The Shepherd of the Flock
INTRODUCTION: On Sunday mornings we have been focusing our attention on Psalm 23. As of last week we have investigated verses 1-3,
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
Notice again verse 1 “The LORD is my shepherd;” which in the Hebrew is “Jehovah-Roli.” The primary idea expressed in the Hebrew term “Roli” is “to feed” or “to lead to pasture.” The prophets depicted God as a Shepherd.
In Isaiah 40:11 we read, “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.”
In Jeremiah 31:10 we read, “Hear the word of the Lord… He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”
Again when we come to Psalm 23 may I remind you?
Psalm 23 is all the work of the Shepherd.
Psalm 23 is not about us; it is about HIM.
Psalm 23 is not about what you do in your Christian experience.
Psalm 23 is about being completely surrendered and being completely satisfied with the Shepherd.
The only way we are going to benefit from Psalm 23 is to come to an understanding that there must be on our part a TOTAL DEPENDENCE, a TOTAL SURRENDER to the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now remember you can read from the Old Testament to the New Testament and you will find Jesus Christ on three occasions being referred to as the Shepherd.
In John 10:11, Jesus is referred to as the GOOD SHEPHERD, who gives His life for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. The Lord is my Good Shepherd. He gave His life for me on the cross. He saved me from the penalty of my sin when I trusted Him as my Savior.
In Hebrews 13:20 our Lord is called the GREAT SHEPHERD who intercedes for us. “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.”
In I Peter 5:4, Jesus is called the CHIEF SHEPHERD, who shall someday appear. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The Lord is the Chief Shepherd. He is the coming King. He may come today. Are you ready to meet Him?
Now please turn in your Bibles to I Peter 2:25 where we read, “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Who is the Shepherd of your souls? He is none other than Christ.
Now with that in mind, for this message I want to turn your attention to another Shepherd that cares for your souls.
Recently I was asked, “Pastor, why do you invest so much time in us?” My quick reply was as a Pastor I am a shepherd and that is what a shepherd does for his people – the flock over which God has placed me. In I Peter 5:1-3 we read,
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (2) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (3) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (4) And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Perhaps you have asked the questions,
What is a Pastor?
What does he do?
Why does he invest so much time in us?
Why does he call when we are not here?
Why the intense interest in us and in our family?
So please allow me to talk about me – your PASTOR, your SHEPHERD, and tell you why I invest so much time in you.
Please turn to Titus 1:5-9 and notice the list of qualifications given for a pastor:
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (6) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
Please notice in verse 5, the pastor is called an ELDER and in verse 7 he is called a BISHOP. Now turn with me to I Timothy 3:1-7 and notice again in verses 1-2 the pastor is called a BISHOP.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
God has ordained that a MAN, in spite of all his FAULTS and in spite of all his SHORT-COMINGS should be the one who LEADS the church. As a man, your pastor CANNOT BE perfect nor DO everything to perfection. He's going to have his FAILINGS and SHORT-COMINGS simply because God sees fit to use an ordinary MAN.
Who I am and what I do is not a job. It is a divine calling, with a divine responsibility to be a Shepherd that watches out for your souls. One day, I must give account of you before the Chief Shepherd.
There are three titles in the Word of God that describe your pastor’s divine calling. These three titles – ELDER, BISHOP, and PASTOR all refer to one man, the PASTOR-TEACHER.
FIRST: The first Greek word for the PASTOR is PREBUTEROS, In our English Bible it is translated by the word “ELDER.” Notice with me:
In I Timothy 5:17-18 we read, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (18) For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”
In Titus 1:5 we read, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city…”
In I Peter 5:1-3 we read, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (2) Feed the flock of God which is among you…”
The word “elder” refers to one with SPIRITUAL MATURITY.
SECOND: The second Greek word for the PASTOR is EPISCOPOS. In our Bible it is translated by the word “BISHOP” which means an OVERSEER. The pastor is the one who oversees the entire work of the ministry. Another way of saying this might be that the pastor is the superintendent of the Church.
In every area of church ministry your pastor has been given the responsibility for oversight. That means nothing goes on without his knowledge or approval. God has given him that awesome task, and thankfully in order to accomplish it, God has ordained helpers called Deacons and in some cases godly laymen.
THIRD: The third Greek word for the PASTOR is POIMAN.
In Acts 20:28 we read, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” The word “feed” is the Greek word “POIMAN.”
In Ephesians 4:11 we read, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” The word for “pastor” is the Greek word “POIMAN.”
In I Peter 5:2 we again read, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly…” The word “feed” is this Greek word “POIMAN.”
The word “POIMAN” describes a SHEPHERD. Your pastor is the shepherd of the church. He is the one who tends to the sheep, protecting them and feeding them.
Let me pause to say this, in spite of his weaknesses, if you realize that your pastor is a man sent from God, petty criticism and gossip about him would surely be eliminated. Have you ever wondered why children sometimes lose their respect for the pastor and the church? Perhaps, it is the “roast the preacher” syndrome – the criticism they constantly hear from Mom and Dad, about their pastor, Sunday after Sunday.
I believe as a parent, it is your duty to cultivate a respect for “God’s chosen man.” As a child, I never ever heard one word of criticism voiced by my parents about my pastor, and to this day 60 years later, I still respect him as a man of God, a respected pastor. If he has any faults, I was never told of them.
Honestly, as long as we are interacting with mere men, we will be disappointed. Even the best preacher in the world, although sent from God, is subject to human failures. However, there is one in whom there is no disappointment. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, with whom we interact as our CHIEF SHEPHERD.
Your Pastor’s divine commission is to "preach the whole council of God's Word." Expounding the Word of God must take priority over everything else in the pastor’s life. So when you are asked to do something for which you are qualified, and time and circumstances allow, please don't think, "Let the pastor do it; that's what he's getting paid for." Rather, please consider doing what you can to share the work, to help me, so that I can more effectively "bear witness to the Word of God." Honestly, your pastor can't do all the work, but together, we can do great things for God.
Returning to my childhood in the church, to be sure there was Sunday school for all ages, organizations for boys and girls, and a Sunday evening program for older youth.
But what I remember most about my church attendance Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening was the FAITHFUL PREACHING of the WORD of GOD.
It may sound like I am being defensive, and I guess I am to some degree. I am concerned that the children of our church will lose out as a result of parents becoming disillusioned. Some parents have neglected their chosen responsibilities by complaining, quitting, or moving around.
Please, for the sake of our children and the cause of Christ, pray for your church, pray for your pastor, and remain faithful in your service to the Lord. If you do that, we will surely see God’s blessings heaped upon our children!
As your PASTOR-SHEPHERD I must assume a number of responsibilities, not delegated to others. According to the Bible, these responsibilities are FIVEFOLD:
NUMBER 1: From II Timothy 4:1-5 the PASTOR is to preach the Word. Here we read:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Woe is me if I do not preach the Word of God. A preacher must live with the Bible in his hands, in his head, in his heart, and then preach it and teach it.
Teaching the Word, is telling what God has said.
Preaching the Word is saying, let's get busy doing what God has said to do.
NUMBER 2: From I Timothy 4:12 the PASTOR is to be a good example. Here are the words used by the Apostle Paul to instruct Timothy:
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
So, you see, I must be a good example as a husband and father, in all areas of my Christian life. Someone said that a preacher is a man of God:
Who speaks TO God, OF God and FOR God.
Who speaks to men about God.
Who brings men to God.
Who is jealous of God.
Who stands with God.
Who lives every moment for God.
Who has been called, commissioned and sent by God.
Who works for God not the people.
Who is responsible only to God.
Who is the overseer and leader of the church.
Who is not paid to preach, but paid so he can live to preach!
Number 3: From Acts 20:26-28 the PASTOR is to shepherd the Church and feed the flock the Word of God.
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. (27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Someone defined the purpose of preaching:
It is to DRAW a line and DEMAND a verdict.
It is to DEFINE truth and DEFEND it.
It is to DIG OUT sin and DENOUNCE it.
It is to DISQUITE the carnal and DISTRUB the sleeping.
It is to DEFEAT the devil and CALL for dedicated lives.
It is to DELIVER the Gospel and CALL sinners to Christ.
It is to ADMONISH believers and CHALLENGE them to Holy, Godly living.
My preaching is a result of prayer, study, and conviction. God said TEACH it! God said PREACH it! By the grace of God, I have sought to do just that!
NUMBER 4: From Acts 20:29-30 the PASTOR is to protect the flock from dangers.
Verse 29 we are to warn of the dangers from without, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”
In Matthew 7:15 we are told, "Beware of false prophets which come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are raving wolves." Satan is attempting to use much outside these walls to destroy the work of God and the lives of God’s people.
Verse 30 shows us there are also dangers from within. “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Peter has warned us, John has warned us, and now Paul has warned us of those even inside the church who will lead us astray.
NUMBER 5: The PASTOR is to watch over your souls.
In Hebrews 13:17 we read, “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.”
In Hebrews 13:7 we read, “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.”
Folks, I do not take this responsibility lightly.
In my preaching, counsel, admonition, and in my conversation I am as a Shepherd watching out for spiritual parasites – that is the sins and problems in your lives.
As a Shepherd I am admonishing, correcting, and encouraging you so that you are able to “lie down in the green pastures” of God’s Word, and drink of “the still waters” of God’s peace, and “restoreth” your souls as I lead you through the Word of God.
I thank my God for His calling in my life to the office of PASTOR and for giving me the divine gift of preaching. You are God’s chosen people, I am your pastor. What a privilege that is. To me, “you are like sheep to a shepherd; children to a father.”
I have passion for my profession that I can't explain. God has placed me among you as a shepherd, and as long as God keeps me in this corner of His vast vineyard, I want to be the best I can be as your PASTOR–PREACHER.
On numerous occasions, I suppose all of us have read Psalm 23. Perhaps even memorized it, or at least recited it from earliest infancy. Therefore in closing may I say:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
However, I truly wonder today, “Do you know the psalm or do you know the Shepherd of the Psalm?” Knowing the Shepherd makes all the difference.
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “The Shepherd of the Flock” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
Copy write permission: Because the “Weekly SERMON” will be reproduced into other formats, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING: The “Weekly SERMON” in its original form, without any changes, may be copied and re-transmitted by electronic mail, and copies may be printed for individual or ministry purposes, provided that such copying, re-transmission, printing, or other use is not for profit or other commercial purpose. Any copying, re-transmission, distribution, printing, or other use of the “Weekly SERMON” must set forth in full the heading that is given before each “Weekly SERMON.” Any other request for use, please contact Bible Baptist Ministries at pdmikBBM@aol.com or by phone at 570.829.5216.
PS: In order to access the Weekly SERMON, please click the link to Weekly Sermon Library, where you will be able to choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Microsoft Word 2007 document (DOCX), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. Your use of this material is meant to be flexible.