When Jesus warns his audience in the Sermon on the Mount about being on the lookout for the false prophets who would be ravenous wolves disguised as sheep, his warning comes directly on the heals of his saying that we must make a choice between one of two roads. One road is wide and easy, and it leads ultimately to death. The other road is narrow and hard, but it leads to life. The objective of the false prophet or teacher is to deceive the traveler into thinking that they are following the narrow road when instead, they have taken them down the wide road to destruction.
Unfortunately for us, our human nature is sinful, and we are born into rebellion. We don’t want to go down the narrow path, because that road is filled with persecution, hardship and sacrifice. We don’t want the destruction that lies at the end of the broad and easy road, but neither do we want the difficulties that line the hard and narrow way. In wavering between something that is easy today and bad later or something that is hard today but good later, we naturally question whether there is anything truly waiting for us at the end of either road, and then we take the easier route.
It is because our hearts are like this that we are extremely susceptible to those ravenous wolves who will lead us astray. We accept the lessons that they teach because we want the life offered at the end of the narrow road, without the hardship in our daily lives that comes from following that route. Therefore, when these false teachers stand up and give praise to Jesus while telling us that sin isn’t really sin or telling us that we don’t need to go out to make disciples of all nations because God can save through other ways (such as good deeds, or other religions), we want them to be right. We want our ears tickled with these deceitful teachings, because we like the easy way.
A heart filled with the Holy Spirit that hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness will not be led astray, for such a person delights in God’s Word. Christ’s church must stand firm in the knowledge of his truth, and call out the false teachers and preachers who threaten the lost sheep. The lives of the lost depend on it.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron