26(Ezek 34,01-19) Spiritual Obesity
§ Obesity: not turning the nutrition you take in into energy or work.
§ A person can consume large quantities of nutritious food and put on weight. Why?
§ The body is designed to burn off the intake of food.
§ Metaphorically, I fear this is the diet of too many churches today. They receive good nutrition in the form of teaching and preaching from the Word of God. No doubt many have graduated from the elementary principles of the oracles of God to the meatier and richer truths of God.
§ But there has not, by and large, been a measurable expenditure of energy and work to burn off all of that spiritual food intake!
§ The result: a problem of spiritual obesity in our churches!
§ 1 Cor 10:11 – all these things happened to them as examples and were written for our admonition.
§ Ezekiel 34 becomes not just a monologue on Israel’s past sins but examples to us.
I. Obesity in the Pulpit (Ezekiel 34:1-16)
A. Too fat to feed the flock (1-11)
§ They feed themselves from the best of the sheep with no thought to the future (2-3)
§ They avoid the broken.
§ They do not seek out those driven away.
§ They do not search for the lost sheep
§ They don’t shepherd at all – they lead by cruelty.
§ Wasting the heritage and opportunity: Jeremiah 2:7-8
B. They have lost the concept of shepherding.
§ A good shepherd is concerned with the future for his flock.
§ A bad shepherd may rest in how good he has it now without risking more effort.
§ A bad shepherd does not lead.
§ A church has the autonomy to hire and fire and majority rules on decisions, sure.
§ But they did not call you as moderator, they called you as pastor.
§ Last time I checked, that means overseer, leader, example setter, and shepherd.
C. A shepherd must care for the sheep more than himself, his future, his job.
§ He takes career-ending risks all the time (John 10:11, 15)
§ Not risky, sinful behavior.
§ But the risk when you lead through the valley of the shadow of death.
§ And do so in a way that they have no fear – because they see Christ through you.
D. God will rescue the lost sheep (12-16).
§ God has not forgotten his people, but you he will leave to wallow in mediocrity!
§ Feed them in a good pasture. (Jeremiah 3:15)
§ (16) Bind up the broken.
II. Obesity in the Pew (Ezekiel 34:17-22)
A. Pulpit and Pew alike have got to turn theory into reality.
§ The job of a shepherd is to turn lean sheep into healthy sheep.
§ The job of a shepherd is to put feet to faith and find the forgotten fold.
§ The role in the pew is to quit muddying the waters, quit wasting the heritage.
§ Bully sheep must give way to the shepherd to heal the wounded, not run over them.
§ You have been left with a great heritage: a fully functioning, self-supporting church.
§ Don’t sit down in it! Don’t let the pool of blessing run dry.
§ Quit fretting over a draught when there are showers of blessing on every horizon. (26)
§ Instead of hanging on till Jesus comes, why not let’s roll?