Saturday, August 27, 2022

Three More Savage Wolves in the Church

“Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.” 
1 Timothy 1:3-4

When the Apostle Paul left the city of Ephesus after three years of ministry, he warned the church leaders about “savage wolves” who would come to undermine the teachings of Jesus Christ. Sure enough, false teachers arose within the Ephesian church and started muddying the clear and simple gospel teaching that they had received from Paul.

Listen to what Paul wrote to his partner in ministry, Timothy, after he left: “Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about” (1 Timothy 1:3-7).

This wasn’t just a 1st-Century problem. Last week we looked at examples of three savage wolves that have risen up within the American church today. Now, let’s take a look at three more:

Savage Wolf #1: The hedonist who teaches, “Do what makes you happy. God will forgive you” (Jude 4). Jude wrote: “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4). In recent years, a growing number of Christian leaders and churches have turned a blind eye to most sexual sins. Hedonistic Christians are very good at making excuses for sin and watering down what God’s word teaches about judgment and hell. They view God’s grace as a get-out-of-hell free card. So, be on guard. Steer clear of churches that call “good” what God calls “evil.” These are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Savage Wolf #2: The legalist who teaches, “Follow all my rules” while largely ignoring Jesus’ call to love God and people (Matthew 23-24). Jesus leveled this woe against the religious leaders of his day: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices .... but you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23). Legalism takes our eyes off Jesus and shifts our focus to rule-keeping. And any pastor or teacher who takes your eyes off Jesus, and tries to get you to follow some religious formula instead of loving and following Jesus, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Savage Wolf #3: The politician’s hatchet man disguised as a pastor (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Remember what Paul teaches us: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority…. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4). God only calls a few Christian pastors to be political activists. But He calls ALL of us to pray for our leaders. It doesn’t matter if you’re a registered Republican, Democrat or Libertarian. Your top political priority as a Christian is to PRAY for President Biden, Vice President Harris, Governor Newsom and our local city council members. Pray for ALL our leaders to carry out God’s will for their lives. And we know that if they are in the center of God's will, they will make decisions that are righteous and honor Him.

More times than not, political activism in the church take our eyes off the goal: to expand Christ’s kingdom on earth by leading people to salvation and maturity in Christ. So, watch out for church leaders who are two-thirds political activist and only one-third gospel proclaimer. Most of them are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Remember, Christianity boils down to these three things: 1) Trust God, 2) Love God and 3) Obey God. False teachers always, always, ALWAYS chip away at at least one of these: Faith, Love and Obedience. Remember that and be on your guard!

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. Dane’s latest book, “Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God,” is scheduled for release on Amazon in September.

No comments:

Post a Comment