Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
Thoughts for Today:How do you know the difference between a sheep and a wolf in sheep's clothing? By what they eat! If you see in your church, ("even from your own number") men and women who might appear godly yet teach an alternative understanding of Scripture, how do you know if what is being taught is truly by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit or some other source? Look for the carcasses -- wolves don't feed sheep, rather they feed ON sheep!
As simple as that might sound, sometimes wolf-like behavior is not easily recognizable. For example, up until 1987 televangelist Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye were living the life of extravagance. The way they told it, prosperity was a gift from God, and He had blessed them with an army of followers and immense personal fortunes. Everything seemed to be going perfectly until it all came crashing down as rumors of misconduct, extramarital affairs, and financial improprieties became public. In total, the Bakkers and their empire went through $158 million of their ministry's donations. In his book of self-confession, "I Was Wrong," Jim Bakker admitted squandering church money on luxury cars and six mansions. Ultimately a jury found Bakker guilty on 24 counts of various illegal acts, and he received a 45-year sentence along with a $500,000 fine. Beware of wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.
Questions to Ponder:It's pretty clear the Bakkers broke a whole lot of this country's laws, and paid the price as a result. During the course of their ministry, there was evidence it was going off course. The question: Were the people who got hurt paying attention to the words and lifestyle of Jim Bakker or to the words and example of our Lord Jesus Christ? Jim Bakker may be a changed man today, however somewhere toward the end of his ministry he became what was by Paul's definition a "wolf." What evidence existed at the time to warn the wary? Is there anyone (televangelist or other) who fits that profile today? How can you distinguish sheep and wolves today?