The Selfish Shepherd

“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zechariah 11:17 (KJB)

Some thoughts from John Wesley…

“The idol shepherd – To them that are but the images of shepherds. That leaveth – Casts off the care of the flock. The sword – Of the enemy, shall break his strength and be – fool his counsels. Dried up – They that have gifts which qualify them to do good, if they do it not, they will be taken away. They that should have been workmen, but were slothful, and would do nothing, will justly have their arm dried up. And they that should have been watchmen, but were drowsy, will justly have their eye blinded.”  JOHN WESLEY’S NOTES ON THE BIBLE for Zechariah 11:17

John Gills notes on Zechariah 11:17…

Woe to the idol shepherd,…. Or, “the shepherd of nothing” (w); that is, no true shepherd, that is good for nothing, for an idol is nothing in the world, 1Co_8:4 and who is an idol himself, sits in the temple of God, and is worshipped as if he was God. 2Th_2:4 and is an encourager and defender of idolatry:

that leaveth the flock; has no regard to its spiritual concerns; does not feed it, but fleece it, and leaves it to the cruelty and avarice of his creatures under him:

the sword shall be upon his arm; with which he should feed the flock:

and upon his right eye; with which he should watch over it:

his arm shall be clean dried up; his power shall be taken away from him; the antichristian states, which supported him, shall withdraw from him; the ten kings shall hate the whore, strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Rev_17:16,

and his right eye shall be utterly darkened; not only given up to judicial blindness, which has been always his case; but his kingdom shall be full of darkness, Rev_16:10 his hidden things of darkness shall be exposed; all his crafty schemes will be confounded; and all his wit, cunning, and subtlety, will cease; and everything desirable to him will be taken away from him. His “arm” may denote his secular power, which shall be taken away from him: and his “right eye” his knowledge of the Scriptures, judgment in controversies, and infallibility pretended to by him, which wilt cease, even in the opinion of men. Ben Melech interprets it the eye of his heart or mind; and so Aben Ezra.”  JOHN GILL’S EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to be a Holy Spirit filled  pastor, undershepherd in Christ Jesus to the people I preach to each Sunday at Shiloah Baptist Church, and minister to the people of Jenkins, Missouri; to lead them in the way of Scripture, God’s Son Jesus Christ, His cross, burial and resurrection.

And when they were come to him, he said unto them, ‘Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:18-21 (KJV)

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:28-30

Shepherd

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1 (KJV)

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus sweetest name I know.  He fills my every longing.  He keeps me singing as I go.

The Shepherd of Israel is none other than Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  Jesus can be seen as the Shepherd as He feeds the five thousand men (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10), and as He fed the four thousand men (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).  Notice in those verses where He commanded that they sit down on the grass.

His glory is seen as the one who dwells betwee the cherubims.  They were the ones who are formed bowing on the mercy seat facing one another with their faces toward the ark of the covenant, which represents the presence of GOD.  The ark itself is the representation of the fulness of the Godhead.

“The LORD is my shepherd;  I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1

Is the Lord Jesus your Shepherd today?  He will give ear to you when you call on Him.

Jesus, The Good Shepherd

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 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. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” ~Jesus (John 10:7-18)

In The Father’s Hand

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30 (KJV)

When you are known by the Good Shepherd, and you know Him; you are known and secured by the hand of the Father.

-T.A.

Jesus Feeding the Gentiles

It is not often thought of or mentioned, but Jesus did minister to Gentiles while He was living on earth, and ministering to His people.  After His leaving the area of Galilee He went into the area of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21).  This is where He met the Canaanite woman,  healed her daughter, and healed many of their sick (15:21-31).

Jesus has said, “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost”; and that means not only those of Israel, but of the Gentiles as well.  We come now to that part of Matthew 15 where Jesus feeds a multitude of Gentiles.

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.” Matthew 15:32-39 (KJV)

Jesus it seems is  still in the Gentile area of Tyre and Sidon.  The reason I mention this is that there are many who would discredit this event entirely, because just a short time ago, (chapter 14) Jesus fed a multitude of 5,000; not counting women and children; and there were twelve baskets full left over.  This is in a different location, a different multitude, and with a different purpose other than seeing to their need.

The feeding of the 5,000 seems to have ended His Galillean ministry.  With that feeding it would not seem any reach of the imagination to say that there would have been a minimum of 15,000 people fed with 5 loaves of bread and two small fish. 

In the case of the 4,000 there were seven loaves of bread and a “few fishes”.  This feeding seems to also end His ministry to the Gentiles, at this time.  It might also be noted that Matthew and Mark are the only two of the gospel writers who tell of this feeding.  All the Evangelist tell of the feeding of the 5,000.  Matthew may tell of it because He will be the King of kings, sovereign ruler of all nations, when He comes again.  Mark may mention the Gentile feeding because He is a servant to all people.

The faith of the disciples seems to be very weak.  They had witnessed the feeding of the 5,000, and yet wonder how Jesus will feed so many.  Is it any wonder that Jesus charged them so many times, “O ye of little faith”. 

In a time of struggling individuals and  families in the USA, and around the world; with people losing their homes, and many losing their life savings; know this that Jesus can meet your needs.  He is not a god in a box that will give you every whim and desire, but He will be with you through every trial and trouble.  He will give you courage and strength and you will glorify His name.  David, the Psalmist wrote, “I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).  Jesus, God of creation can and will meet your needs, not wants, but needs.  He desires that you trust Him, rely on Him and nothing or no one else.

“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).  It is God’s desires the Psalmist is talking about, not our selfish desires.  The things that God desires will become your desires when you delight yourself in the Lord.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd of all who come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King and the Sheep

The King Meets the Need of the Sheep

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38 (KJV).

Jesus has gone through the cities and villages and taught and preached and given healing, deliverance from the evil of demons. Yet, he looks with compassion on all and sees a great multitude in need. He sees them as being in need of a shepherd. They have no shepherd. Jesus sees a “Harvest”, a time for reaping, and bringing in the crops. This harvest represents people who are ready to be delivered from their condemned status. Their sins weigh heavy on them and they are eager to trust Jesus as their Savior, their Deliverer.

Multitudes of people stand awaiting judgment from our holy and righteous God. How will they stand before Him? On the right hand or on the left hand? Does it make a difference? It seems to make a difference according to Matthew 25:33 – “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” (NKJV); “Then He will say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…” (Matthew 25:41 NKJV).

The abundance of the harvest exceeds the sufficiency of the laborers. Jesus says, “Pray for laborers for the harvest”. One cannot sincerely pray for laborers without eventually realizing they are being sent. This word “Sent” can mean; to thrust out. Awakened to the need; out of our comforts; out of our apathy; out of our complacency. We ought to be praying that we lose everything that hinders us from being laborers to a people who are on the wrong end of God’s judgment. A double barrel, twelve gauge shotgun is a wonderful instrument; unless you are on the wrong end of it. The same with the judgment of God. The only way of being on the right end of His judgment is to be in Christ Jesus.

Why I Preach Expositionally

For several years following God’s call, and my surrender to His will in preaching, I struggled with how I would preach.  I grew up in an environment where notes were frowned upon for a preacher. “Any preacher who uses notes can’t be led by the Spirit” was and in some cases still is the argument against notes.  I use notes most of the time and have no problem taking some heat for it.  But, there is another thing that I struggled with and with that same environment is the idea of sermon preparation and the message itself.

For some time I struggled to find a message for the following Sunday morning.  Direction of the Holy Spirit was a necessity, and it still is, but there was something that had to change.  I could spend all week long praying, seeking a text which I believed to be Spirit inspired, and then prepare the thought of the text, or even insert my own idea.  You wind up preaching a lot of “Topical” sermons that way.  For me topical sermons are built from an idea, then you find a text to fit the idea, and that requires a lot of human flesh – at least on my part.

Well, finally to the point of this posting; here is WHY I PREACH EXPOSITIONALLY:

First of all to preach expositionally you need to start with a book of the Bible.  The Bible, then sets the path and plan for which the messages will take.  Since I am not a Hebrew nor a Greek student, I am dependent upon Strong’s Concordance in many cases; upon others who are more knowledgeable, and scholarly than myself; prayer, and the rest of Scripture.  Scripture must ultimately be interpreted by Scripture. 

Secondly, preaching through a Book of the Bible, you never wonder what you will be preaching on the next time, and you are most likely to be better prepared.  You have more time to pray on that particular topic, spend more time in study and preparation, and you always know you are  preaching the Word of God to the people.

Thirdly,  when I preach expositionally it is much more difficult to get off onto pet subjects, than when you preach topically.  There is nothing wrong with “Pet subjects”, but sometimes we may bore our people to tears with the continued rhetoric. 

Fourthly,  preaching expositional sermons keeps you in study.  I have found times when the Lord has pointed something out that may be a pet subject, that needs to be dealt with, and He will give me time to do it.

Fifth, expositional preaching will be a verse by verse, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, or chapter by chapter explanation of the Scriptures and how we may apply their teachings to our lives.  We are more assured by this that God is speaking through His Word.

There are times where we may need to preach a narrative sermon, a topical sermon or however God may lead, but I believe, and I know it to be extremely so for myself, that the best form of preaching is through the exposition of God’s Word, Book by Book, chapter by chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, and verse by verse and maybe sometimes even, Word by Word.

There are more reasons than these.  These are ones which I have found helpful.  There are others who have given reasons, and some of them as I have listed.  If God has called you to preach His Word, then do it with all your heart.  When you become a pastor that is the time to begin expositional preaching of the Word.  That is what our people need.  They do not always like it, nor appreciate it, but in the long run it is for their benefit, and yours.

A Protector of Sheep

We are all friends of protectors.  I had never heard of the following breed of dog which protects sheep and saves sheep farmers money.  The story is from FACTS AND FALLACIES printed by Reader’s Digest.

IT IS LATE ONE NIGHT, and in the pasture the flock is restless.  Somewhere out in the darkness a coyote lurks, scenting his prey, creeping closer for the kill.  Suddenly the silence is shattered by wild barking.  A huge dog with a shaggy coat bounds in the direction of the predator, who turns and runs.  The sheep are safe from attack.

Their comical-looking savior is no ordinary sheepdog but a komondor.  The breed is being employed by sheep farmers in the United States to tackle the economic threat posed by coyotes: the loss of 10 percent of a flock every year.

Guarding the flock

Coyotes used to be controlled by a poison called Compound 1080.  But in 1972 the government banned the substance because it harmed other wildlife.  Since then the coyote population has increased significantly, and alternative methods of control have proved ineffective, expensive, and time-consuming — until the arrival of the komondor.  The dog’s fierce territorial instincts make it ideal for protecting sheep.

An ancient working breed, native to Hungary, the komondor has a long white corded coat, stands about two feet high, and weighs approximately 100 pounds. It is powerful and fast on its feet.  Because it is devoted to its master and intensely protective is is used to guard flocks rather than herd them.

Since the late 1970’s these qualities have proved invaluable to farmers.  Part of the komondor’s training is to introduce it to sheep while the dog is still young, so that it learns to treat the flock as its own.

Although expensive to purchase, komondors save farmers money in the long  run — and help to save the environment too.

From FACTS AND FALLACIES by Reader’s Digest, p. 66. 1988.

As Christians it is great to know that we have a Protector, and Keeper.  He has been with us since the beginning and He will let no harm come to us for eternity.  He is on gurard 24/7, and He loved us so much He died on a cross for our salvation. 

We were once like sheep headed for the slaughter, and He came and delivered us.  Praise the name of Jesus, the Shepherd of the flock.