Jeremiah 23:1-3 ESV
“’Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.’”
Who are the shepherds being talked about here? They are pastors, elders, and deacons in church congregations, although some of them may go by other titles. Basically, they are the overseers of church congregations whose job it is to teach the people the Scriptures and about God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. And they are supposed to teach us the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And they are to lead the people in the ways of God in holy living and in walks of obedience to the Lord.
And who are the sheep? Biblically speaking, we are those who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives with God-given faith. And that faith involves us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives. So now we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit in righteousness and holiness, in obedience to our Lord, and we no longer live according to our sinful flesh, making sin our practice and not righteousness our practice.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Nonetheless, we have people serving in positions of shepherd in these church congregations and/or in institutional (market-driven) “churches” (businesses) who are not teaching the gospel that Jesus and his apostles taught. But they are teaching a diluted gospel message that reduces the gospel to Jesus merely dying to forgive us our sins so when we die one day we get to go to heaven. But Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23).
So, by teaching this diluted gospel they are destroying the sheep (and/or prospective sheep) by teaching them half-truths which do not require them to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. And they are leading them to believe they can still walk in sin and still have eternal life with God. But they are also scattering the sheep who are the Lord’s true servants and messengers who are proclaiming the truth of the gospel and who are refuting the lies, for those who truly serve the Lord don’t fit with their marketing schemes which are to draw in large crowds from the world.
[Matthew 7:15-23; Matthew 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23]
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Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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