Shepherds 7 Image






Shepherds in the Church

Part 7

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 18, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2018


  1. What good is it to have shepherds over the flock,
    1. if we are not going to listen to them and respect them, but
    2. criticize
      1. what they do,
      2. what they say, and
      3. the men themselves?
  2. Many proclaim that the New Testament requires
    1. a certain organizational structure, but then
    2. when men give themselves to be part of that
      1. by becoming leaders,
        1. those people then turn from their insistence on the biblical way and
        2. relentlessly go after the leaders, in this case, the shepherds.
      2. However, we need to know
        1. that even as the Bible requires specific things of our shepherds,
        2. the Bible equally requires specific things from us in regard to them.


  1. First Thessalonians 5.12–13 | Recognize and Esteem the Shepherds
    1. After revealing events accompanying the Second Coming of Christ,
      1. Paul ended his teaching by saying:

        11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5.11).
    2. He then began a series of short teachings
      1. that show how we should live until the time Jesus returns,
      2. including how we deal with our leaders in the church:

        12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves (1 Thessalonians 5.12–13).

        1. First, we should recognize them, according to the NKJV.
          1. NASB – Appreciate
          2. NIV – Respect
          3. ESV – Respect
          4. ASV – Know them
          5. KJV – Know them
            1. We expect them to know us, but
            2. the Bible expects us to know them.
              1. They need to take the time to get to know us, but
              2. we need to take the time to get to know them.
        2. Second, we have to esteem them very highly in love.
          1. Love these men and value them highly.
          2. In Acts 20.28 the Bible says
            1. that the Holy Spirit
            2. made the elders overseers of the Ephesian Church.
              1. Everything we know about the eldership,
              2. the Holy Spirit has provided.
                1. The Holy Spirit has worked in the lives of those men.
                2. Be careful that you not fight against the Spirit.
    3. We recognize and esteem them very highly in love because
      1. they labor among us,
      2. they are over us in the Lord, and
      3. they admonish us.
        1. The Spirit put them in place for our benefit.
        2. Fail to do what Paul taught here and
          1. we fight against ourselves.
          2. Also, if Jesus is Lord,
            1. He said to recognize and esteem these men.
            2. Therefore, we recognize and esteem them!
  2. Hebrews 13.17 | Obey the Shepherds

    17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13.17).

    1. Of course, you know that we should never obey anyone
      1. who tells us to sin.
      2. However, I have never heard of an elder or elders
        1. telling someone to sin.
        2. I suppose that happens, but it has to be rare.
    2. If they are shepherds,
      1. does that not imply that we follow them?
      2. How can they be shepherds or function as shepherds,
        1. if we do not do what sheep do?
        2. Sheep follow their shepherds.
    3. The writer said that we should be submissive.
      1. For the church to succeed
      2. she has to have the spirit of submission.
        1. If we constantly fight all that the shepherds seek to get us to do,
        2. we will not fulfill our mission as the body of Christ on the earth.
    4. They are watching out for us, because
      1. leaders can see the character traits of those whom they lead.
      2. You know that as parents we can do that with our children.
        1. We know their strong points and their weak points.
        2. We know in what environment they do best.
        3. We know in what they need to improve.
          1. You get the idea.
          2. The same thing happens on a sports team.
          3. It happens with employers toward their employees.
            1. And it happens with shepherds in the church.
            2. They know the kind of people that the sheep are.
      3. Why not obey them then, and
        1. why not submit to them, for
        2. it only helps us?
    5. When I read the Hebrew writer’s last sentence,
      1. I can see just what he means.
      2. Think of frustrations as a parent or coach or employer
        1. when those under you do not cooperate, but
        2. challenge and criticize you constantly.
          1. You question whether you want to continue and
          2. younger people watching may conclude
            1. that they do not want anything to do
            2. with church leadership when they grow up.
  3. David and Saul
    1. First Samuel 24
      1. King Saul was trying to kill David.
        1. David ran for his life.
        2. David and his men hid in a cave and
          1. Saul without realizing it,
          2. went into the cave.
      2. Then David’s men encouraged him to kill the king:

        4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe (1 Samuel 24.4).

        1. The Lord had set this up.
        2. What would David do?
          1. His men saw a perfect opportunity for David to kill Saul.
            1. Now, it was not that the two men had an argument.
            2. It was not that David did not merely disagree with a decision.
          2. Saul was trying to kill David!
      3. Yet, watch what happened next:

        5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 And he said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way (1 Samuel 24.5–7).
    2. First Samuel 26 shows it happening again!

      8 Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?” 10 David said furthermore, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. 11a The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’S anointed” (1 Samuel 26.8–11a).
    3. The incident at Vicksburg
  4. Ezekiel and Pelatiah
    1. Ezekiel 11 shows who was a major problem
      1. just before the Babylonian takeover and
      2. who made Judah sin more to bring on that war:

        1 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the East Gate of the LORD’S house, which faces eastward; and there at the door of the gate were twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. 2 And He said to me: “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give wicked counsel in this city, 3 …Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man!” (Ezekiel 11.1–4).

        1. Notice the name of Pelatiah.
        2. You have probably not heard much about him.
          1. However, Ezekiel revealed that Pelatiah was one of the princes.
          2. He was a leader in Judah.
            1. He was also one of the men in Jerusalem
            2. who devised iniquity and gave wicked counsel.
              1. That made him partly responsible
              2. for the destruction of Jerusalem by the hand of Babylon.
        3. Then Ezekiel then did what the Lord said to do.
          1. Verses 5–12 show Ezekiel preaching against those men.
          2. He revealed their problems.
    2. Then something happened while Ezekiel preached to them.
      1. Notice what happened to Pelatiah, but
      2. especially Ezekiel’s response:

        13 Now it happened, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried with a loud voice, and said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will You make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?” (Ezekiel 11.13).

        1. Ezekiel did not rejoice to see this wicked man die.
        2. He was a leader in Israel.
          1. Ezekiel respected who Pelatiah was.
          2. Ezekiel feared that if a prince died, so might all the people.


  1. Now for some concluding exhortations based on this series.
  2. Parents, encourage your children to become leaders in the church.
    1. Especially encourage your boys to think of the eldership.
  3. Wives, please encourage your husbands to become leaders.
    1. They cannot all become elders, but
    2. there are other things that they can do.
  4. The church will only be as good as its leadership.
    1. John Maxwell says that everything rises and falls on leadership.
    2. Think of the Book of Judges.
    3. Think of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.
      1. They all show that in action.
      2. I have also observed it in many organizations, not just the church.
  5. If you want the church to become better and stronger,
    1. if you want the church to grow in numbers,
    2. if you want the church to grow in truth,
    3. if you want the church to have the spirit of Christ,
      1. we need leadership.
      2. That leadership depends upon each of us here today.