July 23, 2008 Matthew

Protecting the Fellowship

We must protect our flocks

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. John 10:1-3

The environment of a sheepfold is a protected one in which the sheep are guarded from thieves, robbers, and wolves. The sheep know each other, and they know their shepherd. Jesus tells us that a good shepherd lays his life down for the sheep. The bad shepherds on the other hand, are the “hired hands” who “care nothing for the sheep.” and “leaves the sheep and flees” when danger comes. (John 10:13) If the sheepfold is not protected by a good shepherd, the sheep will eventually be scattered. (John 10:12)

Therefore it becomes us as shepherds to know our flock and to know who is coming and going through the gate. This is the point of a “gatekeeper” (John 10:3). You don’t just let anybody into the fold. We must, in fact, beware of dangerous figures or “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

And so the duty of a shepherd is crucial and must not be taken for granted:

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your

herds… Proverbs 27:23

As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered… Ezekiel 34:12

Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd. Zechariah 10:2

…seek the young…heal the maimed…nourish the healthy… Zechariah 11:16

Sometimes sheep need to be carried:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep. John 21:16

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