THE GOOD SHEPHERD vs. THE HIRELING, 623
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (JOH 10:11-13).
Now, in Verse 11 it says, "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Therein our Saviour distinguishes between the sheep and the goats! He doesnt say that He gives His life for the goats. He says that He gives His life for the sheep. It is very important that we understand the distinction that our Saviour places between the sheep and the goats. That distinction is not marked with a given experience. That distinction is clearly marked by their character and their attitude toward the law of love.
Now, take notice with me in MAT 25:31-33. Notice how the Lord Jesus is distinguishing between the sheep and the goats and where this distinction lies. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."
On the Day of Judgment, the Lord Jesus is telling us how He is going to distinguish between the sheep and the goats. He distinguishes them by their character and attitude toward the law of love unto His own sheep.
Watch what He says unto His own sheep in MAT 25:34b-36. "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For [lets not miss that connecting word for, in other words, because], I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: [You have walked in the law of love.] I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Notice the distinction He is making here is based on their character. The loving, self-sacrificing spirit they have in this lifetime is the important factor. Their attitude toward their neighbor is what distinguishes them from the goats.
The distinction or the identification of the sheep is based one hundred percent on the spirit or attitude toward the law of love. Now, I want you to see how Christ will identify the goats by their character and attitude toward the law of love in MAT 25:41-43. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."
The distinction our blessed Saviour places between the sheep and the goats is the distinction between character and attitude. Now, if you understand sheep and goats just a little, you will understand that there is a vast distinction between their characters. A goat is a rebellious animal. By comparison, the Bible talks about Christ as a sheep that was led to the shearers. He opened not His mouth. A goat is a totally different person, a totally different character. It is only those who have been transformed into sheep, those who have become submissive and who have been changed by the Holy Spirit into a new person, a person who is walking under the law of love.
There are so many religions in the word today. I was at a colony of people one time, and the man was explaining how that this certain person had left the colony. They shook hell in front of him until he finally succumbed and decided that he better stay with the colony.
I want you to take notice of the vast organizations who are called Christians today, and find out if they dont use the terrors of hell to try to intimidate people to go to heaven. Do you know what the Lord Jesus is saying? We need to become a new man. We need to come to a new attitude. We have to come to the point of seeking the law of love first. That is to love God with your heart, your soul and your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.
The Lord Jesus comes with His spirit in the heart and He works the work of regeneration in the soul, as we read in EPH 4, "Be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind." In other words, that is where the work of regeneration is.
Look at EPH 4:21-24. "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying."
I want you to see now how it all pertains to a different attitude toward your neighbor. You no longer lie to your neighbor. EPH 4:25 says, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." When the Lord Jesus brings about the body, which is His church, that the grapes in the wine are all pressed and loses their identity. When the grain is ground into flour, every kernel loses its identity. No longer are we individuals, but we are one body. Now, if one member hurts, we all hurt. We no longer can go out and lie and cheat and steal. We can no longer slander our friend or our neighbor. We are now in that Spirit of Christ.
Now, this is how the Lord identifies the distinction between the sheep and the goats. He didnt say that He came to die for the goats. He came to give His life for the sheep. He gave His life for those who believe.
In JOH 3:14-16 we read, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
We must learn to understand what the gospel says are the necessary elements of salvation. Ive heard it said "What is it needful to know to live and die happily " starts with sins and miseries. King Saul knew more about sins and miseries than I ever want to know, and there was no salvation in it. What did the Lord Jesus say is "must"? He gives three of them: Ye must be born again. The Lord Jesus Christ must be lifted up and ye must worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Those are the three essential elements to salvation.
Now, I want you to notice: Our Saviour gave his life for those who believe. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." Why must He be crucified. Look at Verse 15]: That [that is a connecting word.] whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." The command of the Father in 1JO 3:23 is "That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." That is a direct command of the Father of heaven and earth. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I want to explain why this is so important. This is what places the responsibility where it belongs. If we try to govern our lives by the secret will of God, it teaches fatalism. It is Gods fault because He didnt work grace. When you rightly understand the command to believe and "that whosoever believeth"-there is only one limitation to salvation-that is those who believe.
Now, from the standpoint of God's sovereignty, salvation is a gift of God. It is from Gods sovereignty in our salvation we must see why the goats do not believe. Look at JOH 10:26-27. "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." Now, do you see that whosoever believeth in him should not perish? He clearly says, "Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep." In other words, because you have got that wrong attitude, you are a goat. You still do not live by the law of love. You do not hear what I tell you. You refuse to hear. You refuse to walk in the footsteps that I have set out for you. You dont believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. The Lord tells us that His command is that we should love one another as He loved us. If we dont hear it and dont do it, that tells us that we are not among His sheep.
This is why the goats will not hear our Saviour's summons to walk by the law of love. In JOH 8:47 we read, "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." In other words, if you go back in JOH 8 you will see how that He has admonished them that they are of their father the devil because they are liars. They are of their father the devil, because he was a liar and murderer from the beginning. He said, "You dont hear My words, you dont hear Gods words, because you are not of God."
Now, our Saviour's revelation that He is "the good shepherd," in the first instance is revealed by His example. He gives the example of His submission to the Fathers will and His obedience to His Father to prove that He is the good Shepherd. His own example is in contrast to the example of the false shepherds as shown in JOH 10:11-15. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."
The example He gives us is that He gives His life for the sheep. The hireling flees when the wolf comes. David was an example of a good shepherd. He slew a lion and he slew a bear because they had taken a lamb. The distinction between the good shepherd and the hireling is revealed by their conduct, by their character, and by their attitude toward the flock.
Our Saviour gives His life as an example of self-sacrificial love. He says, I am the good Shepherd, and He gives us His life, meaning He gives us the example that He set forth in His life to establish that He is the good Shepherd. He gave His entire life, a pattern, an example, whereby you and I are to follow in His steps.
In 1PE 2:20-23 we read, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."
When you are being reviled, when somebody is slandering your good name, or going out to destroy your character, it is so tempting to lash back, but the Lord Jesus says when He was reviled, He reviled not again. When they called Him Beelzebub, they called Him a devil. They called Him every crude name they could think of, but He did not revile back.
In other words, He committed His good name into the hands of His Father who judges righteously. Do you see how He gave His life as an example? He set forth the ministry that He preached with His mouth, and by reinforced it with His walk of life. We need to look at the people who profess Christianity. A good percentage of people today will profess to be Christians, but watch their walk of life. Watch their attitudes. Watch their character and their attitude toward their fellow man. If they show pride and lust, they are not walking in the footsteps of Christ. They are not doing what the Lord Jesus said to do. Now, everybody has his or her own way. There are thousands of churches and many denominations; they all have their own summary of what constitutes salvation. The Lord Jesus tells us what constitutes salvation, and that is that our heart becomes reconciled with His will. Until you and I become reconciled with God and have been redeemed from iniquity being saved from our sins (not in our sins, but from our sins) we are not saved from anything, regardless what our denominational teaching may be.
"Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." I want you to notice that Christ's gave His life, not as a martyr, but to set an example for His sheep, and to redeem them from all iniquity.
It is so amazing, we hear these Scriptures quoted and misquoted, out of context, and never carrying through the context in which they were spoken.
1PE 2:24-25 continues, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, [I have heard that quoted a thousand times, but now read the rest of the verse, and that I have never heard explained in my whole life.] that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." You have been redeemed from iniquity. You have become dead to sin, and to live unto righteousness. That is how we know whether or not we have salvation. Have we been redeemed from our iniquity? Have we become dead to our sins, and do we live unto righteousness?
Sin becomes exceeding sinful when we learn to understand the meaning of "he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken" as we see in ISA 53:8. It was for these sins that He was stricken. It was for our iniquities that He was cut off out of the land of the living. Do you know what that does? It makes sin become exceeding sinful. We start to learn to understand how displeased and how wroth God is with sin, and now we have a desire to repent. It gives us remorse over having sinned against such love and a desire to start walking and living in the ways of righteousness. Now, we have a forgiving spirit toward our fellow man. We are not critical of our fellow man, but we have a desire to look to his honor and to promote his love. We start to become sheep. We start to give to the hungry, help the poor, and do those things that Jesus loves.
Our text goes on to say in JOH 10:12-13, "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." Again, our Saviour is using a comparison. He is showing a distinction between His true under-shepherds and those who are hirelings. He shows those whose hearts are set on their wages rather than on their flock. What is He telling us? These false shepherds reveal themselves by compromising the authority of God's Word. If it is going to cost them some members, or if it is going to cost them some paycheck or if somebody is going to stop putting something in the bag, they will compromise. They are people pleasers. When they see the wolf coming, i.e., when they see trouble coming, where they have to stand for the truth and suffer persecution for His names sake, they forsake the truth. They forsake the true flock of God and they go along with the goats. They are hirelings. Those who vote by their purse strings. Many pastors today are looking at the fact that they have a job, and if they are not pleasing the people, the purse strings get pulled shut. I have talked to many different pastors who said, "Well I couldnt do that because I would lose my job."
A hireling is one whose heart is set upon his hire rather than the spiritual welfare of the flock. They will compromise the Word. JOH 10:13 says, "The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." The hireling flees from the wolf that is coming to tear him to shreds because he is standing for the truth. Is he willing to pay the price? Is he willing to stand for the authority of Gods Word, or is he going to compromise it so that he can keep his job?
Christ's teaching clearly reveals that a man does what he does because he is what he is. I want you to follow this principle because it is very important that we understand this. You do what you do because you are who you are. A goat and a sheep have instincts that are natural to them. They do things according to the instincts they have. So, lets analyze this a little. The hireling flees because he is a hireling. Do you see what I am saying? It reveals that a man does what he does because he is what he is. There is always a consistency between character and conduct. A hireling-he does what a hireling would do. He does what is natural to a hireling; therefore, he flees.
I want you to see the true character reveals itself when they feel the wolf coming. When the hirelings come into a circumstance where they have to make a sacrifice, they will flee or act to promote their own welfare. The good Shepherd gave His life. He made the big sacrifice. When we have to make a sacrifice for what we stand for, our true character reveals itself. In 2PE 2:22 we see this revelation of character, "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
Now as long as that dog and that sow are in their natural state and there is nothing that they have to pay to be there, there is no sacrifice to make. You dont really distinguish them. Let it come to a situation or a showdown where they have to sacrifice a little to help that person. Do they start barking at him instead? The true proverb reveals itself. What did they do? They returned to their vomit again. Instead of going out and lending a hand to help one who is in need, they start criticizing and being critical of that person. They are dogs. They have never been transformed into sheep, and their true character, when they have to make a little sacrifice, reveals itself.
What about the sow? She was washed. Oh, she is a good Christian, except that she returns to her wallowing in the mire. You can see the true character revealing itself especially when coming into a situation where there is a trial, where there is a sacrifice to make.
Now Jesus taught how we are to identify these hirelings in MAT 7:15-19. Our previous verse was about when the hireling sees the wolf coming. This one reveals those putting on and pretending they are one of the flock. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." In other words, their true character reveals itself by their walk of life. Do they compromise the Word? Are they going to walk in a Shepherds walk? Are they going to walk in the footsteps of Christ? You will be able to identify them by their actions.
I want you to see how important our walk of life is. I want you to see how important our attitude is. It is the very evidence of our salvation. Many people can talk of big experiences. Consider 1COINTHINIANS 10 and how the apostle is showing how these people had many and rich experiences, but what was the end result? They perished. Look at 1 CO 10:2, "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." That was rich experience. These Israelites had rich experiences, but they disobeyed. They refused to obey the Lord, and they perished in the wilderness with all of their experiences. Has anyone you know had richer experiences than those coming through the Red Sea and drinking of that spiritual Rock that followed them?
Verse 5 says, "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." We see in HEB 3 why they were overthrown. Now, let me show you what it says in HEB 3:14-19, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." That word unbelief in the original means disobedience.
A person is true to his character, and what he does is true to his person, of who he is. A drunkard drinks because he is a drunkard. A person is not a drunkard because he drinks. A person drinks because he is a drunkard. The liar lies because he is a liar. If he werent a liar he wouldnt lie. It isnt because he lies that makes him a liar. He lies because he is a liar. The thief steals because he is a thief. If he werent a thief he wouldnt steal. The conduct conforms to the character.
Now watch, this is what Jesus says was telling us in JOH 10:13 "The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling [he is a hireling. That is why he flees.], and careth not for the sheep." It was his flight from his station that demonstrated the character of the man. When an under-shepherd compromises the truth, he reveals his true character. I want you to see he fled because he was a hireling.
This is what demonstrates the spirit of the anti-Christ. He has no care for the sheep. He has no care for the truth. 2TH 2:10-12 demonstrates the spirit of anti-Christ. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Why did men not believe the truth? Why do they not love the truth? They have pleasure in unrighteousness.
Now, see how these same truths hold on the other side of this same principle. The love of the truth identifies the character of the true flock of God. Those who love not the truth have the spirit of the anti-Christ, but those who do love the truth are identified by their character as the true flock of God.
Now look at 2TH 2:13; "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." Those who love not the truth are the anti-Christ. Through sanctification of the spirit and belief on the truth, some are chosen unto salvation.
So, a person must have received that "sanctification of the Spirit," before he will have a love for "and belief of the truth." It is through the sanctification of the Spirit that the truth becomes precious. That is when we desire to know the truth. A person must have received that before he will ever love the truth.
Look at what Verse 13 says, "The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling [it is because he is a hireling], and careth not for the sheep." Our true character is revealed in a crisis of life! You watch a stream of water flowing and you can see a multitude of fish all going in the same direction as the water. You dont know which ones are dead and which ones are alive. When something happens where they have to go upstream, its only a live fish that can go upstream. What is the first thing that fish will encounter? He is going to be bucking heads with the dead fish that are going downstream. He is coming against their current. It is in a crisis that our true character will reveal itself. As long as everything is in perfect harmony and everybody is going in one direction, you dont notice the distinction in character. When self-sacrificial love must be exercised, their true character begins to reveal itself.
Are we of the Saviours mold? Are we able to give our lives for the sheep or are we going to be as the hireling and flee and compromise the Word of God and go along with the stream? Is it not true, my friends, that it is the wolf that reveals the hireling? You may never have known that he was a hireling had it not been for the wolf. If it hadnt been that a trial came where self-sacrifice is required you would have never known that that dog would return to his vomit. That he would go back to spewing out filth about his brother. If everything were lovey-dovey you would have never known that. The true character reveals itself in a crisis.
Now, this is where our blessed Saviour was distinguished from the hireling. "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" JOH 10:11. He was willing to stand for the sheep to the giving of His own life. When He saw the wolves approaching, death was as real for Him in His human nature as it ever was for any man. I want you to understand that Christ was both God and man. In his human nature He was just as genuinely human as you and I are. He had feelings, He hungered, he thirsted, He got weary; He had all the attributes of a human being; His body and soul were just as capable of suffering and just as capable of grief and of disappointment and embarrassment as any other person. I want you to think about this.
Here we see the Lord Jesus, death is approaching, and look what we read in JOH 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? [When death was approaching, when the wolf was coming, His human nature dreaded death as much as any person on earth.]: Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." His flesh shrunk. His flesh was filled with fear. Death was just as genuine as it is to any human being. Then He comes and captures a thought. He recaptures the moment. He said, "but for this cause came I unto this hour." He realized and He understood that it was for this very cause of giving His life for His people, that He had come to that hour.
Now, as our Saviour saw death approaching He turned in prayer to His Holy Father in His trouble, but what did He pray for? In JOH 12:28 we read, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." Jesus did not quit His station. His purpose in life was for the glory of His Father. Right up to the point of death, He did not forsake His station as Adam did in the Garden of Eden as we all do by nature. He came for the purpose of the Fathers glory, and what does He say? "Father, glorify thy name." As He stepped into death, He did not flee when the wolf was coming. He stood and prayed unto His Father, and the Father answered Him.
Now, in His human nature we must realize that death was as real for Jesus as it is for you or me. We need to realize that so that we understand the price He paid. It was genuine. What did He do when He saw the pack of wolves coming? He gave His life for the sheep.
Not only the pack of wolves, but also one of His own disciples came to betray Him unto death. JOH 18:2-3 says, "And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons." Our blessed Saviour saw the wolf coming and what did He do? Did He flee? No. He gave His life for His sheep.
Now in such an hour, when the breath of the wolf can be felt, the hireling will flee and compromise the truth, but what did the true Shepherd of the sheep do? Look at JOH 18:7-8, "Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." Do you see what He did? He allowed the wolves to take Him. When a pack of wolves goes after a herd of deer or a herd of cattle, they will take one and let the rest go. The Lord Jesus said, "Here I am. Let these go their way." He gave His life for the sheep that you and I might be able to escape death. Through His death we might be brought to life. He purchased our spiritual life and our eternal life by giving Himself.
Now, as our blessed Saviour wrestled with the powers of hell, and stepped into His own Father's wrath upon our sin, He said, "I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." As He was grappling with these powers of hell, He gave Himself. He gave Himself that He might be their prey, that they might satisfy all of their blood thirst on Him, and thereby He took what you and I deserved. He took the penalty of sin that was justly ours. He gave His life for the flock.
Now, Jesus says in JOH 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." His title as "the good shepherd" implies His mediatorial office. He was our mediator. He came to mediate for His church, and He stood in our place. The Shepherd is not the one who owns the flock. The Lord Jesus Christ is not the owner of the flock. He is the shepherd. The flock belongs to His Father. He is the One who cares for the flock and is entrusted with it.
Our Father has entrusted His elect into the care of the Good Shepherd as "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" as we see in 1PE 2:25. We have to understand that He is our Shepherd, in other words, He leads us. He directs us. He brings us in the way that leads unto the Father. He brings us in the way that leads to our eternal home. He is the Bishop of our souls; He is the one who teaches us by His example. He teaches us by His ministry, His preached ministry recorded in the New Testament.
The Old Testament types are true to this principle as we see with Moses, we see it with Joseph, and with David. They all tended their Father's sheep. They were not tending their own sheep. This is where we see the beautiful illustration of the Lord Jesus: He is the Good Shepherd of the sheep. He is not the one who owns the flock. They belong to His Father, He and His Father are one, and in that respect they are His own sheep, but He is doing His Fathers bidding.
There is a striking order to be noticed in the three "Shepherd" titles of our Lord. There are three separate titles where He is titled as a Shepherd. I want you to see the order in which they are.
FIRST, in JOH 10 the reference is clearly to the cross. So He is our Good Shepherd in the way of the cross and in death. As we walk in the way of the cross, in the self-sacrificial life in this world, walking in His footsteps, by His example, He is our Shepherd. He leads us through death to self, death to sin, death to the world, and into a newness of life.
SECOND, in HEB 13:20-21 the reference is to the empty tomb. I want you to see it is to the empty tomb and it is to our walk of life. This points to His resurrection, and our spiritual resurrection i.e., our walk in the newness of life. See what this teaches us because it is so important that we see the connections.
It is so important that when we take a passage of Scripture, we keep it in the context in which it is written.
In HEB 13:20-21 we see that Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep, the God of peace. How do we have peace with God? By returning unto Him, walking in His ways we obtain His peace. "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, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." It is so important that we understand that it is Christ formed in you that is the hope of glory. That Spirit of Christ is that spirit of love.
THIRDLY, in 1PE 5:4 the reference is to the rightful office of the under-shepherds-their rightful duties as distinguished from the hireling-and His glorious return as the Chief Shepherd.
Notice the commission Christ gives to His true under-shepherds in 1PE 5:2-4; I want you to understand what it means, "not by constraint." Why did the Lord allow Adam to be in the position that he was able to fall? The Lord has no pleasure in any person serving out of compulsion. The under-shepherd has no authority to use compulsion upon his flock. If a sheep does not follow an under-shepherd of his own free will, that he delights to do the will of God, no under-shepherd has any power or authority to constrain him or her. The Lord has no pleasure in any person serving Him out of constraint.
1PE 5:2-4 says, "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; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
The under-shepherd is not for hire; he is to eat of the flock. The flock has to feed him, but that is not the shepherds motive. He is not doing it for filthy lucre, but willingly. How often we see a shepherd wanting to lord over Gods heritage. If we are we going to be an under-shepherd, then our example, our attitude, our labor of love, our self-sacrificial spirit that we demonstrate is our first form of teaching. If we are not teaching with our heels, we are very wise to keep our mouths shut. If our walk of life does not correspond with what we are teaching, we only bring blasphemy upon Gods name.
If we obey, under the Spirit of Christ, if we lead a flock according to the pattern that Christ has set down, then when He appears we shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Our text says in JOH 10:11-13, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep [if you and I are going to show an example of the Good Shepherd in our attitude and walk of life, then we give and place everyone else ahead of ourselves. Then we are able to write death upon ourselves, that we prefer others before ourselves, which is a self-sacrificial spirit.] But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." Amen.
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