Sheep among Wolves

Jesus is sending his people as sheep among ferocious wolves. How can few sheep survive among a pack of wolves? Jesus provides the secret. Their success rides in being shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.

Overview

Bible Passages: Matt 10:16-25; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 12:11-12;

Sheep

Sent to the wolves

To be shrewd as snakes

And innocent as doves

They will invoke

  • A clash of powers
  • Hatred persecution and death
  • A permanent end to Satan’s rule ushering Christ’s kingdom

Discussion

Objectives

To understand:

  • How we as sheep can survive and win among wolves
  • Who are the wolves?
  • What is the victory strategy?

Bible Passage

Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. 

Bible Passage (Cont’d)

Matt 10: “At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

Sheep

Helpless, weak, dumb, slow. Very easy for wolves to attack and rip apart in no time.

Jesus is sending his people as sheep straight into the wolves hunting ground.

Sheep avoid wolves but in three ways these sheep are different:

  • They are being sent to the wolves
  • They are to be shrewd as snakes
  • They are to be innocent as doves.

Sent to the wolves

Jesus himself is referred as a lamb sent to the slaughterhouse

He is now sending us in similar manner among wolves – among hostile people.

However there are some survival instructions.

Why this assignment?

Isn’t there a better way?

Apparently not.

While the wolves revel in the slaughter, the blood and sorrow of the sheep invoke the power of the Almighty to save many more sheep some even from the wolf pack.

To be Shrewd as snakes

Snakes have a number of qualities – barring the negatives, it is their shrewdness that Jesus picks. To know when they can stand; to know when and how they can flee – silently, swiftly.

When does a sufferer (sheep) fly (from danger) and when does he stand (and suffer the danger)? Bunyan knew how to answer for himself. He had four children, one of them blind, and he chose to remain in prison for twelve years rather than promise not to preach the gospel. 

To be Shrewd as snakes

“Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly; if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Anything but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 1 Sam. 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11-12; Jeremiah stood, Jer. 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1-8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Act 20:22-23. . . .” John Bunyan

Whether you stand or fly – laugh, Bunyan continues, “for that the scales are still in God’s hand”

And innocent as doves

While we stand seemingly helplessly and watch the carnage on the Lord’s people, we do not soil our fingers just to paint ourselves as the others. We remain pure to God’s word.

We strive to daily cleanse ourselves from all the impurities of the wolves’ world, of Beelzabub’s world.

Doves are cautious and careful. They do not stir hostility or provocation.

And innocent as doves

Innocence should be:

  • A follow up on shrewdness and not stand in it’s own – which would be naiveness.
  • The combination of shrewdness which requires competence and capability
  • Derived by a strong conscience coupled by high degree of capability.

Innocence with shrewdness requires deep purity from the soul

Is truly hard to find..

That is the unbeatable combination. What can such a person hope to get in this life?

They will invoke

A clash of powers…

Matt 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

The clash of Powers

There are only two big powers – God and Satan.

We are members of Christ’s family or Satan’s family.

Satan will manipulate his family to hurt and try to destroy God’s family.

This destruction will result in the spread of the gospel – in bringing in more children into the family of God.

Matt 10:23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

They will invoke

And represent the voice of God

As they stand as sheep before wolves

The most powerful God will speak through them

To the wolves

Trying to touch them and draw them to Him.

They will invoke

Hatred, persecution, death – even from the closest and dearest

But God has his agenda. To reach the world before it is too late, before the scales turn permanently in favour of the Son of Man – Jesus Christ who will rule forever.

Matthew 10:23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

What does this mean?

“you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Matt 10:23

There are multiple interpretations of this passage. However, in my view, this passage is prophetic – not only applying to his disciples but to the many that follow Him later. Father, against son, brother against brother – implies generations down the line as we have been seeing.

As the message is going through the Gentile world, it is also perculating the Jewish nation. Christ’s coming will complete the task, making the Jewish nation, fully aligned to Him.

They will invoke

The permanent end to the rule of Satan with the coming of Jesus

Where are the wolves today?

Everywhere.

  • In our homes,
  • in our churches
  • In our workplaces
  • In our society
  • In our country
  • People from all religions and cultures.

We need to stand up to them – AS SHEEP

And allow God to speak through us.

Power of the Sheep

In:

  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Mildness
  • Confidence
  • Silence
  • Graciousness
  • Love

Lies the Power of God

Discussion

Explain the statement “the good can be the worst enemy of the best” in the clash of powers.

How Satan can use “good” as an “angel of light” to deceive even the elect?

How can we play on the side of the best at all times?

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