There are several people referred to as thieves in the New Testament. Eight times in the New Testament Jesus is referred to as a thief. Satan is also referred to as a thief in Matthew 13:19 which says, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” In Luke 8, the Lord tells this parable again, but this time He adds something more to the story. He reveals who the “wicked one” in Matthew 13:19 is (as if we couldn’t figure it out anyways…as satan is called the wicked one in five other places in the New Testament).
Luke’s gospel bears out in 8:12 that the wicked one is the devil. I’ll list them side-by-side so that you can see it for yourself:
“…the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” Matthew 13:19
“The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts.” Luke 8:12
And there are other people referred to as thieves in the New Testament…regular ordinary people who steal from others (1 Peter 4:15, Romans 2:21, Eph. 4:28, 1 Cor. 6:10, etc).
But today I would like to draw your attention to a thief who is so good at what he does that he hardly ever gets caught. A thief who is smart can go undetected for long lengths of time. Remember the guy years ago who worked as an accountant for some bank in New York that stole one penny from everyone’s account each month? By the time he got caught, he had “salami-sliced” millions of dollars. He got caught because he got greedy and changed it to two cents every month.
He went undetected for years. But all thieves eventually get caught. Before we got rid of our TV a few years back, I used to watch a show (I can’t remember the name of it now, but I think it was called MasterMinds) where the world’s most intelligent and ingenuitive thieves did these elaborate thefts and schemes…but they were all eventually caught. Someone always catches on to what is going on.
So it is my intent today to expose the schemes and thievery of some thieves that have gone undetected for years. Call me a spiritual detective if you will. Because in this briefing, we’re going to ferret out these men (and women) who have been stealing from the saints “one penny at a time.”
I mean really…come on…who notices a penny missing from their account each month? I’ll tell you who. Someone who keeps their books balanced to the penny (pun intended), someone who has heard about thieves who steal one penny at a time, someone who is just naturally alert and paying attention, and also someone who has been stolen from in the past in this manner and is already wise to it.
None of us are exempt from spiritual theft. I myself have fallen prey to it a few times over the years. And because I can now recognize a thief when I see one, I can help others see them. Years ago I watched a show called Catch Me If You Can about a guy who was a great paper thief (hot checks, cashiers checks, forgeries, etc). He was so good that he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. When he finally got caught, the FBI recruited him to work in their forgery/fraud department.
Why would the FBI allow such a man to go to work for them? Because while everyone else had a lot of schoolbook knowledge from their criminal classes in college, this man had years of actual experience in developing these scams and in alluding the authorities. What better person to have helping you that the one who has the most experience in it?
Look at it this way…if your child/wife/husband needed to have open-heart surgery done, would you allow a man fresh out of med-school with no surgeries under his belt (but he sure has a lot of book knowledge, and he’s observed others do the surgery many times) to perform a quadruple bypass surgery; or would you pick the man who had done this surgery a thousand times with no deaths? My guess is that you’re going to pick the man who has 20 years of doing these surgeries every day. He knows what he’s looking at when he gets in there. Nothing is going to surprise him or startle him. He has seen it all. He is well versed in all aspects of thoracic-vascular surgery.
In the same way, the saints who have walked with God for a long time and have spent years searching His Word for truth and light, and have years of applicable spiritual experience under their belt can help others spiritually. They have got the beam from out of their own eye, and they are now able to see clearly enough to help others with their specks.
One time I got a metal spec lodged in my eye. I couldn’t get it out. It really affected my vision. It caused my eye to water continually, every time I blinked it scratched the inside of my eyelid. I went to an eye doctor and he couldn’t get it out. I had to go to surgery to get it out. But once it was out I could see ever so clearly.
People who are serving God faithfully and who are living dedicated holy lives before God are able to help others. Because at one time these same people only had a lot of book knowledge and no real experience in spiritual surgery under their belt. They too had to be schooled by experience. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. As Jerry Jasnoski always says, “I’ve got a million dollars worth of experience, and I wouldn’t give five cents to go through it again.
So let’s move on now and see another group of thieves in the New Testament that I fear most have overlooked. We will be looking at the 10th chapter of John from a different perspective.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
I want to draw your attention to a few important points in this portion of scripture. First take note of who the thief is (see my first bolded and underlined portion above). The thief is a man. We have all heard it for years (but it doesn’t make it true) that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” is referring to satan. Satan is referred to as a thief in other portions of scripture…but not here. This thief is a man. It even says so at the end of verse 1…”that man is a thief.”
Now also notice how the thief enters the sheepfold. He climbs in by another way. Because if someone sees him trying to come in the front gate, then it’s over for him. This denotes stealth and craftiness on the thief’s part. He’s trying to sneak in undetected. What are his motives for doing this? So that he may steal from you (folks, at the end of the day, thieves are ultimately after your money), kill you spiritually, and destroy whatever faith you have. Jude v.4 says, “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you . They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
I want you to see something right here at this point. How do they destroy your faith? Please take special notice of the following two verses:
Who have departed from the truth. They say (they are teaching) that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 2Tim. 2:18
They must be silenced, because they are the kind of people who ruin whole families by teaching what they should not teach in order to make money in a shameful way. Titus 1:11
So then, again I ask…how is this stealing, killing, and destroying really taking place? By false teachers. THESE ARE THE THIEVES!!! Listen to the Shepherd’s voice, and you will not be deceived. Don’t watch these false teachers on TV. Don’t listen to them on the radio. Don’t support their “ministries.” Don’t read their books. I’m especially referencing the “teachers” who espouse the damnable heresies of OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved). These men are deceived and are looking for others to deceive with their feel-good easy gospel that says God’s love and grace covers everything. 1 John 1:9-11 says, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” But yet people are receiving them into their house via the radio, TV, their books, etc. Kick these people out of your house and don’t let them back in. Most of them are after your money…and many of them are after your soul.
Paul said to avoid these men at all costs. John said to not fellowship with them at all, lest you be a partaker of their sins. These men are looking for people who will bless their unrighteousness. The bible I read says in Matthew that it’s a very difficult road. It says that through much tribulation should we enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus and Paul said there would be much persecution, many trials and hardships. It’s not an easy gospel. If you have an easy gospel, then you have already been deceived into believing the lie that the thieves and hired hands are propagating.
Romans 16:17-18 says, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
The other day during prayer, I was praying about this very issue of why so many are believing in lies concerning not having to live a 100% sold-out holy life, and walk before God in righteousness, and deny all the filth and entertainment of the world. I was asking God about it, and this is what He said to me: “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them…if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:29-30
So…it is our responsibility to warn you to flee from these false teachers who are deceiving thousands right now. I watched a video the other day where people all over the world are being deceived by every spirit imaginable. Lester Sumrall said that over 180,000 people backslide every day.
But ultimately it is your sole responsibility to listen to Moses and the Prophets (in other words – God’s holy Word). And if you’re not in His Word, then you will be carried away with every wind of doctrine and may ultimately lose out on it all. Because Jesus said that only the overcomers will inherit.
I read a commentary just the other day that said if a person misses the rapture, they have lost out on salvation. They can never be saved during the tribulation period. This was taken directly form the Assemblies of God bible. I read his position and I saw the truth of it. It’s true…if you miss the rapture as a “Christian” then you will be deluded by the lie and can not ever be saved. See 2 Thess. 2:10-12 and meditate on it. If anyone wants the quote that I’m referencing, just email me and I’ll copy it for you word for word.
Because if a person cannot live for God today…in the day of Grace…what in the world makes them think they’ll EVER be able to live for God in the day of wrath? Not a chance. You will be as the Israelite children whose carcasses fell in the wilderness and were given an oath by God that they would never enter into His rest. We are all in the wilderness part of our journey to the good land. What will you do, and whom will you believe…the 10 spies (thieves) who caused an entire generation to die in the wilderness and go to hell…or will you believe the two faithful men who stood warning? The thieves care nothing for the sheep…only the true shepherds. I only pray that you may feel my shepherd’s heart towards you today.