HOW TO BECOME A ‘WOLF-PROOF’ CHRISTIAN
BY: BRENDA IMUS
KEY SCRIPTURES TO MEDITATE UPON:
Matt 7:13-15: 13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matt 7:21-23: 21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
2 Cor 11:3-4: 3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtly, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
For the past several years I’ve been much involved in the current renewal movement. Like many others, I’ve diligently sought to have ‘more’ of Jesus, and have been looking forward to a world-wide revival that is widely expected to occur as part of a great end-time harvest. I’ve sat under ministries that teach about the ‘manifest sons of God,’ powerfully anointed believers who are to be another hallmark of the times to come.
All of these things have greatly appealed to me. I’ve loved the excitement, the anticipation, the experience of sharing so much with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What I didn’t love was discovering that there is an increasing amount of escalating error creeping into the renewal movement – and that few people involved in this move, even if they are aware of the problems, are willing to address them or acknowledge their gravity. Eventually I discovered that much, if not most, of what I was becoming a part of was no less than following hard after the ‘doctrines of demons.’
Given all the warnings in Scriptures regarding conditions in the church at the end of the age, this shouldn’t have surprised me. That it did surprise me, says much about how far I’d strayed from being strongly and personally grounded in the Word of God. I’d been happily swimming around in shark-infested waters. Worse, I’d been urging others to ‘jump into the river’ along with me!
I’ve repented of those things, which were displeasing to the Lord, and asked Him to help sort out the good from the bad. For indeed, there is much good – otherwise sincere Christians would never be led astray. As usual, the Lord has brought redemption out of the situation, and I’ve been granted the privilege of sharing with others some of what He has taught me. And what I’ve learned is that it is high time for most of us to recheck our position with the Lord, to make certain that we’re as safely grounded as we think we are. For many are being – and will be – deceived.
1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Notice that this is such an important topic that Paul doesn’t say that he is the one delivering the message, but that the Spirit Himself is giving warning. Also, the Spirit doesn’t simply speak about these things, but speaks expressly, or specifically and with strong impression, about them. In other words, the Holy Spirit through Paul was saying that this event was something that we could most definitely expect in these latter times, and must be on guard against. For it isn’t unbelievers who will fall victim – but those who are prey will depart from the faith. What can this mean except that the seduction will shipwreck the faith of true Christian believers?
It’s interesting that the Holy Spirit Himself is testifying here. You’ll discover this is a relatively rare occurrence in Scripture. As a rule, the Holy Spirit doesn’t call attention to Himself, but rather draws our attention to Jesus Christ. But in this case it is the Spirit who speaks, because it is the Spirit Himself who has been given the job of leading and guiding us into all truth – and this is one truth that He wants to strongly impress upon His charges. We do well to heed Him.
Jesus also warned us about the state of the church at the end of the age, and the signs of His second coming to earth. Not once did He ever say we were to look for or expect a great, world-wide revival. Neither did He say that He would raise up many anointed teachers who would share increased revelation with the flock, and be workers of great miracles. On the contrary, what He said (in many different places and ways) was this:
Matt 24:23-26: 23] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25] Behold, I have told you before. 26] Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
II Thessalonians is equally clear on this matter:
II Th 2:3-4: 3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
II Th 2:9-12: 9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
A while back I agreed to speak at a local gathering of Christian women. Good women, obviously full of the love of God. I set aside a day to seek the Lord’s mind on this, and to my consternation, the only leading I had was a vague sense to share with these women an article I’d written regarding false prophets and spiritual deception. (It’s titled ‘Where Vultures Gather’ and can be accessed from the articles index page.) This seemed like rather a heavy message for a group of older, well-grounded Christian ladies. Not at all inspiring or uplifting. Besides this, it seemed like the article would hardly fill the time allotted for me to speak. So I was full of doubts – had I really heard the Lord correctly on this?
At the meeting hall the next morning I was greeted by a group of mature Christian women who fairly glowed with the love of God. My misgivings deepened, and I began to cast around in my mind for another topic that I might address. Better to be embarrassed and unprepared than to offend a number of the Lord’s precious sheep!
Shortly after I arrived a woman whom I recognize as possessing a genuine prophetic gift came up to speak with me.
“You know,” she said, “When we got this month’s newsletter saying that you were going to speak here this morning, I noted that it said you were going to speak on the subject of false prophets. I told my husband this morning that I just couldn’t wait to hear you – and took out the newsletter to show him what had been written. I was amazed to discover that no such thing was written in that newsletter at all!
“So I just thought I ought to tell you that for some reason the Lord has impressed it upon me that you are to speak on the subject of false prophets...”
I thanked her for giving me this reassurance, and hurried off to the ‘prayer closet’ (ladies room!) to spend a few quiet moments with the Lord. While in there, He suddenly and clearly impressed a Scripture on me:
Prov 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
For the first time, I immediately realized exactly what that Scripture meant. Suddenly one Scripture after another began to run through my mind, and I realized the Holy Spirit Himself (the Spirit speaks expressly) was giving me the body of the message that He had for that group of women. Though I didn’t entirely understand how the message would come together, I hurried back out to the meeting room, and wrote the Scriptures down as fast as they occurred to me:
Prov 23:1-3: 1] When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: 2] And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. 3] Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Matt 16:11-12: 11] How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12] Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
John 6:32-35: 32] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33] For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34] Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35] And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
When I rose to speak, I sensed the presence of the Lord in a very heavy way. This was not going to be a light, inspirational message. What I spoke on that morning–and what I finally understood is the only key we have guaranteeing our safety in the Lord – was not centered on the subject of false prophets at all. Rather, it centered on the person and character of Jesus Christ, and our need to go personally to Him to receive spiritual nourishment. Those of us who depend upon man to teach us about Jesus, to lead us into a greater anointing in Him, are going to be in deep trouble in the days ahead, because much of the spiritual food that is being dispensed through the churches these days truly is ‘deceitful meat.’ Unless we’re going to the Lord’s table ourselves, day by day and hour by hour, we’ll be so hungry for spiritual nourishment that we’ll eat anything that comes along, and no matter how bitter it actually may be, that food will seem sweet to our souls. We will eventually even come to crave it.
There will never come a time when we can trust our spiritual well-being to other men and women. To do so is the height of foolhardiness, as it tramples underfoot the very covenant that God has provided to us through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord. That covenant clearly spells out the conditions of our relationship with God:
Hbr 8:10-11: 10] For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11] And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12] For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
You see, our Lord laid down His very life, paid the penalty for our sin, so that we could have a personal, one-on-one relationship with God Almighty. Jesus Christ died so that God alone could be our primary teacher. When we insist upon going to others, to have them mediate our understanding of God, to accept their teachings as our primary source of spiritual nourishment… we are doing no less than sinning against the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. To do so leaves us wide open to deceiving spirits, and to following hard after the doctrines of demons. God wants to be our Teacher – if we will but go to Him and ask to be taught!
But we’re lazy. We don’t want to take the responsibility for ourselves. We want someone else – someone with the right ‘credentials’ and ‘recognition factor’ – to be in charge. Is this not the very mistake that the Israelites after the flesh made when they insisted upon having a king to rule over them, rather than allowing God Himself to be their King? Was this incident not portrayed to us as a warning?
1 Sam 8:5-7: 5] And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6] But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7] And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
So you see, when we refuse to go to the Lord ourselves for our spiritual ‘meat’, but rather trust in the teachings and doctrines of men – rely upon their understanding and interpretation of Scriptures, their spiritual revelations of Christ – we are in effect setting them up as our spiritual rulers, and rejecting the Kingship of God Almighty in our lives.
This is not to say that there is no room for spiritual teachers in the body of Christ. If I believed that, I would hang up my own keyboard! But what is important to understand is that our primary understanding of God must come as a result of going to His table on our own, and humbly asking Him to give us understanding and insight into His heart and mind. We must personally partake of Him. Then when we hear the teachings of others, they can be carefully weighed and measured against the clear picture we ourselves possess of the entire nature and character of Jesus Christ. This way, we need not fear being deceived – for indeed, it is that very fear that may cause us to spurn even the good things of God.
1Thes 5:20-21: 20] Despise not prophesyings. 21] Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
The morning that I spoke to those women, one of the things the Holy Spirit impressed upon me was the need to emphasize our need of daily devoted communion with God. We cannot depend upon the foundation that was laid early on in our Christian walk, nor even upon what the Lord revealed to us last month – or yesterday! God is always seeking to do a new thing, to give us increasing revelation into the nature of Jesus Christ. Old manna, no matter how good it is on the day it is gathered, grows wormy and moldy within a day or two. That which was food for our spirits yesterday cannot properly nourish us today. And so, we resist every temptation (and how we will be tempted to forego this!) and daily go to the table of God – in prayer, in study of the Word, and in quiet meditation. As we do these things, we actually partake of the very substance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By so doing, we will never become meat for wolves in sheep’s clothing, nor for vultures. Instead, we will be growing in an increasingly confident and steadfast walk with Jesus Christ, our personal Savior and glorious Lord and King!
Respectfully Submitted to the Church of Jesus Christ
WOLF=PROOF CHRISTIAN, HOW TO BECOME A [Brenda Imus] 1