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Saturday, April 13 2013

The Sheep Door

"Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep"

The Twenty-Third Psalm is about how God's "sheep," while under the care of a good shepherd, have nothing to fear - from predators, or from the shepherd.

"23:1 A Psalm of David.

The LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] is my shepherd; I shall not want. 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psalm 23:1-6 KJV)

The English word "pastor" is a direct derivative of pasture, a place where sheep live and are tended. Just as there are "good shepherds," such as described above, so too there are those who look only to being "lords over God's heritage" for "filthy lucre." They have no concern for the sheep, only for themselves.

"5:2 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; 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:2-4 KJV)

"The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep"

A parent will fiercely defend their child against anything or anyone that seeks to cause it harm. So too, the reason that a true shepherd of God's flock will defend them with his life is because the flock is his life, whereas "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." A "hireling" shepherd's interests and priorities are elsewhere.

The Hireling Shepherd

"10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 10:12 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. 10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:1-18 KJV)

A prime Biblical example of a "hireling shepherd" was Diotrephes, a pastor who actually drove some of the good sheep out of the pasture, while abusing those who remained under his "authority" (see also Firing The Founder).

"1:1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God." (3 John 1:1-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: When and how is the Messiah, our Shepherd, going to separate "the sheep from the goats"?
Matthew 25:31-46; see also Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff


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This Day In History, April 13

1059: Pope Nicholas II decreed that future popes would be elected only by cardinals (see The Struggle For The Papacy; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).

1598: The Edict of Nantes was promulgated by Henry IV of France. It granted political rights and some degree of religious freedom to the French Huguenots. The edict remained in effect for 87 years.

1759: French forces defeated the European allies at the Battle of Bergen.

1829: The British Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics in Britain.

1849: The Hungarian Republic was proclaimed.

1861: After 34 hours of bombardment, Union-held Fort Sumter surrendered to the Confederate forces.

1913: An assassination attempt on King Alphonso XIII of Spain by an anarchist failed.

1959: A Vatican edict prohibited Roman Catholics from voting for communists.

1960: France became the 4th nation with atomic "weapons of mass destruction."

1960: The first navigational satellite was launched into Earth orbit.

1970: An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, causing an abort of the moon landing and near loss of the crew.

1999: Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for murder - the killing of a terminally ill man who wanted to commit suicide. He taped the killing which was shown on the CBS program 60 Minutes. Kevorkian claimed to have assisted over 130 deaths during the previous 10 years.





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