Who doesn’t know the phrase made famous by Woody the Cowboy from Disney? You probably even had Tom Hanks’ voice in your head when you read the title of this blog. No, I’m not writing about boots, or cowboys or any Disney theme, but I am talking about a snake among us.
The snake I am referring to is similar to the first serpent to appear in the Bible, the one who tricked Eve. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?’” (Gen 3:1) Notice that Eve was not surprised at this conversation. She was open to this conversation because she felt she had nothing to suspect or fear.
Paul warns of a similar snake we need to be careful of. He was speaking to the Elders of the Church of Ephesus before he continued his journey towards Jerusalem and there are two powerful lessons to be learned in this statement.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. – Acts 20:28-30
Fierce wolves will come in
Paul knew that when he left, this young church would be more vulnerable to negative outside influences. He also warned that these outside influences would intentionally come in among the group seeking to disrupt the faith. They would spare nobody with the goal of completely destroying this young church.
From among your own selves
Remember that Paul is not addressing the whole church, he is speaking to the Elders of the church that “the Holy Spirit has made overseers, to care for the church”. This was a selected group of men, deemed strongest in the faith. Paul is stating that some of these wolves will actually come from within this group of leaders. Does this sound familiar? It should, remember this comment? “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me”
Just as Jesus warned He would be betrayed by one of His selected disciples, Paul was warning these Elders of much of the same. The fact is, this warning was not only for the church of Ephesus, it is for us as well.
The enemy is constantly seeking a stronghold in the church. He wishes to deceive the flock in any manner he can, and there’s no more effective way than from the inside. We must always test the Spirit, and use nothing but the Scriptures to confirm or reject teaching. When Paul gave this same warning in Galatia, his language was even more through. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8-9)
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.