Summary: Pew-Sitters are those who come to church, but all they do is SIT and SOAK -- soaking in the goodness of God’s word and the goodness of fellowship. But when it comes to their KINGDOM BUILDING responsibility, their attitude is one of neglect and disregard.
Introduction: I want to begin today by quoting the old Gospel Evangelist, Sam Jones. He used to get in the pulpit and tell his congregation that he was running a Gospel Shoe Establishment. That is, he just laid the shoes out there and told the people, “if the shoe fits, wear it.”
So today, I’m gonna just lay the shoes out there, and if the shoe fits, wear it.
There is an old song my mom used to sing. It is called, “My House Is Full, But My Field Is Empty.”
SONG TEXT: There is peace and contentment in my Father’s house today, Lots of food on His table and no one turned away. There is singing and laughter as the hours pass by, But a hush calms the singing as the Father sadly cries, My house is full, but my field is empty, Who will go and work for Me today. It seems my children want to stay around my table, But no one wants to work my field.
That song expresses the same reality that I want to address today. And that is that there are entirely too many Christians who come to church to get something, but when it comes to serving the Father, there is nothing being done. Those Christians are what I call Pew-Sitters.
Pew-Sitters are those who come to church (that’s good), but all they do is sit and soak. (Soak in the goodness of God’s Word and the goodness of fellowship).
Transition: This was the kind of problem the Children of Israel were experiencing in our text for today. Everyone took care of themselves but when it came to KINGDOM BUILDING, their attitude was that of neglect and disregard.
(Read vss. 1-4b, 8-10a, 15-16, 23-24)
Background: This passage was originally written as a condemnation of the PRIESTS of Israel. They were the shepherds of the people of Israel and instead of shepherding the people, they sat back and took care of themselves.
Drawing a Parallel: Be very careful this morning not to misunderstand the application of this passage. There may be a TENDENCY to interpret this passage as applicable ONLY to those in priestly, pastoral, or shepherding positions. And THAT is the primary reason so many Christians are not living up to their COMMISSIONED RESPONSIBILITY. “Witnessing is for the pastor,” they say.
What we need to understand today is that when each of us becomes a Christian, we all take on the responsibility of a KINGDOM BUILDING PRIEST.
Originally, the people of Israel were given this responsibility. Exodus 19:6 says, “you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” After Christ, this responsibility was passed on to us. 1 Peter 2:5 says, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
(Transition to text)
I. Two Words Describe the Shepherds
1. The shepherds neglected their duty.
2. They were supposed to feed the flock, strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bandage the injured, bring back the strays and search for the lost but they DID NOT DO IT. They were more concerned about their own well being.