There are a lot of misconceptions amongst God’s people as to the role of the pastor or shepherd the Lord has given to bless your life, and in this weeks article I want to show from scripture the primary reason Jesus gave us the gift of a pastor as a part of the five-fold ministry gifts to grow us up. Among some of the misconceptions are those who believe they don’t need a pastor. I will address this in a moment but scripture is clear that this is one of the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ. To say I don’t need a pastor is to reject a gift that Jesus gave to you as a blessing for your life.
Among all the misconceptions about pastor’s everything from not needing one, to thinking my pastor should come take personal care of me every week, scripture reveals a clear picture of what God intended for a pastor to be. Any pastor called by God has no problem going to help his people when called upon, but let’s focus on his primary role in our life according to scripture.
We start with this prophecy that was given by Jeremiah which we see here was for the final time or the last days, which we are now living in according to scripture. Here God reveals through this prophet that He would give us shepherds after His own heart, who will feed us with knowledge and understanding and judgment. There you have the primary calling of the pastor to his flock. This is significant and the primary focus of our study as you will see.
If God said through Jeremiah that He would give us shepherds after His own heart then we know He has done so, for God always fulfills His Word. The reason He says “shepherds” here is not because He wants us to have many shepherds in our life as we will see later also, but because some will say that Jesus is their shepherd and they don’t need a pastor. Jesus is the good shepherd and no shepherd given by God is trying to take His place, but is working to lead God’s people into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Why would God speak forth this prophecy if He wasn’t going to fulfill it and if He did not intend for us to have a pastor? Obviously He has fulfilled this word and He does therefore have a pastor for our life.
Now here is what I want you to see about this prophecy. Those shepherds whom God has given to the body of Christ are going to feed the flock with knowledge, understanding, and judgment. That means God is going to reveal to these shepherds what He (God) wants to speak into our life that is going to help us. God is going to use these shepherds to feed His sheep with His Word so they can have knowledge of God and who they are in Christ. These shepherds are going to bring understanding to His sheep so that they can live out what God says works and avoid what does not work. They are also going to reveal how to have sound judgment in knowing the truth from the deceptive and seductive ways of the devil, as well as knowledge of God’s judgment to come. You may be saying you know all this already, so let me look at it another way.
God who knows all things knows what you need to hear that will help you walk in what He has planned for your life. Not to mention He also knows what you need to hear to fix the problems you are dealing with, as well as knowing what you need to hear to avoid problems ahead. What is one of the main avenues by which God in His Word has said He will reveal these things to you? Through the shepherd that He, not man, has gifted and ordain to speak into your life. So if God has a shepherd who He gifted and called to help me who prays, hears from God, and then prepares a message that God gave Him to share with me, what if I am rarely there to hear it?
For example, if you knew that Jesus was going to show up at your church this coming week at your mid-week service, and your Sunday morning and evening service to speak to you, would you be too busy doing other things to come and hear Him? Now if God gave you a shepherd through Jesus Christ as we are about to see, to hear from Him what He knows you need to hear, why would that be any different? Either God’s Word in Jeremiah is true or it is not true. If it is true and of course it is, then God does know what you need to hear and He is trying to share with you knowledge, understanding, and judgment that is coming from Him.
For the sake of not getting off another direction here I am fully aware there are pastor’s whom God did not call nor ordain (anoint) to speak to His body and the New Testament warns us that we are to beware for there would be many such false preachers in these last days. But this does not take away from the fact that there are also shepherds that He has given as a gift to bless our life. Just as there are true worshippers and false worshippers in the body of Christ, there are true shepherds and false shepherds. But for us to then say we don’t even want to find the true shepherd God has for us would mean we don’t want one of the greatest gifts He has given to us His sheep.
The reason I share this is because I cannot tell you how many times in 22 years as a pastor that I have heard from God, stepped into the pulpit after hours of study and praying ready to share with God’s sheep what I know He has given me from Him found directly in His Word; and people in my church that I know who needed to hear that message as it dealt directly with what they are facing and would help to bring resolve to what they are dealing with are not there to hear it. It breaks my heart every time it happens. Many times I would then get a phone call from someone in my church wondering why they are having the problems they have and the very thing they want answers for were in that message.
I am fully aware that we are going to miss church services at times. If we get into bondage of thinking “I have to be in church” we are going for the wrong reasons to begin with. If we love the Lord more than the things of this life then going to His house, which He designed in the New Testament for us to be a part of, is a joy not a bondage. Some would say it doesn’t matter if I hear it then or later, I would rather sleep in, lay around on the couch, or just choose not to go to church. If they are connected to the shepherd Jesus gave to them as a gift for their life, then they are saying what God wants to say to me is not as important as what I want to do.
If you lived in Jesus’ day which do you think would have had more impact on your life? Hearing Jesus preach directly to you, or having to listen to someone tell you later what He said? Even after He ascended to heaven do you think hearing Paul preach under the anointing would have more of an impact on your life rather than hearing someone else tell you what he said days later? Unfortunately I don’t think some in the body of Christ understand this nor do they see their shepherd as the oracle of God, gifted by Him to speak into their life. This in no way means you cannot hear God directly for we can, but one of the primary ways God gave us to hear from Him is through our shepherd. If not then Jeremiah’s prophecy is not needed.
Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, …
Here we see in the New Testament a fulfillment of what Jeremiah prophesied about shepherds. Jesus when He ascended into heaven gave to the body His gifts. They are the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Out of these the pastor is obviously the shepherd whom God has chosen to use in giving us the knowledge, understanding, and judgment we need. The Word for pastor here in verse 11 is defined in the Greek language as “shepherd”. God always fulfills His Word.
There are those who are called to children’s ministry or youth ministry who may once a week be in those areas of ministry fulfilling their calling. For example in our church we have three services a week. We do not have a policy that if you are called to children’s ministry that is all you do and you never attend the main service. You serve once a week and have two other services you can attend. There are occasions they may serve more when someone is out temporarily, but they will not have a permanent position in kid’s church every service. If that is where one is called, I know God knows this is your place in the body and He will still use the Word being taught in those areas to bless your life as well.
My challenge from God’s Word this week is to the whole body of Christ. First, if you are someone who makes excuses as to why you do not go to church, you would rather do other things, I would be asking myself why would I not want to receive from God what He has to share with me and bless my life? God has a shepherd for your life or otherwise Jeremiah’s prophecy and Ephesians 4 are not a part of God’s Word. My other challenge to those who attend church is are you connected with the shepherd God has for your life? If you take time to study out John 10:1-14 you will find out that Jesus told us you will know the shepherd He has for you when you hear his voice. I also have a mini-teaching on this that you can listen to on our YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7I0n9c3W7A.
1 Th. 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Last but not least if you have found your shepherd and go to church regularly do you go with the understanding that God is going to speak to me today? You need to know that the word your pastor shares is not the word of men, but the word of God. When we walk in the light of these powerful truths, God is going to be able to help us in our growth spiritually, and therefore in being the victorious church He bought and paid for.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker