Shoot the Wolves

Shoot the Wolves

Wolves are heretics, false teachers, and, generally speaking, anyone who ravages the flock and feasts on the sheep. In addition to calling them wolves Ezekiel 22:27-28, Zephaniah 3:3, Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16, Luke 10:3 

Acts 20:29, the Bible also calls them dogs and evildoers, empty and deceitful (Colossians 2:8), puffed up without reason (Colossians 2:18), given to mythical speculation and vanity without understanding (1 Timothy 1:3–7), products of a shipwrecked faith (1 Timothy 1:19), demonic liars with a seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:1–2), peddlers of silly myths (1 Timothy 4:7), arrogant fools with depraved minds (1 Timothy 6:3–5), the spiritual equivalent of gangrene (2 Timothy 2:14–18), foolish and ignorant (2 Timothy 2:23), chatty deceivers (Titus 1:10–14), destructive blasphemers (2 Peter 2:1–3), ignorantly unstable (2 Peter 3:16), and antichrists (1 John 2:18). The Bible does not call wolves best-selling authors, bishops, TV Evangelist, Mega- Church pastors, Popes, though the wolves commonly prefer to use those names on their business cards.

Jesus shoots the wolves. Some of you get very frustrated because you want everyone to be treated like sheep, but the problem is most people are acting like wolves. We are supposed to love the sheep and shoot the wolves because we love the sheep. A wolf who cries is still a wolf.

Consider the following example from the New Testament:

Colossians 2:8 – (NLT)8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15(NLT)4 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. Scripture tells us that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” it means that Satan capitalizes on our love of the light in order to deceive. He wants us to think that he is good, truthful, loving, and powerful – all the things that God is. To portray himself as a dark, devilish being with horns would not be very appealing to the majority of people. Most people are not drawn to darkness, but to light. Therefore, Satan appears as a creature of light to draw us to himself and his lies. Satan presents sin to us as something pleasing and beautiful to be desired, and he presents false teaching as enlightening and life-changing. Millions follow his pied piper songs simply because they do not know God’s truth.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NLT)Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 (ESV) “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

Many times when those who stand firm in God’s Word as truth and call out false teachers they are told they have a critical or judgmental spirit, it is because we have stepped on the tender toes of a false teacher that is teaching the opposite of what biblical Christianity teaches. We are told that they are humble people with good hearts, and we need to stop bashing them.

May I suggest that these well-meaning scolders and followers of false doctrines  are possibly venting at the wrong people? The real dividers in the Church can be found throughout scripture.
Romans 16:17-18(HCSB)17 Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, 18 for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites.They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

Many have bought into the truth-be-damned, politically-correct view that it is disgusting and divisive to hold up unsound teaching to the sound teaching of Scripture. But in doing so, these well-meaning folks who yearn for unity are hanging up a neon welcome sign for all sorts of doctrines of demons.

Liberal Christians continue to lift up those who have departed from truth because they want to be seen as loving, and they want the rest of us to pipe down in front of those who do not know or care to know Christ. As if somehow the warnings about wolves from those faithfully contending will chase the unsaved away from the salvation that was just about within their grasp – but we ruined it. As if false teaching will save them anyway.

The Bible is clear that we are not to treat wolves in the same way that we treat sheep. The great Protestant Reformer Martin Luther said it well: “With the wolves you cannot be too severe; with the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle”. Luther also said, A preacher must not only feed the sheep so as to instruct them how they are to be good Christians, but he must also keep the wolves from attacking the sheep and leading them astray with false doctrine and error; for the devil is never idle. Nowadays there are many people who are quite ready to tolerate our preaching of the Gospel as long as we do not cry out against the wolves and preach against the false doctrines or false teachers. But though I preach the truth, feed the sheep well, and give them good instruction, this is still not enough unless the sheep are also guarded and protected so that the wolves do not come and carry them off.

Sheep are to be kind to sheep. Shepherds are to be kind to sheep. But if a shepherd is kind to wolves, that is just another way to let them ravage the sheep. Kindness to sheep is hostility to wolves. Kindness to wolves is hostility to sheep. All attempts to get the wolves and sheep together for some kind of all together universal non denominational lovefest will only result in fat, contented wolves.

Jesus himself was known to shoot the wolves. He sends the most bullets flying in Matthew 23 — the equivalent of a gunfight between him and some of the most devoutly religious people in his day. They started off fighting for the Bible but wound up fighting for religious ideas not founded on the Bible. Jesus says “Woe to you” 8 times then ends with “Snakes, Brood of Vipers”
Commenting on Matthew 23, D.A. Carson says:

Jesus now goes on the offensive, and “offensive” is not too strong a word for much of the language he uses. . . . It shows Jesus as a fierce controversialist, quite willing to make enemies when the cause demanded it. The target was the scribes (teachers of the law, a class of professional interpreters of Scriptures and of rabbinic tradition), and the Pharisees, a religious “party” to which most scribes belonged, and which was devoted to scrupulous observance of the full range of rabbinic legislation. They were, generally speaking, earnest, moral people, and Jesus’ attack here seems to many harsh and unfair. But his concern was not so much with their performance as individuals, but with the system of religious observance which they upheld. In insisting on a huge and growing corpus of rules and regulations, they were in danger of ignoring inner attitudes and motives and of putting adherence to the system before the will of God. (Carson, “Matthew 23:1,” New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, [InterVarsity, 1994])

Standing in line with the Old Testament prophets, in Matthew 23 Jesus pronounces seven woes on the wolves. The language of “woe” was a public, passionate declaration, with some of the guilty present for his proclamation of displeasure, grief, judgment, and righteous anger. Jesus’ words are a devastating series of shots at the wolves in front of the sheep:

Matthew 23:3–33(HCSB)3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up the kingdom of heaven from people. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.

14 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.]

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath.’ 17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold? 18 Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’ 19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. 21 The one who takes an oath by the sanctuary takes an oath by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by Him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 You, therefore, testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ sins!

33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?

This harsh language was undoubtedly very shocking to a bunch of guys who spent their lives studying and memorizing the Old Testament. They had really prayed about it and did not agree that their inner child needed such a spanking, If Jesus did that today all the social media sites would say “ Jesus needed to take some meds and a meeting with Dr. Phil because he was angry and not loving”

These are people that have memorized the entire Pentateuch. Didn’t Jesus tell us not to call people fools? He did. We should call fools fools. That takes discernment.

Our speech should not be judged by the standards of “American politeness, politically correct tolerance, or Pansy Niceianity.”

When he shoots the wolves, a shepherd is not only protecting the sheep but also evangelizing non-Christians. Jesus shot the wolves publicly in front of a crowd. In that crowd would have been an assortment of wolves, sheep, and lost people. By calling the religious people to repent of their proud, hypocritical, unbiblical, unloving, legalistic, and self-righteous religion, he was demonstrating the fact that God, as Paul says in Acts 17:30(HCSB)30 “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, For repentance to occur, sinners must be called to repent of their sins, and religious people need to be called to repent of their religion.

Sadly, most gospel preaching is only half true because it calls only the “sinners” to repent of their sin. Porn addicts, fornicators, adulterers, perverts, liars, thieves, and the like are called to repent of their sin.

This is quite good. However, what is often lacking in gospel preaching is an equally passionate call for the smug holier-than-thou religious types to get off their high horse (Jesus called it “Moses’ seat” in Matthew 23) and repent of their religion that is simply another kind of sin.

When the example of Jesus in Matthew 23 is not followed, the result is that sinners just think Christians are mean-spirited, self-righteous, religious prudes who want them to become religious too; The smug religious types cheer on the preaching-to-the-choir preachers who lather the wolves into a frenzy, shouting about how the wicked people outside their church are kindling for the flames of hell. True gospel preaching will not divide people into sinners and righteous, but rather into repentant and unrepentant, with both unrepentant sinners and religious wolves wanting to silence the shepherd and ravage his repentant flock.

We see wolves being shot elsewhere in the New Testament. Paul admonished the Judaizers in Galatia, who thought they were holy because they were circumcised a bit, to go all out and cut the whole thing off. This literally would have meant that these wolves would no longer be accepted as Jews, and not only cut off physically but also cut off spiritually from temple worship. Paul says:

Galatians 5:11–14(HCSB)11 Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!

13 For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.

People love to prooftext verses, and they don’t read the context. The guy (Paul)who said “love one another” prefaced it by saying “cut your thing off.”

Paul even names people sometimes who are false teachers. He is saying,”Don’t read their books, go to their conferences, don’t watch them on TV, etc.”

How curious it is that sheep and wolves alike are prone to quote the latter half of this section of God’s Word and argue that we should be loving, as Jesus taught, while conveniently ignoring the part about cutting ones manhood off. Indeed, when the Bible says we need to be loving, we need to read the verses around those words to see how the Bible also exemplifies how to be loving to God, sheep, lost people, and wolves. Apparently, in some cases telling religious wolves to castrate themselves is loving.

Not only does the Word of God record the shooting of packs of wolves, such as Pharisees and Judaizers, but it also names individual wolves to be shot. It is ok at times to call out the names of the wolves as to warn the sheep. Paul says,
1 Timothy 1:19–20(HCSB) having faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and have suffered the shipwreck of their faith. 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them, and I have delivered them to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme. Later he speaks of “Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth”
2 Timothy 2:17–18(HCSB)17 And their word will spread like gangrene; Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them. 18 They have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are overturning the faith of some. and how “Alexander the coppersmith did [him] great harm” 2 Timothy 4:14(HCSB).

Outside of Scripture, one of the most legendary wolf hunters in the history of the church is Martin Luther. He was a good shot with bad popes. Like the Old Testament prophets,Jesus and Paul, Luther used colorful language in order to repulse readers and make them see how vile apostasy and sin really are. Gordon Rupp writes that, for Luther, “blasphemy and apostasy are not simply evil: they are filthy things, which must be described in language coarse enough and repulsive enough to nauseate the reader” (E. Gordon Rupp, Righteousness of God: Luther Studies.

Luther defended his usage of colorful and incisive speech as being both Christlike and apostolic. Luther writes:

It is true, I have, by and large, sharply inveighed against ungodly doctrines and have not been slow to bite my adversaries, not because of their bad morals but because of their ungodliness. Of this I am so unrepentant that I have resolved to continue in this burning zeal and to despise the judgment of men, after the example of Christ, who in His zeal called His adversaries a generation of vipers, blind, hypocrites, children of the devil.
John 8:44(HCSB)44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. And Paul calls the sorcerer a child of the devil full of all deceit and all fraud.

Acts 13:10(HCSB)10 and said, “You son of the Devil, full of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness! Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? and some false apostles he calls dogs, deceivers, and adulterers of the Word (Philippians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 11:13(HCSB)13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
If the modern day sensitive ears had heard this, they would probably say that no one could be more biting and intolerant than Paul. Who is more biting than the prophets? But nowadays, of course, our ears are made so sensitive by the mad multitude of flatterers that as soon as we find that we are not praised in all things, we cry out that people are vicious; and when we cannot ward off the truth under any other appearance, we escape from it under the pretext of the irritable, impatience, and immoderateness of its defenders. What good does salt do if it does not bite? What good does the edge of the sword do if it does not cut? Cursed be the man who does the work of the Lord deceitfully! (Luther, What Luther Says, 1057)

Luther never denied that his strong attacks were forceful, passionate and intense. Luther defended his colorful language by appealing to the fact that God’s Word was being attacked viciously by wolves.

Luther reserved some of his strongest and most colorful language for his theological opponents. One such opponent was Erasmus of Rotterdam. “Erasmus of Rotterdam is the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth. Shame upon thee, accursed wretch! Whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus.” Erasmus was the chief translator of the KJV.

For modern ears finely tuned to prefer only tender tones, the words of Luther are perhaps quickly dismissed as the rants of an angry man, as if all anger is bad and less civilized than passive aggression, deep-breathing exercises, gossip and backbiting. The truth is that sometimes Luther’s public speech was fueled by intense anger. Martin Luther, the man who, outside of Scripture, elevated shooting wolves into an art form. Some of you would judge Luther and say he was too hotheaded. Well, we got the Reformation out of it.

Luther said that he has “not been hesitant to bite his adversaries….What good does salt do if it does not bite? What good does the sword do if it will not cut?”

We are told that our speech is to be seasoned with salt

Colossians 4:6(HSCB)6 Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.. You know what salt is? Salty.

What do you think of Christ? Was He abusive when He called the Jews an adulterous and perverse generation, an offspring of vipers, hypocrites, and children of the devil? Paul, too, speaks of dogs, vain babblers, seducers, unlearned. In Acts 13:10 he rages against a false prophet in such a way that he might seem to be insane. He says: “ and said, “You son of the Devil, full of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness! Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord?” Why does he not rather flatter this fellow in order to convert him instead of insulting him in such a way? The truth, which one is conscious of possessing, cannot be patient against its stubborn and uncontrollable enemies.

Ecclesiastes 3:8(ESV) rightly says that there is also “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

Discernment is knowing what time it is. Courage is doing what the time requires. While not every church needs a Martin Luther, more than a handful of denominations could use a good shooter, because the wolves have the sheep praying to the demon gods of other religions while encouraging the rams to have sex with the rams and the ewes to have sex with the ewes.

Galatians 4:16(NLT)16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?

These are false teachers. Martin Luther says, “With the wolves you cannot be too severe. With the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle.” My point is that many of us have become worldly, thinking that you only say certain words. Worldliness is not having courage or speaking truthfully. We worship a guy who got murdered. The cross is an offense, and if we don’t speak of it in an offensive way at times, we may be false teachers.

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is destroy someone’s self made theology before they go to hell.

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Are you a Sheep or a Goat

Throughout God’s Word, the Scriptures, God speaks tough and tender words to his people. He curses and he blesses. His words kill and his words give life. He speaks law from Mount Sinai when He gave Moses the Commandments and he speaks gospel from Golgotha when Jesus died on the cross. This balance between tough and tender speech is rooted ultimately in the character of God himself. Subsequently, Paul calls the church at Rome to consider both the kindness and the severity of God Romans 11:22(HCSB)22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Tender words and tough words, spoken in love, fill the pages of the Bible. These words are a gracious gift because they reveal to us the fullness of God so that our speech may echo his. In order to inform and transform our words, we will examine the Word of God to hear his tender and tough words to sheep,goats, swine, wolves, dogs, and shepherds.

The problem seems to be that some go too far, and some don’t go far enough. Some people won’t fight for anything. Some fight for everything.

Christians are to feed the sheep.

Jesus dealt with different people differently, He was harsh to the Pharisees & false teachers(wolves), He was tender to the people(sheep) and he was stern with His disciples. We deal with different people differently, and we have to discern who goes into what category. When we’re dealing with Christians, the effort should be to love, encourage, grow them.

Sheep are the most frequently mentioned animal in all of Scripture. Ezekiel 34:1-6(HCSB)The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them: This is what the Lord God says to the shepherds: Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed their flock? You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fattened animals, but you do not tend the flock. You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; they became food for all the wild animals when they were scattered. My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. They were scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them.

Ezekiel 34 is arguably the most comprehensive section in all of Scripture on sheep, false shepherds, true shepherds, and God as the Shepherd. Sheep are consistently portrayed there in less than powerful and awe-inspiring depiction. Sheep are prone to wander because they are foolish. Sheep are prone to follow false shepherds and be led astray because they are not discerning. Sheep are prone to get pushed around, leaving them hungry, thirsty, and weary. Sheep are so defenseless that they are commonly wounded and killed without even putting up a fight. The Bible is clear that Christians are sheep.

Perhaps the most clearly direct words for sheep is found in
Ephesians 4:29–32(ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

This section of Scripture is incredibly important because it reveals how sheep are to speak to other sheep and how shepherds are to speak to sheep, including tone and content. Paul’s phrase “one another” reveals that; however, there are Christians who would make these the defining marks of all true godly speech. Besides sheep & goats, the Bible also speaks of swine, wolves, and dogs. Thus, any attempt to require that every Christian speak to everyone as if all are a sheep is unbiblical. Why? Because not everyone is a sheep.
Our modern world is a very different world than the agricultural world of the Bible. This difference in lifestyles puts those of us who grew up in cities at a disadvantage when it comes to fully understanding some of Christ’s parables or biblical metaphors. We simply lack the background to truly understand it. For instance, the Bible’s use of goats and sheep as metaphors for Christians is beyond many of us. Most of us in the church seem to be more familiar with sheep. We hear a great deal about them in sermons and their attributes are fairly common knowledge: Christ is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep

John 10:14-15(HCSB)“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, 15 as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.

We know many of the traits of sheep through studies into Psalm 23 and John 10.

Psalm 23:1-4(HCSB)The Lord is my shepherd;there is nothing I lack.He lets me lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside quiet waters.He renews my life;He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.Even when I go through the darkest valley,I fear no danger,for You are with me;Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me 

But our mental picture of goats is usually vague. We may think they regularly eat soup cans and ram into people. We will see that the attributes of goats, however, should not to be taken lightly.

God uses the goat to symbolize evil in numerous instances in the Bible. In Zechariah 10:3 (NKJV)“My anger is kindled against the shepherds,And I will punish the goatherds.For the Lord of hosts will visit His flock,The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

Matthew 25:31-34(HCSB)31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and the Goats tells of His return and of judging the nations. Jesus begins the parable by saying it concerns His return in glory to set up His kingdom (verse 31). All those on earth at that time will be brought before the Lord, and He will separate them “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (verses 32-33).

The sheep on Jesus’ right hand are blessed by God the Father and given an inheritance. The goats on Jesus’ left hand are cursed with eternal hell-fire, “prepared for the devil and his angels” Matthew 25:41(HCSB)Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!

Hell was not intended for human occupancy, it was intended for the occupancy of Satan and the fallen angels. Our unwillingness to submit and depart from sin allows us to ride the coat tails of Satan and the demons straight into Hell.

Jesus then ends the discourse with a contrast: “They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” Matthew 25:46(HCSB)“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The sheep are then given eternal life, but the goats are cast into the Lake of Fire. It should be abundantly clear from this section of Scripture that we want the attributes of sheep and not those of goats!

The core message of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats is that God’s people will love others. Good works will result from our relationship to the Shepherd. Followers of Christ will treat others with kindness, serving them as if they were serving Christ Himself. The unregenerate live in the opposite manner. While “goats” can indeed perform acts of kindness and charity, their hearts are not right with God, and their actions are not for the right purpose – to honor and worship God.

What is it about goats that causes God to use them in such a negative light? Goats have many admirable qualities. They are intelligent, sensitive, playful, quick to respond to individual attention and affection. Sounds good, right?

But wait, there is much more! Goats are inconsistent. They are impulsive and unpredictable & devious. When they are grazing, it is not unusual to see several with their heads through a fence, straining to reach the grass that is always greener on the other side!

Non-shepherds find it difficult to distinguish such sheep and goats, but the shepherd knows the difference and easily separates them. For example, there are differences in behavior: sheep tend to follow; goats go their own way. Hebrews 13:20(HCSB)20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, At the judgment, the Great Shepherd will know the difference and will separate those who followed Him from those who went their own way.

John 10:25-28(HCSB) 25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep.27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Differences between sheep and goats

1. Sheep eat grass and a few select herbs. – Spiritual sheep graze on the pure word of God and a few select books, websites and sermons. They are very careful to take in those things that will enhance their understanding of God, not interfere with it.

Goats will nibble on grass and herbs and weeds and trees and paper. – “Goats” will “eat” any thing.

2. Sheep will not try fences,They are content with what they have.

Goats are difficult animals to keep in. they will go under or over or through most any fence, unless of course they decide to just open the gate. Spiritual goats are always trying the boundaries; always trying to see how close to the edge they can get. They are not content with the boundaries placed by God in their lives.

3.Sheep have 1-3 babies at a time. They keep their babies by their side at all times, nursing them frequently. A mama sheep isn’t much of a threat to any predator, but she will stand and fight to the death to protect her baby.

Goats have many babies (2-5) at a time. They leave them for long periods of time coming back only to nurse a couple of times a day. If a predator comes it may fight the predator, But if it comes to a choice between her baby and her own life, she will run away; abandon her kids.

We should be spiritual sheep when caring for our spiritual lambs.

We should “mother” our new converts like sheep.

We should become a part of their lives, helping them to learn to “eat” the pure Word of God.

We need to teach them the dangers of “eating” the wrong things and trying the boundaries.

We should defend them from Satan to the death.

By now, a goat’s characteristics should be clear. They are not evil, but some of their traits could be deadly—spiritually—if found in a Christian. What would we call a Christian who is unpredictable? A goat! Or one who thinks he is above it all? A goat! Or one who independently does his own thing? A goat! What would we call a Christian who wants to take over, has trouble functioning in a group, and does not want to be led? A goat!

Goats in a congregation tend to divide it, leading the sheep astray.

Many of us probably have goat-like characteristics. Some good, some bad. Most of us know these things about ourselves, and we try hard not to admit them. But now that we understand the biblical metaphor about goats, and what Christ says their ultimate end will be, we can look on this side of ourselves in a more urgent light.

Jesus gave Peter a three-fold command to “feed my sheep” in
John 21:15-17(HCSB)15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs,” He told him.

16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.

17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”

“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. . Each time Jesus said, “Feed my sheep,” it was in response to Peter’s three-fold declaration of love for Jesus. The setting was one of the last of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them, and then commissioned Peter with the task of feeding His sheep and tending His lambs. Jesus is both our Good Shepherd and the Door of the sheepfold. By describing His people as lambs, He is emphasizing their nature as immature and vulnerable and in need of tending and care.

The second time, the literal meaning is “tend My sheep” (v. 16). In this exchange, Jesus was emphasizing tending the sheep in a supervisory capacity, not only feeding but ruling over them. This expresses the full scope of pastoral oversight, both in Peter’s future and in all those who would follow him in pastoral ministry. Peter follows Jesus’ example and repeats this same Greek word poimaino in his first pastoral letter to the elders of the churches of Asia Minor: 1 Peter 5:2 (ESV)“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers”

The third time, the literal translation is “pasture (tend) the sheep” (v. 17). Here Jesus combines the different Greek words to make clear the job of the shepherd of the flock of God. They are to tend, care for, and provide spiritual food for God’s people, from the youngest lambs to the full-grown sheep, in continual action to nourish and care for their souls, bringing them into the fullness of spiritual maturity. The totality of the task set before Peter, and all shepherds, is made clear by Jesus’ three-fold command and the words He chooses.

What is this food with which shepherds are to feed the flock of God? It can be no other than the Word of God. Peter declares that Christians are to desire the pure spiritual milk of the Word so that by it, we can mature in our salvation.
1 Peter 2:2(HCSB)2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation,. As early as the book of Deuteronomy, we see the Lord describing His Word as food for His people who live not by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus reiterates this thought in His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4). The importance of the Word of God as food for our spirit cannot be over-emphasized.

Clearly, the job of the shepherds of God’s people is to provide them with the pure milk of the Word of God so they can move on to the meat and solid food of the spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:13-14(HCSB)13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. Pastoral ministry should be primarily one of pastors feeding their people the Word of God. Only then can pastors declare, as Peter did, their love for the Lord Jesus.

We see this in the ministry of Jesus. He speaks to the woman at the well in a loving way. Jesus speaks like this to Zaccheus. Romans 14 shows us this as well. Paul says “It doesn’t matter what you eat or don’t eat. Love your brother.”

Ephesians 4:32 (ESV) “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This is speaking of sheep. We’re NOT supposed to be kind to wolves or false teachers,swine,or dogs. We’re not to be kind to those speaking false doctrine. Some Christians, when you begin to critique others, quote Ephesians 4:32. We are supposed to be kind, but to one another. We are not to be kind to wolves. The importance of being under a solid leader who preaches just the Word, one that doesn’t put opinions in the Word or taint the Word, or proof texts the Word,One that encourages you and equips you to read and understand the Word is that when the Wolves or the False teachers come in you can discern the truth. Pastors(used that term loosely) that are too afraid to shoot the wolves or call them out are nothing more than hired hands, they are false teachers.
John 10:11-13(HSCB)11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. 13 This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep.

So when the Bible commands pastors to “shepherd the flock” (1 Peter 5:1–3), the expectation is that loving, patient, kind, devoted, and humble shepherds will give their lives to care for their flock like Jesus Christ the “good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14). The Gospels continually report how Jesus shepherded with loving honesty and gracious empathy. In John 4 he sat down at a well with a perverted, outcast Samaritan woman to care for her when no one else would. Similarly, Paul demonstrates the tender care of a good shepherd throughout his ministry.

A Christian cannot stand still, yet not all movement is proper growth. A Christian’s life must move in the right direction, along the path that leads to the Kingdom of God. We do not want to be sidetracked, to follow a road of our own choosing, on a whim or out of stubbornness or independence.

A sheep follows its Shepherd, peacefully moving forward with the flock. He is content to be led because he has faith in Him. A sheep responds to his Shepherd’s voice and goes where He directs.

A goat follows only its own lead, creating disunity when he comes in contact with others in the flock. Because of his independent nature, he often finds himself in contention with the Shepherd for leadership of the flock, leading some astray. A goat often eats things sheep would avoid because they have no value and cause sickness. These are serious spiritual characteristics. Which are you, a sheep or a goat?