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Is Your Pastor A Thief, Robber, Stranger, And Hireling Or A True Shepherd?  

"The pastoral office is one of the wisest institutions of heaven." - Barnes' Notes

"The true pastor leads in love in words, and in deeds." - Robertson's Word Pictures

 Is your Pastor called by God to do the task that he is doing? Is he influenced by love to God...not seeking the office of a "bishop" from ambition or the love of power, wealth, or ease....or promoting God's interests rather than his own?  

Throughout the Scriptures, we find many verses where God addresses the issue of Preachers and Prophets running with a message yet He never sent them -  

Jeremiah 14:15 says - "Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in My name, and I sent them not..." 

Jeremiah 23:16-17 says - "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise Me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you."

Jeremiah 23:21 says - "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied."

Jeremiah 23:32 says - "Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. "

Jeremiah 28:15-17 says - "Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD.  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month. "

Jeremiah 29:31-32 says- "Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for My people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD."

Ezekiel 13:2-6 says - "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word." 

The Lord Jesus plainly stated in John 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." What He was doing was making a distinction between those Preachers who are called and commissioned by Him and those who are not - yet ran. There are those who "enter by the door" and those who "enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way." The ones who "climb up some other way" are the self-promoting group who are not influenced by a love to God...who seek the office from ambition and a love of power, wealth, and ease...and promote their own interests. They are also the ones who take the honor to themselves...don't do the will of God...and know nothing of sacrificing themselves entirely to His service. 

In John 10:7 and 9, Jesus succinctly stated - "I am the door of the sheep..." By saying this, He meant that He was "the door" for both the sheep and the shepherds. In reference to the shepherds, He was not simply talking about being their "door" to salvation. He was referring to their entrance into the ministry. In other words, it was through His merits, intercession, aid, and appointment that they had lawful entrance into the ministry.  

Those ministers who are not commissioned by "the door" or the Lord Jesus "but climbeth up some other way," He called them "thieves and robbers." In John 10:8, He said - "All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." Thus those who run before He sends them by His Spirit are categorized as such. Their main ambition is to aggrandize themselves and oppress the people. They are not guides for the sheep but plunderers - seeking wealth, office, and ease at the expense of the sheep. They know nothing about "leading them out"(John 10:3) into paths of righteousness.  

Sometimes the sheep become reluctant to move on in the things of God. They easily grow complacent with things as they are. A true shepherd will "lead them out" of themselves to Christ and lead them out of the follies, amusements, and diversions of the world into the paths of holiness and righteousness.  

The Lord Jesus went on to call all "thieves and robbers" in the ministry by another name - "stranger." In John 10:5, He said - "And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." He said that the "sheep" would know the difference between those whom God sent and those who ran - not having the commission from Him - for "the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..."(John 10:10). Their intention is to steal the hearts and affections of the people from Christ and to kill and destroy them spiritually.  

The "sheep" in God's fold flee from the "stranger" for "for they know not the voice of strangers." They shun him and his ministry simply because they find nothing of God therein. These humble and devoted Christians seek only those Teachers and Preachers who have the mild and self-denying spirit of their Master - rather than the proud and haughty spirit of the devil. They know a "hireling" when they see one - for the "hireling" will not work were it not for the hire. He does not practise self-denial for the welfare of the sheep...has no boldness in the cause of the Master...is unwilling to face any danger...and only preaches for support.  

A "thief," "robber," "stranger," "hireling" or a true shepherd?  

How would you describe your Pastor?  

If you are sitting every week under what Jesus calls a "thief," "robber," "stranger," or "hireling" who is only concerned about receiving your financial support and not at all concerned about your spiritual welfare - what does that say about you?  

"And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers"(John 10:4-5).                                                                                             

May God Bless His Word.

Connie

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