Continuing with the See the Bishop Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls

Chapter 2

The Heart of our Shepherd.

Here we see the sacrificial life of our Shepherd for His sheep. Consider the value Our Great Shepherd put on His sheep when He paid for them with His own holy blood. Peter called attention to the price our wonderful Shepherd paid for His sheep: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." 1 Peter 2:24-25 (cf 1:18-21)

Paul also spoke of Jesusí sacrificial service as a shepherd: "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:" Galatians 1:4

What a Wonderful Saviour and Shepherd we have, for He gave His all for us. He would have us to be like Him, for those around us. Jesus prayed to His Father saying: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." John 17:18 Only Jesus could give up His life to save our soul; but we can and should give up our rights in life to bring souls to Christ that they be saved, and grow in Him.

The apostle Paul did. " Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all." Philip. 2:17 Consider the heart of Paul: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24 Paul said he would give up his rights rather than offend a brother, all he did was for the faith of others. "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 1 Cor. 10:33-11:1 Consider what Paul said to Timothy "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." 2 Tim.2:10. Paul was even willing to die for the Gospel that others might find faith in Christ. What limit do we put on our service to Christ and others and why?

The heart of our Shepherd is not only one of love, mercy and grace but also of holiness and righteousness. Therefore, His care must include discipline that His sheep have His same character. "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth......Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:5-6, 9-11  Why should we resent His chastening, when it results in our being like Him?

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep. We also see our Shepherdsí heart in that He cares for His sheep, and brings them into His place of blessing. He meets their needs. Isaiah speaking of Christ as our Shepherd said: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Let us consider the 23rd Psalm:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4Y ea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

In the 23rd Psalm, David reveals the heart and work of Jesus Christ, our Chief Shepherd, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls that we might have faith in Him.

Let us meditate on it.

"The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want" Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord will provide. Gen 22:13-14) Here we see the care of the Shepherd for His Sheep, they shall not want. His sheep need not worry or doubt His provision. To which I can also testify of His faithfulness. He has met every need for myself and my family for over the 45 years that I have been His, as well as for the ministry He has given me for the past 24 years. Others who are far wealthier than I shall want, but I shall not, for my Shepherd is able and willing to meet my needs.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures" Jehovah-Rohi (the Lord is my Shepherd Psalm. 23) He leads us to the place of satisfaction. You have contentment of body, soul and spirit when His character and will is your priority. " But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 He brings me to His place of blessing. His provision brings satisfaction and peace. Therefore, there is no want for His sheep. When you are content just to be His, when you put Him first, He meets all your needs, and you long for no other but Him.

"He leadeth me beside the still waters" Jehovah-Shalom  (The Lord our peace. Judges 6:23-24) Peace with God brings the peace that passes all understanding. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2 Hear the assuring words of Isaiah: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:" Isaiah 26:3-4 Focusing your heart on our shepherd, trusting in His power and integrity, His character, brings peace. Consider Paulís words of assurance "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" Philip. 1:6 This is the truth that brings the peace that overrides all your circumstances, that the world cannot understand;

"He restoreth my soul"  Jehovah-Rophee  (The Lord healeth Ex. 15:26) His sheep shall not lack restoration when they need it, of which David wrote: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."Psalm 51:10-17

Here we see the heart of our Shepherd seeks restoration of His sheep. If His sheep grow weary, He revives them. When His sheep go astray He sanctifies them. The Apostle John also spoke of such assurance. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 Praise the Lord! He is always ready to forgive us when we repent, and seek His face. He is always ready to restore those who are His. When He does, it is complete restoration to their position of holiness and righteousness in Him. There is no further alienation in their fellowship and service to Him. So it should be in Godís family, the church. Consider Paulís exhortation for those fallen in the family of God. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:1-2 Restoration is the only valid picture of Christís forgiveness and love to the world. It is the only genuine evidence that we love each other and He lives in us. Praise God He gives all who are His an opportunity through restoration to fulfill His will in service to Him, as He did King David.

"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his nameís sake" Jehovah-Tsidkenu (The Lord our righteousness Jer. 23:6) He faithfully guides His sheep and lambs in the paths of His righteousness. "Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. 9The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. 10All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies." Psalm 25:8-10 Consider the words of Paul: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16-17

He has given us His precious Word that is able to show us where we went wrong and redirect our path in His righteous ways. His Word always enables us to accomplish His will for us, bringing us into His place of blessing. Consider Psalm 119:10-12 "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 12Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes."

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me" Jehovah-Shammah (The Lord ever-present Ezek. 48:35) He never abandons His sheep. He is always with them. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:7-10 His sheep never face life alone, He is always with them through their trials and temptations, even through deathsí door. Praise God for such a faithful Shepherd.

"Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". His sheep shall never lack true comfort. Jesus said: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul: "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 2 Cor. 1:3-4 What comfort there is in the assurance of His presence, to encourage, and strengthen His sheep. His sheep know whatever the circumstance of life they are in they are not alone for He is in it with them to empower and carry them through it. This truth is the source of their peace that passeth all understanding of the unsaved world. What comfort is there if you are living in sin or have never received Him as your Saviour?

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Jehovah-Nissi (The Lord our banner Ex. 17:8-15) His sheep shall not lack protection, preservation, and honour. Consider: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. 3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." Psalm 121:1-8 His sheep have no fear for the battle is the Lordís, and He is able to subdue all our enemies. He is able to vindicate His people when they stand before His judgment seat. What contentment, peace and joy that brings to those who are His. He is much to be praised for His faithfulness, for He will judge in truth.

"Thou anointest my head with oil"  His sheep shall never lack joy." I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my god; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" Isaiah 61:10-11 Consider the words of Peter: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9. The joy of Godís goodness overflows as a spring of cool water out of our souls to all those around us. The very words of God hidden in our heart, especially those that assure us of being His are a source of continual joy. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lordgod of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16

"My cup runneth over" His sheep will never lack fullness. Consider Paulís words: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephes. 3:17-19

The knowledge of Godís love for us meets every need. Jesus said such fullness of joy was the result of abiding in Him and His Word, manifested by our obedience to it. "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:7-11

The fullness of Christ in us is manifested by our being led of His Spirit, as well as His presence in us. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Romans 8:14-19  Praise God He makes Himself known to those who are His through the fellowship of His Spirit. Amen!

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" His sheep will never lack divine favor. Consider the words of Paul: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Cor. 12:9 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 Our Shepherdís loving favor is always directed to His sheep. So that all things work together for their good. Even the things that Satan would bring to harm them. Our Shepherd turns them to their advantage, and the glory of God.

"And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever"  His sheep will never lack a heavenly home. Consider the words of Jesus: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:1-3

This is the blessed hope [Expectation] of the sheep, they expect He will soon come and take them to their heavenly home with the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. The eternal bliss of an unending life with Him, is the joy and comfort of all who are His.

The heart of our Shepherd is seen in His faithfulness to keep all the flock the Father gave Him. Consider Jesusí Words, " All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37 "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:39-40 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10:27-28

Is not the life and ministry of the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls the greatest motive for the love of His sheep?

The more I know of my Shepherd, the more I love Him, and am grateful that He is the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul and not another, Amen!

Should not the under shepherds of the Lord have the heart their Great Chief Shepherd has for the flock; that He purchased with His blood and entrusted to their care? 

May your decisions bring you the promise Romans 8:28   ď And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Ē   
Your friend in Christ Warren T. Smith

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