Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

“’Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.'”

Matthew 7:15 NKJV

How close are we to the days of deception? The Bible tells us that it will sweep the world and deceive many just before the Great Tribulation. Jesus warns us Himself to beware of false Christs and false prophets who will deceive with signs and wonders in an effort to mislead the elect (Mark 13:21-23).

Throughout Scripture we are repeatedly warned about false teachers and prophets. The Apostle John tells us to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1). The Apostle Paul warns us that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The Apostle Peter explains that these false teachers will teach destructive heresies, even denying Jesus as they twist truth and exploit with lies, motivated by their greed (2 Peter 2:1-3).

The Book of Jude addresses this danger by describing apostates as …grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage (Jude 1:16 NKJV). They are also… mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit (Jude 1:18-19 NKJV).

God warns about false prophets in Jeremiah:

Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

Jeremiah 14:14 NIV

How do these warnings apply to the contemporary church?

A growing hunger for knowing God exists today like never before. Many teens and young adults are fed up with the world’s lies, and they are earnestly seeking God’s truth. Drawn into non-denominational, charismatic churches, they are taught to experience God through singing, praising, and prayer–minus the all-important and necessary emphasis on the Word of God. As recent proselytes, they become easy prey for Satan to mix truth with lies and lead them astray from the true gospel. In short, they may eventually fall into a cult without even realizing that they are being deceived.

What are these false teachings that have crept into the church?

New Apostolic Reformation

History: The NAR has crept into many charismatic churches and is very dangerous. It originated in the 1940s and has mushroomed into its current form through various ministries and teachings, such as Kansas City Prophets, Toronto Blessing, Brownsville, and Lakeland, Florida. C. Peter Wagner, its founder, coined the movement as NAR, which is also known as “network Christianity.” It lacks a central organizing body or statement of beliefs and is made up of a loose connection of charismatic churches.

Basic Beliefs: This movement has flipped the importance of the pastor and biblical teaching with the role of apostles and prophets. Instead of studying the Word of God, they emphasize experiencing God–especially through singing, prayer, prophecy, and signs and wonders. They concentrate on teaching followers how to become “gods” and usurp God’s power for themselves.

Here is a good outline of their beliefs according to Prophecy Today UK, November 3, 2022:

  1. The leadership of modern-day ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’
  2. Dominionism: the teaching that ahead of Jesus’ return, the Church will become all-powerful on earth and make it ready for the Lord7
  3. The belief that unlimited divine power and blessing is available to believers to equip them for this task
  4. An over-emphasis on the supernatural and extra-biblical revelation
  5. An over-emphasis on power and human agency

(Read more at ProphecyToday.UK,, NAR churches in your area,,

Ministry Schools

Another great concern is the recruitment of young people into their ministry schools. These churches are known world-wide for their Christian music, which makes big bucks for the top echelon. For a large fee, students are housed and spend twelve to eighteen hours a day in classes, serving in the prayer rooms, and doing the bidding of their mentors. Over time, their weariness may break down their emotional and cognitive defenses so that they obey and believe without thinking, becoming programmed zombies.

Which churches are NAR? The most well-known are Bethel Church in Redding, California (Bill and Beni Johnson); Hillsong Church in Australia; Catch the Fire in Toronto; Iris Ministries (Heidi Baker); and Morningstar Ministries (Rick Joyner). The network also includes hundreds of small churches and fellowships across the globe.

What is the penalty for entering into these false beliefs and practices? Here is what Jesus has to say:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’* And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

*The emphasis above is mine. Jesus seems to be outlining the very beliefs and practices of NAR, doesn’t He? Although God’s prophecy, spiritual gifts, and power over the enemy are very real, this warning is about Satan’s counterfeit. We must discern the difference, the true from the false. Let’s be sober-minded and pay close attention to Jesus’s warning. Where we will spend eternity may be at stake.

Sozo Prayer

“Prayer” is a misnomer because Sozo is actually hypnosis with a spirit guide experience, full of mysticism and witchcraft. Christians seeking answers to personal problems or who want to draw closer to God are candidates for this false experience. Placed under a mild trance, they travel into their subconscious with a spirit guide whom they believe is either Jesus, God, or the Holy Spirit, visiting various places in the mind. Often suppressed childhood memories may resurface, including false memories, leading to further distress.

Christians only need the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship with other believers to draw close to God. Spirit guides are demons from hell, but we Christians rely solely on the Holy Spirit to be our teacher, comforter, and the one who leads us into all truth. Jesus tells us:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take from Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; this is why I said that He takes from Mine and will disclose it to you.

John 16:13-15 NASB

I encourage you to research these topics yourself for a richer understanding of these dangerous teachings and practices. I pray that the Lord keeps us from the spirit of deception, embodied in false teachers and false prophets. Let’s defeat the plans of Satan, who counterfeits God’s truth with his lies and deception, by putting on the full spiritual armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:10-18). Remember, we always overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

(Read more about the dangers of Sozo prayer at ,,,

Let’s allow Jude to close us out in prayer with his beautiful doxology:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.


Jude 1:24-25 NASB

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing by Karen Jurgens, copyright 2022 All rights reserved

The Revelation Church at Ephesus


Remember when you were a student? A graded paper would be returned to you with teacher’s comments. Usually these began with the good points, summarizing what you did right—the glowing commendations. Then the criticism, if any, followed, pointing out the weaknesses and making suggestions for improvement.

We all learn from a combination of praise and constructive criticism. Even Jesus used this same pattern when he spoke to the seven churches through John the Revelator. Let’s read their review and examine what they did right.

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:1-3, NASB).

Apparently the Ephesians were very diligent in their quest for truth. God’s Word provides standards for discerning truth from error, and the Ephesians had been well-prepared to fight against false teaching. When Paul was at Ephesus, he trained them in the truth of the gospel, warning that false teachers would surface later. Even Timothy prevailed there with hard work, patience, and perseverance, proving that he and the church at Ephesus had taken this warning to heart.

As we apply this truth to our present-day churches, answer this question: does yours train you in discerning truth from error, like the church at Ephesus? Can you identify false teachers?

With access to the internet, cable, and satellite TV, we have access to myriads of people teaching the Word. Are all teaching truth?

Some are blatantly false, and should be easy to discern, while the more dangerous ones preach truth with slivers of lies underneath. It is imperative to understand what we hear and be able to line it up against the whole truth of God’s Word.

If one little part is a lie, is their entire message false? The answer is best illustrated by the joke about brownies a dad made for his kids.


When the delicious-smelling brownies were fresh and hot from the oven, the kids gathered round, begging for a piece. But they had to cool, so while they waited, they asked their dad to tell them how he had made them.

He rattled off a list of the finest ingredients. ” Organic flour, pure cane sugar, a pinch of sea salt, and a cup of whole, organic milk.”

“Yummy!” The kids drooled. “What else?”

“Oh, lots of dark chocolate, and just a little smidge of dog poop.” He smiled.

The kids’ faces turned green as they grimaced. “What? You ruined a wonderful pan of brownies with dog poop?” They gagged at the thought.

“It was just a little bit. You probably can’t even taste it.”

I can’t imagine that this Dad could persuade anyone into eating those treats. But this story makes a good point about false teaching. Just a smidge of something contrary to the pure gospel contaminates the whole thing, making it false.

How can you know if you are being tricked? If you don’t know the Word, these charlatans can trip you up every time. In fact, they count on the flock’s lack of knowledge in order to gently lead them astray.

We must know the WHOLE gospel of truth.

God warns, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6, NASB).


Remember years ago when false teachers surfaced in the news? How about Jim Jones and his faithful followers who all drank the lethal Kool-Aid? Those are an insignificant number compared to thousands today who may be seated on a church pew or a couch at home, their ears devouring tainted brownies, chased by poisoned Kool-Aid.

Some congregations may begin on the right path of truth, but somewhere down the road, they get sidetracked by worldly desires. The leadership may fall from grace because of the temptation of adultery, or watching pornography in the late night hours in the comfort of their home offices. Ever hear of Ashley Madison, for example?

Or perhaps it’s the lure of wealth, and they become greedy for bigger salaries to live like kings in palaces. Ever hear of the prosperity gospel?

Whatever the sin may be, coming through the leadership or the congregation, everyone is tainted and affected.

But God.

The Lord will help and deliver us from false teaching if we stay close to Him, planted in His Word. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, our teacher, and our link to God through the blood of Jesus. He lives inside our spirit and will never leave or forsake us. He will lead us into all truth, guiding us through our conscience, teaching us as we study God’s Word.

He protects us, His sheep, from wolves hiding under sheep’s clothing. He will reveal the truth to us, and we don’t have to fear becoming that wolf’s dinner.

Now let’s now examine Epheseus’ shortcomings.

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5, NASB).

How could this church be so savvy at uncovering false teachers, yet be accused of this? Those who hate evil and false teaching have a strong gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit; yet, leaving  Jesus, our first love, is different. It’s about the condition of the heart.

Remember when you first got saved? Most of us fell in love with Jesus and couldn’t stop talking about Him and witnessing to the lost. We devoured His Word and prayed every day. We were sloppy-drunk in love with the Lord and His Holy Spirit. Just like a romantic relationship that culminates in marriage, we spiritually felt and acted the same way.


What happens? Just as in a marriage, the relationship settles and cools as that fire of passionate love begins to temper, dying down into glowing embers. We must poke them, blowing gently, feeding them with kindling until it smokes and the fire again catches. The more we feed it, the hotter and higher the flames will grow.


How do we stoke the fires of our love for the Lord?  Revelation 2:4 instructs us to “repent, and do the deeds you did at first.” Then the fire will catch and burn again.

Here’s a 2015 example we can all relate to. Our cell phones and other electronic devices must be charged every day or else they will go dead. This is of such major importance in our lives that we carry chargers with us to use during the day. Even in schools, airports, and hospital waiting rooms–you’ll find charging ports with people sitting next to walls with their devices juicing up.

Think of your relationship with Jesus. We also have to charge up our spirits on a daily basis. We download His power through reading the Word. Then we send back the current to God through prayer, and the Holy Spirit joins us together through the cross and the blood of Jesus so that we’re one with Him. If we neglect to do this, our power lessens, and at some point will go dead.

But the good news is that we can get charged up immediately as soon as we go into our prayer closets. It’s never too late.


As parents, haven’t we used OR ELSE phraseology to back up our demands?  We let our children know exactly what consequence their rebellion holds.

God does likewise.

At Ephesus, Jesus added a solemn consequence if that church refused to listen and heed His warning. His OR ELSE is spelled out in Revelation 2:5: “I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” Jesus meant business, and He meant what He said. Ephesus would lose its place as a church, unless they listened and obeyed.

It is interesting that Jesus concludes this warning to Ephesus by saying, “Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate (Revelation 2:6, NASB).

Who were the Nicolaitans? We know little about them, but it is supposed that they may have been a sect that introduced false teaching in regard to a believer’s freedom in Christ. Perhaps they espoused that once you’re saved at the cross, that frees you to live like everyone else who was immersed in a world of idolatry and sexual sin. Whatever the teaching, it was a stench in the nostrils of God, and He hated it with a passion.

The truth is that the cross frees us from sin to live a sanctified, holy life in Christ.


As with each letter to the churches, the conclusion ends on a high note with a wonderful promise.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7, NASB).


Do we have a spiritual ear to hear what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us today? If we hate evil, persevere for truth without growing weary, discern false teachers, and always keep our love for the Lord first in our hearts, there is a reward for that victory. Jesus promises us fruit to eat in heaven—but not just any fruit—the tree of life that gives eternal life.

Is it worth it to be obedient to God’s Word? You bet it is. What a wonderful reward awaits us in God’s kingdom!

Where are we traveling next? Meet me in Smyrna.