The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals. The size of the crowd, the number of converts, the size of the budget, the amount of the weekly collections: if these look good the church is prospering and the pastor is thought to be a success. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.
This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.
A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body. It is to mistake the old creation for the new and to confuse things eternal with things temporal. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error.
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” Mat 25:32-33
The Bible describes the truly saved ones as sheep. But it also speaks of goats among the sheep. The difference between the two is tremendous. Have you considered how you fit into one of these categories, sheep or goat?
Goats eat trash
One of the marks of a goat is that it will eat almost anything. Much more than just eating it, it thinks that trash is delicious. There are Christians who do not feed themselves well spiritually speaking. In place of going to a good church with healthy spiritual food, these will feed themselves on anything, but mostly trash. While the Bible clearly tells us “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” 1Pe 2:2, the goats will feed themselves on what is popular, what is exciting, and what has little or no eternal value. Often they stay home to watch a false prophet on the TV instead of seeking good spiritual food. They miss the point of Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” God has created us with a spiritual need to have fellowship with good Christian brothers of the same faith, so that we can grow into maturity. Goats greatly disdain this both causing problems among the brethren and hating them. They come to church to discourage, attack, or destroy the community of faith, not to receive from it and build it up. This definitely marks a goat.
Goats are arrogant
We have all seen the famous goat on top of something where he pridefully stands, saying, “I am the king of the mountain.” The nature of goats is that they like to exalt themselves. It is a classic sight to see a goat with his head high in the air, while sheep have they heads bent down feeding. All this pride goes with their nature inherited from the devil, their father. In Isaiah 14:13-14 describes Satan their father, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Is it any surprise to know that in Satanistic ceremonies they use the image of a goat to identify themselves? The goat is proud, and his most important priority it seems is to get into a position of highness over others so that he can look down on them (whether physically, financially, or in pride), and especially dominate and control others. He sees himself as “better than the rest”, and he thinks that HE should be over and above the rest. On the other hand, a sheep always has his head bowed; concerned principally with feeding himself with what is lowly. You can be assured that any minister or Christian who has pride, arrogance, or is boastful is a child of the devil, and has the attitude of his father the devil.
Pro 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Pro 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
How can a true child of God “take pride in” the moral character of pride and arrogancy that is so hated by God? The person who rejects humility is deceived by the devil. By this character trait, you see who is a goat and who is a sheep.
Goats are aggressive
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:Another mark of goats is that they are very aggressive. They are always going head to head with everyone, especially with each other, and with any who crosses them. They look like sheep but have horns for hurting others that they use very well for that purpose. God commands us to seek tranquility and peace with others, because every true Christian has the peace of God dwelling in him and will seek peace with others in this life.
The goat is like his father (1Pe 5:8 “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”) Gal 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. God commands and causes a tranquility within his children, and with other people in place of constant attacks, conflict, scandals, aggressions, and backbiting. The Christian is prohibited from gossiping (1Tim 5.13), blaspheming (Col 3:8; 2Tim 3:2), or from slandering others (2Tim 3:2-5; 1Pet 3:16), especially his brethren in Christ. You really see the difference between sheep and goats on this one. Paul exhorted us in 1Tim 6:3-4 saying that sound doctrine produces piety in the life of the person who believes it, and that “if any man teach otherwise… he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, and perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth.” Simply put the mark of a goat is when the person wants or always gravitates to seeing their brethren as evil and themselves as good., and they are contentious people (1Tim 3:3; Tit 1:7), and they always seek fights and conflicts.
Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Very simple brethren, the person, who is like a goat, is always seeking contention and arguments, and he will constantly have problems with others because he is like Satan his father.
Goats constantly jump the fence
While sheep have a deep and beautiful relationship of love and respect with their pastors, goats are always mischievous, jumping the fence constantly because they are never satisfied with where they are.
Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Sheep naturally have a loyalty to a good man of God who faithfully feeds them from the goodness of the Word of God. For the pastor it is a pleasure to have in his congregation true Christians who are obedient. He will not have complaints about his people on judgment day. They have problems, and he helps resolve them (sheep are willing and receiving his help). We understand here that God will demand pastors an accounting on judgment day for every member of his church. Many people don’t even qualify as members of the church, because (1) they don’t attend regularly with faithfulness, (2) if they come, they don’t seek communion and fellowship with their brethren (they arrive late, and leave immediately), (3) they do not participate in church activities like evangelism, teaching, nor church community things, (4) they don’t economically support the work of God which suggests where their loyalties lie (outside their own spiritual family), (5) they do not permit the pastor to counsel them on their personal lives. They don’t talk over the matters of their life with the pastor, neither do they seek nor receive pastoral advice. The most famous here is when the pastor makes a comment that their life is out of order with Scripture, and they attack the pastor and their brethren getting mad in the process instead of heeding good counsel.
Every pastor has to represent the will God by his personal example. He has to be somebody that is exemplary in his own life. But in our churches it seems that the rule is that church loyalty is only seen where they give it to wicked ministers (which absolutely demand it). Everybody ignores the humble man of God that doesn’t demand loyalty to himself. This happens because the people don’t really feed themselves on the Word of God. When a Christian obeys and puts into practice what he learns of the will of God from the sermons and classes of a good man of God, then this loyalty will naturally exist. But this loyalty is first and over all to Christ, and then to the humble servant God has called to the ministry of feeding the people of God, because sheep exalt the authority of the Scriptures and honor those who handle the Scriptures correctly and wisely, supporting the warriors who fight in spiritual things. The ministry is involved with rebuking and exhorting those who hear so that they will be cleansed from their sins, and this is not very popular nor easy. Many brethren will be offended and leave the church.
1Co 16:15-16 they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. The idea of helping and supporting here is to work beside them. We should submit to hard working ministers. We should have loyalty to those who are serving (deaconing) the saints, and we should labor with them. “Laboureth” means to grow weary through work, to be exhausted because of work. Goats are notorious for not sacrificing or supporting the man of God among them, but jump from place to place.
Goats always are in a bad mood
Perhaps the worse mark of a goat is simple his attitude. He is never satisfied with anything. If you give him attention, he gets mad, and if you don’t he complains you are ignoring or slighting him.
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
The mark of the children of God is their cooperation among themselves, and their spiritual and emotional support for the lives one of another, and their aversion to complaining and conflict within the family of God. They put up with things and take personal loss to keep the peace.
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
The Christian faithful to God is always with the thought that God is near, God is watching, and because of this, he does not act poorly with his brothers, nor towards authority.
So what are you? A goat or a sheep? God knows, and one day, he will make this clear to you.
By: Pastor David Cox