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Summary: There has been much teaching on the role of the pastor and his relationship to those God has placed in the local congregation under his authority.

The Sheep and Shepherd

There has been much teaching on the role of the pastor and his relationship to those God has placed in the local congregation under his authority. There has been much hurt caused by imbalanced teaching; as well as improper, or abusive methods of leadership. Throughout the Bible, God’s people are referred to as "sheep" (Psalm 79:13, 100:3) and sheep have need of a shepherd to both feed and tend to their needs. It is important that we are careful to avoid the extreme measures that advocate "lording" over every aspect of the lives of the congregation instead of leading the sheep. But we must also be careful not to miss the fullness of God’s purpose for His church by failing to submit to a local church body and pastor.

What is a Shepherd?

The word "shepherd" is used in both the Old and New Testament. It means "one who tends herds or flocks" (not merely one who feeds them). Both the Hebrew and Greek words, translated as "shepherd", are also translated "pastor".

Is Jesus the only shepherd?

Jesus is spoken of as the "Chief Shepherd". (John 10:11, 14; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 5:4, 2:25)

Jeremiah prophesied that the Lord would set up shepherds over His people. (Jeremiah 23:3-4)

Pastors or shepherds were given to the Church as a gift. (Ephesians 4:11)

What are the duties of a shepherd?

We can tell by the indictment of the Lord against the Old Testament shepherd, what the Lord expects. (Ezekiel 34:2-4)

Feed the flock

Strengthen the diseased

Heal the sick

Bind up the broken

Bring back those who were driven away

Seek for the lost

Not rule with force or cruelty

B. In Jeremiah 3:16, Jeremiah prophesied that His (God’s) shepherds would…..

Be shepherds after His own heart

Feed the sheep knowledge and understanding

The New Testament scriptures tell us:

He calls his sheep by name, leads them, goes before them. (John 10:3, 4)

He will lay down his life for his sheep. (John 10:11-13)

Is on guard for himself and his sheep against the wolves and will give account for them. (Acts 20:28, 29; Hebrews 13:17)

He will take oversight of his flock, willingly and not motivated by greed. (I Peter 5:2)

He will provide an ensample for his flock. (I Peter 5:3) (note: the word "ensample" in this verse means—an image stricken into a coin by a blow)

He will help equip the saints for the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4:7-13)

What value does God place on His sheep?

Luke 15 depicts the parable of "the Lost Sheep". We see that God considered one lost sheep worth leaving the ninety-nine. He will search it out until found.

Jesus looked upon the people of His day with compassion, for He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. Though He is the Chief Shepherd, when he ascended, the pastor/shepherd was a gift to the Church. (Matthew 9:36; Ephesians 4:13)

The Word of God commands His people to submit to and to obey those that have rule over us because they watch over our souls. (Hebrews 13:17; I Corinthians 16:15, 16)

Six "MUSTS" for sheep

Must know the voice of the shepherd.

Must follow the shepherd

Must eat what the shepherd feeds

Must heed the warnings of the shepherd.

Must bear fruit

Must allow the shepherd to shear them.

Five kinds of sheep

SOLITARY—They stay away from the rest of the flock. They think the rest of the flock is too mature for them. They are usually always sick.

HERMIT—They stay away from the rest of the flock to avoid shearing. They refuse to be clipped by the shepherd. They won’t allow the Holy Spirit to prune them. Their wool grows over their eyes and they can’t protect themselves. Their wool weighs them down and they can’t rise and the wolves come in and devour them. They influence others.

WANDERING—Never content with things the way they are. Whatever God is doing, it is never fast enough, big enough, or good enough to suit them. They always talk about the way it "used to be". They bring discontentment to other sheep and they produce "like kind".

JUDAS—They lead others to the slaughter. They are usually blinded and deceived by their own stubbornness. They take an opposite stand on what the

shepherd is trying to establish. They slander the shepherd. They carry tales abroad. They are unsavory, wild, and have no love for the flock.

CONTENTED—Innocent - they trust the shepherd. They are mild, tenderhearted and gracious. Patient - they stick with the flock and don’t run every time things don’t go their way. They are useful, industrious and get

involved. They obey and are submissive.

Are all those in the flock His sheep?

Matthew 7:15-20 tells us there are wolves who wear sheep’s clothing. They put on the appearance of sheep. We can tell or identify them by their fruit.

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