THE GOOD SHEPHERD (2)
ME IN CHRIST
ME IN CHRIST
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.
LAST WEEK WE LOOKED AT THE GOOD SHEPHERD ENTERING INTO THE FOLD OF OUR LIVES - CHRIST IN US
NOW IN THIS SECOND PARABLE HE ELABORATES IN GREAT DETAIL WHAT IT MEANS FOR MANKIND TO ENTER INTO HIS LIFE.
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.
WE COME INTO HIS CARE
REVEL IN THE ABUNDANCE OF HIS LIFE
AGAIN I MUST POINT OUT THAT AT THE ENDO FOR JESUS’S TEACHING ON EARTH THEY DECLARED HIM TO BE INSANE.
IT WAS THE WOMAN THAT WAS HEALED WITH THE ISSUE OF BLOOD, THE BLIND MAN WHO SAW AGAIN AND THE LAME THAT COULD WALK AGAIN THAT TRULY SAW AND WERE TRANSFORMED AND KNEW THAT GOD HAD ENTERED INTO THIER LIVES.
AS WE LOOK AT AND STUDY THE STATEMENTS THAT JESUS MADE WE TOO CAN ENTER INTO THAT NEW AND DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.
“I AM THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP”
PICTURE OF DOORWAY
OFTEN WE HAVE THE WRONG PICTURE OF WHAT CHRIST MEANT BY ANNOUNCING HE IS THE DOORWAY.
THE WHOLE PROCESS OF MANAGING THE SHEEP OR OF FOLDING THE SHEEP IS THE CONTROL OF THE DOORWAYS AND GATEWAYS. IT IS ABOUT THE OPENING AND CLOSING OF THESE DOORWAYS AS THE SHEEP MOVE METHODICALLY IN AND OUT FROM PLACE TO PLACE.
THE SEEP HAVE BOTH AN INTERIOR LIFE - WITHIN THE SHELTER AND AN EXTERIOR LIFE - OUTSIDE.
IN THE EXPERIENCE OF EVERY CHRISTIAN WHO’S LIFE CHRIST HAS ENTERED BY HIS GRACIOUS SPIRIT - THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT REAS OF LIVING.
THE INNER LIFE
PRECIOUS COMMUNION WHICH A PERSON ENJOYS WITHIN THE INNER SANCTUM OF HIS OWN SOUL AND SPIRIT.
THEN THERE IS THAT
CONTACT WITH FELLOW CHRISTIANS
REACHES OUT TO TOUCH ALL THE WORLD AROUND US
THIS IS WHERE THOUSANDS OF CONTACTS ARE MADE IN A LIFETIME
THE PERSON UNDER CHRIST’S CONTROL WILL SENSE AND KNOW THE HAND OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD DIRECTING THEM IN BOTH AREAS.
IT IS THROUGH HIM THAT WE PASS IN AND OUT PEACEFULLY WHEREVER HE LEADS US.
THE DOORWAY WAS OF TREMENDOUS IMPORTANCE IN HEBREW TRADITION AND THOUGHT. MUCH MORE SO THAN WITH OUR CULTURE.
IT WAS AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND THAT JESUS MADE THIS STATEMENT THAT “I AM THE DOOR”
THE NATION OF ISREAL WERE UNDER THE LORDSHIP OF THE EGYPTIANS AND ENSLAVED TO THEM.
THE FINAL ACT OF THIER EMANCIPATION OR FREEDOM HAD TO DO WITH THE DOOR OF EACH MANS HOME.
SLIDE OF DOORWAY
A SPOTLESS PASSOVER LAMB WAS TO BE SLAUGHTERED FOR EACH HOUSEHOLD AND THE BLOOD SMEARED OVER THE LINTEL AND THE DOORPOSTS.
EACH PERSON ENTERING THAT HOUSE WAS UNDER THE PROTECTION AND SAFETY FROM THE DESTROYING ANGEL WHO SWEPT THROUGH EGYPT IN THE DARKNESS.
BUT IT WAS ALSO BY THAT SAME DOOR THAT THEY STEPPED OUT INTO FREEDOM AND LIBERTY.
IT WAS THE BLOOD OF THAT LAMB THAT PAID THE PRICE FOR THIER FREEDOM AND SO IT IS WITH CHRIST - HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE BECOMING THE VERY DOORWAY FOR US.
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,
WE SEE LATER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NATION OF ISREAL THAT THEY WERE GIVEN SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING THE DOORWAY TO A MANS HOME.
THE LAWS AND COMMANDMENTS WERE TO BE INSCRIBED ON LONG THIN STRIPS OF PARCHMENT THESE WERE TO BE CAREFULLY WRAPPED AROUND EACH OF THE DOOR[OSTS WHICH A PERSON PASSED IN AND OUT OF HIS HOME.
THUS THEY WERE CONTINUALLY REMINDED AND ANY FRIEND OR STRANGER THAT VISITED THAT THEY WERE UNDER THE CONTROL OF GOD AND THEIR GOING IN AND COMING OUT FROM THAT TIME FORTH WERE UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF GOD’S WORD.
IT WAS THERE THEY FOUND SWEET SERENITY WITHIN AND SAFETY WITHOUT.
JEHOVAH GOD WAS WITH THEM TO GUIDE AND DIRECT.
THIS WAS NOT A WIDE OPEN GATE BUT A RESTRICTED ONE, JESUS MENTIONED THIS TO US IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY IN AND ONE WAY OUT.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
JESUS IS SAYING I AM THE WAY IN AND THROUGH WHICH ANYONE CAN ENTER INTO A SPLENDID NEW LIFE WITH GOD.
THIS IS THE MAIN THRUST OF THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT - IT IS IN AND THROUGH CHRIST WE LIVE!
THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
I HAVE PEACE WITH GOD
I AM JUSTIFIED
I AM FORGIVEN MY FALIURES AND SINS
I AM ACCEPTED INTO GOD’S FAMILY
I AM SET FREE FROM SLAVERY TO AND SELF
I AM RESURRECTED
I HAVE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO GOD IN PRAYER
HE AND ONLY HE IS THE DOORWAY TO ABUNDANT LIVING
WE SAW LAST WEEK THAT WHOEVER PRECEDED CHRIST WAS A THIEF AND A ROBBER IN THAT INTRODUCING US TO OUR OWN THING TO GO OUR OWN WAY THEY HAVE ROBBED US OF OUR RIGHTFUL INHERITANCE.
WE ARE ENCOURAGE TODAY TO BE SELF SEEKING
IT IS A SLOW FADE AND LITTLE BY LITTLE AS TIME GOES ON MANY WALK AWAY AND REJECT THAT THE STANDARDS ESTABLISHED BY GOD AS BEING RELATIVE TO OUR DAY AND AGE.
WHEN WE WALK AWAY FROM GOD’S DIRECTIONS AND GET CAUGHT UP IN THE WORLD LIFE BECOMES A MEANINGLESS MOCKERY.
GODS VALUES OF:
INTEGRITY - (STRONG MORAL PRINCIPLES)
LOVE AND FINE NOBILTY
ARE REPLACED BY (WITHOUT GOD)
ROBBED BLIND AND LEFT DESTITUTE
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
THE SECOND WAY WE IGNORE THE FACT THAT JESUS IS THE WAY IS BY GOING BACK TO THE VERY FIRST COMMANDMENT THAT GOD GAVE TO MOSES
YOU WILL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME...
TO GIVE OURSELVES AND OUR ALLEGIANCE TO ANY OTHER IS TO IMPOVERISH ( EXHAUST THE STRENGTH) OURSELVES - IT IS NEVER TO KNOW THE BEST.
WE BARTER AWAY OUR BIRTHRIGHT
REMEMBER ESAU - WHO TRADED HIS BIRTHRIGHT FOR A BOWL OF STEW.
HE STTOD TO GAIN 2/3 OF HIS FATHERS ESTATE YET HE CHOSE TO GIVE IT AWAY FOR A MOMENTARY PLEASURE. FOR HIM IT WAS FOOD - WHAT IS YOURS?
WHATEVER IT IS TO WHICH I GIVE MOST OF MY ATTENTION, TIME, THOUGHT STRENGTH AND INTEREST, BECOMES MY GOD.
IT DOES NOT MATTER IF WE DO THIS INDIVIDUALLY OR COLLECTIVELY THE END RESULT IS ALWAYS RETROGRESSION AND REMORSE.
DESPITE WARNINGS WE WILL ALWAYS FIND THOSE WHO IN BLIND FEAR OR UNAWARENESS THEY WILL STAN ROOTED ON THE SPOT WATCHIG THEIR COMPANIONS BEING CUT TO THREADS
GODS PEOPLE ARE CONTINUALLY COMING UNDER THREAT AND ATTACK FROM WITHOUT AND WITHIN - YET MANY ARE UNABLE TO DETECT DANGER AMONG OUR NUMBER.
IT IS AS THOUGH WE ARE BLIND. PREDATORS ARE VERY CRAFT AND CUNNING. SOMETIMES THEY ARE AMONG US IN OUR BIBLE STUDIES AND HOME GROUPS AND BRING WITH THEM:
THEY DIVERT YOUR ATTENTION FROM GOD ONTO LESSER THINGS THEY CAUSE DISCORD AND CONFUSION
INTEAD OF OUR FOCUS BEING CENTRED IN CHRIST
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.
2 TIMOTHY 4:1-
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
WE NEED TO LEARN TO REMOVE OURSELVES FROM THOSE WHO TICKLE OUR EARS AND THEN CUT OUR THROATS AT THE SAME TIME.
IF WE ARE FOLLOWING CHRIST IN AN INTIMATE COMMUNION WE WILL BE AWARE OF OUR DANGER. WE WILL TURN FROM THOSE WHO WOULD MAIM AND MUTILATE US. WE WILL BE ACUTELY SENSITIVE ONLY TO THE GENTLE VOICE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
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.
WE HAVE BEEN SPEAKING OF THE DOOR OF THE COMING AND THE GOING - THIS IS A TWO WAY INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP.
CHRIST HAS COME INTO THE FOLD OF MY LIFE TO EXERCISE HIS MANAGEMENT OF MY AFFAIRS AND HE THEN LEADS ME OUT IN DUE TIME TO WIDER FIELDS OF CONTACT AND ADVENTURE WITH OTHERS IN A NEW DIMENTION OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
WE ALLOW CHRIST TO ENTER IN AND TAKE CARE OF OUR AFFAIRS AND IN TURN GET THE PRIVELIDGE OF ENTERING INTO THE JOYOUS DELIGHT OF JUST DOING HIS WILL.
PERHAPS IF WE LOOK AT THE PARALLEL FROM THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A SHEPHERD AND HIS SHEEP WE CAN SEE HOE ONE ENTERS INTO THIS WONDROUS LIFE.
ANY SHEEP WHEN TREATED WITH KINDNESS ATTACHES ITSELF TO IT’S OWNER
SHEEP ARE REMARKABLY RESPONSIVE FOR THE MOST PART TO THE ATTENTION GIVEN THEM BY A GOOD SHEPHERD.
THEY WILL FOLLOW HIM FAITHFULLY AS HIS OWN SHADOW.
THIS SAME TRUTH APPLIES IN OUR RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST.
THERE IS NOTHING MYSTICAL OR MAGICAL HERE. IT IS WONDEROUS KNOWLEDGE OF REALISING THE PERSON, PRESENCE AND POWER OF CHRIST IN EVERY DETAIL OF MY DAY! THIS IS THE MEANING OF SALVATION IN ITS FULLNESS.
THIS STOPS ME FROM SPIRALLING AND ALLOWING SIN TO DRAG ME DOWN.
IF I FOCUS MY ATTENTION AWAY FROM MYSELF TO CHRIST. THE MOVEMENT OF MY SOUL HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO HIM FOR DIRECTION RATHER THAN LEFT IN THE DILEMMA OF MY OWN DECISION MAKING.
BECOMING A CHRISTIAN DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE HEADED FOR SELF DENIAL, POVERTY AND HARDSHIP.
RATHER IT IS THE DELIGHT OF ENTERING INTO A MUCH GREATER AND BROADER DIMENSION OF LIVING.
ENTERING INTO SERVING THE COMMUNITY AND WORLD AT LARGE WITH DELIGHT AND JOY.
GOD MADE US IN HIS OEN IMAGE FOR GREAT PURPOSES.
CHRIST CALLED US TO GO IN AND OUT AND FIND WIDE BROAD PASTURES OF PRACTICAL AND ABUNDANT PASTURES. NOT FOR OUE WON SAKE BUT FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS WHO ARE AS LOST AS WE ONCE WERE.
IF YOU AVAIL YOURSELF OF READING WE SEE A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF JESUS MOVING FROM VILLAGE TO VILLAGE, TOWN TO TOWN PREACHING AND TEACHING, HEALING AND MINISTERING TO ALL.
JESUS HAD COMPASSION TO ALL HE SAW HOW LOST AND LONELY AND IN NEED OF LOVE THEY WERE.
HOW DOES THE EASTERN SHEPHERD BRING IN THE STRAY?
HE DOES NOT USE DOGS
HE DOES NOT USE HORSES OR DONKEYS
HONDA ALL WHEEELERS
INSTEAD HE USES HIS OWN PET LAMBS TO BRING IN THE STRAGGLERS AND STRAYS
HOW YOU ASK?
THEY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND GRAZE AND HANG OUT ALONGSIDE THE WILD AND WAYWARD .
IN CHRIST TOOK HIS TWELVE MEN AND SCATTERED THEM OUT AMONG THE LOST SHEEP - YES HE WAS SENDING THEM OUT AS SHEEP AMONG THE PREDATORS WHO MIGHT PREVENT THEM FROM BRINGING HOME THE LOST. THEY WERE TO GO ANYWAY - THE PRESENCE OF HIS SPIRIT GOING EITH THEM AND BRINGING THE PROTECTION THEY NEEDED.
GOD DOES NOT ASK US TO EMBARK ON SOME GRANDIOSE SCHEME TO DESIGN AND DO HIS WORK. ALL HE ASKS IS THAT WE GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND DO LIFE.
WHEN I AM SO ATTACHED TO HIM, SO FOND OF HIM, SO TRUE TO HIM, THAT IN TRUTH I SHALL BE LIKE HIS PET LAMB. THAT MY DEVOTION TO GOD WITH BE CONTAGIOUS.
A CHRISTIANS EFFECTIVENESS IN WINNING OTHERS IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THEIR OWN DEVOTION TO THE MASTER.
THERE ARE ALWAYS PREDATORS PROWLING AROUND THE PERIPHERY OF OUR LIVES, WAITING AND WATCHING FOR OPPORTUNITY TO PLUNDER AND IMPOVERISH US.
THERE ARE TWO BIG AREAS THAT SEEK TO DO THIS:
IDLENESS - TOO MUCH DOWN TIME.
LUXURY AND AFFLUENCE -ACQUIRING WEALTH AND POSITION
WE ARE WARNED IN THE WORD OF GOD
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
WHAT THE GOOD SHEPHERD DESIRES IS THAT WE ENTER FULLY INTO THIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM
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.
I OFTEN QUOTE THIS SCRIPTURE
ANY SHEPHERD WHO IS A GOOD MANAGER THE DISIRE IS TO SEE HIS FLOCK FLOURISH. NOTHING DELIGHTS HIM MORE THAN TO KNOW THAT HIS FLOCK ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.
THINK ABOUT IT - IF YOU TAKE A DRIVE THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE AND SEE A BUNCH OF BEDRAGGLED SHEEP AND THE SHEPHERD NO WHERE IN SIGHT OR OFF SLEEPING SOMEWHERE THEN YOU REALISE THAT THEY ARE NOT TAKING GOOD CARE OF THE SHEEP.
WHAT I PUT INTO THE SHEEP IS WHAT I GET OUT OF THE SHEEP.
HOW DOES A GOOD RUNNER BECOME A TOP ATHLETE?
THEY GIVE IT THEIR ALL.
THEY LOVE WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND IT SHOWS,
WE EXPRESS THE LOVE OF GOD TO THE MEASURE WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE INDWELT BY GOD HIMSELF
JESUS PROMISED US ABUNDANT LIFE NOT IN PART BUT THE WHOLE
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.
THE BIBLE IS FULL OF CONTRASTS AND THEY PROVIDE US WITH A DYNAMITE EFFECT
THE RICH MAN AND THE POOR BEGGAR
THE PRIDEFUL PHARISEE PRAYING AND THE HUMBLE PUBLICAN
THE PRODIGAL SON WHO’S BROTHER WAS PROPER AND DID EVERYTHING RIGHT
AND IN THIS SCRIPTURE WE SEE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE HIRELING WITH THE GOOD SHEPHERD IN CARING FOR THE SHEEP
WE HAV EJUST SPOKEN OF HOW WE CAN ENJOY A RICH ABUNDANT LIFE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
JESUS PAINTS THE PCTURE OF GOD’S LIFE PURED OUT IN RICH MEASURE ON MY BEHALF ENABLE ME TO ENJOY ABUNDANT LIVING IN EVERY AREA:
IN BOLD CONTRAST WE SEE JESUS BOLDLY CONTRASTING HOW SOME SHEEP SUFFER BECAUSE OF THE BAD BEHAVIOUR OF THE HIRELING SHEPHERDS
WHEN JESUS WAS ON EARTH
TWO SORTS OF SERVANTS IN PALESTINE
THE FACT THAT THERE WAS SLAVERY AND THE HUMAN PERSON COULD BE BOUGHT AND SOLD FOR A PRICE DID NOT PUT MUCH MORE VALUE ON US THAN THAT OF CATTLE OR SHEEP.
JUDAS BARTERED FOR JESUS AND BETRAYED OR SOLD HIM TO THE AUTHORITIES FOR 30 PIECES OF SILVER. - THE THEN GOING RATE OF A SLAVE SOLD IN THE MARKET.
IF A SLAVE SERVED HIS MASTER WELL AND THE TWO OF THEM GOT ON WELL THE MASTER OFTEN WOULD CHOOSE TO SET HIS SLAVE FREE. IF THE SERVANT DECIDED TO STAY WITH THE MASTER HE THEN BECAME A BOND SERVANT.
OF HIS OWN FREE WILL HE COULD CHOOSE TO REMAIN.
IF HE CHOSE TO BE BONDED TO THE MASTER - HE WOULD BE TAKEN TO THE HOUSE OF HIS MASTER AND THE MASTER WOULD DRIVE AN AWL THROUGH HIS EAR TO THE DOORPOST OF THE HOUSE, THIS DREW BLOOD AND IT INDICATED THAT THE BOND WAS SEALED FOR LIFE.
HE THEN BECAME A LOVE SERVANT - HE WOULD NEVER LEAVE THAT FAMILY HE WOULD BE EVER FAITHFUL TO HIS OWNER. HE WAS PART OF THAT HOUSEHOLD THEY BELONGED TO EACH OTHER.
THERE WAS NONE OF THIS DEVOTION FOR A HIRELING - THEY CAME AND WENT WITH THE WEATHER
NO STRINGS ATTACHED
SOMETIME THE DRIFTERS WOULD BE EMPLOYED TO TAKE CARE OF A FLOCK OF SHEEP WHILE THE OWNER WAS ABSENT FOR A SHORT TIME.
THIS IS WHERE THE LORD DRAWS THIS CONTRAST - NO INVESTMENT NO PERSONAL SACRIFICE HERE - JUST DOING MY JOB.
JUST HERE TO MAKE A FAST BUCK AND THEN I’M DONE.
PHILLIP KELLER TELLS THE STORY OF A 10 YR OLD MASAI SHEPHERD BEING BROUGHT TO THEIR HOME IN AFRICA ALMOST DEAD AS HE TOOK ON A LION THAT WAS TRYING TO KILL ONE OF HIS SHEEP THAT HE WAS TENDING.
DAVID WAS JUST SUCH A SHEPHERD - HE KILLED THE LION AND THE BEAR AS HE WAS PROTECTING THE SHEEP.
GOD REMINDS US OF THIS WHEN HE SPEAKS OF DAVID BEING A MAN AFTER GODS OWN HEART - HE CARED THAT MUCH FOR THE SHEEP - HE WOULD GO TO GREAT LENGTHS TO SEE THEM SAFE.
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
THE SAME SITUATION AS IN EZEKIEL PREVAILED IN JESUS’ TIME - THOSE IN CHARE OF THE FLOCK, THE PRIESTS, THE PHARISEES, SCRIBES AND SADDUCEES WERE BUT RANK OPPORTUNISTS WHO PLUNDERED AD ABUSED THE PEOPLE.
WE SEE THIS SAME BEHAVIOUR THROUGHOUT CHRISTIAN HISTORY AND EVEN IN TODAYS SOCIETY. HIRELINGS ARE NOT LOOKING OUT FOR THE SHEEP THEY PLUNDER AND LEAD ASTRAY.
WE SHOULD BE DESIRING TO SERVE THE MASTER OUT OF LOVE AND GRATITUDE FOR HIS GOODNESS TO US.
WE NEED TO FIND OURSELVES IN A POSITION THAT WE ARE FREELY AND WILLINGLY CHOOSING TO BE A BENEFIT TO OTHERS, NOT JUST FOR THIER SAKES OR OUR OWN SELF GRATIFICATION, BUT FOR HIS SAKE.
IF OUR SERVICE IS CENTRED IN CHRIST
WE LOVE HIM BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US
WE LOVE OTHERS BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US
WE LOVE ALL BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US
THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES US FROM BOND SERVANT TO SLAVE
GOD IS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THRU WHOM HE CAN DO THE IMPOSSIBLE. WHAT A PITY WE PLAN ONLY THE THINGS WE CAN DO BY OURSELVES