Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Wolves in the Fold

Over the past couple of months, I have heard many say that we are living in the end times and that the day of judgement is at hand. In almost the same breath, after scaring everyone, many ask for donations and hawk their wares to all those who will listen to their pitch of paradise and perdition. Many, who can ill-afford it, will gladly give them money to buy or exchange their money for some sort of bucket of food or cure for COVID-19. Each claims to speak their message in soft, but persuasive, tones to “tickle the ears” of those who fall victim to these “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

Jesus says, in chapter seven of the Gospel of Matthew, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Each day seems to be worse than the last. More scammers and those who profess to preach the Good News prey on those willing to listen to their messages. Some will fall victim to these charlatans and gladly give them their money. Instead of praying for those in need, they “prey” on them. These wolves look for the weak and those who are desperate only to give them false hope and continue to bilk them until they have nothing left to give.

Just as you work to protect yourselves from the virus, you should also work to protect yourselves from those who would swindle you out of your money with empty words. Beware of these individuals who are only interested in lining their pockets through the fear, uncertainty and doubt of others.

In chapter twenty-three of his book, Jeremiah writes, “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD!

Many will claim that they speak for the Lord or that God has placed a message upon their heart. The messages and words have a fragrance of sincerity, but you will soon find that the closer you listen to their words, that same fragrance turns into the stench of death. Their words are empty and bring no hope.

In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.

Even during the days of the early church, there were those who preached in the name of God only to further their own agenda of filling their earthly coffers and building for themselves earthly wealth. Have you no eyes to see what those who have called out, “Lord, Lord” have done? Some have preached a false gospel designed only to tickle the ears of those who would listen while slipping in a message of deceit and deception.

Jesus, in chapter thirteen of the Gospel of Mark, said, “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!

In chapter four of his second letter to his brother in Christ, Timothy, Paul writes, “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

What Paul observed then, we also see now. Many flock to those who preach a gospel filled with love and hope to entice those who long for those things. Their empty words will lead only to disillusionment and sadness. Many will no longer believe and become sullen. Some will have their hearts hardened and become skeptical of those who preach the true Gospel of the Lord.

Many have asked why I have not written books. I respond, “The free gift of God is love and salvation through His son, Christ Jesus. Likewise, His Word is free.”

The key word is free. I cannot improve on the words of the Lord or embellish upon them. I can only preach the Word as it was given by God the Father. Each word, written by men of God, inspired and given life by the breath of God.

As we continue to go through this valley of darkness called “pandemic”, let us test every word spoken by those who profess to be God’s messengers, His prophets or apostles of Christ. Examine each word against the entire content of the Holy Scripture. Be in prayer daily asking for God’s word and love to fill you with wisdom and discernment. Do not allow those who prey on others to fill their pockets with earthly treasures a foothold in your life. 

 In chapter four of his first epistle, John writes, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

There are many false prophets who claim that they speak with conviction and authority. Question every word. If they say that the Bible says this or that, read the scripture to truly determine the real meaning. When you do these things, I guarantee that your daily walk with the Lord will be a blessing even during the roughest of times. Rest assured that you will be standing firm in His grace daily as you follow His words and not the words of those wolves in sheep’s clothing and false prophets.     

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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