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12 of November 2020
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of the Lord, which he earned by his own blood. 29 For I know that after I am gone, ravenous wolves will enter your midst, not sparing the flock. 30 And of yourselves men will rise up, speaking wicked things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be vigilant, remembering that for three years, night and day, I have not ceased to admonish each one with tears.
One of the key functions of the New Testament shepherd is to uncover the wolves that can destroy the flock. Wolves are false people who appear and enter to cause divisions and / or steal sheep. Pablo had to fight wolves constantly and so did we. He had the Judaizers from him. Today, we have misguided Christians, perverted people, and false cults.
There are two kinds of wolves
EXTERNAL: Acts 20:29 "For I know that after my departure rapacious wolves will enter among you, who will not spare the flock."
Note that wolves usually wait for the Christian worker to be absent to enter, because they know that the worker probably has the discernment to stop them. The word "enter" shows that they are not of the flock. They belong to diverse groups and sects and can be dealt with by warning the congregation about what the false cults are. To the experienced worker, these wolves are easily recognizable, and therefore not as dangerous as the other class. Generally, a simple instruction to the congregation on these groups is sufficient. Notice that Paul strongly warned about wolves.
INSIDE: "And of yourselves men will rise up speaking perverse things to draw the disciples after them", Acts 20:30.
These are the most dangerous class, because they are already in the church. It is therefore the most difficult class to detect and eliminate. There are two types: 1) ill-intentioned people who stand within an organization waiting for the moment to bite the bullet and attack treacherously, in search of their prey. 2) people who have positioned themselves for their legitimate service and when they are corrected by some situation of the functioning of the Church, or falling into sin do not seek repentance, but a root of bitterness leads them to express hatred by becoming predators in the style of Cain.
Most of the time, one of two reasons is present:
1) These wolves are believers with pride and ambition in their hearts (James 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and contention in your heart, do not boast or lie against the truth; 15 because this wisdom is not the one that descends from the high, but earthly, animal, diabolical. 16 For where there is jealousy and contention, there is disturbance and every evil work)
2) or they are dissatisfied for some reason and then the devil begins to use them to alienate believers, breaking his trust in the leadership of the Church and causing them to follow after them instead of following Christ. (2 Timothy 3: 2 For there will be men who are self-loving, greedy, boastful, arrogant, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, 3 without natural affection, implacable, slanderous, intemperate, cruel, haters of what is good, 4 Treacherous, impetuous, infatuated, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, 5 who will have the appearance of godliness, but will deny its efficacy; avoid these. little women burdened with sins, carried away by various lusts. 7 They are always learning, and can never come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 And as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so they also resist the truth; corrupt men of understanding, reprobate in the faith. 9 But they will not go further; for their folly will be manifest to all, as was their folly.)
Both kinds of wolves are usually people who are self-deluded and don't realize they are wolves.
Why does God allow wolves to enter the church? "For there must be dissensions among you, so that those who are approved may be made manifest among you", 1Co. 11:19. Dealing with wolves is very instructive for the Christian worker. You learn a lot about the people who are under his charge. Believers' loyalty and stability will be tested, and weaknesses in them will be revealed. People you thought were stable can fail you. Others whom you classified as weak will become stronger than you thought. You will know who are your friends and who are not, who change their way of life to what the word of God says and who change the word of God for what they want to live.
How to recognize wolves?
They always operate behind the backs of the leaders. Jn. 10: 1-2 will visit the people in their homes behind the backs of the church leaders. They will illegitimately try to gain authority or position in the church by overriding the leaders. Jesus taught that they come disguised as the Lord's sheep. Mt. 7: 15-17. A simple and basic way to spot them is when they start stealing the sheep. A sheep does not steal another sheep. Only wolves do.
They criticize the leaders; usually behind his back. 2 Jn. 9-10 Every leader has weaknesses in his ministry, but this does not give people the right to tear them apart with criticism. Just what makes us Christians is the basic recognition that we are sinners and we need a savior. The difficulty sometimes rests in the fact that some of the things a wolf can say may be true; however, that truth is often exaggerated, distorted and added with all kinds of lying innuendo. That there is some element of truth is not a justification for ruining a critical person's ministry, especially in front of weak church members. Notice some things the wolves said about Paul in 2 Cor. 10: 10-13. Wolves boast of their own spirituality. Notice in 2 Cor. 10:12 how Paul sarcastically mocks the spiritual pride of wolves. They are often comparing themselves to others and the comparisons always seem to be in his favor. They often claim to have more light on some issues than the legitimate leader of the Church and may imply that they have more to teach than the leaders. 2Ts. 3: 6-4.
They tend to cause divisions. Ro. 16: 18-5. They will invariably seek out weak believers. Ro. 16:18 It seems that wolves have a kind of internal radar with which they can detect a weak believer. It can be a satanic form of discernment. Invariably they will go directly to the weak believer and try to get it on his behalf.
How to deal with wolves?
Titus 3:10 "The man who causes divisions, after one warning and another reject him."
Reprimand and dismiss: With almost any other type of problem with people, you normally show patience, compassion and mercy, but do not act the same way with the wolves. He should not show patience or compassion, still less mercy. Paul's instructions are clear: A wolf deserves no more than two reprimands before being cast off. Be very firm with them. A warning from the pulpit to the people may be necessary.
Exercising an interference task: The entire church, especially mature believers, must be trained in how to detect a wolf when he enters. It can train them on how to intercept the wolf before it can get close to the weak. All mature believers in the church should understand that they can help in this if necessary.