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Ephesians 4:7-17 – Equipping the Church – Shepherds

by on June 12, 2013

Shepherds

Shepherds are a gift that Christ gave to His Church. They have a monumental task. They must be very special people who are tough and strong and warm and tender. They must be perceptive and be able to detect details of the lives of the sheep. They must be self-less individuals who love with a real, genuine love that knows when and how to use kindness and when to use strict discipline. They have the blend of mercy and truth and know when to use each.

Shepherds are very disciplined persons. They apply discipline, first of all, to their own lives. They exemplify the life they expect in the flock. They are the counselors. They are the trusted pastors who shepherd the flock.

 

Some characteristics of Shepherds:

Tough, strong

Stands between sheep and enemy

Knows how to lead sheep

Knows where to find food

Makes them lie down in green pastures – comfort

Leads beside still waters – peaceful

The sheep never need to want

Seeks lost sheep

Sleeps in door of fold

Rugged and earthy

Discipline of self and sheep

Stand between the sheep and the enemy

Protects from wolf and lion and bear

Protects against false shepherds

Fearless in danger

Leads in paths of righteousness

Tender

Carries the lambs in strong arms

Gentle but tough hands

Blesses the sheep in his flock

Restores their soul – emotional support

Anoints their heads with oil – Spiritual healing

Knows the sheep by name – personal

Knows their weaknesses and their strengths – details

Gives his life for the sheep – dedicated

Carries a staff, not a sword – loving correction

Separates sheep from goats – knows how to protect

Knows the hearts of the flock

Character

Lonely

Long hours away from public eye

Discerning and alert for danger

Realizes that he is a “sheep” in need of a “shepherd”

Can comfort a lamb and confront a lion

Discerning and alert for danger

Realizes that he is a “sheep” in need of a “Shepherd”

Knowledge of the Word of God

Shepherds are desperately needed in the Church.

Most shepherds typically function in an unofficial capacity. Rarely is there a “Shepherd” category of Church leader. Jesus, however, has placed shepherds in His Church. They are there and they are busy quietly shepherding the flock.

Paul charges the Ephesian elders about their responsibility to shepherd:

Acts 20:28-32-

28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  30 “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

 31 “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. 32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Shepherds teach like Jesus did

Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 

Jesus is the Great Shepherd – all others are under-shepherds

Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant

God’s stinging indictment against false shepherds

Ezekiel 34:2, 10 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

10 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

 

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