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Summary: The church/flock and their relationship to their pastor/sheep dog.

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God’s Sheep Dogs

I Thessalonians 5:12-13

Introduction:

Sheep Dogs - A Shepherd’s Best Friend

A well-trained sheep dog works in partnership with the shepherd and obeys commands to perform its job. Properly trained, the dog is able to move the sheep just about anywhere. Good herding dogs control sheep with calm authority and without excessive "commotion."

Common herding breeds include the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Australian Kelpie, New Zealand Huntaway, and Australian Cattle Dog. The most popular breed of herding dog in the U.S. is the Border Collie. The Border Collie originated in the border country between England and Scotland. It is considered the world’s premier sheep herding dog. The Border Collie is noted for its intelligence, work ethic, and desire to please. Since Border Collies are bred for working ability and intelligence rather than for physical beauty, conformation varies widely.

Border Collies are not ideal pets for people who have no plans to spend a lot of time with them. These dogs are too intelligent to lie around all day with nothing to do. These lively little dogs have boundless energy and thrive on hard work and play.

One of the most trainable breeds, the Border Collie also serves well as a narcotics and bomb detection dog and is a frequent performer in obedience, agility, Frisbee (TM) trials, police work, search & rescue, Fly-ball, performing tricks and competitive obedience.

(www.sheep101.info)

Right now you are probably wondering what in the world I’m doing today - reading about sheep dogs! There actually is method behind this madness. Maybe when I tell you this little story, the reason I’m reading about sheep dogs will start to make some sense.

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There is a humorous story that goes like this:

Years ago, when our daughters were very young, we’d drop them off at our church’s children’s chapel on Sundays before the eleven o’clock service.

One Sunday, just as I was about to open the door to the small chapel, the pastor came rushing in. He said he had an emergency and asked if I’d speak to the children at their story time. He said the subject was the Twenty-third Psalm.

But just as I was about to get up from the back row and talk about the good shepherd, the pastor came into the room and signaled to me that he would be able to do the story time after all.

He told the children about sheep, that they weren’t smart and needed lots of guidance, and that a shepherd’s job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals and keep them from wandering off and doing dumb things that would get them hurt or

killed.

He pointed to the little children in the room and said that they were the sheep and needed lots of guidance.

Then the pastor put his hands out to the side, palms up in a dramatic gesture, and with raised eyebrows said to the children, "If you are the sheep then who is the shepherd?" He was pretty obviously indicating himself.

A silence of a few seconds followed. Then a young visitor said, " Jesus, Jesus is the shepherd."

The young pastor, obviously caught by surprise, said to the boy, "Well, then, who am I?"

The little boy frowned thoughtfully and then said with a shrug, "I guess you must be a sheep dog."

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The first passage of Scripture I want us to look at today is found in I Thessalonians 5:12- 13. Let’s turn there, but before I read the passage, let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 1 Thessalonians 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

I. THE FLOCK MUST KNOW THEIR SHEEP DOG (1 Thes. 5:12)

A. What does it mean to “know” them?

1. The Greek word for “know” also means we should respect them, see them, perceive them, understand them, — not just know about them

2. The sheep must know and respect the sheep dog … and the sheep dogs needs to know and love the sheep.

B. Relationships are key in spiritual leadership

1. We cannot evaluate a pastor’s ability to shepherd us if we don’t know them.

2. We cannot trust the pastor’s leadership if we do not know them.

3. We cannot follow the pastor’s lead if we do not know them.

Remember my introduction about sheep dogs?

A well-trained sheep dog works in partnership with the shepherd and obeys commands to perform its job. Properly trained, the dog is able to move the sheep just about anywhere. Good herding dogs control sheep with calm authority and without excessive "commotion."

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