Continuing with the See the Bishop Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls
Sheep of Our Shepherd
Who are the sheep Jesus is Shepherd over? Jesus said "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel .....For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." Matthew 10:6 Chapt.18:11 Jesus had come to gather His flock from among the Israelites. Hear what the Apostle Peter said about the Lordís flock, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." 1 Peter 2:25
Notice, Jesus is both Shepherd and Bishop, [Overseer of his flock collectively, souls individually] How is that for security? Now it is clear Peter refers to Israelites who have received Jesus Christ as their Messiah. But praise, God Jesus had us Gentiles in mind as well! Listen to His words "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." John 10:16 How we can be grateful for that AMEN! Jesus then goes on to tell us how He knows which Israelites and Gentiles are truly a part of His flock.
Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" John 10:27 Jesusí sheep know the voice of their Shepherd. Their ears are only open to Him. His sheep follow Him because they have experienced His love and care. Therefore, they trust His leading. They will not follow another. He knows they are His sheep because they respond to His word. Notice: those that do not follow Him are not His.
Let us consider His will for His sheep. Paul
speaking of Jesus said, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the
dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the
everlasting covenant, 21Make you perfect in every good work to do his
will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus
Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21 His
will for His sheep, is to make them perfect in every good work to do His will,
working in them that which is well pleasing in His sight.
Jesusí will for all His sheep is to be an instrument through which Jesus lives out His will in this present world. Therefore, they are to feed on the Word of God. Consider "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
Godís Word prepares His imperfect people to do a perfect work by first showing them where they are wrong. No one likes to be rebuked; however, when it is instructive and corrective, it is a blessing. Amen. Then it corrects them, showing them what is right; it gives them direction, that saves them heartache and sorrow. Godís Word instructs them how to accomplish His will for their lives, grow in His ways and be like the one they love. "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:3-4 No wonder, the Lordís sheep love to feed on His Word. It is through Godís Word we learn to love the Lord for who and what He is, for what He has done for us.
Jesus knows His sheep need more than the desire to follow Him and His Word; they need the power to accomplish it. He gives it to all who love Him through His Spirit. "If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.....21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him....23.Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:15-18, 21, 23
Notice: Jesus does not require us to do His word with our ability, but with His ability as He lives in us. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Praise God He not only tells us what to do but then does it for us if you let Him. Wow! Do you love Him? If so then, you are letting Him live for you? If not you donít love Him. Perhaps, then you donít have Him. If that is so Press Here
Those who are His have all of God they can get, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit abiding in them. When did this happen? "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephes. 1:12-14
Notice, God as the purchaser of your soul, puts up His Spirit as the earnest [collateral] for those who trust in Him and His Word. Consider Colossians 1:22-23 (KJV) 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
If the trusting and following person were not to make it to heaven He would lose His spirit. How is that for security?
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul: "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. " 2 Cor. 5:14-15
It is the sheepís love for their Shepherd that motivates them to surrender their rights and expectations in life that Christ may have His. That is how they give Him the life He paid for with His own blood so that He can live His perfect will in and through them in this present world." I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 No one can fail living the Christian life if they let Jesus live it for them. Amen! No wonder His sheep love Him so.
The Lordís sheep identify with Him in baptism. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:41-2 Baptism is their first testimony of what Christ did for them. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:3-5
Baptism is a visual aid demonstrating their testimony that Jesus had set them free from the power of sin, to live for the Lord. They now had a new life to be lived in the will of God and not their own. They are now living a new life in Him; better said, He will be living their new life for them. Therefore, His sheep hunger to know their Shepherd and be fed the word of God that they fulfill His will and please Him.
All Jesusí sheep are not ashamed to be identified with Him in Baptism. It is their first step of love and obedience to testify of what their Lord did for them. It is well to consider Jesusí Words concerning identifying with Him. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33
All Jesus sheep abide in him and His Word abides in them. Consider Jesusí Words: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." John 15:1-6. Notice two things here: first, that His sheep do not have the power to live for the Lord or accomplish His will apart from abiding in Christ and His word. Second, all who are His sheep bear fruit. The fruit is the result of the Holy Spirit producing the Spirit of Love, the character of Christ in all who are His. Those that do not have fruit are not His and are cast into the fire. At this point it is good to look at that fruit spoken of by the Apostle Paul. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25 His sheep have fruit of the character of Christ, because they abide in Him, letting Him live for them. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:......" Gal.2:20 Notice: The fruit does not develop unless those that are Hid put to death their old sinful life. Is this not the testimony of Baptisim?
Above all unless God raises the tree it will not grow and bear fruit. Jesusí sheep are blessed for their abiding in Him and His word. "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.
It is important to notice the blessings that come from using our free will to be obedient to Christ: Answered prayer Vs.7. They bring glory to God through the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Vs.8. They have the love of Jesus abiding in them if they keep His commandments. Vs.9-10 They have the joy of the Lord if they follow these things. Vs.11
Jesus, sheep are living changing lives as they grow in Him. Jesus sheep know their Shepherd and His Word; as a result they love Him, and give Him the life He paid for so He can live it for them. They know Him and want to be like Him. Therefore, they are living changing lives as the Holy Spirit conforms them to the image of Christ. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:29 That change is taking place as they study and apply Godís Word consider: "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter1:3-4. At the same time, we must remember His sheep as well as His under shepherds are not perfect. They are not the perfect likenesses of their Shepherd, but they are in the process of becoming such. Remember the Apostle Paulís declaration of his life: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ....... 17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." Philip. 3:12-17 Paul said his life was an example of a changing life before the sheepís eyes; therefore, they see the Lord can change their life also Amen. As I thought about this I was sure this is something every under- shepherd should think about!
What testimony does an under-shepherd have if his life is not changing before the flock? IF he is they too are changing.
His sheep care for each other, as brothers and sisters in, the family of God, which is the body of Christ, the Church. "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."1 Cor. 12:25-27 Because of the relationship of the sheep and their Shepherd, there is to be harmony in the will of the Lord. Let us remember it was only when the assembly of God was of one accord and of one mind that the Spirit of God was able to work in and through them. "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:46-47 Notice it is when there is teamwork in the family the Lord adds to the church.
Jesus sheep love the Lord and each other. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit...... Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." 1 John 4:7-13 and 5:1-2 Notice the presence of God in those who are His, is confirmed by the presence of their love for each other. It is well for all who claim to be in the family of God to think this one through.
His sheep are to follow Jesusí under-shepherds with the same unity and harmony as they would be following Jesus Himself. For Jesus gave His under shepherds the responsibility of their care. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.....Vs. 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:7,17 Consider the Apostle Paulís words to the Church at Philippi: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." Philip. 3:12-17 How can those who say they follow Jesus Christ, their Chief Shepherd, deny their responsibility to follow His under shepherd following Christ?
His sheep give Him the life He paid for to be His ambassador in this present world. "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." ......And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto him 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5:15, 18-20
How can His sheep do less?
Scripture makes it clear all of the sheep born into the family of God are born to reproduce. Sheep bear lambs of their own kind, lambs of the Gospel given by His ambassadors. Consider Jesus, Words: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." John 12:24-26 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." John 15:16 How is it that some who claim to be a member of Godís flock never shared how they got there? How can they be in the will of God if they are not His ambassadors?
Yes, all born into the family of God are born to serve the Lord, to accomplish the work He gave them to do. Serving the Lord is not only the responsibility of all in the Lordís family but a joy and a privilege not to be missed by any. Let us remember God can only use a Holy vessel. Therefore, He must cleanse those that get soiled. "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. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9Furthermore 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. 12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" Hebrews 12:5-14 Praise God He does not throw away His dirty vessels as some would, but cleans them up so He can use them. Amen. Should not His under- shepherds do the same?
Let us remember: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:7-10
Woe to them that hinder Godís will for His flock to be of service to Him and have that joy! "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Math. 18:1-6
As the Lord cares for His sheep through His under-shepherd, what excuse will the sheep have if they ignore the under-shepherdís care?
It is well for the Lordís under-shepherds to remember they are accountable for helping the sheep of the Lordís flock accomplish His will for His flock, not hinder it!
What excuse will the sheep have if they if they refuse their responsibility to the Lord and each other in the flock of the local church?
If you recognize you are not saved and one of the Lordís fold, but want to be, Press Here
Your friend in Christ Warren T. Smith
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