Living Among the Wolves

Living Among the Wolves – Ron Graham – www.straitandnarrowministry.com

Throughout the Bible we read of shepherds and sheep. Both the Old and New Testaments tell of the Lord being the shepherd who watches over His sheep, and the sheep are those who trust Him and follow Him. A shepherd protects his sheep, provides food and water for them, and searches for them if they became lost. The sheep are precious to the shepherd and they trust him. As Christians, we know that our Lord Jesus is our Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14. I don’t know about you but that verse gives me comfort. He is our shepherd and we shall not want for anything. Yes, we are in His protection, but there are wolves all around us waiting to harm us if we stray. Strange as it may seem, our Shepherd sends us out among the wolves. “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:3. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and said these words to His disciples. He sent them out before Him to the cities He would pass through on His way to Jerusalem. They were to tell people that Jesus was coming. Today, we are His disciples and He sends us among the wolves to give that same message. Jesus is coming and the lost wolves of this world need to hear that truth.

Who are the wolves? They are Satan’s followers… all unbelievers. Does that sound harsh? Does it sound as if I believe that non-Christians are on a wide path that leads to destruction? I do. You must understand what Jesus Himself tells us about unbelievers. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me schattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30. Who is against Jesus? Satan. So if you’re not with Jesus then you’re with Satan. That is bad company to be in. These wolves are everywhere. They are in our schools where the Bible is not welcome. They are news reporters who slant opinions to serve Satan and have us accept ungodly lifestyles. They are preachers who preach politically correct sermons in order to not offend the wolves in the pews but they don’t feed the sheep. The wolves are everywhere.

Believers, the sheep who hear and heed our Shepherds voice, are a target for the wolves of the enemy. Satan places a bull’s eye on those who are actually upholding God’s inerrant word and preaching the Gospel. He then directs his wolves to attack and destroy those targets. This satanic attack will become fiercer until Jesus removes His Ekklesia from planet earth. If you are one of those who actively follow Jesus’ command to spread the Gospel, you are currently wearing that target everywhere you go. Watch out for the wolves and don’t be devoured.

Quite often the wolves may look gentle and harmless. A sheep may even be tempted to join with the pack because they seem kind and not to be feared. We do have to live among the wolves, but we aren’t to join them. Partnerships, friendships, and marriage need to be between Christians. In most cases if a Christian chooses to join together with a nonbeliever, it is the Christian who will be expected to compromise their faith rather than the nonbeliever compromising their lack of faith. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14. Paul hit the nail on the head with that statement.

In order to avoid being devoured by the wolves, Christians need to know the voice of the Good Shepherd. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27. How do we hear His voice? We need to read and study our Bible and take God’s word seriously. The words we read need to be applied to our life. The closer our walk with Jesus, the safer we are from the wolves. We won’t be led astray. King David, who was a shepherd himself, cried out to God “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. Is that your plea to the Lord? Do you want to be right before the Lord? Study His word to know His ways. The more you read God’s word and apply it to your life, the easier it is to hear the Holy Spirit. He will help you to become bolder with sharing the Gospel with the wolves. By drawing closer to our Good Shepherd and living your life according to His ways you may just convince a wolf to become a sheep.

It may not be easy to stand firm on God’s word. Those who are lost wolves will hate us. Jesus said they would. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18-19. It is hard to understand why anyone would hate Jesus, but we are His and the world hates us too because we remind them of their sin. Remember that God hasn’t changed. He still views sin as sin, no matter what the wolves would have us believe. The world tries to make it seem as if Christians are wrong to stand against same sex marriage, abortion, and other sins that God abhors. We become the target of hate because our very presence reminds those who reject Christ that sin is wrong. Let me be very clear…we are not to hate sinners. In fact we all sin, but Christians understand that Christ paid a huge price for our salvation. We must not compromise our knowledge of God’s view of sin and His sacrifice on the cross in order to allow someone who is dying in their sin to feel good about it.

Christians are tempted to sin just like the lost wolves are. We know we are not to yield to temptation and if we are only listening to our Shepherds voice we will not be led astray; we won’t listen to those who would take us from the protection of the Good Shepherd. “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.” John 10:7-8. We belong to Jesus Christ and are His sheep. We are not Satan’s wolves. Believers in Christ are attentive only to our Lord’s voice and we follow Him and Him alone. We became the property of Jesus Christ at our conversion and we need to live our faith as we walk among the wolves. Our life needs to reflect Jesus instead of reflecting the worldly ways of the lost around us.

Satan’s agenda is to silence the body of Christ. Without men who are under his control, Satan could not move even one inch forward. He hates Christians and seems to be winning this spiritual war that rages around us. Why is it that if a wolf is offended by a Christian, it is the Christian who must keep quiet? If one wolf is offended by the phrase “Merry Christmas” the sheep have to put up with “Happy Holidays”. Christians need to stop being ashamed of Christ and not be silenced. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. We may have to live among the wolves, but we don’t have to live like them. Brethren, study God’s word then start living like you are not ashamed of Him.

We need to be wary of those who claim to be Christians but have not truly accepted Christ. They are also wolves. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. A person may claim to be a Christian but that doesn’t mean they are born again. You might want to take a moment and examine your own walk with Jesus. Do you serve Him and Him alone, or are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing? “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4. You can say “I’m a Christian” but if you don’t keep His commandments you need to make some changes. Study His word and see what His commandments are, then pray and make the necessary changes in your life and attitudes. Don’t live with one foot in the world and think it is just fine with God. You can be sure that there will be a wolf there waiting to devour you.

Satan’s wolves are all around us, but as Christians our faith is in Jesus. He is our Shepherd and He alone can save us from the wolves. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. If we have accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation, when we die we will not have to live among the wolves anymore. What a blessed day that will be. Until then we need to stay close to our Shepherd. Don’t live with a question mark regarding your salvation. If you have any doubt, resolve it now. There is a wolf waiting to discourage you and move you away from the protection of the Good Shepherd. Place your life in Christ’s hands and live for Him now. If you do, you will live forever with Him in eternity.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
www.straitandnarrowministry.com
ron@straitandnarrowministry.com
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All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham

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The Church? Irrelevant!

THE CHURCH? IRRELEVANT!
07/14/20133 Comments

by Mike Taylor

Matthew
5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

In recent polls, it is reported that the modern church comprised over 75% of the population who call themselves Christians. Of those 75% the poll shows that 43% of those people attend a church somewhere, every weekend. But if you look at the societal conditions of the current century that we are in, they are the most impotent, insignificant, and irrelevant group of people to influence the direction of this society in all our history.

Think about it. We are talking of upwards of 159 million people who attend church in this country. That is a significant bloc of people that would make the ACLU or the AFL-CIO unions envious of their numbers and would give them untold power to control the social structure of this country. Each of these aforementioned groups are a minority of individual members that comprise only about 11% for all unions and about 1/2 million members of the ACLU. Then why is the American society and our country going to the proverbial “hell in a hand basket” when we have a lop-side majority?

There is no mistaking that prior, during and after the American revolution that the church of God fearing men and women had a vast amount of influence over the direction of this country. But in the last half of the 20th Century, since WW2, that influence grew silent. How can we see it any other way when God was kicked out of our schools, and we stood silent? What did we do when abortion laws of Roe V. Wade was enacted and passed into law during the 1970s? Did men and women, pastors and clergymen stand up and voice their opposition? Do we stand unified in our opposition to homosexual unions of marriage and gay lobby agenda that God calls an abomination or have we stood silent? Do we stand for the back bone of our country, the family of one man, one woman united to produce Godly children? You know the answer to those question as we would not be in the societal mess we are in today if they were not true in the negative.

The modern churches have been whipped into submission and have become irrelevant. Now the church continues to stand silent, deaf and mute when the police state threatens to turn this country into a godless Socialist state. When compared to our beginnings of a republic founded on the Ten Commandments and Godly principles what influence does the church have today? Again zip, nada, zilch, nothing is all that can be stated with any truth to it.

We had a resurgence in the 1980s for a short period of time, where the Religious right, the Moral Majority stood up, or whatever you want to call it, were in the political arena, but where are they today?. I would tell you they are comatose, beyond comatose, as they are clinically dead. Further our churches today are spiritually dead. Our Christian universities are dead. Our Sunday schools to teach our children are dead. Denominations of every stripe are dead. They have become entertainment centers, social clubs, and employ pastors that wish not to offend. They build bigger and better churches, larger gymnasiums, coffee shops and shopping malls so in their minds they can draw the masses for a “feel good time” while giving messages of self improvement, purpose driven lives, entertainment and ignore hell fire and brimstone messages of judgment, repentance and salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh, no, that would offend.

II Timothy,
4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

America’s pastors, these wolves in sheep’s clothing, have fleeced the flock, and they have become irrelevant to address the societal concerns of our days. In America, we are talking about a nation in which citizens (including Christians) are able to lobby, redress government, protest, rally, organize opposition, speak, vote, form PACs, march, petition, etc. Christians are as free to influence their societies and governments as are any other group of people in the United States. It is not like we have no voice, but it’s like we have become complacent, deaf, dumb and mute.

And who is to blame? I tell you, it’s the pastors of these churches who teach a feel good gospel that Paul warned that if they preach anything once delivered to the saints of the church of Galatia (Galatians 1:8-9) let them be accursed. Do they speak the truth? Do they stand for righteousness? Do they stand in the gap when government enacts laws contrary to the Word of God? I tell you they do not.

They have been whipped into silence by the government that gives them tax breaks or they wish to not offend their congregation, so they speak soft words that does not offend anyone about their sinful condition, or their need to stand for righteousness in a nation that is going to the dogs. I have warned of teachers of the “Word of Faith”, “name and claim it” crowd who preach a Prosperity Gospel who look for a kingdom on earth, that will get better and better, and they grow richer and richer, but they are only a subset of the cancer that grows in our modern church pulpits that must bear the brunt of the blame for the failure to influence society in Jesus Name. The symptoms are wide and they are perverse.

ARE IN FOR A RUDE AWAKENING?

In other lands, the “true church” is growing underground. They have restrictions over influencing society or politics by a government that is persecuting them in Communist China, or Russia and they prevent any uprising or revolution by eliminated their ability to mount a revolt by removing the ability to bear arms. They have removed all individual right to ownership of guns. Does this sound familiar? Christians in persecuted lands are not enamored with entertainment, recreation, and irrelevant Bible exposition. You don’t have to bring in some big-name rock band to entice them to fellowship. You don’t have to give their teenagers the afore mentioned big gymnasiums. You don’t have to give those young adults coffee shops and espresso machines. You don’t have to shy away from criticisms of tyrannical government. And you certainly are not going to score any points with your fallacious “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” interpretation of Romans 13. Unfortunately, sometimes the church must be oppressed to return to the teachings of the bible, much like these citizens of Communist countries have been oppressed and persecuted, so I pray for the USA and it’s citizens to wake up, as the Nazi like atmosphere could come to these lands, as it did in Germany.

LET US RETURN BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

We must return to the mind set of the 19th Century when Charles Finney said these words, “Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians (and citizens) must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation are becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics.”

Finney also said, “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

Let me ask you something. If you preach and teach the stories of the Bible concerning Daniel and the lions den, or the three Hebrew children and the fiery furnace, or say, the life and example of Jesus Christ and not apply it to your everyday life around you, what good is it? They just become stories that have no effect on your life, or your society at large.

What good does it do to preach expository messages on the Bible if one does not make those messages relevant to the times and circumstances in which we live? Yet, ear-tickling, entertainment, and irrelevant exposition seem to be what the modern church in America excels in. The result: ineffective, impotent, weak, unprepared, and sheepish Christians. That’s what we have become….irrelevant. If you look around at your church members, you see businessman who would steal from their grandmother. There is no difference in them from the secular world who do the same. Deacons and church officers caught in lies and cowardly deeds that are the same in the unbelieving world. So called Christians chasing the neighbor’s wife or lusting after the latest luxury. How can you expect the world to change when the so called “church” does the same?

What good has it done with all the youth groups, prophecy forums, and expositions on Eschatology that argue it’s nuances to ad nauseum while we play, party, prance, dance, philosophy and pontificate and a fire has been burning down the foundations of this country and we lift not a finger to fetch a bail of water to put the fire out?

ARE WE IN THE RUN UP TO THE TRIBULATION?

There is coming a time, and it may have already started, when “the rain will fall on the just and the unjust”. (Matt. 5:45). When the ship of state crashes on the rocks of tyranny, Christian and non-Christian will be affected equally. When our economy crashes and goes down in flames because of society that has grown evil and the church stays silent, then Christian and non-Christian will be equally affected.

Truly did the Lord Jesus say, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13).

In ancient times and even during the beginnings of this country, salt was used to preserve, to prevent spoilage, and to retard rot and ruin. But when Christians loose their saltiness they open themselves to oppression and tyranny. They are good for nothing, accept to “be trodden under the foot of men” Can you say, Seig Heil” of Hitler’s Germany? Unfortunately, pastors of this nation have become “good for nothing” by a large majority as the pastors are suppose to protect the saltiness of the saints to preserve the nation. We have all but become rotten in our core beliefs of this nation and I tell you, judgment is coming. We have been warned for many years now, as the prophets of old to the likes of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel warned Israel, we have BEEN WARNED.

There is an event that all of us long for and I believe it is coming soon. An event when the true believing church will be removed from this earth. Then those who have filled the walls of big modern churches will look around and see people missing. They will hear news flashing from all over the world that a cataclysmic event has happened. What I pray for is a army of God before that day happens, will arise and speak God’s truth. Much like Gideon who God whittled down his army of 30 thousand down to 300 of God fearing men who took the fight to the enemy and defeated them. That’s what I pray for that God will use whatever means to bring Godly men to the forefront to speak to the truth of our times, to boldly go where others fear to tread. An army of black robed regiment of pastors who fear no one but God. Only problem may be, is they will be part of the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel who will finally speak the truth without fear. Too late for America is what I expect, but I can pray God’s mercy to reach even some of those asleep at the present in this country.

The great Christian patriot and “Father of the American Revolution,” Sam Adams, said, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in the people’s minds.” That is what we need. We need brush fires before this nation is destroyed. Will you who reads this, take that charge? Pastor, will you take the mantle and wear that black robe and become part of the regiment to spread the truth of God’s Word? Have you been tickling the ears of your congregation? If you have, if you be found in the faith, take that oath from this day forward, you will speak only God’s truth no matter who it may offend. Christian in heart, but not in deeds, make that pledge you will NOT continue in your La-La land of ear itching, feel good messages, but will find a church, a pastor, a bible believing group of like minded Christians in a church or in a living room, “so help you our God”. Will you vote in any remaining election for only God fearing men, and throw the other bums out? If not, I speak to you both, may God have mercy on you, and this country. You’re going to need it.

This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying God builds a fire in your soul. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, or visit me online at www.churchofgod-usa.org. God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.