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As Sheep Among Wolves (Matt [10]16-23)

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As Sheep Among Wolves

Text: Matthew 10:16-23

Place Preached - (Mississauga International Baptist Church)

Date Preached - (10/21/01)

Introduction:   

You are a Sheep and the Wolves are at your door.  What will you do?

1. Remain inside, surrender your personal freedom.  Live the rest of your life in fear as a prisoner in your own home?

2. Take up arms, blow and blast in an attempt to eliminate or annihilate the wolves?

3. Get out your wolf costume and pretend to be one of them, as you slip past?

4. Trust in your shepherd who said, “go in and out and find pasture”, “don’t be afraid of the wolves, for I will protect you”!!

There is an obvious spiritual parallel to this illustration.

It is found in our text.

Give BRIEF Explanation of TEXT and CONTEXT

PURPOSE: To show that through Christ it is possible to live an uncompromising Christian testimony in a world that is increasingly opposed to or intolerant of the gospel.

Philippians 2:15  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Verse 16 contains four metaphors from the animal kingdom.  They are pictures of the relationship of the believer to the world.

We see in these pictures…..

            What We Are

            What We Are to be Aware of

            What We Need

I. What We are - Sheep

We are sent out as sheep.

We do not go out on our own, we are sent by the Shepherd.  We are sent by Christ, Himself!!  What great assurance and confidence this fact alone should bring to us!!!

He never sends without a wise purpose!!

  1. Christ sent His disciples out in the storm.

  1. He sent Paul out as an apostle of suffering.

Acts 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

  1. God sent His own Son to the Cross

  1. He sent us as sheep among wolves.

What are some characteristics of sheep?

  • Sheep are Followers

  • Sheep are Defenseless

Isaiah 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

  • Sheep are Stubborn

Isaiah 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

  • Sheep are Prone to Losing their Way

Luke 15 – The Lost Sheep

  • Sheep need a Shepherd

Matthew 9:36  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

II. What We must be Aware of - Wolves

ILLUS: Delta Alert – Highest state of Military alert.

A. Characteristics of the Wolf

He is Dangerous

He is Deceptive

He is Desirous of the Weak

ILLUS: This is the way it is with predatory animals.

1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

B. Who or What are the Wolves?

1. Persecutors – Context (Matt. 10)

2. False religious teaching and authority.

Matthew 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

3. False teachers within the Church.

Acts 20:29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Spiritual destruction is promoted & perpetuated in the name of the church, in the name of Christianity.

There are also many Wolfish ideal, philosophies, and sentiments that are more or less openly expressed in society these days.

Colossians 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

  • Political Correctness               Works Salvation

  • Tolerance

  • Relativism

III. What We Need

A. The Subtlety of a Serpent

This speaks of the wisdom, prudence and caution necessary in avoiding imminent danger.

No animal is the equal of a serpent in this area.

Genesis 3:1  “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made………….”

May we be shrewd and insightful spiritually.  Having a sanctified common sense.

1 Chronicles 12:32  “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do;…………”  (TIME: At the initiation of David’s Reign)

Ephesians 5:15  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

What is the best way to handle the problem?

What should I say?  Should I say anything?

B. The Simplicity of a Dove

The dove is a symbol of innocence and peace.

The child of God should not be looking to provoke danger.

ILLUS: Beehive – A bee may sting me, but I would not walk out in the field and turn over a beehive!!!

The dove is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit.    Oh how we need to have Spirit-filled,  prompted, led, controlled, and empowered lives.

SEE Vs.19-20

Without the fruit of the Spirit, you will not walk (you cannot!) as you ought to in the midst of wolves!!

C. The Importance of Balance

We need both a sanctified common sense and a sweet reasonableness about us!!!

Romans 16:19  For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

If the dove dominates we become silly.

If the Snake, we then become dangerous or even deceptive.

We must have a serpent-like mind and a dove-like heart!!

The tendency is to imbalance – And more often than not the serpent will devour the dove.

EXAMPLES of Balance…..

PAUL

1 Corinthians 9:22  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

DAVID in his relationship to Saul.

MORDECAI in his reaction to the wicked Haman.

Ephesians 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Conclusion:     (Review)

You are a Sheep and the Wolves are at your door.  What will you do?  (Spiritual Application)

1. Remain inside, surrender your personal freedom.  Live the rest of your life in fear as a prisoner in your own home?

2. Take up arms, blow and blast in an attempt to eliminate or annihilate the wolves?

3. Get out your wolf costume and pretend to be one of them, as you slip past?

4. Trust in your shepherd who said, “go in and out and find pasture”, “don’t be afraid of the wolves, for I will protect you”!!

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