🐑••part of the Smart Sheep series••🐑
The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the
Word of God–all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching,
all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices.
These are His marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God!
In Part One, I addressed the rampant need for discernment within our churches, how the world loves grace but hates truth, how tolerance for sin, false doctrine, and moral relativism has pushed its way into evangelicalism. Any honest analysis of Christianity in today's culture will mark a distinct need for discernment, and with it, a severe lack of watchmen on the wall who are earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. 🐑
We need more Bereans who are searching the Scriptures to see if what they're hearing agrees with what God says. (Acts 17) We need Smart Sheep who are much more afraid of offending God than offending others. We need discerning Christians who lovingly stand up for truth even at the risk of losing reputation and friends. With all this in mind, we need to ponder just what a smart sheep looks like. Briefly, here are the first 5 characteristics of a Smart Sheep.🐑
1. SMART SHEEP read the Word for themselves.
Truth is not subjective. Truth is found in the Word of God. Smart Sheep firmly believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and hold on to the infallibility of God's Word. They know where to find truth and pour themselves into reading, learning, and memorizing God's Word. They don't rely on their pastor to read the Word of God to them! But the best part is the beautiful byproduct of this discipline: discernment. For when you know what is true, it is much easier to identify the false. 🐑
2. SMART SHEEP ask God for wisdom.
Wisdom is the application of knowledge. In other words....
“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” Makes total sense to me!
When we read the Word, we gain knowledge. How or if we apply that knowledge determines whether or not we are wise. Smart Sheep ask God for wisdom, just as King Solomon did in 2 Chronicles 1:10. If we have a "red flag" about something, why are we more apt to quickly dismiss it instead of praying for wisdom to know how to handle it? We need wisdom to help us properly navigate through this life. We need wisdom to help us differentiate truth from error and then know how to deal with it.
Proverbs 2:3–6 says,
“Cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding;
if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will discern the fear of the Lord
and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth
come knowledge and understanding.”
And then in James 1:5, we are taught:
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." 🐑
3. SMART SHEEP compare everything to Scripture.
We are taught in Scripture to examine everything carefully, hold fast to that which is good and abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess 5:21-22). This means examining everything you read and listen to in light of Scripture–every sermon, every blog article (including this one!), every conference, everything that is taught to you should be compared to Scripture, just like the Bereans did in Acts 17. They eagerly listened to Paul, but then took it one step further and compared everything to Scripture. Great example for all of us. Also....good shepherds encourage their flock to test everything they teach. You should be so thankful if your pastor does this! 🐑
4. SMART SHEEP protest against false doctrine.
Tolerating error is unbiblical. Tolerating false doctrine is disobedient. “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” (Calvin) There's too much bullying allowed within the leadership of evangelicalism where concerned Bereans are seen as being critical, hateful and judgmental. On primary/salvific issues where error is detected, it must be exposed. We cannot be silent.🐑
5. SMART SHEEP regularly pray for their pastor.
Best thing anybody can do is to diligently pray for their pastor and the church leadership, and Smart Sheep do this regularly. These precious men of God desperately need our prayer support, as they are more often the target of Satan than anybody else. They also will be judged with greater strictness, according to James 3:1. You know that old saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?" I'm saying, "Pray for the hand that feeds you." We should be praying for God's protection, for boldness to preach the truth, for wisdom and understanding, and for strength to face the daily challenges set before them. And we must pray that they are able to discern truth from error so that they may rightly handle the Word of God, teaching us correct theology and doctrine, and above all, always pointing us to Christ.🐑
I'm aiming to be a Smart Sheep. My goal is to be a wise watchman on the wall for the purpose of guarding and protecting the gospel and God's truth for the glory of God. In Part Three, I'll unpack a few more qualities of a Smart Sheep..... 🐑