Shepherds Part 2 Image






Shepherds in the Church, Part 2

The work of elder/shepherds in the church

Psalm 23

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 14, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2018


  1. Psalm 23 pictures the Lord as a shepherd, but
    1. it also presents the work of a shepherd, and
    2. the men who serve as elders in the church
      1. also serve as shepherds under the Chief Shepherd Christ.
      2. Therefore, Psalm 23 presents a great illustration for their work.


  1. The Lord Is a Shepherd
    1. Psalm 95.7–8

      7 For He is our God,
      And we are the people of His pasture,
      And the sheep of His hand.
      Today, if you will hear His voice:
      8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
      As in the day of trial in the wilderness…”
      (Psalm 95.7–8)

      1. Quoted in Hebrews repeatedly,
      2. showing its application for us.
    2. Matthew 2.6 speaking of Jesus

      6 “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
      Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
      For out of you shall come a Ruler
      Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
      (Matthew 2.6)
    3. Matthew 25.32 Jesus as the Judging Shepherd

      32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25.32).
    4. Matthew 26.31

      31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:

      ‘I will strike the Shepherd,
      And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”
      (Matthew 26.31)

    5. John 10.11

      11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10.11).
    6. Psalm 23

      0 A Psalm of David.
      1 The LORD is my shepherd;
      I shall not want.
      2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
      He leads me beside the still waters.
      3 He restores my soul;
      He leads me in the paths of righteousness
      For His name’s sake.
      4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
      I will fear no evil;
      For You are with me;
      Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
      5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
      You anoint my head with oil;
      My cup runs over.
      6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
      All the days of my life;
      And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
      (Psalm 23.0–6)
  2. Elders Serving as Shepherds
    1. How the Lord takes care of the flock the elders imitate.
      1. They should see that He uses them to do His work.
      2. Elders, you are doing the work of the Lord.
    2. Verses 1 and 2 show
      1. that sheep need feeding.
      2. They need a shepherd to lead them to the place of food.
        1. They also need a peaceful environment.
        2. If you have ever been in a congregation
          1. where the people are not being fed God’s word, or
          2. wolves have roamed about the flock,
            1. then you know the wisdom of having
            2. shepherds over flocks.
    3. “He restores my soul;”
      1. The work of elder/shepherds is first and foremost about souls.
      2. It is not about buildings and other related matters.
    4. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness”
      1. Shepherds are out front leading the way.
      2. Peter said that elders are examples to the flock (1Pe 5).
        1. We can all read what the Bible says on how to live, but
        2. we all need to see how it is done.
          1. I can read how to do surgery, but then
          2. I need someone to translate it into action, because
            1. that makes the reading clear.
            2. Then I need someone to lead me in doing it.
    5. “For His name’s sake.”
      1. Elders work within the authority of the Chief Shepherd.
      2. They do not serve to glorify themselves, but the Lord.
        1. They would do well to remind themselves constantly,
        2. that it is not about them, but about the Chief Shepherd and the sheep.
    6. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;”
      1. The sheep in the Lord’s flock go through scary times.
      2. The shepherds are there for them.
        1. Everything we do as Christians prepare us for the moment of death.
        2. Elder/shepherds are available for their flock during that moment.
    7. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
      1. The elder/shepherds guard and protect the flock.
      2. When troublemakers show up
        1. the elder/shepherds do not run off and hide
        2. because it is unpleasant.
          1. They stay alert and
          2. they confront the wolves lest sheep get devoured.
    8. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;”
      1. The sheep have enemies, whether they realize it or not.
      2. The elder/shepherds are aware of the dangers, but
        1. they continue to provide for their sheep
        2. even in the presence of their enemies.
    9. “You anoint my head with oil;”
      1. This is tending to the skin of the sheep.
      2. The elder/shepherds look for problem areas in the sheep and address it.
    10. “My cup runs over.”
      1. We should thank God often for the church and
      2. how He has set up the church.
        1. The most precious thing on the earth to the Lord is the church.
        2. If you see the church the way He does,
          1. you will also say that your cup runs over.
    11. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;”
      1. If the elder/shepherds do as the Chief Shepherd instructs,
      2. the sheep will experience goodness and mercy in that local flock.
    12. “And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.”
      1. The sheep will want to stay in the flock.
      2. They will not want to leave the church or the Lord.
        1. They experience blessings
        2. that they cannot experience anywhere else in life.
  3. Ezekiel 34
    1. 34.1–10 | What the Lord’s Shepherds Should Be Doing

      1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “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? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! 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.” (Ezekiel 34:1–10).

      1. Self-feeding rather than sheep-feeding.
      2. Did not strengthen the weak.
      3. Did not heal the sick.
      4. Did not bind up the broken.
      5. Did not bring back the driven away.
      6. Did not seek the lost.
      7. Ruled with force and cruelty.
      8. Therefore, the Lord would be against the shepherds.
        1. The Lord will require His flock at their hand.
        2. The Lord will deliver the sheep from the shepherds.
    2. 34.11–16 | What the Chief Shepherd Shall Do
      1. The Lord would do all that the shepherds should have done.
      2. He will concentrate on feeding them.
    3. 34.17–24 | What the Sheep Should Be Doing

      17 “And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.’ 20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: ‘Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken” (Ezekiel 34.17–24).

      1. He shall judge between sheep.
      2. He condemns them for ruining things.
      3. He will save His flock.
      4. He will place David, the son of David, the Messiah over them.
      5. The Lord will be their God.
    4. 34.25–29 | Blessings from the Chief Shepherd
      1. He will make peace for them.
      2. He will make them a blessing.
      3. He will free them from those who held them in bondage.
      4. They will no longer bear the shame.
    5. 34.30–31 | What the Chief Shepherd Wants the Flock to Know

      30 “Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD. 31 You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 34.30–31).

      1. The Lord their God is with them.
      2. They are His people.
      3. They are His flock.
      4. They are men, but He is God.


  1. First Point