Skip to main content

Sheep Among Ravenous Wolves

 


"16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes."

Good Morning my beloved,
 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my honor and great privilege to have you here with us today and share God's Word. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others. We have seen a dramatic increase of people from all around the world, who are responding to God's Word, with more and more coming to Christ. May God richly bless you for your efforts. I want to let each of you know how grateful I am for you.
 
If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you. 

As we look at the world today, it is often difficult to that God is still on the throne and that He is still in control, it looks as though wickedness and evil are winning that battle between right and wrong. I believe that God is still very near today. We have the opportunity to embrace Him, to participate in His Kingdom, to be a part of it every day. Living in this fallen world, we often get distracted from the daily opportunities to catch the glimpse of God and His kingdom, we fail to realize, that in spite of what's happening, He is right here beside us.
 
It's sad to see so many Christians becoming more and more caught up in the world, cheap and easy grace, and the shining distractions of the world. Our natural tendency is to get caught up in political matters, social causes, networking and connecting for personal gain and advancement opportunities rather than being caught up in the things of God and His Kingdom. Churches and Christians tend to be more focused on pleasing the world than pleasing the God we claim to serve.

It is estimated that persecution of Christians claims more than 150,000 lives every year. With the number one source being Islamic oppression. Islamist who reject the Gospel message who refuse to leave it at passive unbelief. Jesus warned His followers we would be countered with serious and even deadly opposition. No one knows that better than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. They hated His message because He confronted their sin and they crucified Him. Ironically, rather than silencing the true church of Jesus Christ, it spread rapidly. And it continues to grow today, for the exact same reasons. Obviously, this not their intended result. Let me tell you something, even threat of death can not defeat a soul set ablaze!

Genesis 50:20 says "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." 

Let's us pray
 
Heavenly Father,
 
Father, thank You for Your Word, for the Truths, Lord, we acknowledge that we often fail to represent You
in the world like we ought, by not showing other with whom we disagree, Your love, forgiveness and compassion. We are so unqualified to show any sign of belonging to You. We confess our ongoing frustration with the world. Help us O' Lord, instruct us in Your ways. Help us to focus on that which exalts You in the world, that the world would see You in us. Make us to be more humble, more grateful for all that You have done and graciously give us. May we respond with our obedience to You Word.
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Amen

Today's Message: Sheep Among Ravenous Wolves
 
We all know that certain someone who can never seem to be satisfied. Maybe a parent, a sibling, a child, or a boss whom you could never make happy, no matter how hard you try. Your best just isn't good enough. The harsh reality is there are just some people who can simply never be satisfied with anything or anyone. 
 
In today’s passage, Jesus talks about those kinds of people, the people of Israel. No matter what He said or did, they had a feeling of disdain towards Him and His work. As we begin our study of this very rich, important portion of Scripture, I'd like to ask all of you to think about ourselves and our feelings towards Jesus and God’s feelings towards us. Just sort of keep that in the back of your minds.

Open your Bibles with me if you would to the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 10:16-23. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses two through four, while we open our hearts for what the Spirit of God is saying to us. Matthew chapter 10, verses 16 through 23. It is highly unlikely we will get to all that this rich text has to offer today. So, we'll see how far the Holy Spirit takes us. Matthew 10:16-23.

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

"But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes."

Let's be honest, Jesus' words concerning ministry are not very encouraging as He begins telling His disciples what to expect. 

Two thousand years later, not much has changed. We are still treated like second class citizens, and out casts, we are discriminated against in just about every aspect of life. Pastors are being cancelled on social media platforms, arrested for "hate speech" for teaching Genesis, even receiving deaths threats for "offensive language." Hostility and hated for Christianity is the general attitude of the fallen world. In order to describe the situation, Jesus uses four types of animals. God's people are like sheep, especially those He calls to preach the Gospel. Evil, wicked men are like wolves: violent, clever, aggressive, and skilled at prowling, stalking and attacking their prey. Yet, rather than to be fearful and go off and hide, we are called by Christ, whom we serve to face the opposition and meet the adversity head on, in order to protect and defend the Truth in which we have been entrusted. Preaching and teaching the Word of God.

It's deeply saddening to me that the church has become more involved in the social and political issues of our day and less about the business of our Father! We cannot grumble and complain that our political leaders are deceiving us when we ourselves are not willing to stand for the Truth. That’s not Christianity, that’s hypocrisy, it's unreasonable to expect others to do we aren’t willing to do ourselves.

The preaching from the pulpit, of Christ’s church, is not to be something that is to be decided by the immorality of the culture or by the wants and desires of a congregation. And certainly not what the preacher deems to be more culturally relevant! It’s not about you, it’s about God and Jesus Christ Who is the Head of the Church. To do otherwise is little more than tickling the ears of the hearers! The church is called to preach and teach the Word of God in Truth!

Jesus was well aware of the social and political issues in His day. But He certainly didn't involve Himself in them. He was about His Fathers business. We read in Luke chapter 2, "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up there according to the custom of the feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days required, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents were unaware of it. Instead, they thought that He was somewhere in the caravan, and they went a day’s journey; and then they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances."

 
Luke goes on to write, "Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. "

1 John 1:9 tells us "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
 
How blessed we to have a God that is more faithful than those of us who serve Him, amen? I believe it’s time to return to the business of our Lord whom we serve.  The Good News is we can turn things around. While we still have the time, we can confess to God we have failed, repent and change the paths of not only our own lives and families, but the church. We can become the people that Christ calls us to be.
 
What a privilege we've been blessed with to be looking over the shoulder of our Lord, as He instructs the Twelve as they go out to face a hostile world. I've heard a number of people say, far too many in my lifetime, "Well, I just don't want to offend anybody. They might get upset with me." 
 
Jesus and His disciples often offended many people speaking the Truth. In fact, after His resurrection, when the Holy Spirit was upon them, they went and boldly preached the Gospel to the very same people from whom they had been hiding. They were arrested and ordered not to speak the name of Jesus and when they got out, they went right back to the same place, in front of the same people with the same message! Does it sound as though they were afraid of offending anyone? No, I believe it certainly does not. Empowered by the Spirit of God, they became even more courageous, more bold, to faithfully speak the Truth in which Christ had entrusted to them. I believe these are essentials principles that encompasses everybody who claims to represent Christ, not only those of us who teach but those who serve our Lord; to lovingly, compassionately speak the Truth in spite of the environment we find ourselves in.

Let's look at verses 16-18, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."

I believe this is a very interesting opening statement, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves." If you have ever been around sheep, you quickly realize the helplessness and dependency of sheep. My great grandparent had a large farm, so I was exposed to all sorts of animals. While I certainly am no expert on sheep, and even less of an expert on wolves, I do know they were a major problem to  farming, to the point a bounty was placed on them until were fully extinguished in the area. However, wolves have left their biological footprint in the form of wolf-coyote hybrids.

Growing up around sheep, I learned they are very timid and very easily frightened. Because they are totally defenseless, nor designed for speed, they vulnerable to just about everything, all they can do is run when any kind of danger comes. The disciples would have understood the severity of the task of the shepherd who has to defend his sheep. Since the shepherd worked for the sheep owner, if a sheep had been killed, you had to prove a wild animal had killed by bringing a piece of it's flesh or you could lose your life, because people would steal them.

Notice Jesus tells them they will be like sheep in the midst of wolves. I believe it's significant to note, that He didn't say be careful because wolves will be arriving. He warns they're already here. Scripture often refers to our Lord as the Good Shepherd and those of us who serve Him as sheep; He knows His sheep. He loves His sheep; He cares for His sheep. So, in His warning to them, He gives His shepherds this very graphic illustration of the helplessness of sheep and the fearfulness of the Christ-rejecting, God-hating world as they confront them a with the message of the Kingdom. This is not difficult concept for us to understand because in the world today, there are many wolves are among us. In fact, many of them are inside the church, masquerading as sheep. Jesus clearly warns us that’s how it’s going be in ministry, He sees us as sheep among wolves.

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus warns us to "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." By the way, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to lose, even though we don’t have the resource in ourselves, we have the power of God behind us, but it will be dangerous. Christ our Good Shepherd will defend and protect us.

Jesus' honesty is very refreshing to me, something we do not often see in the churches today, There is no mention of sin, of confession or repentance. There's no mention of the Lordship of Christ, the cost of discipleship, obedience and the narrow way. There's no warning about the coming judgment. Just a watered down, seeker friendly gospel, aimed at saving everyone through a counterfeit Christianity. This is a stark contrast to what Jesus offered, a life of hardship and the constant threat of death. I really cannot understand the concept of bringing people to Christ under a false pretense and not the truth. Deceptively telling them they’re saved when the reality is they're on the broad road to hell.

If you're not facing strong opposition in your teaching in today's world, you’re not really definitive in your message. Sadly, those who are being deceived by demonic lies, don’t want to hear your message of Truth. That's why it’s so clear to me that there are so many on the broad road and so few on the narrow road. They don’t agree with the Truth in Scripture, they'd rather believe the lies that God affirms their sin rather than hates it. 
 
That's why Proverbs 6 says God hates "a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
 
Jesus never offers salvation without fully telling people the truth. Preaching today has deceptively watered down the reality of sin and it's impending judgment and the truth about hell. I do not believe this is false sense of salvation is helpful at all, my heart grieves for them because the final result is in the end, people are going to essentially get ripped to pieces for buying into Satan's lies. 
 
As a teacher of the Word of God, when you're faced with a choice as to whether you ought to obey God or men. You have a mandate from God to obey Him. You cannot confront a Christ-rejecting, God-hating world, consumed by the darkness without a hostile reaction. Human beings are instinctively by nature grievous, deadly, ravenous wolves. Satan is the ruler of this world and is behind the world's system. Throughout the history of the church, because the hearts of men are evil, they have always sought to silence the Truth about the Kingdom of God. 
 
In the last part of verse 16, He says "so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." The serpent is wary and wise or prudent in avoiding danger and the disciples were to be aware of dangerous situations, but pure and innocence as doves, by not forcibly opposing the enemy. Dove are the emblem of peace and purity. The word used for innocent is the word "akéraios," meaning pure, unmixed, not tainted by sinful ambitions. In other words, they were not to be deceptive in gaining the advantage over their enemies.

In Verse 17, Jesus says "But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues." Even many of those who name the name of Christ, keep an eye out for these men, they're not your friend. Don't be caught off guard even by those in the household of faith. They represent the kingdom of darkness and are ruled by the prince of the power of the air. The word synagogue is the key word here, because it puts us in a religious context. We see that today, we learn from Scripture, that's the way it's always been. Claiming to represent God, they untruthfully manipulate the Word, twisting it to please sinful men, they serve Satan, they are his human agents. There was even a wolf among the Twelve, we know they are hiding in plain sight, in the church amongst God's people. 

I believe the primary reason these teachers of demonic doctrine are so prevalent in the church today, is because the congregation does not confront their false teaching. After hearing it week after week, it becomes "normalized," so they don't question it. This is the way much of the heresy that's being taught today occurs, they introduce it gradually. A tactic we've seen being used by the LGBT community. I've notice that the majority of Christians don't even bother to open their Bibles in church, they just take it for granted the pastor is preaching from God's Word!  As I've stated many times before, there is a lack of discernment among many Christians today, because they simply don't know what the Scripture says! 

Salvation begins with lostness, recognizing your own sinfulness and depravity. Since that's no longer taught or discussed in church, second class Christians can't begin to understand that sinfulness ends where salvation begins. They have turned the Truth into a lie, giving in to their lusts of the flesh. That's why Jesus said to go out preaching repentance for the kingdom is at hand, because you’re confronting people with their sinfulness.

Notice Romans 1:18-19, in which Paul says "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."

Verse 18, "and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."

Here He’s not taking about religious institutions; He’s talking about the states, they will persecute. Governments have always persecuted the saints. We are actually witnessing this happening more and more in our world today, pastors being charged with hate speech for preaching the Gospel of Salvation. It's important to understand, that those who hate you do so because they hate Christ. That's where their viciousness comes from, the world considers us to be disgusting, and filth, something to be scrubbed off, we're fools in their eyes. Because men love the darkness and hate the Light, they want to force you compromise. It's always been same reaction toward the truth.

Persecution for the sake of Jesus and His Kingdom is an opportunity for further testimony. Those who teach will be dragged off, judged and punished by not only religious people but also by the secular world. Because I represent Christ, because He is in me, because I stand on the Truth in opposition to the world, they constantly verbally attack me. In contrast, if Christ is not made manifest, if you do have strong convictions regarding the Truth of God, affirming sin, nobody’s going to challenge you or your teaching. There is no middle ground.

In John 15:19 Jesus said "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." If you represent Christ, you can expect persecution. God often purposes opposition to make His disciples witnesses to the ungodly. How’s that for a call to the ministry?

Look at verse 19, "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say."

I'd like you to notice that Jesus shifts His focus away from preparing the twelve to go out and encountering difficulty to focusing on Himself and His authority. We don't need to be anxious about what we're going to say, God will give it to you. Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, it will be bestowed upon you. You don't need to have your defense ready.When the time comes, the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say, He's our defender. I personally know this to be true, because I've experienced it many times in my life, I have never been concerned or anxious when I've been cornered in a situation. Which by the way, happens frequently. We only need to be ready to confess Jesus Christ. By the way, the verb "didómi," or given to you, is used some 400 times in the New Testament. 

Verse 20, "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

I believe when Stephen stood before those who would ultimately take his life, when Peter and James stood before the Sanhedrin, and when Paul stood before the ones who brought him to trial, without thinking or planning, they all spoke the Word of God. It was not their own words. Beloved, we have that divine promise it will be given to you in that hour. How much more can we trust that when they sat down to pen the Word of God, that every word they wrote was inspired. The Bible is clear on the matter of biblical purity, inspiration and inerrancy. 

Now, verse 21, "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death."

What He's saying is we will betrayed by those in our own families, even our own households. Persecution will also come through the family. I've talked with a number of Christians who were beaten by their husbands, turned into the government by their children or parents. Family members beheaded for turning away from Islamic teaching. Stronger than natural love is the love of hell. Do not be deceived. the lost  has greater loyalty to this fallen world system than their own family.

That’s the way it is in many parts of the world, just for being a Christian. And they say Islam is a peaceful religion? Tell that to these people! I hear many Christians talk about being persecute for Christ, being discriminated against or fired because they spoke about Jesus to a co-worker, let me assure of this, the conflict in some areas unbelievable, we know nothing of that kind of persecution in this nation, yet, but believe me it's coming. Yet, in spite of this Jesus tells us the gospel must be preached to all the nations, and when we preach the Gospel of Christ, the world reacts! Never once did Christ compromise the Truth, even when they nailed Him to the cross, and neither should we.

Verse 22, Jesus spells it out in no uncertain terms, "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved."

James said in James 4 "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

The wicked, evil men of this world will do all they can to slaughter God's people, because they cannot tolerate righteousness but all they can do it kill the body. We are not saved because we endure, we endure because we are saved. Your deliverance may come in death; If they kill you, you’re the one being delivered. Christ has dealt honestly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can expect meet. It is a difficult teaching, but the primary allegiance of those who profess to follow Christ must be to Jesus and to their family in the of Kingdom God, not to their natural families. Endurance through persecution is the mark of genuine salvation.

In John 8, Jesus said "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

That brings us to our last verse today, verse 23, "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes."

Jesus is saying  don’t just stay in one place until they kill you. Don't just sit there waiting for them to kill you, keep moving, sharing the Gospel. When we are confronting a sinful society, we must preach the Word until we're unable to preach any more, and then leave and go somewhere else, preaching the Word as we go there's too much to work be done. Go from place to place, preaching the Word, Jesus tells us we will not cover all the territory, we won't finish the task which we've been assigned before the Son of Man comes. There's just too many places and people to reach. We must keep moving to the people who are receptive places, knowing that all the while God is with us, regardless of what Satan does. Trusting in His Sovereignty, knowing that God controls everything.

In Closing..

I believe it's important to understand that enduring and persevering is not the same as never failing. It means getting back up when we're knocked down, continuing the course, doing the work of Christ. We will face persecution and opposition, it's unavoidable if we are standing firm in the Truth. Sin can only forgiven when it's acknowledged and confessed. It's unrealistic to expect there will not be those who hate us for exposing their sin. However, if even one more person comes to Christ, it's all worth it.

Jesus is preparing us to expect opposition even from those whom we might expect support. I do not believe that He who loves you enough to die for you, wouldn't needlessly send you into harms way. Whatever challenges and difficulties we encounter in this world will not only be temporary, they will used to deliver us into the arms of our Savior!

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen
 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 2019-2022 All Rights Reserved 

 

The Brian Monzon Ministries

Contact

Name

Email *

Message *

Check Out Our Most Popular Messages

You Can't Quarantine The Word of God

" 35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. 36  Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37  They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!” 38  And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” 39  So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40  Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41  Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” 42  Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed. 43  Then He sternly warned him and sent him away at once, 44  telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansin

The Things Which Must Soon Take Place

    " The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2  who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." Revelation 1:1-3 Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord. Thank you for joining us today, we're glad to have you here. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness to share God's Word with others continues to bring about tremendous results. We are grateful to each of you. And through your sharing, God has brought a number of people to Christ. Praise God! May He continue to use you and this minist

Ministry With A Mission

    " Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2  To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." I Timothy 1:1-2     Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been lead to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I know that I mentioned this to you in our last message, however, Scripture calls us to pray with and for our brothers and sister in Christ. I again, would like to encourage all of you to visit our Prayer Wall, there are a number of them who are in great need of some faithful prayer warriors. I pray that you will join us in praying for them in their time of need. I would greatly appreciate it, and I know that they would as well!   I Timothy 2:1 tells us " First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and than