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This month's teaching : Repentance

Shepherded – Part 3

Deeper understanding of the kingdom of God is missed by so many due to spiritual shallowness, irreverence, and inconsistency in the fear of God. Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. (Emphasis added.) Here we see there are secrets that God only reveals to those who fear Him. Walking in the fear of the Lord is the place where true wisdom begins to permeate the child of God through revelation concerning covenant-living. This wisdom is imputed holiness and righteousness that dwells among true followers of God. A fundamental responsibility placed upon the child of the kingdom is discerning the body of Christ and its earthly function.

Many attempt to fulfill their earthly function through using worldly mindsets and strategies to corner true sheep, or even good shepherds that have given their life for the flock of God. We are experiencing signs of the closing age more than ever before. The roaring lion is out in full force unleashing his tools of demise on those who are vulnerable creatures of prey without the nature of a lamb or sheep. This age of rebellion is so deceptive that even these targeted victims do not realize that their plight is disobedience to God and His kingdom principles. Only the true sheep know the difference between the fox or the prophet (shepherd). Ezekiel 13:3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! V.4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. The true shepherds hear from God, but foxes work to outsmart and snoop around seeking out every little splinter they can use to pierce a tender heart within the faithful and truthful.

The truth and glory of being shepherded is in opening the heart in submission and humility to the correction and perfection of the loving hands of God. The selfish desires of serving our own will God cannot use. Our will must be shepherded into a deep surrender through which His love can be manifested. Even the perfect Lamb of God could not perform His own will. This perfect Lamb found His will to be a plea for the removal of the bitter cup that night in Gethsemane. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. This submission of the Lamb of God enabled Him to become the Shepherd of all shepherds. This same truth now is the way in which shepherds are formed for the true sheep of the flock of God. The shepherded child of God begins as a lamb and transitions into a mature sheep and, if God chooses, can then also become a useful servant of unfeigned obedience to the call and will of God. There are some who esteem themselves as shepherds but have never found the courage to allow true discipleship to form their life. They maintain the nature of foxes with ideas to outsmart and outdo one another so as to draw sheep after themselves. These are not true shepherds and are very dangerous.

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. V.2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. A true shepherd is one who enters in by the door and does not lead where he has never been nor speaks what is not in his own heart. Certainly, there are those who have climbed the walls by learning how to do things in their own way, but they never became a true lamb or sheep walking with a shepherd next to them. These have never learned the Shepherd’s voice because they know not the life of a lamb; they are thieves and will eventually pursue sheep-robbery. I cannot stress enough the value and ultimate importance of desiring true life-surrendering discipleship. It is only a lamb or a true sheep that can embrace soul-correction and spiritual reformation from a human shepherd. Many desire correction directly from Jesus or the Holy Spirit, because it is too humbling to receive discipleship from a fellow human shepherd. However, this is God’s way of wisdom in forming us after His desire. Let us not forget, man will never become a spiritual shepherd unless he has first learned a life of surrender and gone in through the same door of the sheepfold. Who is my earthly shepherd? It is not a book, a CD, a DVD, or broadcast. It is someone you walk with. Hallelujah!

Discipled

Discipleship—what do I know about it? Is it something I attain to? We are living at the close of the age, a time when the church will face a great dilemma. People are turning away from understanding concerning the importance of having the mind of Christ. This dilemma is a mystery of iniquity, working through the avenue of rebellion when one deems his own preferences more important than true discipleship and spiritual reconciliation within one’s spiritual character. This is the partiality of self-willed vagabonds and drifters; they drink from their own table the lightness of mere milk, or even less than that. The hard things they have not learned. Things such as giving up, admitting wrong, surrendering offenses and many childish immaturities they have never resolved. I have come to a place in my position of leadership, where I will not allow anyone to speak in the congregation that is not under the consistent ministry of a shepherd. What I typically find in these wanderers is an untamed character that lives on its own premises of self-trust, despising the ones who possess qualities they admire. This yields results of individuality that are extremely harmful in the kingdom of God. In the book of Jude, we are given the complete description of these wandering stars. These often live off diets of easily digested milk, because it suits their own agenda.

Milk comes from the same source as the meat. Am I a Christian that has gone through life barely tasting meat? Have I become offended by those who dive into deeper depths of revelation and truth? There is a deeper well that most are not willing to pursue by conformity to God’s way. As true people of deeper faith, we can never take the thief’s route and steal into the fold without entering through the door. Many people will glean their sustenance almost entirely from others that have been led into deeper depths by their love for God, and obedience through the Holy Spirit. 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. V.2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. V.3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. V.4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
The true sheep will never fear unless the shepherd is the one that says, ‘wolf!’. There are other voices that cry wolf, but you can only trust the true shepherd. One of the clear signs of a true shepherd is that he calls his sheep by name. What does this mean? He knows them from walking with them for years through the many incidents they face.

There is a desperate need within the heart of every true saint to be transformed by the power of God on a continual basis in ways that are severe and extreme to the natural state of man. This seems easy until there arises the detested word—submission. The word submission suggests the humbling of one’s self in ways beyond what is easy. It is the surrender taking one from pride to humility, that Jesus requires for His children. This transformation of one’s character is what points to the true spiritual person, or the remains of a carnal man. A man will never be used by God if he cannot walk in submission to the one God places over him. It might appear differently at first, but true results are lasting. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls.

Many professors of Christ have no understanding of this truth. My experience in being a shepherd is quite extensive. I have rarely heard the request to be discipled in over 30 years of ministry. We live in a time when discipleship has become a gigantic problem because the age of rebellion has spilled over into Christianity. There are many who could become useful in the kingdom, but instead they become offended in small matters, and the result is simple—God will choose to not use them. How many times have I stood before a situation in someone’s life, but could not touch it because their carnal mind would turn to offense. If God is not using us, the reason is quite simple, and we must question: am I teachable? Am I a carrier of offences and what have I proven in this? Have I experienced true, holy submission to man and God? Do I honor and respect in all situations?

May this become a central part of your life, else God will continue to look for other people to use, and you will continue in uselessness. 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Understanding God’s Love

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Who has ever denied love from someone? Love is almost always understood as being synonymous with the word ‘accepted’ yet they are not the same at all.

We live in an era where there is much talk about the Father’s love. Books have been written by the thousands about a wooing kind of love from the Father. What I have repeatedly seen in this explanation of love is that it is seemingly a “wow” experience and then vanishes after some months and the same difficulties resurface. The true love that comes from Heaven is not intended to leave people in the same condition of sin and bondage that they were in when Christ received them. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Our old nature, which is not friendly toward those we esteem higher than us, had to be won by someone becoming lower than us. This was the true remedy for the pitiful human race without exemption. This person was the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.

In God’s love for the lost and dying creation, His desire was to bring back this entire fallen state of humanity and restore them back to Him. 1 Peter 2:9 Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a separated people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light:

This Christ-appointed plan of salvation to bring about restoration to children lost in darkness and deteriorating eternal defeat, is a plan of superior royalty. It is a plan of restoration and reconstruction. The cost of restoration is one of the greatest conflicting phenomenons in a Christian’s life. This process often starts while we are yet carnal and see little through spiritual eyes.

This season of reconstruction and restoration has a major character component in which we suffer great loss within our personality. Many cannot accept this marvelous work from the love of the Father. This transformational event within the true believer is so dramatic in different phases of the Master’s process, that most fail the test and hold the hand of God away from them in utter disappointment. This is the exact reason that most Christians never come to a place of spiritual usefulness. The loss and rebukes are considered too destructive. The result: there can be no rebuilding unto spiritual royalty. Becoming a servant of God in continual surrender without offense is the only way God can and will bring someone into Heavenly places in Christ. Many would even agree with this very statement, yet could never endure the love-chastening of God. The intensities of such deep valleys of sorrow can only be endured by those who refuse to become offended in God or in each other.

When Jesus looked into the eyes of Peter and said, “Get thou behind me Satan”, Peter needed no explanation of what was just said. Today, this would be the offence that would establish a new church. Peter did not argue, he was not offended; he was not hurt, he did not run away, he did not blame nor did he plead his cause to anyone. The difference between the multitudes of Christians today and the early Christians, is that they were disciples. What God wants to do in every believer is to make them disciples.

In our modern times, we do not want to be disciples, we want to be leaders. We find our own opinions to be of great importance. This is one of the delusions that Satan has inputted into the church of the day. This breeds a generation of impatient people that defer the sufferings of Christ. This delusional state of being restores nothing within the heart of the believer. This carnality will never bring any Christian to the maturity of God’s heavenly intention. We continue as babes stumbling on milk and remain untouchable, while we should be teachers. The immature state of most professors of Christ is a very sad condition. We must understand that the purpose of receiving God’s love is for restoration of the deprived soul. God chastens and scourges those whom He loves.

May I then receive the Father’s love so that I can live a life free from all offence and misunderstandings. A disciple of Christ will not fail when rebuked. Why? He is a disciple and has not claim but to his Master and true fellow saints. The Lord is not easy on those whom He truly loves, however it is with royal, heavenly purpose!

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: V.6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. V.7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? V.8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.