Watch Out For Wolves and That You Do Not Become One

“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it.  But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves.  You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles?  In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit.  Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.

 “Not everybody who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter.
-Matt. 7:13-21 (CEB)

Jesus says to watch out for wolves, that are dressed like sheep.  Everyone, with their natural eyes, can spot a wolf.  Jesus tells us that the wolves that he wants us to be concerned about look like sheep.

Wolves prey on sheep.  Wolves are completely dangerous to sheep.  That is why Jesus says they are vicious.  They are not 'friendlies', but are 'enemies' of sheep.

Jesus warns us about certain people he calls false prophets, who look one way that is good, but really are another way, that is not good.  Who they are is destructive.  And what is insidious, is that they pretend to be sheep, but inside, they are destructive - sheep destroyers.

On the surface, they look like sheep, but upon deeper examination, we find out that they are wolves dressed as sheep.  In other words, frauds or fakes.  A great danger for the Christian is, 'faking it to make it'.  That is a way of the world that is not the way of the kingdom or of the disciple.

The context of Jesus' warning, tells us a lot about what he means.  We will misunderstand him, if we imagine he is talking about a person who advertises themselves as a prophet, but are not of God.  Jesus' perspective is that the whole people of God is prophetic and there are many prophets (Matt. 23:34).

A false prophet, according to Jesus, is more that just a person who predicts something that does not come true.  A false prophet is someone who's life is not true.  They have not gone through the narrow gate, nor are they on the narrow path.

Some Christians have not entered through that narrow gate, and are not walking the narrow path.  We say we are Christians, and only God can judge if we are.

Jesus tells us not to judge (Matt. 7:1), but here he says, "watch out", for this certain kind of people that will come to us.  Watching out is serious stuff, but it is different than condemning.  We are all called to be watchers.  There is a warning to be heeded, and if Jesus said it, then it is a very serious warning.

We can see, by the context. that these people, that Jesus identifies as wolves, who are false prophets, are people who are not obeying Jesus, in their hearts.  They have refused the narrow gate and they have bad fruit:
  • Go through the narrow gate, that leads to life.
  • A mark of the narrow gate is that is is hard and painful.
  • (That means dying of self, and letting resurrection life happen).
  • Watch out for false prophets that look like sheep, but are really wolves.
  • You will know who the wolves are by their fruit.
  • Yes, they bear fruit, but it is bad fruit.
  • God will judge the trees (people) who bear bad fruit.
  • Jesus has given you the ability to know these folks by observing their fruit.
  • It is not about what you say, but about what you do (the narrow gate).
Being a Christian, means that Christ has you at your core.  He rules how you live.  You are rooted in him.  It is not just about how you look and what you say, but what you do.  

And the Christian life is about becoming Christlike.  It is not about appearances.  Many people know the words, the verses, and even the right message of the gospel.  But, they themselves, refuse to live it out (through the narrow-way-life).

I believe that many of these (wolf) people do not even know they are wolves.  There is self-deception, they are mislead or deceived.  Most, if not all, deceivers are themselves deceived by the deceiver (John 8:44).

That does not make deception ok.  We need to expose darkness (Eph. 5:11, Matt. 5:13, 2 Cor. 4:6).  In our koinonia fellowship, our goal is agape love.  How do we, 'watch out', and 'judge not'?  Ephesians 4:15, admonishes us to, "speak the truth in love", to tricky, cunning, deceitful, scheming people; who do show up among us (Eph. 4:14).  Love here, is key.  If we can not say it in love, then we should not say it.

Jesus says that we will know them by their bad fruit.  Bad fruit can look good, but is is not so good on the inside.  With an eye on context, what does Jesus say that good fruit looks like?  Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his book - Studies In the Sermon On The Mount, advises us to look at the Beatitudes, the fruit of the Spirit, and finally and ultimately, humility, in the person's life (p. 258-9, 1993 ed.).
“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
“Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.
“Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
“Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you. -Matt. 5:4-12 (CEB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. -Gal. 5:22-4 (CEB)
Jones also wrote about what the Puritans called 'temporary believers', who are people who say they have been saved, but do not keep on the path.

Wolf people, hiding as sheep, are ravenous.  The false person is destructive.  This is why Jesus says to watch out.  Henry Cloud talks about wise, foolish, and evil people; as being three categories that people are in.  I think this is helpful.

We want to be on the wisdom track.  But many people are on the foolish track.  I think that wolves in sheep's clothing can be foolish or evil people.  The fool does it 'their way' and wants to avoid the light.  When the light shines on them, they want the light turned down or off.  Wise people yield to the light and let it expose them and want to be transformed.  Disciples are in a transformation process.