David knew his Shepherd and wrote psalms of praise to Him. “[A Psalm of David]. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). David loved and trusted the Lord in good times and in bad times, and so should we.
Before David was king of Israel, he had been a shepherd and understood how dependent the sheep are upon their shepherd. It’s the duty of the shepherd to be sure the sheep are safe, protected, and well-fed. Storms may rage, and wolves may lurk nearby, but the shepherd is always vigilant. If the sheep don’t listen to their shepherd, they’ll fall into trouble. Christians also have a Shepherd, and if we don’t listen to His voice, we will also find much trouble. Of course, our Shepherd isn’t a mortal man. Our Shepherd is Jesus Christ. We need to hear His voice and follow Him. Jesus has enlisted men to be shepherds over the flock, and those men need to fear God and honor Him as they lead the congregation. We need men today who fear God and lead the flock in the ways of the Lord.
When Jesus walked and talked with His disciples, He taught them many things. He taught them the love of God, and He showed them how to share the Good News. Jesus led by example. He was a carpenter by trade, but He didn’t use that as a gimmick, hoping that by repairing a roof or building something for a lost soul, they would come to salvation. He shared the Good News that the Messiah had come.
After the resurrection, and before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus met with the disciples on the shores of Galilee. It was important that the disciples understood what they needed to do. Peter was very troubled. He had denied knowing Jesus and was ashamed. In spite of this, Jesus had a special calling for Peter. He was to care for the flock. Jesus said, “…Feed my lambs” (John 21:15b). Lambs are the little ones. They are believers who aren’t ready for solid food but need milk to help them grow. Then Jesus told Peter twice to “…Feed my sheep” (John 21:16b & John 21:17b). If the sheep aren’t fed properly, the flock will die. If they aren’t given proper food, there’ll be no lambs to feed.
We see this tragedy happening in congregations today. Instead of teaching the pure word of God, pastors tickle ears and preach agendas rather than the Gospel. Books are taught that are written by humans instead of Scripture, which is God-breathed. Today we live in the very end of days, and this period of time is described in a letter that Jesus dictated to John.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
When Scripture is a secondary teaching, Jesus is excluded. Brothers and sisters, today Jesus is on the outside of many congregations. The shepherds are neglecting the sheep.
In speaking of the end times, Paul gave this warning, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Paul listed some things that would be accepted in the end, not only accepted by the world but within congregations. Some of these end-of-days evils are blasphemers, people with no natural affection, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, and people who have a form of godliness but deny His power. “…from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5b).
Does your pastor encourage you to turn away from such things, or does he teach from human books instead of teaching verse by verse through Scripture? You cannot know all of God’s truth if you pick and choose what verses you study and take them out of context or twist their meaning. Don’t wait for your pastor to teach you. Scripture is there for you to study.
If you say you have no time to study Scripture but make time to watch television, shame on you. Television doesn’t lead to a God-honoring life. Do you watch preachers on TV and think you’ve found a good shepherd? Name it and claim it, prosperity gospel, “send me money and I’ll pray for you” preaching are all false teachings. What about reading? Do you read self-help books, purpose-driven books, new age books, or “yoga and you” books? If so, you’re following the wrong shepherd. They may sound good, but Paul warns, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). Instead of wasting time with such things, study Scripture. It’s God’s word.
Peter took the instructions from Jesus to heart. He allowed himself to be led by the Holy Spirit, and because of that, he was a wonderful shepherd to his flock, and we can learn from him. Peter wrote two letters filled with nourishing food for the sheep. He tells us that in the last days, there will be people who don’t take God’s word seriously.
“This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (2 Peter 3:1-2).
Peter wanted his flock to avoid false teaching, so he encouraged them to study Scripture. That’s where truth is found.
Many pastors avoid prophecy, and Sunday school material is very shallow, so the flock is starving. The Old Testament is as important to study as the New Testament, and both need to be taught rather than books written by humans. In the verse above, Peter said to pay attention to “…words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” That isn’t hard to understand.
Peter did indeed feed the lambs and the sheep on Scripture, but false shepherds have infiltrated the flock. We live in the last days, and as Paul said, we live in perilous times. The sheep need to be alert because the shepherds are failing. Paul commended the people of Berea because they didn’t just believe what someone told them, but “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Christians today would be wise to be like the Bereans in order to avoid false teachings.
Paul warned of perilous times, and so did Peter. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Is that the way you see it? Is everything today the same as it was five years ago? Ten years ago? If you think all’s well, then you haven’t been paying attention. You’re one of the scoffers…a malnourished sheep.
The prophets of old spoke many prophecies that are being fulfilled today. Israel is back in their God-given land; the stage is being set for the wars to come about as described by the prophets of old; technology has advanced to the point where the whole world can look at their cell phone and see what’s happening across the globe; and genetic manipulation is ushering in the “days of Noe” (Noah) as foretold by Jesus. If you don’t understand what was happening during the days of Noah, then you need to do an honest study of Genesis chapter 6 and be sure that you don’t allow your genes to be altered in any way. The Rapture is on the very near horizon. Shepherds don’t teach truth, and the flock doesn’t care.
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:5-7).
Willingly ignorant? How? Instead of the shepherds teaching God’s word as fact, Darwin becomes the authority. When God’s truth is compromised, many false teachings ease their way in, and New Age lies are taught, Yoga is practiced, contemplative prayer and many false teachings are followed rather than Scripture. Many shepherds don’t respect God and Scripture. We need God-fearing shepherds who don’t lead the flock astray.
Jesus warned of false teachers who will try to steal the flock from the Shepherd. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber, but he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” (John 10:1-2).
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, so if you aren’t being fed on His word, then you’re being fed by a thief and a robber. Too often, the false doctrines are very close to Scripture, but close isn’t good enough. If you don’t know Scripture, then you will be easily duped. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and it’s His voice we need to follow.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:11-13).
Be careful of the hirelings who preach and teach things not found in Scripture. Jesus gave His life for us, so honor Him by following Him.
There is only one Gospel that will bring salvation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ…His death, burial, and resurrection. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
That’s a blessing. Christians are one in the Lord…one in our Good Shepherd. We need to feed on His word. He directed His sheep to spread the Gospel to the lost. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
It’s a shame that what passes for evangelism and missionary work today are gimmicks, and the Gospel is a secondary thought. That’s not what Jesus taught. That’s not following the Great Commission.
We need God-fearing shepherds who aren’t ashamed to speak God’s truth. We need God-fearing shepherds who use the pulpit to teach God’s word even if it makes the flock uncomfortable or jeopardizes the tax-exempt status. If the man in the pulpit where you worship is a God-fearing shepherd who feeds the flock healthy and nourishing food of Scripture, thank God for him. These men are few and far between.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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