• Jon Forrest

Don't get Fleeced


The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Don’t Get Fleeced

Do you remember the old Looney Tunes cartoon with Ralph the wolf (who looked remarkably like Wiley Coyote) and Sam the sheep dog? It was a great cartoon. Every morning Ralph and Sam would meet at the time clock which was mounted on a tree. As they clocked in they would greet each other and then go to their respective departments.

Sam the sheep dog went to his post on the cliff and took his position as head of the sheep protection department. Ralph, true to his nature, would slink away into the forest to plan his strategy as head of the sheep acquisition and consumption department.

As the day wore on Sam sat patiently at his post with a protective eye looking over the flock as Ralph tried one scheme after another in hopes of making his quota of sheep for the day. However, no matter how hard he tried it seemed that poor Ralph’s plan was always thwarted by Sam at the last moment. Inevitably as the day drew to a close just before the whistle blew, Ralph would pull out all the stops and slip into his sheep costume and meander into the fold with the hope of finally catching his prey only to realize after his pray was in fact none other than Sam the sheep dog who had dressed himself up as a sheep in anticipation of Ralph’s scheme. Poor Ralph never caught a break.

Ralph’s sheep costume illustrates a tactic that is used by our enemy the devil. In Matthew 7:15 Jesus warns us that in similar fashion Satan will send ravenous wolves into the fold dressed in sheep’s clothing to catch the sheep unaware and snatch them away by false teaching. Satan will do whatever he can to destroy the flock. Therefore, it is imperative that we have discerning spirits so that we can discern the motives of those who are among us. One thing that makes a big difference for us is to be filled with Scripture because of continuous Bible reading and study.

We have been warned over and over in Scripture to prepare ourselves for the deceptive practices of the evil one. Paul warned the elders in Ephesus in Acts 20 that some wolves would rise up from among them so they needed to be watchful. Many of these wolves will show up in the form teachers who mislead the sheep through false doctrine.

Such false teaching can lead Christ followers into destructive paths. It can cause us to believe that fleshly lusts are spiritual or to think that we can work our way to salvation. These wolves often fleece the flock because their motives are financial gain rather than selfless service. Sometimes they will tell the flock what they want to hear instead of what the need to hear, even if it means separation from fellowship with God.

If we want to overcome, we must keep ourselves exposed to the Word of God and serious prayer. We must compare the words we receive from teachers to the Word of God. If we have trusted teachers, we can ask them about new ideas that have been presented by teachers who claim a new enlightenment from God. And, we must be suspicious of teachers who appear to be more concerned with financial and material blessings than with the spiritual. They have always been around and will always be in our world until Jesus comes. Put on the armor of God as taught in Ephesians 6 and discern the spirits as John tells us in the fourth chapter of his first letter. Paul often warns his followers to distrust people who teach a different gospel from the one he taught and that we obeyed when we came to Christ. Keep your eyes and ears open to God’s leading.

Make sure you don’t get fleeced.

This Sunday we will continue our study of Peter’s writings in a series we call Living Hope with a message titled Don’t Be Misled based on 2 Peter 2:1-22. I hope you will join us in the worship center of First Christian Church or on Facebook Live through the FCC Facebook page.

Keeping our hides,

Jon

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