"THE GOOD SHEPHERD"
I. THE PROPHESY AGAINST THE SHEPHERDS OF ISRAEL.
A. The shepherds were the leaders of the people, the message could apply to the political leaders as well as the spiritual leaders.
B. The indictment
1. Fed themselves rather than the people. Their primary interest was themselves rather than the sheep.
a. The primary duty of the shepherd was to see that the flock was well fed.
b. David said, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."
c. Jesus said to Peter, "Feed My sheep." "Tend My sheep."
d. Peter wrote to the elders to feed the flock of God.
e. Paul tells us that God has placed in the church, shepherd teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith, the building up of the body of Christ, bringing it into full maturity.
2. They ate the fat, that is, they fed off of the sheep, rather than feeding the sheep.
3. They clothed themselves with the wool. They were fleecing the flock rather than feeding the flock.
a. Many ministries today have developed the fleecing of the flock to a fine art.
b. They have professional letter writers to compose the appeals, using psychological ploys to touch the heart of the victim.
c. They have the latest computer equipment so that the letter appears to be personal, as the persons name is repeated through the text of the letter.
d. They have a team of people dreaming up schemes to prompt a sure response.
4. The false shepherds did everything but feed them.
5. They did not care for the sick among the flock.
6. They did not bind up the broken.
7. They did not seek those which were driven away.
8. They did not seek those that are lost.
9. They ruled with force and cruelty.
a. Lately we have been receiving a rash of mail concerning pastors who have been lording over their flocks. They have an attitude that to cross me is to cross the Lord.
b. They use their pulpits as a battering ram to destroy all those who may oppose their ideas.
c. The instructions of Jesus were to be the servant of all.
C. The consequence.
1. The sheep were scattered.
2. They became a prey to all the beasts of the field.
a. In Ephesians 4
, Paul said that the shepherd teachers were to bring the flock into full maturity so that they would not be a prey for every wind of doctrine and slight cunning of men who were lying in wait to deceive.
b. My heart goes out to the people who are being deceived and fleeced by these so called healing evangelists.
c. If a pastor is not faithful in feeding the people the truth of the word, they will not be able to discern the counterfeit when they hear it.
3. The sheep wandered through all of the mountains.
a. They had no sense of direction or purpose.
b. The duty of the shepherd was to lead. "He leadeth me beside the still waters, He leadeth me in paths of righteousness."
D. The judgment against the shepherds.
1. God was against the shepherds.
2. He was going to require the flock at their hand. He was holding them responsible for what had happened to the sheep.
3. He would deliver the flock from their hand.
E. In the fact that we are going to have an election in a few days how appropriate is this message. God holds responsible the leaders of the nation for the dire calamities that befall a nation. They are the ones that God will hold responsible for the moral breakdown. When the supreme court justices, the legislators, and governors, stand before the judge of the universe, God will hold them responsible for destroying the nation and the people.
II. GOD THE TRUE SHEPHERD.
A. I will search for My sheep and seek them out.
B. I will deliver them from all the places where they have been scattered.
C. I will bring them into their own land.
D. I will feed them in good pastures.
E. I will feed My flock.
F. I will seek that which was lost and bring it back again.
G. I will bind that which was broken, and strengthen that which was sick.
H. He will judge those that had abused the sheep.
I. I will save My flock that they may no longer be a prey.
III. GOD WILL SET OVER THEM A TRUE AND FAITHFUL SHEPHERD THAT WILL FEED THEM.
A. Even My Servant David, He shall feed them and be their Shepherd.
1. Jesus Christ of the seed of David declared, "I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
2. Jesus said that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that more abundantly.
3. God had said that the unfaithful shepherds had done just that to His flock, they had eaten the fat, fleeced the flock and ultimately destroyed the flock, leaving them prey to all the beasts as they were scattered and defenseless.
4. Jesus spoke of the hireling that ran when the dangers appeared, they did not really care for the sheep, they only cared for their own skin.
B. God said that He would set one shepherd over them.
1. Jesus said, "Other sheep have I which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
2. It is very obvious that Jesus is making reference to this prophecy in Ezekiel and claims to be that promised Shepherd.
C. God then declared, "And I will the Lord will be their God and My Servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it."
D. I love it when He declares, "I the Lord have spoken it."
1. This is very easy to confirm, did it come to pass, or is it coming to pass.
2. The first part of the prophecy had already come to pass when Ezekiel wrote these words.
3. The later part was yet to be fulfilled, when God would bring the scattered sheep back into the land, this God did and then He sent His Son, to be born of Mary of the seed of David, as His Servant to bind up the wounded and feed the flock.
4. His Servant was despised and rejected by the rulers and by their instigation was crucified. As a consequence they were once again delivered from the evil authority of the religious rulers of that day, and they once again were scattered, and wandered throughout the world becoming a prey to the beasts.
5. God has begun again to keep His promise to be their Shepherd searching for His sheep and seeking them out that He might bring them from out of the nations where they had been scattered back into their own land.
a. Is Israel a nation once again?
b. Are they dwelling in their land once more?
c. Evidently it is true when He said, "I the Lord have spoken it."
6. What then is the next great event in the fulfillment of this prophecy?
a. His sending His Servant David, to come and to Shepherd over the flock.
b. If ever there were a time in the history of the world when we needed help, it is now.
c. I see no hope for survival of this nation or this world apart from the return of our Lord Jesus Christ the true Shepherd.
d. I believe that His coming is eminent, and that it is soon.