your theology from YouTube or the internet. Local churches, led by the five-fold ministry, is where we need to go to grow and learn. People with no covering will always end up being deceived.
We all were created to be in the body of Christ. God did not design us to be a finger or foot or mouth floating through the kingdom. We are a body. We all need someone to follow, someone to walk with and someone to lead. We need these types of relationships, s0 son’t reject authority. Don’t overlook friendships. Don’t despise leadership. We were designed to walk through life with others. They protect us and push us forward in our walk with Christ.
We are to test and discern what is happening in this world. The devil always appeals to our desire to be unique. He will try to get us to separate ourselves from others. He wants us to walk outside of the family God has designed. This is trick number one in getting us into his trap of deception. If we see ourselves as better than others, he is beginning to win control over our lives.
We have the DNA of Jesus in us. That changes our spiritual possibilities. We have already overcome. We are not for victory, we are fighting from victory.
My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. (1 John 4:1; The Message)