Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold?
The Bible describes a protective fence that Jesus placed around his sheep. We need to understand what this fence is to know if we are in his sheepfold, if we are under his protection. If we don’t understand what Jesus is talking about, if we wander outside this fence we have effectively removed a key component of Christ’s plan for our protection. Lets go through this comparison between good shepherds and hired hands.
NLT John 10;1-16
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” 6 Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, 7 so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
What does this warning mean? Who are these men who sneak over the wall of the sheepfold? In verse 9 Christ tells us he is the gate. These fence jumpers are the shepherds who don’t access the sheep through Christ. They are not becoming preachers in response to God’s call on their lives. I believe the warning in James 3 is talking to these same men, those who preach out of selfish ambition or jealousy [James 3:1-17…not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly…]. The good shepherds are called by God to Preach. They do not preach out of their own volition[1 Cor 9:17-20]. This next passage declares the simple truth, those seeking the approval of men are not followers of God. Take a look.
NLT Gal 1;10
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Christ’s servants seek only God’s approval. They are told “where possible be at peace with all men”, but they do not seek the approval of men. The pastors who look to their own voiltion and earthly gatekeepers are the ones “jumping the fence”!
Do you even have to ask your pastor if he is willing to give up his life for his sheep? Pastor’s today wouldn’t even consider serving their flock without a salary! Rest assured, any shepherd who desires a salary is not a spiritual leader endorsed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Take a look at vs 1 again.
NLT John 10:1 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!
Why are these fence jumping shepherds identified as thieves and robbers? Why does Jesus identify them throughout this passage as hired hands? Why do these men run when attacked – “because he’s working only for money.” The distinction is clear, this wall of protection for his sheep is a volunteer priesthood. True servants of God can hear his call to refuse to become a hired hand. History shows that the early church honored this warning. These words are from the didache, a writing of the Apostolic Fathers written soon after the passing of the 12 apostles.
Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there’s a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
There are many Bible passages that give us the same message. I’ve included these in the post script. These articles help us to understand what is going on in this area.
You may not be willing to accept these hard truths, but our leaders are blind men. Bible Prophecy warns us that hailstorms “hard truths” are coming. When we understand where we are, still suffering thru the Pale horse doctrines, the doctrines of death and the grave; when we understand that we are The Church Nourished From The Face Of The Serpent! we can overcome.
Please seek God and desire only his Glory. Please pray that his will be done on earth. Only when we turn from this Pastor deception can we begin to worship in spirit and in truth. Only when we hear the call to separate from Today’s Weak Churches, and recognize the destruction caused by the Pastoral Virus can we overcome. When see the truth and allow it to change our lives we are set free to live for Christ, to be the salt, to spread the light, to relentlessly seek and follow the Holy Spirit!
Please help us to turn from our deceptions, to reject our Presumer Performer past so we can become true seeker followers, people who worship you in both Spirit and in Truth. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
P.S. Supporting Passages;
NLT Phil 3;17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
Paul declares that that he would rather die than accept money for for preaching
NLT 1 Cor 9; 14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. 15 Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. Pastor’s Pay
Paul explains that men accepting pay for preaching can no longer claim God’s call
1 Cor 9;15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. 16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.
Paul was clearly called to preach, and this prohibited him from accepting pay for preaching. Those accepting pay, those refusing to offer the gospel free of charge, declare that they are not preaching in response to God’s call on their lives [NLT 1 Cor 14; 3-5], they simply chose to become a preacher. It is just a job for them.
A very stern warning for those who don’t follow Paul’s example.
NLT 2 Peter 3;15 And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
These men twisting Paul’s teaching [not following his example] are headed for destruction!
An Exhortation to Proper Living
NLT 2 Thess 3; 6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.
The reason that Paul refused to accept money from his followers is spelled out for all to see, to give us an example for us to follow! ! !
Paul was concerned about Being disqualified from the prize. Paul was clearly a teacher so he was probably concerned about this harsher judgment for teachers;
I think that Paul’s motive for not accepting money for preaching was summed up in this simple passage. He was concerned that even he might be disqualified from his reward if his motives were wrong. Lets first look at the passage where Paul talks about being disqualified;
NIV 1 Cor 9;24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Paul was not playing around here. He was trying to explain something critical for a church leaders salvation. He was a slave [not honoring his earthy monetary desires] so that he would not be disqualified from the prize.
Leaders who will be disqualified.
NLT Jam 3;11 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. … 13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
The teachers who collect followers, and act on selfish ambition and jealousy are still following their evil selfish desires and headed for destruction. Only the teachers who live an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom are following God!!!
NIV 1 Tim 1;14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly , along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
NLT 1 Cor 9;1 Follow my example , as I follow the example of Christ.
NLT 1 Cor 10;33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
NIV Phil 3;17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you(YLT use us as a pattern).
NIV 2 Thess 3;7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example . We were not idle when we were with you 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold? Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold? Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold? Are You In Christ’s Sheepfold?
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- July 25, 2009 / 10:53 am
- The Biblical Prophetic Horizon