The young preacher walked boldly down the aisle of the church, his white robe gleaming in the sunlight that filtered through the stained glass windows. Bible in hand, he climbed the stairs to the pulpit and faced the congregation. He was being considered for the position of pastor of the church, and he knew he had only 30 minutes to win them over with his sermon. He was a man on a mission, and he did not intend to fail.
Smiling broadly, he opened the Bible and read several verses of scripture. He could have, however, recited them from memory had he chosen to do so. He knew the Good Book and knew it well. He also instinctively knew what the congregation wanted to hear. Effortlessly he preached, immediately capturing their attention and holding them spellbound in their pews with the eloquence of his words.
Again and again, the congregation gave their approval of his message with shouts of “Amen” that shook the cathedral ceilings. He was a powerful preacher, they thought, one any church would be proud to have as its pastor.
The preacher closed the sermon and waited at the door of the sanctuary, shaking hands with each church member as they left. He was certain they would call him as their pastor, and he was already making plans to lead the church in new directions.
Suddenly a woman with a young girl in tow reached for his hand. He took it and smile broadly at the woman.
“It was a wonderful sermon. I don’t when I have left church feeling so uplifted,” the woman said as the little girl tugged at her other hand.
“What it is, Rebecca?” she inquired impatiently of the child.
“Look, Mama. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” the little girl said pointing to the mirror in the vestibule.
The woman glanced at the mirror, the veil of deception covering her eyes. There she saw only the preacher’s reflection staring back at her.
“Don’t be silly. It’s just the preacher,” she said irritated as she pulled the little girl away.
The young preacher smiled broadly into the mirror and greeted the next church member. Yes, he had big plans for this church. He had watched, waited and schemed. Now it was time to act.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 (NKJ)
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