There once was a shepherd who loved his flock of sheep. He fed them and watered them. He bathed them and tended to their hurts. The only trouble is he did not build a protected fence around their home. He had a habit of going to sleep at night leaving no one to guard them. They had always been safe in the past, but one night wolves came. In the morning when he woke up many of the sheep were missing or dead. That day he built a fence and made sure there was always someone there to guard the sheep at night.
Titus 1:6-7 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless— not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
In Titus 1:6-11 Paul tells Titus to appoint "overseers" in the churches. The word "overseer" is episkopos in Greek and means bishop, curator, superintendent, guardian, watchman. Overseers are to be shepherds to the sheep, watchmen, guardians.
Ez. 33:6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’It is not enough to feed the sheep on the simple truths of the Gospel.
Hebrews 5:13-6:3 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.At some point the overseer must teach the sheep how to be discerning.
Prov. 1:5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—Overseers need to set up boundaries to protect the sheep from wolves. This is where many overseers fail today. They feed the sheep, tend to their hurts and troubles, but when it comes to defending them against wolves they do very little. They are asleep when the wolves come with their false teaching ...
Phil. 1:9-10 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
Eph. 4:11-14 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Acts 20:29-30 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.and some even welcome them because the wolves have made themselves to look like sheep.
Matt. 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.There are qualifications for an overseer. To be a good overseer he must be a man of integrity and faithfulness. If he has integrity in his life he will also have integrity in the church as a good under shepherd. Following are the biblical qualifications to be an overseer.
He is to be a man who has no accusations against him of sins such as infidelity, stealing, lying, etc. This doesn't mean he has to be perfect, but it does mean that he has a clean record in the community and is someone people trust. He must not just preach good sermons, he must be a living example of salt and light
Matt.5:13, 16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. ... In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."Husband of but one wife"
The overseer is to be a man, not a woman. Women have every gift men have in the church, but they are to be subject to their husbands and the male leadership of the Church just as the men are subject to Christ
Eph. 5:23-24 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.The word for "husband" in Greek is aner which also means man, male, sir, fellow. Women can exercise all types of gifts in the Church, but should not hold leadership positions over men. The overseer should be married to one wife only. He should be faithful to his wife and not have any other sexual relationships with other women. Overseers often marry couples in the church. How much more then should overseers take their own wedding vows seriously? It is a serious business to make a vow with God and men.
Ecclesiastes 5:5 It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it."Children believe"
The fact that an overseer is married and has children suggests that an overseer must have attained a certain level of maturity. It is a mistake to appoint overseers that are too young and have not had the experience of a wife and family. Having a family teaches a person many lessons in life, lessons that will be helpful in overseeing the Church. The overseer's children, if there are any, must be born again. This fact shows that the overseer is a witness for Christ and has done so in his own family. Remember that Lot was a righteous man in himself, but his downfall was that his family were clearly not believers. Because of this, Lot's daughters later got their father drunk and had sex with him. Their children became the Moabites and Ammonites, the mortal enemies of Israel.
Gen. 19:36-38 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today."Children" ... "not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient"
The overseer's children must also not be wild and disobedient. A man who can manage his own children teaches them to respect authority. On the occasions when they are wild or disobedient he will discipline them. This does not mean the overseer's children are perfect little angels, and it doesn't mean that when they become adults they may choose to abandon their faith as did the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Overseers have children in the home who are being taught biblical principles and being disciplined. I still remember the time I started fooling around in church when I was about 6 years old and my mother stood me up, walked be down the aisle of the church in front of everyone, took me outside the front door of the church, and spanked me. She then brought me back in down the aisle of the church in front of everyone. This taught me a lesson that I did not forget. An overseer must be actively teaching his children how to be respectful and productive Christians.
"Entrusted with God's work"
Overseers must never forget that they are entrusted with God's work. It is His work, not their work. His Holy Spirit is the One who is doing the work of convicting, teaching, sanctifying, and disciplining His flock. The overseer is there to be a witness, a servant, an advisor, a man of prayer. The overseer does not rule the church and "lord it over" people. He is not a dictator, but a servant himself by example.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—"Blameless" ... again
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:
Notice that Paul repeats the word "blameless" again. Anytime you see words repeated in Scripture they are for special emphasis. The overseer is to stand as a man who is unaccused, a man of integrity in the community, an example of godly behavior.
Titus 2:7-8 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."Not overbearing"
"Not overbearing" means not self pleasing, self-willed, arrogant. The overseer should be a humble man rather than full of pride and arrogance.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.When you see men who are put in the position of overseers who are self pleasing rather then humble men, you are seeing wolves.
The Bible tells us to turn the other cheek ...
Matt. 5:39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.to love our enemies ...
Matt. 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,to not be quickly angered.
Ecc. 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.This is an even more important quality for Christian leaders. They should not be either quick to get angry or prone to get angry. That means they should have a forgiving heart, not hold grudges against others.
Lev. 19:18 "‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."Not given to drunkenness"
On the surface, the Bible seems to give a mixed message on alcohol, but really it is very consistent. It states that a little wine can be helpful and healthy ...
1 Tim. 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.but that getting drunk it a sin.
Gal. 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.So there is a balance here. The problem is that many people cannot take a little wine for health reasons without wanting to get drunk. So it is best to stay away from alcohol if you have a problem with addictive behavior. This is true of anything. Stay away from things that cause you to sin, and as a Christian leader especially stay away from those things that might cause others to sin.
1 Cor. 8:13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.Remember that you are an example for people and the overseer should avoid every kind, form and appearance of evil.
1 Thes. 5:22 (NIV) Avoid every kind of evil."Not violent"
1 Thes. 5:22 (ASV) abstain from every form of evil.
1 Thes. 5:22 (KJV) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
"Not violent" means not a striker, a bruiser, ready to come to blows, contentious, quarrelsome. The overseer should be a person who is not looking to start fights, except when it comes to fighting for the truth.
Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.He should be a man who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit of peace, gentleness and self-control.
Gal. 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.He should be someone who does not start quarrels and foolish arguments ...
Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.but rather demolishes arguments against the truth in love.
2 Cor. 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."Not pursuing dishonest gain"
Eph. 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
Probably one of the biggest problems we have today are Christian leaders who are in the ministry for dishonest gain. The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
1 Tim. 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.How much more should an overseer be an example of honesty in finances and laying up treasure in heaven rather than on earth?
1 Tim. 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.Remember, where your treasure is your heart will be ...
Mat. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.and if your heart is set on treasure on earth, your master is not Jesus Christ but money.
Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.Titus 1:8 Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
This is a person who is given to hospitality, a lover of hospitality who is generous to guests. The island cultures are good on this issue and hopefully this will continue. Overseers are to be generous to guests and helpful to all. One exception to this rule is to be careful that you are not hospitable to wolves, for the Bible says we are not to even give them greetings or invite them into our homes.
2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.The churches in the first century were all house churches, so this means we are not to invite false teachers to teach in our churches, and we must make sure their materials are not being used by the sheep.
"Loves what is good"
A person who loves what is good will think on what is good ...
Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.and will do good.
Heb. 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.Not only does an overseer do what is good, they show by their actions that they prefer good over evil, thus showing their maturity in Christ.
Heb. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.In fact, in Ephesians 4 the very definition of a Christian leader is that they are able to bring people to maturity in Christ so that they will be able to discern truth from error.
Eph. 4:11-13 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). When we submit to God He helps us to live a godly life and sanctifies us through the Spirit of truth.
But we must also exercise self-control. It is a two-way street. We have free will and can either choose to follow our Spirit created new conscience ...
John 17:17, 19 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. ... For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Eph. 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.or to grieve the Holy Spirit ...
Eph. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.by rejecting a good conscience.
1 Tim. 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.Overseers should live a life of moderation in all things
Phil. 4:5 (KJV) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."Upright"
This means righteous, right living. It means the overseer must be an example to others by being just and fair to people. He must be a good, righteous judge ...
John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."not a hypocritical one.
Matt. 7:1-5 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.Are there ways in which overseers are to judge? God says Christians are to judge those inside the church as God judges those outside.
1 Cor. 5:12-13 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."Christians are to learn biblical judgment because someday we will judge the nations and the angels with Jesus Christ in the millennial kingdom
1 Cor. 6:2-3 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!To be a good judge an overseer must not be judging others for sins he himself is committing. He must be a man of integrity (Titus 2:7-8).
The overseer should be undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure, holy, pious. This does not mean overseers are perfect people. But they must be quick to repent of sin, publicly if necessary, as an example to others. The word "holy" also means "set apart". Overseers are set apart to serve God alone, and thereby serve His sheep they are shepherding. Because of this they also avoid the leaven of false teaching.
1 Cor. 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast— as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."Disciplined"
Gal. 5:9 "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
Finally, the character of an overseer is one of discipline. This also means they are temperate, living in moderation. They have learned to master, control, curb and restrain their natural emotional and physical appetites. They are self-controlled so that they may be of use to the Lord. They read their Bibles daily and pray for the sheep. They are careful to be an example of discipline to the sheep in how they conduct their affairs and family. This is perhaps one of the hardest areas to live as an example. I recently lost 60 lb. of weight not only because my health was threatened but because I knew that my being overweight was not a good witness. For the sake of your health and witness I urge you to give the hardest area of your life, namely your flesh, over to the full control of the Spirit. He will help you in your weakness if you allow Him to do so. If you have to go to the hospital as a result of diabetes or other weight related illnesses, then take that as a hard lesson from God and make the changes you know you need to make.
Titus 1:9-11 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach— and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
"Hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught" by the Apostles
This is one of the most important criteria for being an overseer. This is repeated in 2 Pet. 3:2, Eph. 2:20, 2 Thes. 2;15, 1 Cor. 11:2, Prov. 7:2, Titus 2:1. Unfortunately many overseers do not seem to understand this point. Perhaps it is because they were appointed without having the grace gift of servant leadership as mentioned in Eph. 4. If they did, they would be holding on to sound doctrine and teaching the flock to do so. But many churches no longer equip the sheep to stand in biblical truth. Most Christians today can no longer argue from the Bible, in fact many don't know their Bibles at all. But true overseers will teach through the Bible, verse by verse, so that God's truth can be hidden in their hearts so they will not sin against Him.
Ps. 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.When you hold firmly to the core doctrines of the Faith as passed down from Jesus Christ, the foundational Apostles and prophets, you will also be standing against false doctrine
1 Tim. 6:3-5 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.This is what must happen to keep the wolves away from eating the sheep.
"Encourage others by sound doctrine"
When sound doctrine is preached, Christians are encouraged. When false doctrine, pop psychology, talk story and other things are taught from the pulpits they don't benefit anyone.
Jer. 23:32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the LORD. "They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least," declares the LORD.This is why is is so important for the growth and maturity of the sheep to continue to teach sound doctrine.
Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
"Refute those who oppose it"
When you take up a definite position on biblical truth, you will have opposition. The overseer must be able to refute those who oppose the truth, and teach the sheep to stand on their own. Today we don't like the idea of argument, and in island societies argument is usually a prelude to a fight. But there is such a thing as good argument. It is the kind that demolishes strongholds and false arguments.
2 Cor. 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.The fact that we have so many false teachers on television these days is because overseers did not stand up for the truth and refute those who were and are opposing it. We have lost our saltiness (Matt. 5:13). The world looks at Christian TV and does not want anything to do with the corruption, lies, and lack of integrity there. To fight this trend the true overseer must equip himself and those he is serving to be able to fight for the truth of the written Word of God.
"Many" wolves have gone out
There were MANY wolves in the days of Paul, and there are many more today. The modern world is seeing the most false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, and false Christs it ever in the history of the human race. Many of these heretics are traveling all over the world, even to Micronesia. Perhaps your church has already had some visit, and it will surely continue and increase. The false revival movement of the Toronto Blessing and Brownsville came to Guam, Saipan, Yap, Palau and the Marshalls. Benny Hinn has been to the Marshalls and many have traveled to Honolulu from Micronesia to see him there. Kenneth Copeland has been to the Marshalls and Kosrae, and wanted to come to Pohnpei. Chuck Kraft has been to Chuuk a number of times and he is one of the architects of the false New Apostles movement. Brownsville was instrumental in splitting the Yap Evangelical Church and only by the grace of God have most of those hurts healed. It is now part of the problem in Palau in the Assemblies of God there. Many speakers have traveled through the islands and I am always glad when overseers contact me to ask about them before they are invited to speak in the churches. A number have turned out to be heretics. Sun Myung Moon tried to get into Ebeye in the Marshalls with money to fund youth centers, but the queen of Kwajalen contacted me first to have me investigate and I found out the organization was funded by the Moonies. We have to protect our churches from traveling heretics, from books, from music, from organizations that are compromised like YWAM, and from our people going to false churches and events. We need to tell them to turn off Christian TV, open up their Bibles, and grow to maturity in Christ.
Wolves are "rebellious people"
The character of wolves is obvious. They are rebellious, or lawless. They claim they have freedom in Christ to do and say anything they please, when God tells us to be careful of what we do and say.
Titus 3:8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
1 Cor. 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
Rom. 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.On the other hand we must also not do self-righteous acts in front of people for a show because we will lose our reward in heaven.
Matt. 6:1 "Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.But wolves are wild. There is a new book going all through the churches called "Wild At Heart" that teaches that God is a wild God, therefore we too are created in His image to be wild. It is basically saying what the pop song says "Born to be wild". The fact is that we ARE born to be wild. Wild means chaotic, lawless, rebellious. Eve was the first wild woman, and her son Cain turned that wildness into murder. "Wild At Heart" was written by a wild false teacher.
Wolves are "mere talkers"
Wolves are a never-ending source of talk about themselves and their "ministry". They are very good at public speaking, but very short on truth. They are excellent at boasting about themselves
Jude 1:16 These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.We see this continually on the TV on TBN and 700 Club. Self anointed, self-proclaimed prophets and apostles make all kinds of boasts. They say, "We have the anointing and can give it to you". "We are greater than the original apostles." "We could have died for your sins, as we are anointed." They constantly talk about themselves, tell stories about themselves, say they are hearing directly from God in visions and dreams, make healing claims they cannot back up with the facts. Whenever you see people who boast and do religious things in public so that people will think they are holy, you know that you are seeing false Pharisaical religion.
They also flatter others for their own advantage (Jude 1:16). One of the biggest tricks of false teachers is to flatter people. Today it is especially done through so-called “prophecy”. They lay hands on people and prophesy something over them that makes them sound important, like God is calling them to be a prophet themselves, or an apostle, or something really important. I had a man prophesy over me that I would raise the dead in Micronesia. Now God can raise the dead, but what purpose would it serve to tell me in advance that it would happen? None, except to make me puffed up with pride. This is typical false prophecy. Beware of it and rebuke those who practice it. Another way they flatter is to get together in unity with anyone, regardless of what they believe. Today the Catholics, Oneness Pentecostals who don't believe in the Trinity, Latter Rain Third Wavers and others are all getting together to flatter one another. Tomorrow it will be the Muslims, Mormons and other cults getting together with Christians. There is already a move in the Third Wave to try to build bridges with the Muslims on the basis that we supposedly all worship one God. But Allah is not YHWH. Allah has no Son, and Jesus did not die for the sins of the world according to the Quran.
Wolves are "deceivers"
Wolves lay error secretly alongside truth so that they may deceive people into believing the lies they themselves believe.
Jude 1:4 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.They are deceived themselves and making deceivers of others.
2 Pet. 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them— bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
2 Tim. 3:13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.Many deceivers have gone out.
2 John 1:7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.You can tell a deceiver by the lies they tell, the false doctrines they preach, the false prophecies they make, and if they are not repentant for them.
Wolves teach legalism as did the "circumcision group"
Wolves always teach other ways to be saved. They add requirements to salvation. Some add that you have to be baptized in water to be saved. Others add you must have a second experience of the Holy Spirit or be slain in the spirit. Some add sacraments like the Catholic church. Some add things like requirements to dress in certain ways or abstain from certain foods. Various works are added to the simple message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Anytime you see other requirements being added you are seeing the work of wolves.
Wolves "must be silenced"
Wolves are not to be allowed to continue to speak. They are to be told to keep silent, and if they will not we are to reject them (Titus 3:10). This is especially true of those who make false prophecies. One false prophecy that is not repented of is criteria for the church to separate from that person and for them to no longer be in ministry. Wolves are not to be tolerated and allowed to continue because we know God will judge them. We are commanded by God to separate ourselves from them. If they are unrepentant, then we are to mark and avoid them.
Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.The word "divisions" here is from the word "hairetikos" which means "heretic" or "a divisive follower of false doctrines". If they
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;We should have no fellowship with their works but expose them.
Eph. 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.Paul warned the churches about certain heretics, as well as the prophets. We need to name names so that we can warn others
2 Cor. 6:17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.God calls us to be a holy people, separated from the world, separated from the wolves and the goats. We are to be
"Neither when we have chosen our way can we keep company with those who go the other way. There must come with the decision for truth a corresponding protest against error." - Charles Haddon SpurgeonWe must keep away from them.
2 Thes. 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.If they do not heed the warnings as a brother, then we are to turn away from them.
2 Thes. 3:14-15 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
2 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Wolves are "ruining whole households"
Today wolves ruin households in two ways -- (1) they ruin churches and (2) they ruin families. Their influence is felt in the churches through traveling teachers, books, tapes, and music. Their influence is felt in families especially through TV. They come into houses (churches and homes) and gain control of weak-willed Christians who don't know how to discern truth from error
2 Tim. 3:6-7 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.They gain control by false promises of financial gain and false signs and wonders. Why do they do this? For their own financial gain! Don't let them fool you with saying the money they are collecting is for God's work. It is for their own enrichment and the continued support of those who teach false doctrines.
Wolves teach false doctrine, "teaching things they ought not to teach"
The main mark of wolves is that they teach false doctrine, and so the main test for wolves is whether or not what they teach is in line with the core doctrines of the Faith as set out in the sixty-six books of the Bible. This should be the first test of false teachers. The other two are testing prophecies and testing for fruit of the Spirit. Most of the ways in which many Christians decide who they will listen to and follow today are not biblical. They rely on experiences, manifestations, feelings, emotions, numbers of followers, numbers of people who claim to be saved, the size of a church or movement, signs and wonders, purported miracles (whether real or false), subjective testimonies, hearsay and rumors, how successful and rich a teacher is, if a person speaks with authority, the atmosphere of a meeting, etc. But true believers will test teaching first and foremost against the written Word of God.
Wolves motivation is money, "for the sake of dishonest gain"
Lastly, wolves underlying motivation is money. Their "god" is their appetites ...
Rom. 16:18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.and money.
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."All you have to do is watch Christian TV to see this. But this problem is in the islands as well. What are you in the ministry for? For God or for money? Who is your Master?
1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers— not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."