Monday, May 26, 2014


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Preached by David Kautt at
Community Christian Church, Durant, Oklahoma                          
Sunday morning, May 25, 2014

Matthew 9:35 – 10:8, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.  These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Matthew 11:28 – 30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Proverbs 27:23, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”

Someone has said it well, when he wrote – “Authority makes some men GROW – but others only to SWELL.”

A month ago – in conjunction with our Sunday afternoon Leadership Training, we began a look at the subject of church leadership.  And, if you remember – I told you at that time - a month ago – that this time – this season of Community Christian Church’s history – has got to be one of the most important – most exciting and yes, one of the most frightening of any season up to this point for this church family.  And the reasons are obvious, aren’t they?

I mean – we are embarking on a journey – a search – a process that likely won’t be easy, quick or simple.  And, yet, as we look to God for help – as we invite Him to be IN this process – at the CENTER of this journey – I believe He will bring to pass some very great results.

And, that’s because – if GOD is in it – if we are looking to Him and His strength – if we seek His face continually on this trek – His name WILL be hallowed – His kingdom – His ruling and reigning – will be EVIDENT – and His work and will are certain to be performed – on earth – through US – if HE is in it!

This search – this process and journey – is in the direction of church leadership – asking God to raise up in our midst - HIS men – men who desire to GROW and who are resisting the temptation to SWELL.  Godly men – godly men-in-the-making – and their wives and families – to lead the flock – to serve and strengthen the flock and to love people – GOD’S people – like Jesus loves them.  That’s the direction God intends for this trek to go!  So, what else do we need to know, to learn – to pray about – as we go from here?

Well, we’ve already learned a great deal, haven’t we?  And, though I haven’t taken us in these messages – to places like Ezekiel 34 and John 10 and Acts 20 and 1 Timothy 3 – I expect YOU ARE – and I ask and invite you to do so.  For there is so much to know, to learn and yes, so much to pray about when it comes to the subject of church and family leadership.

So, there’s your assignment – to dig into those other church and family leadership passages – and ask God to grow you in your knowledge, understanding and yes – even in your conformity to what God says to you in those texts.

O.K. – so here we are – ready to look one more time at Jesus’ word and example – as recorded by the apostle Matthew in, Matthew chapters 9, 10 and 11.  And, what is set forth for us here – in this place – through the words printed in red?

What kind of shepherds – assistant shepherds – does God desire to oversee and care for His flock?  Is He looking for the kind of men who are interested in GROWING as they learn to lead – or is He looking for the kind that are interested only in SWELLING?

I TRUST you know the answers to those questions – you see it, here – don’t you?

Jesus makes it really plain here, doesn’t He?  Jesus’ desire – God’s intention – is that the men who lead His people be FAITHFUL MEN – FAITHFUL SHEPHERDS.

And, so what are the hallmarks of a faithful shepherd?  What is God looking for – what ought we to be PRAYING FOR – as we embark on this journey?

How about this?  God is looking for faithful men – shepherds – real shepherds – who realize and even rejoice in the fact that their work – is ALWAYS, ULTIMATELY WITH, TO AND AMONG the Wounded and Weary!

When Jesus urged His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest – and then – when He called those very same 12 men to Himself – and gave them authority – when He put them in the position of ASSISTANT shepherd – He did not give them that authority for AUTHORITY’S SAKE!  You know, to make them SWELL!  No!  Rather, He gave them authority – ability – and, with it – opportunity – Why?

For the sake of MINISTRY!  For the sake of meeting the needs of the sick, the wounded, the weary – and yes, even the LOST sheep – in behalf of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

So, what are we to learn from this?  Listen – Men of God – future Shepherds – the call to church leadership is NOT to gain glamor, but to give MERCY!

Jesus said it Himself, didn’t He – in Matthew 9:37 and 38:  “I am looking for LABORERS – workers – not CELEBRITIES!”

At that time – 2,000 years ago – and at this time – in this place – Jesus is seeking men – men who along with their wives and children – will join Jesus in HIS ministry!  And, what ministry is that?

Matthew 9:35 & 36 – Matthew 10:1 – 8: to put it simply, JESUS’ ministry and the faithful SHEPHERD’s ministry are the same – one and the same!  They are a ministry, first and foremost of the WORD – preaching and teaching and equipping the flock of God to prepare them to join them in ministry.  And, then, secondly, Jesus’ ministry – the faithful shepherd’s ministry – is a ministry of MERCY – a ministry of mercy to the fainting, the fearful, the bruised and the broken.

Yes, it’s a ministry of finding and rescuing those sheep that have strayed from the Good shepherd who loves them so much.  Why?  Because the One those weary and wounded sheep need the MOST is the very One whose gracious invitation is “Come!”  “Come, unto Me!”

Jot this down – and add this to what we have already shared:  “Thy kingdom come – Thy will be done” – We know those words, don’t we?  Listen – Jesus’ AUTHORITY – His kingdom authority – and His ministering, saving ACTIVITY – “Thy will be done” – do you see it?

The reason Jesus says, “PRAY the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest” is because JESUS’ kingdom authority and saving activity are EXTENDED – I would say, MULTIPLIED – through the work of faithful shepherds!

Number two – what did we say?  God is desirous of – looking across this congregation – in order to raise up men who are interest in GROWING – growing in Christian maturity – as they learn to lead His people – NOT men whose thought and intent is only to SWELL.

Why is that?  Oh, listen closely, my friends – the reason we NEED shepherds whose heart is to grow, not SWELL – is because ULTIMATELY – what is their task?

To LEAD THE SHEEP to themselves?  No!  Their calling is to lead the sheep to JESUS!  To lead the sheep to JESUS! 

It may sound a lot like what I have already said – but, examine it from this angle with me nonetheless, will you?

As they minister the WORD to the sheep – whose VOICE is it that faithful shepherds must seek to be heard? THEIR voices?  No!  JESUS’ voice, right?

My Brothers, it doesn’t matter how powerful or persuasive – authoritative or eloquent you or I might be – when we speak.  Listen – there’s only ONE Good Shepherd!  Only ONE whose invitation is “Come, unto ME! . . . Learn of ME!”  And, yes – there is only ONE whose voice Jesus’ sheep – hear me – JESUS’ sheep – really listen to!

A FAITHFUL shepherd’s work is ALWAYS – ultimately – to lead people to JESUS – not to himself!  And, how does he do that?

He does so by giving VOICE to Jesus’ invitation, “Come unto Me!  Come unto Me!”

But, then notice – Matthew 11:28 – 30 – faithful shepherds also are to use their HANDS – in carrying out their primary task – to lead people to Jesus – faithful shepherds are also to use their HANDS in order to see that Jesus’ promise – “I will give you REST!” – is fulfilled.  Once again, it’s that ministry of MERCY!  Jesus gives His assistant shepherds authority – ability and opportunity – chances to anoint the wounded and weary with oil – and to pray for them to be healed.  Why?  For the shepherds to show off?  To flaunt what Jesus has given them to do?  No!

The Good Shepherd – who also was the Consummate Servant – He gives His assistant shepherds authority and opportunity – Why?  For what purpose?  To SERVE!  To SERVE!

We’ve learned a lot about the faithful shepherd’s TASK – his WORK – with, to and among the sheep – with, to and among the scattered, the lost – the harassed – in order to lead them to Jesus.  Now, let’s take a few moments to consider the faithful shepherd’s REWARD – the faithful shepherd’s REWARD.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews puts forth a provocative challenge along these lines to his readers in Hebrews 13, verse 7.  Take a look at it with me, will you?

He says it like this:  “Remember – keep in mind – those who rule over you – your LEADERS – your shepherds – who have spoken the word of God to you – whose faith follow – considering the OUTCOME of their conduct.”

The Hebrew writer says – keep your leaders in mind – FOLLOW their faith – and – and – do that – do that – How?  By keeping in mind the OUTCOME of their conduct.”

Now, here’s the 64,000 dollar question:  WHAT IS the outcome – the end result – the REWARD of the growing in Christ – and growing in Christ like leadership – of the faithful shepherd?  Peter says that “When the CHIEF Shepherd appears – faithful ASSISTANT shepherds will receive a crown of GLORY that does not fade away!”  1 Peter 5:4.

But, what does JESUS say?  What does HE says?

Back to Matthew 10 – Matthew 10:32 and 37 – 40.  Here’s what Jesus says: 

Matthew 10:32, 37 – 40, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.”  “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.   He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Peter says that the faithful shepherd’s reward is a glorious, unfading crown.  What does JESUS say?  We read the words – you heard them, didn’t you?  In effect, what Jesus says is:  I AM YOUR REWARD – “When you confess ME before men – I will confess YOU before My Father in heaven.”

In effect Jesus says, I AM YOUR CROWN – In choosing ME – choosing to value ME and give yourself to ME – even if it meant separating from family and loved ones who HAVEN’T chosen Me – even if it means losing your LIFE for ME – guess what?  You’re not really LOSING!  No!  You are actually WINNING!  You will have ME as your crown!  To put it simply, the faithful shepherd’s REWARD is always, ultimately, JESUS HIMSELF!  JESUS HIMSELF!

Which leads us, then, to one final thought – one last question for those who are considering whether or not God is calling them to step up – to GROW – to GROW – as they take on the task of church leadership.  What is that question?

How?  How?  How in the world can I be a faithful shepherd?

Matthew 11:28 – 30 – Some of my favorite Bible verses.  We have already seen how these words are the tender invitation of the Good Shepherd to the sheep – VOICED and MADE VISIBLE – through the faithful shepherd – Jesus’ faithful assistant shepherds.  Remember?

Through faithful men of God – and through their ministry of the Word and their deeds of Mercy - Jesus – the Good Shepherd says, “Come unto Me!”  And what an amazing offer that is, isn’t it?

But, listen – here’s the part you may not have considered – men of God – godly men-in-the-making.  You are thinking about the call to step up to GROW and to LEAD – and yet, mixed in with all of those thoughts is one daunting – maybe even haunting question:  HOW CAN I?  HOW?

Here’s how – the very same One who invites the SHEEP – also tenderly welcomes the SHEPHERDS – “Come unto ME” – for REST and for REFRESHMENT.  Yes, “Come unto Me - LEARN of Me!”  Enter into RELATIONSHIP with Me!

Yes, I intend to SEND you out in My behalf – but listen – because I care just as much for YOU – the shepherd – as I do the SHEEP who are entrusted to your care – I am inviting YOU to gather with Me – to come TO Me – so that, after you have been with Me – you might go out and minister FOR Me.

Listen, Brothers – it’s actually very simple – the answer to the HOW Can I question.  And here’s what it is:  JESUS – JESUS – the Good Shepherd – the Chief Shepherd – is not only the Best and Safest Place for the SHEEP – He also is the Best Place – the Safest, Strongest Place for the Shepherds!  He is!

Sheep – Shepherds – and the Good Shepherd – LORD, give us men – men who want to know well the state – the condition of the flock.  Yes, give us that kind of men!  Much more, Lord – will give us men who want to know YOU!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Does the Bible Say Pork Is Unclean? And Can We Eat It?

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As far as eating pork is concerned, I do not make a habit of eating it. In fact, I virtually avoid it altogether, mainly for health reasons. (Although, I must admit I am not certain how much
nutritional value there is in most, if not, all of the food that is commercially grown and processed – mainly, because I wonder if the soil has become depleted of nutrients. This, however, is another subject for discussion at another time).

As far as the health reasons are concerned, some have suggested (e.g., Dr. S.I. McMillan in his book, NONE OF THESE DISEASES) that the reason God had in mind for Old Testament commandments against eating (or even touching) certain things is because He had the Israelites’ physical well-being in mind (see the Leviticus 11 passage below).

However, it would seem that from a larger, entire Bible perspective, the Old Testament commands regarding eating/not eating and touching/not touching certain things also included a spiritual (and/ or, ceremonial) component. In other words, an Israelite would have been considered “unclean” (ceremonially or ritually defiled) if he/she ate (or, even touched) certain things.

Then Jesus came on the scene – and the emphasis He brought to the discussion pointed to
the deeper significance of the whole question. In effect, He taught that one is defiled (both
ceremonially and spiritually) not because of external factors (i.e., what goes INTO one’s mouth or touches one’s body), but because of the innate condition of one’s heart (see Mark 7:1 – 23 and the parallel account in Matthew 15:1 – 20; please note the parenthetical “commentary” on Jesus’ words added by the gospel writer – Mark – in Mark 7:19 – “Thus He [Jesus] declared all foods clean”).

From what Jesus taught (and from what the apostles later confirmed), “Life is more than [physical] food and the body more than clothing” (Luke 12:23). In other words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (see Matthew 4:1 – 4).

This does not mean that food (eating and drinking) is unimportant to God. On the contrary, as a Christian, I should be concerned that my food (and, perhaps, in our culture, my drink) choices do not cause another (weaker, less mature) Christian to stumble or be spiritually offended (see Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8 – 10). On the other hand, as a Christian, I am not bound to “man-made” rules regarding food and drink in order to be spiritually acceptable to God (see 1 Corinthians 8:8; Colossians 2:16; 1 Timothy 4:1 – 5; Hebrews 13:9). Rather, I am to pursue holiness in all areas of my life (Galatians 5:19 – 23; Ephesians 4:17 – 6:20; etc.), knowing that, ultimately, God accepts me because of what Jesus Christ has done for me (1 Peter 1:13 – 25).

Monday, May 5, 2014


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Preached by David Kautt at
Community Christian Church, Durant, Oklahoma                            
Sunday morning, May 4, 2014

Matthew 9:35 – 38, “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Luke 22: 24 – 27, “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.

A greeting card arrived in my mailbox not long ago – that – to me – says it all when it comes to the subject of church leadership.  Allow me to read the card’s message to you now. It goes like this: As a church leader, I am to challenge God’s people - to SEE the WORLD with eyes of COMPASSION – to SERVE the NEEDY with hands of MERCY – and to LOVE the SAINTS with hearts of HUMILITY!

I AM - to see the world that way – with eyes of compassion – I AM – to serve the NEEDY that way – with hands of mercy – and, yes, I AM – to love the saints that way – with a heart of humility. Yes, I – AM!  But – as God intended for every leader – MY life – and the lives of every other church leader – every husband – every father – every family leader – MY life – OUR lives - and MY words – OUR words – are to CHALLENGE all of you – to INFLUENCE all of you – to see the world – to serve the needy – and to love the saints that way, too!

Last Lord’s Day, I opened up this Bible study time with THIS – rather provocative statement: Remember?  I said, “Today – we embark on one of the THE MOST IMPORTANT JOURNEYS we have ever taken as a congregation – the exciting journey down a path called the “ROAD TO CHURCH LEADERSHIP.”  What did you think about that statement?

Undoubtedly, as we travel along this road – there will be many twists and turns – some steep hills and some very deep valleys.  In fact, likely on this journey – we will come to quite a few crucial – crossroads – as we follow the leading of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And, where it will all end up, only He knows.  But, one thing is for certain – and that is – that we MUST – we MUST walk this path.  We MUST travel this exciting, frightening road – TOGETHER – and with Jesus showing us the way – if we are to be all God intends for us to be as a church family.

Last time we were here to worship together, I suggested to you that – at a most critical time like this period of time is – what we need the most – is to regularly hear from Jesus.  As HIS sheep – in need of shepherds to do HIS work of keeping and leading His flock – we need to hear from HIM – we do.

Matthew chapters 9, 10 and 11 – this section of Scripture is one big place – one very important, Biblical place – where we DO hear from Jesus – the Chief Shepherd.  Matthew 9:35 – 38 – our primary starting point in this study – this exposition regarding sheep, shepherds and the Chief Shepherd – the Good Shepherd.  As we observed last time, this text – first of all – gives us a glimpse into the Good Shepherd’s HEART.  And, what IS Jesus’ HEART – what are His thoughts and feelings with respect to His sheep?  Remember?

Two things – two very basic – but – to me – very important insights into the HEART of the Good Shepherd.  What are they?

Number one – the Good Shepherd – Jesus – the Chief Shepherd – is AWARE of the sheep and AWARE of the NEEDS OF the sheep!

Nothing complicated here, is there?  Nothing tremendously deep or difficult to comprehend here, right?  But, listen – as we search the Scriptures – and as we look out across this group of men and their wives and families – for those who might eventually lead us – praying over this process all the way through – what kind of leaders – what kind of shepherds – is God desirous of raising up for us here?  You remember it, don’t you?  Wrote it down last week, didn’t you?

God’s desire is to raise up GOOD Shepherds – godly men – like Jesus – who are AWARE of the sheep – and AWARE of the NEEDS of the sheep – men whose eyes are open – yes – and also connected – directly linked to right here – [point at my heart] – their heart!

Secondly, again rehearsing what we pointed out last time – Jesus’ eyes – they not only SAW the multitudes – that the sheep – were weary and scattered – helpless and harassed – SHEPHERD-LESS – sheep.  More importantly, WHAT Jesus saw – MOVED HIM – toward tender compassion FOR the sheep – moved Him to DO something to HELP the sheep.

Once again – what does THAT have to do with our predicament?

It’s simple, isn’t it?  We need shepherds like that, don’t we?  We need godly men – joined and supported by their wives and families – to take the lead in TENDERLY CARING for the sheep – to be concerned for the sheep – yes – but not just CONCERNED – but COMMITTED ENOUGH to DO what is needful to HELP the sheep!

To put it succinctly, we need – we are PRAYING – aren’t we – that God will raise up for us GOOD shepherds – with EYES like Jesus’ eyes – HEARTS like Jesus’ heart – and – perhaps most of all – with HANDS – helpful, generous hands – like JESUS’ hands!

That’s what we need – and – interestingly – according to Matthew 9:35 – 38 – that’s what God’s sheep in Jesus’ day needed as well.  So, what does the Chief Shepherd do?

Well, though – not limited in POWER – in ability – per se – you know – Jesus COULD HAVE pronounced ALL the sick – WELL – all the hurting – HEALED – all the oppressed – DELIVERED – all at once!  But – think of it.  That would have been more the work of a MIRACLE worker or maybe a KING. But, like we read earlier in Luke 22 – Jesus was not in the midst of the helpless and hurting flock – to sort of – hold out His SCEPTER to them – ‘Be Healed!’  Rather, He entered the pastures – went to where the sheep were – why?  To TOUCH them – (and, at times, even to be touched BY them).  Yes, Jesus – could have waved the wand – stretched out the scepter – and said to all of them – ‘Be healed’.  But He did not come to be like a KING – but like a SHEPHERD.  He was in the midst of the flock – like a servant/shepherd – in order to minister to each sheep – PERSONALLY – even individually!

But, here’s the thing – even though He was fully God – God the Son, in fact – Jesus – the Chief Shepherd – at this point in time – was also fully man – fully man – and therefore, bound – to some degree – by the limitations of time and space.  To put it simply – THIS Shepherd – the Lord Jesus – needed some Assistant Shepherds – to join Him in the work.

So, what does He do?  Matthew 9:37 – He not only SPEAKS to His disciples about the NEED – the Leadership Crisis, if you will – “The harvest is PLENTIFUL, but the laborers are few…” - He not only URGES His disciples to petition the Lord of the harvest fields – Matthew 9:38.  But, Jesus – the Chief Shepherd – takes the next logical step – a step necessary for THERE and THEN – and, yes – a step that I believe also points the way for us – HERE and NOW!

What step are we talking about?  Matthew 10:1 – 4 – Matthew 10:1 – 4:  You can read it – now – up on the screen – Jesus, the Good Shepherd – the Wise Shepherd – takes the next, strategically-important step.  He calls prospective assistant shepherds to DO what HE was doing.  He calls His men – His chosen 12 – to SEE the sheep – to see the NEEDS of the sheep – and, then what?  To ENTER THE PASTURE – with Him – to HELP the sheep!

Dr. Lynn Anderson has written a timely book about sheep and shepherding.  The title is kind of eye-opening.  This important book is simply entitled, THEY SMELL LIKE SHEEP!

Flock of God – that title kind of lays it out on the table, doesn’t it?  Men of God – prospective shepherds – that Book title – They SMELL Like Sheep – kind of pulls back the curtain about this task of shepherding, doesn’t it, and in doing so – it also removes whatever thoughts of glitz and glamor we might have had about it!

THEY SMELL LIKE SHEEP – And Jesus, the Good Shepherd – who has known this fact about sheep all along – What does He do?  He invites godly men – men whom God is MAKING into godly men – into the pasture with Him anyway!  He does!

So, how are we to respond?

Well, to be honest with you – one of the things that every assistant shepherd – yes – even THIS assistant shepherd – your preacher – wonders about – right up front – BEFORE he enters the pasture to work with those SMELLY sheep – is what?  How much is my salary?  What’s my PAY for serving as an assistant to the Chief Shepherd?

John 4 – John chapter 4, verses 36 – 38 – we glanced over it last time – but – now, let’s take a moment to examine it for an answer to our ‘salary of the shepherd’ question, shall we?  Prospective assistant shepherds, what IS your pay for caring for the sheep alongside Jesus? Read it with me, will you? 

John 4:36 – 38, “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.

Jesus – the Good Shepherd – using here the metaphor of a farmer and his harvesting crew – Jesus informs us that those who choose to shepherd His sheep – in His behalf – YOUR PAY – your PRIVILEGE – is that you get to enter into HIS labors AND you to get to SHARE His JOY at the outcome of the harvest!

Speaking to his fellow elders – the apostle Peter had this to say about the assistant shepherd’s “PAY” – his everlasting REWARD.  1 Peter 5:4 – Peter writes, “When the Chief Shepherd appears – you shall receive the crown of glory that never, ever fades away!”

Flock of God – you know what we need now, don’t you?  Men of God – prospective shepherds – you know what God intends for you to be, don’t you?

He is calling you – inviting you – yes, I believe – MOVING MIGHTILY upon you – to lead you to be the kind of shepherd JESUS is – One who is motivated NOT by the LOVE OF MONEY – but motivated by the LOVE OF GOD – and the LOVE of those GOD loves – His sheep – in view of the REWARD – an unfading, and eternally-glorious crown – that He intends to GIVE to those who will faithfully serve Him in this way!

THEY SMELL LIKE SHEEP!  Don’t you just love that book title?  They SMELL – like sheep!  I mean, what ELSE would we expect them to smell like, right?

Beloved, there’s yet a fourth thing Jesus sets out in this TENTH chapter of Matthew that we need to notice as we progress down this path towards church leadership.  What is it?  In this important TENTH chapter of Matthew, Jesus instructs prospective assistant shepherds about SHEEP – about SHEPHERDING – and yes, about WOLVES.

Let’s walk down through here and catch the high points of Jesus’ teaching – as it connects to our situation, shall we?

First off, notice with me what Jesus tells us about the sheep.  Matthew 10:8 – Oh, they are SMELLY, alright!  Remember, THEY – ARE – SHEEP!  Their lives are marked by sickness – affliction – distress – and, yes – even by oppression.  I mean, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual – this is the condition of the average, run-of-the-mill sheep!  It is!  And, why is that?  Simply, because they are PEOPLE – affected BY sinners – and – infected WITH sinful tendencies.  Furthermore, as verse 6 makes clear – some of them – some of them – are LOST!  Yes, I said, LOST.  I mean, whether they realize it or want to admit it or not – some of the sheep are LOST!

So, what?  I mean, why does a prospective shepherd need to know all of this?

Because – as a GOOD Shepherd – one of the Chief Shepherd’s ASSISTANT shepherds – you are there – in the pasture – with the flock – to apply the healing ointment of the Good Shepherd’s saving stripes – to their wounds – to their brokenness.  You are there – are to BE there – because these sweaty, smelly sheep – belong to God – because the Good Shepherd laid down His life for them! Yes, you are there – in the middle of the pasture and in the midst of the flock – because God CALLED YOU to be there – for them – because of Him!

Then, there’s what Jesus has to say here in Matthew 10 about shepherding –

Perhaps, the single passage in this chapter that summarizes all of what Jesus wants us know about shepherding is Matthew 10:7 and 8.  Read it together with me, will you?  Jesus says, “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED; FREELY GIVE.”

Shepherding – certainly there are more specifics to be found in a number of other passages elsewhere – but listen – Jesus’ summary – in verse 8 – “Freely you have received – freely give” says it all, doesn’t it?

As shepherds, we are to go – to the pasture – and yes, even to the highways and hedges – to where the sheep are – to find them – and to help them.  We are to GO!  Why?  Because Jesus CAME!  Because He CAME!

And, we are to preach and teach and testify – to them – to the sheep.  Why?  Because we have HEARD!  Because the Living Word has spoken – to us!  And, then – think of it – we are to give – FREELY – GENEROUSLY – out of love.  Why? Remember John 3:16?  Because He LOVED – because HE gave!

Matthew 10:8 – “Freely you have received – freely give!” – that verse is what shepherding is all about!

One more thing – from Matthew 10 – for us to consider.  Flock of God – prospective shepherds – take note with me what Jesus has to say about WOLVES!

A couple of Sundays ago I mentioned in passing a simple fact that – whether the sheep are aware of it or not – EVERY GOOD SHEPHERD must know – and take seriously – and that fact is this:  WHERE THERE ARE SHEEP – THERE WILL BE WOLVES!  So, what’s a shepherd – prospective or active – to keep in mind – in light of this?

Sheep – shepherd-less sheep – straying, I WILL TAKE CARE OF MYSELF-minded sheep – are DEFENSELESS – helpless prey – against wolves!  They are!  Guess what?  That’s why Jesus called the 12 to Himself – and gave them the authority and the instructions that He gave them.

You know something else?  The reason why we have also entered into this leadership training and ordaining process – is because SHEPHERD-less sheep – is not only against God’s will – it is out and out dangerous for the flock.

So, men of God – prospective shepherds – what do YOU need to know about wolves – before you enter the pasture to face them?  Jot down this verse – Acts 20:28 – as an overarching – basic principle – kind of verse regarding this subject.  Speaking to the elders of the church in Ephesus – the apostle Paul sternly warns shepherds like this:  “Take heed – be on guard – take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers – in order that you may shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”  Because there always will be wolves – wherever there are sheep – shepherds must ALWAYS – always – be on the alert!

But, what if – what if the wolves try to attack the flock?  What, then?

Matthew 10:16 – 33 – Know this – their intent – the goal of every pack of wolves – is to betray you – try to intimidate you and silence you – and perhaps, even to kill you.  Why?  Because they hate the Good Shepherd and any one working with and for the Good Shepherd!  That’s the truth – plain and simple and maybe a little hard to swallow.

So, how are you to deal with them?  Matthew 10:16 – you are to deal with them WISELY – BLAMELESSLY – and certainly, COURAGEOUSLY.  But, listen – listen to Jesus – the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep:  Matthew 10:28 – 33 – NEVER, EVER be afraid of the wolves!  Never!  Why?  Because – as Jesus says – even IF they KILL you – even IF they END THE LIFE OF YOUR BODY – listen!  They CANNOT – wolves CANNOT kill your soul!  No!  FEAR GOD – fear God – and, in the face of ravenous wolves – never, ever fail to STAND UP to boldly confess Jesus Christ as YOUR Chief Shepherd!  Never!