Here are four ways you can identify a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Maybe you can add a fifth way.
They Feed Themselves
Wolves in sheep’s clothing don’t really care about feeding the sheep but only feeding themselves. They only feed the flock sugar cubes to attract more sheep. Ezekiel nails it by writing, “… shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep” (Ezek. 34:2-3). A shepherd must never be interested only in money or he’s disqualified from being a pastor (1 Tim. 3:3) because a pastor must not be “pursuing dishonest gain” (Titus 1:7).
They’re Biblically Illiterate
Most wolves don’t know their Bible; therefore, they show their biblical illiteracy in their preaching. They take text out of context and build a false pretext around it. In other words, they proof text. For example, some have been prophesying a “blood moon” and doom and setting dates. They ignore the fact, or probably don’t know the fact, that Jesus said, “… concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt. 24:36). They attract large “prophecy hounds” in order to build up their income and sell worthless books about the end times.
They’re Worldly Wolves
I won’t say who he is, but one “pastor” has been caught in adultery several times, yet they restore him to the pulpit, even though this disqualifies him from the pastorate. Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16). Their lifestyle is like that of the rich and famous, and there’s scandal after scandal. Jesus warns us that “a healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:18-20).
They Allow Other Wolves In
The wolf will also allow anyone in the church, just as long as they don’t disagree with the head wolf. They don’t preach about the need for repentance (turning away from and forsaking sin), the cross, the need for change, the necessity for living a holy life or sanctification. They stay away from things that will offend the sheep because they want to build as big of a flock as they can so that they can fleece the sheep for more and more. They let in adulterers, fornicators and such with no church discipline.
There are no shortages of wolves in sheep’s clothing today. Paul said, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim. 4:3). So be warned about these wolves, who only seek to line their pockets with money, who are biblically illiterate, who have a scandalous lifestyle and don’t teach the need for holiness in the church.