Beware of Wolves!

Matthew 7:15-20


A. Many people like to think that you can trust religious

1. Ministers normally rank high in polls concerning people
you can trust

2. People will often accept whatever a preacher, priest, or
rabbi says as the truth

B. Yet Jesus told His disciples to beware of false prophets

1. Matthew 7: 15-20

2. False teachers may appear like sheep, but inwardly they
are ravenous wolves

3. We need to be able to identify them, knowing what to look

C. Are you concerned about false prophets today? –
You should be!

1. The great diversity of teaching suggests that many are
being misled

2. We need to be reminded of the danger, and know how to
spot any “wolves” that might come our way!

D. With the words of our Savior in Matthew 7:15-20 fresh on
our mind, I wish to use this opportunity to remind us to
“Watch Out For Wolves!”

E. Let me first re-emphasize the point that…



1. Paul warned us of this on several occasions…

a. To the Ephesian elders – Acts 20:28-31

1) Telling them to take heed

2) For even from among themselves would men arise,
misleading people

b. To the church at Corinth – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

1) Referring to false teachers present even then

2) Appearing as ministers of righteousness, even as Satan
appears as an angel of light

c. To the young preacher Timothy – 1 Timothy 4:1-3

1) Warning of the apostasy that would come

2) Describing the character and tactics of those who
would mislead others

2. Other New Testament writers on the subject…

a. Peter, in telling of the rise of false teachers –
2 Peter 2:1-3

b. John, in calling for people to “test the spirits” –
1 John 4:1

c. Jude, in writing of some who had already come –
Jude 3-4

3. With so many warnings, this is not a subject to take

a. But how can we spot such “wolves” when they
appear so disarming (like sheep)?

b. Thanks to Jesus and the Word of God…


1. By examining the fruit of their life

a. We can know them by their “fruit” – Matthew

1) What is truly in their heart will eventually come out

2) For from the heart proceeds any sin that may be there
– Mark 7:21-23

b. Thus false teachers and false prophets are often

1) By their greediness (e.g., as manifested by their lavish

2) By their immorality (e.g., as manifested by adulterous

3) By their lust for power (e.g., as manifested by
religious empires)

c. Given time, the true character of many false prophets
will be exposed by the fruit of their life!

2. By examining the fruit of their teaching

a. Taking notice of their methods

1) Working secretly – 2 Peter 2:1

a) Their ministries (especially finances) will be
shrouded in secrecy

b) Rather than being open to one and all –
2 Corinthians 8:20-21

c) The doctrines, too, will be brought in secretly…

2) Appealing to covetousness – 2 Peter 2:3

a) They draw people with an appeal to what people
often covet (such as health and wealth)

b) Rather than preparing people for eternity

3) Using deceptive words – 2 Timothy 3:13

a) Twisting the scriptures to support their message (just
as Satan did in trying to tempt Jesus)

b) Rather handling the word of God rightly –
2 Timothy 2:14-16

4) Review…

b. Taking notice of their doctrine

1) How they twist and pervert the scriptures –
Galatians 1:8-9

a) Their gospel may start out right, but becomes
twisted along the way

b) Their teaching often expressed in the terms of man,
not Scripture

2) How they teach that which is clearly contrary to the
scriptures – Deuteronomy 13:1-4

a) Even if they appear able to perform signs and

b) The final test is how their teaching compares to the
word of God and that of His apostles –
1 John 4:1


A. It is not necessary to judge the hearts of those who claim
to speak for God…

1. We need only to be “fruit-inspectors”

2. The fruit of their life and teaching will become apparent
soon enough

3. This is how we can “Watch Out For Wolves!”

B. Of course, this presumes that our knowledge of God’s word
is sufficient…

1. To know what to look for in the life of a false prophet

2. To know what to listen for in the teaching of a false

3. Otherwise we will be no different than Israel, of whom
God said: “My people are destroyed for lack of
knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6)

4. Are you equipped to identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing
if you saw one?


About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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