A Seminar for Pastors
“Now I beseech you, brethren,
mark them which cause divisions and offenses
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid them.”
A Word of Warning
Throughout the New Testament, Christians, and Church leaders, are warned about hypocrites, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and divisive individuals. There are religious charlatans in the kingdom of God. They have entered some other way than the way of the cross. They have climbed over the wall lining the narrow path of righteousness to try and walk with those going to Zion. John Bunyan spoke about the religious charlatan in the Pilgrim’s Progress.
Formalist is a man who climbs over the wall of Salvation to access the narrow way, instead of entering the prescribed way, through the Wicket-gate [Christ]. Christian warns Formalist that he is a thief in the Lord’s territory and thus will not be welcomed when he reaches the Celestial City. After taking an easy path to avoid the Hill Difficulty, he is never seen again” (LitCharts).
Jesus Spoke About Religious Hypocrites “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5).
Sometimes a Pretentious Hypocrite
Ananias and Sapphira
In Acts 5:1-11, Peter called out by name two hypocrites, Ananias, and his wife Sapphira because they lied to the Holy Spirit and misrepresented themselves to the church.
Alexander the Coppersmith
“Alexander the coppersmith did me [Paul, and by extension, the church] much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works” (2 Tim. 4:14).
whose conscience was defiled and whose faith was repudiated, led Paul to deliver him to Satan. “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck; 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that he may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Tim. 1:19-20).
Demas. “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia” (2 Tim. 4:10).
Paul Spoke about Ravenous Wolves
With tears in his eyes, the apostle Paul warned the elders in Ephesus saying, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).
Sometimes the Ravenous Wolves
“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Gal. 2:12-14).
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (2 Peter 2:1).
John Spoke About the Divisive Personality
Sometimes the Divisive Person
was Publicly Identified
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (3 John 9 -10).
A Shocking Discovery
When compelled to do so, upon careful reflection and re-examination, the discovery can be made that
the religious hypocrite, the devouring wolf, and the divisve personalty have much in common. Consider the marks of those who harm the church because they are the children of their Father, the Devil, whose will they must perform.
To be Continued…