[anzac] WOLVES - Their Characteristics - Part 1

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From: "ANZAC Revival List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2005 15:02:40 -0500
NOTE:  Below is a very well-written piece, which we will publish
in two parts:
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"WOLVES in SHEEP’s CLOTHING" - Part 1.
-Recognizing a false teacher by specific characteristics.
-by Jesse Morrell.
[ www.OpenAirOutreach.com ]

I am not one to see a legion in every pig or a snake in every garden.
But through studying the Word of God and observing many modern
preachers I can boldly declare in the full confidence and blessing of
God that there are wolves disguised as sheep amongst our flocks!
Though there are many wolves in the woods and fields of
secularism and false religions, I am afraid that there are some who
have wandered out of those territories looking for food and have
entered into our own pastures.

False teachers can be distinctly defined because their
characteristics  are obvious enough and are clearly outlined in
scripture. Yet it seems that so few believers recognize them in
these modern times. The True Shepherd spoke much on
this issue, yet it seems to be a greatly neglected subject today
as though our generation is exempt and our Churches are not in
any danger of false teachers.

Many Churches have let down the walls of discernment and thus
become spiritually broken down cities being trampled upon by the
enemy. Our hearts must become as Jeremiahs who said “My
heart within me is broken because of the prophets”. (Jer 23:9).

Every single minister must be measured by the Word of God
and not by their degrees or popularity. No minister should be
exempt from this. No other tool can adequately measure a minister
then the Holy Scriptures. We should be so familiar with the truth
that when false teaching and false teachers are seen and heard by
us they will stick out as black sheep and be automatically
recognized. If we do not know the Word of God we will not
recognize the lies of Satan. Many modern ministers would
certainly be in big trouble if those in the pews actually
started reading their Bibles as they should.

Ezekiel’s ministry was sure not to be a popular one when he was
told to “prophecy against the prophets…who prophesy out of their
own hearts.” (Ez 13:2). It’s time that we also risk our reputations
and “prophecy against the prophets” that appear to be helping the
body of Christ, but when in actuality they are gravely hurting the
body of Christ. This is not a “naming names” article - there would
be too many names to name, but it clearly reveals scriptural
characteristics to equip every Christian to individually examine ministers.

While working on this message I awoke in the middle of the night
after tossing, turning, and even sweating under the fear and
torment of the thought that I myself was a heretic for writing a
message such as this. Then I realized that this overwhelming fear
was the handiwork of the accuser. I began to rest in the fact that
all the points made are backed up by the truth of the Word. It is
my hope and prayer that this message hits the devil hard and
that it becomes a thorn in his side.

Their appearance:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt 7:15)

“Oh I’m not too worried about false prophets. I’m sure I’ll recognize
them when I see them” someone might think to themselves. You
don't know the nature of deception. Recognizing false teachers
is not easily done, considering that they have the appearance of
being sheep.

The mission of a deceiver is to deceive. Deceivers will not always
appear deceptive, or else they would never be able to deceive
anyone. Their lies will always be disguised as truth. Beware
because their charm will be enticing and their glamour blinding for
those who refuse to be discerning.

The neighbors of caught serial killers always say “I just can’t
believe that he could commit such a horrendous act. I knew him
personally; he was such a nice guy.” Likewise when a nice,
friendly, commercial smiley preacher teaches doctrines which
are contrary to the Word of God, his followers defend him by
saying “Oh but he’s just so sincere and genuine.” Be careful.
Appearance can be quite deceiving. “Never judge a book by its
cover” and never judge a man by his outward appearance.
(John 7:24). He may look like a fellow believer outwardly, but
inwardly he is a wolf who is out for himself and not for the flock.
Often they will look better and more successful than everyone
else, portraying the image that everyone would want to be like.
Their grass many look greener and their water clearer, but they
are poisoned with lies and seasoned with deceit.

Their reputation:

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their
fathers to the false prophets.” (Lu 6:26)

It would seem that the very ones that the earth respects and
adores are the very ones that Heaven rejects and abhors. You must
always be cautious when you hear men highly singing the praises
of a certain minister and telling you how wonderful he truly is. There
is a problem if all men speak well of him. It seems to be often that
those whom everyone speaks nasty of are the ones that I find
uncompromisingly preaching the Word of God. The top concern of
a false teacher is to please man while the interest of a true and
faithful witness is to please God. Those who please man often do
not please God, and those who please God often do not please man.
The popular minister is not like Christ who was thrown out of the
synagogues, who even foretold to those who follow Him “They will
put you out of the synagogues” as well. (John 16:2). All of God’s
greatest men have been some of the most hated men. Martin Luther
who started the Protestant movement, John Wesley and George
Whitefield who founded early Methodism and sparked some of the
great revivals of history, William & Catherine Booth who formed
and led the Salvation Army - were all people who were kicked
out of the established Church of their day. If a "good" name or a
"good" reputation automatically meant a good preacher, then what
about the early Church that was "spoken against everywhere"?
(Ac 28:22) Consider the perception of the people who observed
both Jeremiah and the false prophets. While Jeremiah shouted
"violence and plunder" (Jer 20:8), the false prophets gently spoke
of "peace, peace". (Jer 6:14). How odd, how strange, how abrasive,
Jeremiah must have appeared to the onlookers. He was wrongly
thought of as being negative, condemning, and judgmental
compared to the easy, tolerant, smooth talking prophets of his
day. Jeremiahs spoke the words that shattered like a hammer.
The false prophets spoke soft words that couldn’t prick even the
strongest conscience. Their messages may drip honey and their
words are smoother then oil but their feet go down to death and
their doctrines lay hold of hell. I am thoroughly convinced that
a minister will be rejected by Heaven if he is accepted by the
world, “for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?
(2Co 6:14) I can not think of a single minister of God in the New
Testament that got along with the world. Most of them ended up
being martyred. Those who get along with the world must not be
getting along with the God who the world has rejected. A false
teacher will be allowed to preach even on the vilest of TV channels.
You can expect to find their books even in secular stores and
hear their messages of “How to never be hurt again” and
“Walking in the anointing of wealth” on secular channels like I have
seen. A false teacher will have the stamp of approval of the devil,
the stamp of approval of the world, but will not have the stamp of
approval of Heaven. The only thing Heaven will stamp on them will
be the words “Depart”.

The false teachers will reign high and lifted up on the mountains
of acceptance while the true and faithful are forced into the desert
of  rejection, soon to be imprisoned and beheaded. Even the most
bizarre "prophetic" words are being well received while the
foundational and biblical message of "repent" is entirely neglected
and largely ignored. Rather then being salt we have many
candy-land preachers who are serving the never-satisfied bellies
of men. "The prophets prophecy falsely, and the priests
rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so.” (Jer 5:31).

Their message:

“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly,
Saying, Peace, peace! When there is no peace” (Jer. 8:11,
Eze 13:16)

Jeremiah's message and the message of the other prophets stand
in sharp contrast. As Jeremiah shouted his message of  “violence
and plunder” for Israel if they
didn’t repent and turn back to God, the other prophets came with
a message of peace and prosperity for the wicked and backslidden
nation. They became very popular.They gave false hope and false
peace... They make those who are in terrible danger of hell feel
as though they were in secure safety on a cruise ship to Heaven.
The refreshment which they give is a delusion and the comfort
they give is imaginary. They will prophecy lies and deceit to sooth
those who are on their way to eternal destruction.

In David Kirkwoods book called "The Great Gospel Deception" he
wrote, "Of course, no teacher in the church is going to stand up
and declare that what he is teaching is contrary to the New
Testament. Rather, he will neglect certain important scriptures
and twist others to persuade his constituency that he is
teaching the truth."

The deceptive part is that they will appear to be preaching grace,
but it's another grace. They appear to be preaching the gospel,
but it's another gospel. They appear to be preaching Christ, but
it's another Christ. The subtlety is so deceptive that few are able to
make the distinction.

A false teacher will tell his people whatever it is that they want to
hear. They will play the chameleon and will always be politically
correct. They avoid any truth, no matter how important, that could
be controversial or could rock the boat. They are peace-keepers,
not peace-makers. Their messages keeps the peace between
themselves and men rather then creating peace between men and
God. Their messages are always pleasant and easy to swallow,
intentionally avoiding the heavy and hard Scriptures in the Bible.
A false teacher goes with the crowd. God’s men, more often then
not, go against it!

A great preacher once said “heresy is highly exalting one biblical
truth over the rest, so that other biblical truths become neglected.
”False teachers speak only of blessing, prosperity, and the favor
of God but will not touch on Gods righteous wrath or His holy
indignation. They promise an easy life, Christ promises a crucified
life. They serve the flesh as opposed to serving The Spirit. They
appeal to the greedy heart of man as opposed to the conscience.
The days in which Paul warned about are devastatingly upon us,
though few seem to recognize it. “For the time will come when
they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own
desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for
themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the
truth, and be turned aside to fables. ” (2 Ti 4:3-4).

Their messages will manipulate Scriptures to mean the exact
opposite of what it was originally for. “Whatsoever a man sows, that
shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7) is often used when a preacher is
begging for money. However in context this particular scripture has
nothing to do with money but everything to do with death and life.
The following verse says: “For he that sows to his flesh shall of the
flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the
Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal 6:8). Whatever happened to freely
giving and expecting nothing back? Modern preachers will teach
“give and expect your blessing back!” Giving to get is greedy giving.

How many of these hot-shot prosperity preachers can say with the
great Apostle Paul, “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst,
and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless”? (1 Cor 4:11)

So rather then preaching life eternal, many are preaching life
enhancement. Rather then preaching deliverance from sin and
hell, they preach deliverance from suffering and hurt. Ray Comfort
wrote “The modern gospel has degenerated into means of
happiness, rather than one of righteousness.”

Their audience:

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
(Mt 24:11)

The pulpit-less street corner preachers are often viewed as being
false preachers while those with large mega churches are thought
of as having “the blessing and anointing of God”. This again is
judging by outward appearance and by the worldly standard of
success as opposed to judging the content of their message by
the Scriptures. If John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness,
or Jesus Christ came preaching on the hill top, or the Apostle
Paul came preaching in the market place, I wonder what modern
Christianity would think of them? It says that “many” false teachers
will “deceive many”. This means that they will have many followers,
even enough to fill a mega-Church. If we measure a man's anointing
or the blessing of God on a ministry by how many people believe
in the message and the messenger, then the false prophets in the
Old Testament would be from God and men like Jeremiah would
be considered a liar.

“For false christ’s and false prophets will rise and show signs and
wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Mr 13:22) A false
teacher will deceive both the sinful and the uneducated. Their
audience will be made up of both sinners and saints. They appeal
to the sinner because sinners never are made to feel bad about
their lifestyles, but rather are given false hope and false peace.
They appeal to the saint because they appear to be the real deal;
they are wearing sheep’s clothing though they are wolves. “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 Cor 11:13-14) May this
ring in our ears and sting in our hearts!

[PART 2 continued in another email.....]
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