by Shawn Brasseaux
Today is Halloween, a time when children dress up and feign themselves to be all sorts of characters. In this Bible study, we will discover the adage—“Looks can be deceiving”—is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom. There are many church leaders today who wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. They appear to be good, but upon close examination, the Bible manifests them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Beloved, we need to be on guard regarding such individuals, and as the Bible instructs, it would be in our best interest to avoid them and their worthless teaching.
* * *
In Matthew 13:24-30 KJV our Lord Jesus Christ put forth a parable to His disciples:
“24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Let us jump down to verses 36-43 for the explanation:
“36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Tares are weeds, and they closely resemble wheat: it is very difficult to distinguish between the two. In this parable, Jesus is explaining that just as He has planted the nation Israel and believers (wheat) are sprouting, Satan has also sown his own “crops” (tares/weeds). Satan has Jews that appear godly, but they are actually anti-Christ; they reject God and His plan for their lives. It is very hard to discern a believing Jew from an unbelieving Jew. The only time they will be separated is when angels at Christ’s Second Coming gather them.
Who are some of these tares? Take, for example, Judas Iscariot. He appeared godly, just like the other 11 apostles of Christ. Three years passed before Judas was exposed as the very man to betray Christ. For three years Judas played the hypocrite, and even the apostles did not figure him out until it was too late!
Another example of those tares Satan sowed within Israel was her apostate religious leaders. Jesus Christ talked about how they—despite their godly appearance—were wicked. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).
But, Satan’s counterfeit believers are not isolated to Israel’s program. In fact, the Apostle Paul warned the church leaders of Ephesus to be vigilant concerning false teachers. Paul admonished them, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:28,29 KJV).
They need to be on guard, for false teachers will come in and spiritually devour these Christian leaders and their local assemblies. Satan’s ministers, denominationalists/religionists/legalists, will devastate the spiritual health of God’s people. They will come in from the outside world, and infiltrate the church with heresy so Christians become ineffective. Just as Israel’s corrupt religious leaders had led Israel astray, church leaders would enter the local assemblies of the Church the Body of Christ, and deceive and seduce them too. Satan’s modus operandi had not changed!
But, Paul continued in the subsequent verse, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (verse 30). Not only will people outside the local church come in and deceive, there will be false teachers within the church (already doing the damage subtly and hypocritically). They claim “Jesus is Lord,” they talk about God’s love and grace, and some will even go so far as to agree with us by teaching the special ministry and gospel committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust. But, when you read the King James Bible for yourself, and compare their teaching to it, you realize that their ministry confirms Paul’s prediction.
“With tears,” Paul warned the Ephesians for three years about false teaching (Acts 20:31). By the end of Paul’s ministry, several years after that warning in Acts chapter 20, Ephesus and the rest of Asia (Turkey) went into apostasy. Paul wrote to Timothy, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15 KJV). To what teaching did they fall prey? Legalism, Israel’s Law-keeping program of works for salvation (1 Timothy 1:3-11)! They want you to ignore God’s grace to us in Christ by having you perform in religion. This is wickedness, for they have you deny the sufficiency of Christ’s finished crosswork!
The Apostle Paul cautioned us in 1 Timothy 4:1-8,13-16 KJV regarding false teaching:
“1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly [clearly], that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come….
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
We are to save ourselves from false teaching (verse 16)—we are to continue paying attention to “reading,” “exhortation [urging, encouraging],” and “doctrine.” Doctrine is important, so it does matter where we go to church and what preacher/teacher we sit under. Dear saints, how we would STRONGLY URGE you to be very careful about what preacher, ministry, and/or church you follow. “Many corrupt the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV). God’s Word again reminds us about the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV:
“13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be following them.