Sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of trying to prove a point and other times so that manipulation can take place. Many scriptures on finance for example, have been stripped of their true meaning so that the masses will send money. Or, did you know that “God helps those who help themselves” isn’t even in the Bible?
I want to deal with one such verse that is commonly taken out of context.
John 10:10 “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…”
You have probably heard this verse quoted in church many times. You have probably heard how this verse is talking about the devil. You have probably assumed it to be true, because that sounds like what the devil would do. And that is true the devil, evil itself, sin itself does all of that. He (it) robs you of a full life, he kills all hope and he destroys lives.
But, that is not what this verse is talking about.
And you may ask, “why does it matter, if it’s true in a general sense, why worry about the exact context?”
I would answer, “It matters because there are others who are thieves, who steal, kill and destroy.” It’s very important to identify all who would cause this much destruction.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining this because I trust you will research it yourself.
Read John 10:1-21, Jesus is comparing Himself to the false religious leaders.
Jesus calls them “thieves”
The context we miss is…Jesus is talking about those who claim to have authority or leadership but are not looking out for the people.
False religious leaders then and now, steal, kill and destroy.
They steal the simplicity of a relationship with Jesus, the kill the joy of serving the Lord and they destroy churches, families, friendships or anything that gets in their way.
In the Gospel of Matthew alone, Jesus called these types of leaders
· Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
· Show Offs
· Blind Guides
· Whitewashed Tombs
· Brood of Vipers
· Sons of Hell
Do you get the sense that Jesus didn’t mince words?
The New Testament is filled with warnings to stay away from these people.
The warnings about false teachers/prophets in the Bible far outnumber the warnings about the devil.
John 10:10 is probably taken out of context for very innocent reasons but it is extremely important for us to get it right. Scripture repeatedly warns us that false leaders will always be around.
It is sometimes suggested to me to “not focus on the bad things about church” or “you just don’t like the common view of church leadership because you had a bad experience” It’s true, I point out the church’s failures quite a bit and I talk about how the worlds definition of leadership has taken over the church. I will continue to do so; people seem to respect the honesty about the church’s mistakes. And few disagree that many modern leadership qualities are opposite of the Kingdom attributes described by Christ. The ones who do disagree are almost always in a “leadership” position.
The true bride of Christ is a beautiful, pure representation of the groom.
Sometimes unfortunately, a cheap, shallow version is passed off as the real thing by false spiritual leaders and many people are hurt. “Robbed” if you will.
I wonder if the growing number of people who have been hurt by this type of “thief” would want someone to warn them?
Scripture gives us ways to identify these “thieves” but systems are set up to promote them.
I want to inspire you to take scripture seriously.
I want to encourage you to live for Christ and His kingdom.
And, I want to warn you to look out for false spiritual leaders.
Few people will mean more to you than a sincere Pastor (servant) of God. I know many of them and I am forever thankful. But if you come across someone that could be described in Matthew 23, stay away.
Jesus came that you might have life to the full.
“DISCERNMENT is not knowing the difference between RIGHT and WRONG. It is knowing the difference between RIGHT and ALMOST RIGHT.” —Quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Written by Tom Wise © 2013 Finding Wonder