Sheep in Wolf Clothing
About twenty years ago, I wrote an article titled "Sheep in Wolf Clothing." To summarize the article, sheep (ministries) were dressing up as wolves to be accepted. What do I mean by dressing up? I mean to act, look, and use the world's system to attract and impress fellow Christians, and attract those who don't know Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for their transgressions.
Some musicians want to dress like the world, so their music will be accepted. Some pastors want to dress like the world, so they would be accepted on television. Some evangelists are dressed in "snake oil" Wall Street mentality, to fleece old ladies to invest their last twenty dollars into their ministry, to receive a one hundred percent return. What a crock of sheep dung.
Back in 70's, the apostles, seers, and prophets were underground, and were not trying to make a name for them selves, as they do today. They were wrong then, and I for one, stand humbly before you, and confess my guilt. I was truly wrong, for what I did not do. Some of us are still not in aignment with GOD today, because we are not any different than the world's system. Paul said that we act as carnal men, and not matured spiritually. We are not any different then worldly men, because of envy, strife and divisions (1 Cor. 3). All the gifts are manifested within the church, but are we mature spiritually?
Let us not forget what Jesus said, "Therefore said He unto them, the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labors into His harvest. Go your ways, behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:2, 3).
Jesus referred to lambs as the laborers of the harvest. At this point in their walk with the LORD, they were being called lambs (baby sheep), but were being transformed into shepherds. Jesus referred them as lambs, not for maturity sake, but for innocents.
Most sheep today only think they are sent to minister to other sheep. If the sheep they are ministering to be dressed in wolf clothing, then they are correct! The real harvest is not harvesting sheep, but proclaiming the good news that Jesus died for all mankind. This proclamation is done in the midst of wolves.
As sheep, we must be careful of our associations, and who are our shepherds. Sheep can take on the form of a wolf, when they try to get their needs met by other sheep and not the True Shepherd, Jesus. Shepherds need to depend on the "Great Shepherd" to feed them, and not feed off of other sheep.
When sheep are shepherd by wolves in sheep clothing, or sheep in wolf clothing, they will eat in a circle until all the grass is gone. Then comes starvation unto death. Sheep trust other sheep, but will not get out of the circle in which they feed. A true shepherd will lead them to green pastures, thus the sheep stay healthy.
"I am the good shepherd: that giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep " (John 10:11, 12).
Notice the word "scattereth?" Is your sheep scattered? There very well could be the "five fold" apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher, who are accepted in the fold (pun intended), but have eyes and the heart of the wolf.
A SHEPHERD'S TEST
1) Shepherds, do you examined your sheep, one by one, to see if they are bleeding, injured, or lame? Ask your sheep!
2) If a lamb leaves the fold, do you run to that lamb and offer comfort, support, help, understanding, and experience a broken heart for loosing a lamb? Ask your sheep!
3) Do you make sure all your sheep have food, clothing, shelter, money to pay bills, health needs met, family need met, spiritual growth met, and acceptance by other sheep in the fold? Ask your sheep!
4) Do you make a healthy living off of your sheep? Ask your sheep!
5) Do your sheep make a healthy living off of you shepherding them? Ask your sheep!
6) Do you recognize your sheep as Jesus being their owner, and not you? Ask your sheep!
7) Do you consider you sheep as much a "royal priest" as you are? Ask your sheep!
8) When in public, do you recognize your sheep? Ask your sheep!
9) Have you earned the trust of all your sheep? Ask your sheep!
10) Is your first accountability, to your sheep? Ask your sheep!
If you are considered a true shepherd by other sheep, then your answer is YES, to ALL of the above questions. If you answered NO, even to one of the above questions, then you are a wolf in sheep clothing, or a sheep in wolf clothing.
NOTE: If you are a wolf, then you need to be expelled before you scatter the sheep. If you are a sheep, then all you need to do is undress, get out of those wolf clothes, and repent before God. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we need help from others to hold us accountable.
Test of the wolf
1) Are there needs that are not met within the sheep (Acts 4: 34, 35), or do some go without? Ask your sheep!
2) Does the building fund come before the needs of the sheep? Ask your sheep!
3) Do your sheep feel that their only responsibility is to supply you "lamb chops," and reproduce other sheep? Ask your sheep!
4) Do you have a God appointed apostle over you, or are you a self appointed apostle? Ask your sheep!
5) Does you ministry run like the world runs a business? Ask your sheep!
6) Are you hired as the manager of the sheep? Ask yourself!
7) Are you a self-made entrepreneur in the business of dense, soft, curly hair of sheep? Ask your sheep!
Well! My daddy always said, "If the shoe fits, ware it!"
Perhaps the next time I see a sheep in wolf clothing, or a wolf in sheep clothing, I will have the courage to speak the truth in love, as GOD is holding me accountable for what I speak, and what I don't speak. Or, we both may go to a hospital emergency room. They will go because of a colon problem; I will go to retrieve my shoe!
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What a great, great, great article! I wish every ministe saw this and had the spiritual light to recognize themselves in it. -C.
Great article, very revealing. Sheep harvesting wolves, I'd never thought about it like that. Very true. Thank you for writing this, it was eye opener.
David, once again a thought provoking piece and my rating reflects that. However,there are some areas where we might not see eye to eye on. It seems to me that there is an underlying demand that our leaders be perfect and when they are not, they have failed completely (…If you answered NO, even to one of the above questions, then you are a wolf in sheep clothing, or a sheep in wolf clothing.) Often it is that unrealistic expectation that cause some of our leaders to fail. When we don’t allow for our leaders to be human and share their weaknesses openly, we do them a great disservice. Our leaders are to equip us to do the work of the Kingdom, too often we trash leaders and forget our own responsibility to roll up our sleeves. There have been abuses on both sides, we need the grace of God to work together. – Jay Cookingham
You are right Jay, Thank you for bringing this to my attention. As a writer who writes what he sees, I only see from the view, in which God has me stand. An elephant looks entirely different from the back, then from the front. The view depends on where you are standing, front, back, side, or top. God called this: height, width, length, and depth. You may see something different then what I see because you are placed in a different position. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU SEE. Please continue to share your prospective with me. Together we can see more clearly.
Great article of truth David...Oh that every church had a copy of this one as well as a heart of humilty to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal this truth to them. Great Job David....thanks! Rick