Sermon on the Mount: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

To Remember: Not everyone who claims to teach the truth really does

   False Prophet - Someone who claims to teach God's Word, but who teaches something wrong or less than the whole truth

- Matt 7:15-23
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (NIV)
Some people are like wolves who pretend to be sheep. They act and dress like the sheep, only to destroy the lambs once they are among them. Click for Larger picture of sheep and disguised wolf.

Jesus said that we can figure out which sheep are true sheep, and which are wolves. He said we'll know, because even if a wolf is dressed like a sheep, it acts like a wolf. A wolf can't baaa like a sheep, it can't chew cud like a sheep, it can't eat grass, or even smell like a sheep. Jesus said that a wolf can try to look like a sheep, but you can tell it apart by its actions.
Jesus also compared people like this to trees. If a tree has apples on it, what kind of tree is it? An apple tree! Will an apple tree ever grow pears? No - that's what a pear tree is for. Jesus said our actions are like fruit. If a man lies, he is a liar, no matter how often he says he isn't. A man can say he is a Christian, but if he doesn't act like a Christian, then you know he is false.
In fact, Jesus said there would people on judgment day that would claim that they had done great things for Jesus, and he would say: "I never knew you, depart from me, you who work iniquity." In other words, not only had they not done what Jesus wanted, they had done evil instead. These people may have thought they were pleasing God, but in fact they weren't. How do we find out what will please God? By reading the Bible.
SING: This little Christian Light of Mine
Matching game. Use two pictures of trees, a twisted, dead and black tree labeled Bad Fruit and a living, healthy, leafy tree labeled Good Fruit. On pictures of fruit, list good and bad traits. Mix up the fruit and have students sort them accordingly.

Describe several situations and have students decide whether a person who does this is a sheep or a sheep in wolves clothing. (You can give each student a picture of each to hold up, post a picture of each and have students stand before the appropriate character, or have students place tokens on the character on the table.)
  • Someone who cheats on a test. (wolf)
  • Someone who is polite to everyone. (sheep)
  • Someone who is only polite to people she wants to impress. (wolf)
  • Someone who admits when he is wrong. (sheep)
  • Someone who is difficult to upset. (sheep)
  • Someone who blames others for her mistakes. (wolf)
  • Someone who exaggerates. (wolf)
True or False
  1. God knows who is true and who is false. T
  2. We can know who is true and who is false. T
  3. A wolf can smell like a sheep. F
  4. An apple tree can grow pears. F
  5. Our actions are our fruit. T
  6. If someone does evil things, he can still be a good person. F
  7. God will judge us by our actions. T
Memory Work Matthew 7:21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. NIV
Review Questions
(can be used with gameboard)

 linguistic questions
  1. What does the wolf represent?
  2. What are some good "fruits" we can grow in our lives?
  activity questions
  1. Act out the wolf who is trying to act like a sheep.
  2. Act out a sheep who discovers another "sheep" is a wolf.
  3. Act out the farmer sorting good fruit from bad.
Life of Jesus Bingo   emotion questions
  1. How does Jesus feel about the wolves among his sheep?
  2. Describe how a person (sheep) feels when it discovers that the person it believed in is actually evil (a wolf)?
  3. How should we treat a 'wolf'?
application questions
  1. Are we supposed to be on the look out for those that would deceive us?
  2. How do we protect ourselves from evil people?
  3. How can we tell if someone believes in Jesus? (if the act like Jesus)
fact questions
  1. How do farmers judge which fruit trees to keep, and which to destroy?
  2. What did God give us to help decide which fruit is bad and which is good?
  3. Will we ever run into someone who would deceive us?
review questions
  1. Will everyone who claims to please God be saved?
  2. What happens if the wolf is allowed in with the sheep?
  3. How do we know if we are pleasing to God?