Outward Appearances Can Be Deceiving
I Samuel 16:7 ESV
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’.” (cf. John 7:24)
Not everyone is who he says he is. Outward appearances can be so deceiving. Remember that Satan appears as an angel of light and his servants masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness. And then we have those who pretend to be Christians, to be God’s sheep, but inwardly they are vicious wolves. They are called “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” So, just because someone appears good outwardly doesn’t mean he is good.
We live in a day and time when these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” abound. They are everywhere. And many of them are very popular among Christians, and they are well-loved and well-admired and respected in the Christian community, at least here in America they are. The masses are approving them by their outward appearance and by their smooth and charming messages which tickle itching ears, and so they do not see the wolves underneath. For they are falling for the deception.
And that is why the Scriptures instruct us regarding these wolves in sheep’s clothing who masquerade as servants of righteousness, and they teach us that we must be diligent in testing the spirits to see if they be of God, and that it is by their spiritual fruits (in keeping with repentance) that we will know them. We must be people who know the Scriptures, who are obeying the Scriptures, and who are testing what we hear against the Scriptures.
For these who are giving an outward appearance of being followers of Christ but who lie and who do not tell the truth are leading people astray by the masses. For they are telling them that a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ will save them from their sins and will guarantee them heaven as their eternal destiny regardless of how they live their lives while still on the earth.
But the Scriptures teach that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God. And they teach that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin that we will not inherit eternal life with God. And the same applies if we do not walk in obedience to our Lord and in his righteousness and holiness and if we do not love our neighbors. We will not have eternal life with God.
[2 Co 11:13-15; Matt 10:16; Acts 20:29; Matt 7:15-23; Matt 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Tim 1:3-7; 1 Tim 6:3-10; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Don’t Judge Others by Yourself
2 Corinthians 10:12
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
So, not only do we have a very large number of professing Christians following after “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who are not testing the spirits against the Scriptures, in context, but we also have a large number of professing Christians who are judging other Christians by their own selves and by human flesh and by human thinking and reasoning and not according to the word of God. For they are following these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I hear these judgments a lot, and many of them are coming from the mouths of these false teachers and then they are being repeated by those who are following after false gospels of men. For example, the primary one is that if we teach repentance, obedience to the Lord, and submission to Christ as Lord, we are being accused of teaching “works salvation,” which is a lie, for that is what Jesus and the New Testament apostles taught.
Some of the other ones are that we are not to talk to people about sin until we have friended them first for about two years so that we earn the right to speak with them. False! Or we are to “stay in your own lane” and to not speak to people about the gospel because you might offend them. But the Bible teaches that the message of the cross is an offense to those who are perishing in their sins. So the truth is an offense.
Then I have heard that we are not to volunteer for ministry within the church because that obviously means that we are doing so just so others will notice us. We are supposed to just sit back and wait until someone asks us to do something. And then I heard that we should not speak with the authority of the Scriptures because that will offend people and we should wait until we have gray hairs on our heads before we speak with such conviction of the Scriptures. And I heard at least one pastor say that he was warned against people with “strong convictions,” as though that is a sin.
So, be careful who you listen to. Just because someone is a pastor of a church or a leader in a church or a Bible teacher or an author of Christian books does not mean he is speaking the truth. Many are messengers of Satan whether knowingly or not. For the goal is to discourage Christians from becoming serious followers of Jesus Christ and from spreading the truth of the gospel to others and from encouraging other Christians in their walks of faith in obedience to the Lord. So be followers of Christ, not of men.
[Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; 1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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