God’s Commission to Pastors

As we get into “God’s Commission to Pastors” we are going to examine it through the passages in Ezekiel 34. First let’s define our terms.

What is a “commission”?

Commission — 1. the act of committing or giving in charge. 2. an authoritative order, charge, or direction. 3. authority granted for a particular action or function. 18. to authorize, send on a mission. [Source Random House Collegiate Dictionary]

What is a Pastor?

7462 ra`ah {raw-aw’}
a primitive root; TWOT – 2185,2186; v

1) to pasture, tend, graze, feed 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to tend, pasture 1a1a) to shepherd 1a1b) of ruler, teacher (fig) 1a1c) of people as flock (fig) 1a1d) shepherd, herdsman (subst) 1a2) to feed, graze 1a2a) of cows, sheep etc (literal) 1a2b) of idolater, Israel as flock (fig) 1b) (Hiphil) shepherd, shepherdess

The same word, “ra’ah” is also translated in the old testament as “shepherd”. A pastor then is simply a Shepherd boy, or a Shepherd girl!

A good shepherd knows their sheep. You could say they have a nose for sheep. They know the smell of lanolin and of manure. A good shepherd is involved with their flocks. They know:
What grasses to feed their sheep.
What grasses to avoid.
What sicknesses afflict sheep and how to cure them.
What injuries are and how to bind them.
They also know the animals that prey on their sheep.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

A shepherd certainly knows the difference between a sheep and a lion, wolf, or a bear. I suspect, as a boy, David had a silhouette chart at the foot of his bed with, “this is a sheep, this is a wolf, this is a lion, and this is a bear.”

Sadly today the church lacks such basic discernment. When we say a Christian can’t have a devil, we overlook that a devil may have a Christian and we allow wolves to hang off of our sheep’s necks and limbs.

Where do people go for help in America today? (USA Today Poll)

50% look to their doctors or primary care physicians
24% rely on magazines and newspapers
7% look to television or radio for their answers
5% seek friends or relatives for advice
5% look to self help books
4% count on school courses to guide them
2% go to their pharmacists for help

Not 1% is mentioned as seeking help from their spiritual leaders!
You wouldn’t take you car to a plummer to fix it. Nor would you read an electrician’s manual to completely rebuild a vintage automobile! No, you go to a mechanic!

Sin is separation on at least one of three levels:

1. Separation from God, His Word, His Love.
2. Separation from yourself.
3. Separation from others.
Today the church is as sick as the world! Hospital beds are as filled with Christians as they are with non-Christians. Our psyche wards are no different. There is no statistical difference between the saved and the lost when it comes to disease, yet God clearly indicates in scripture a connection between sin and sicknesses. Who are we going to send our sheep to if we want them well?!

If you are a Mercedes, then God is the manufacturer and the church and its pastors are THE authorized dealers. We cannot be afraid, ashamed nor ashamed of our calling!

In another disturbing development, according to H.B. London in his book “Pastors at Risk”, 80% of church growth in America today is caused by people moving from one church to another. “Heaven, We have a problem!”

The problem in the church today is that Pastors have abandoned their flocks, even in their disease. Today Pastors are more likely to refer their sheep to doctors and psychologists than they are to heal and deliver them. These two professions are in many ways the result of the failure of the Christian Church and its leadership to fulfill its God-given decree in pastoral care.

Jer 23:2 “Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: ”

God has a bone to pick with the pastors of His sheep!

Eze 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand

The Problem with Pastors as Outlined in the OT

Eze 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

How many of us realize that when God says “Woe” it is said with intensity? God is a little hot here. “Well you serve an angry God!” Yes I do!!

God is angry because it means something to him that you do not waste away and die in your disease and insanity! His anger is born of his love for you and I. You mean something to God and he is ready to fight for your life!

The question is — Will you fight for your life?? Will we fight for the lives of God’s children? Lets continue….

Eze 34:3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
Eze 34:4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
Eze 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
Eze 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Eze 34:7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;”

This is the point in time-space at which you and I find ourselves; pastors have abdicated their God-given authority to the doctors and psychologists of today. It is time we take back the responsibility we have neglected. It is time we brush off the mantle we have thrown down, and it is time we once again walk in the fullness that God’s calling demands so that God’s sheep can be taken care of in righteousness and in truth!

Have you ever run across sheep who fit this description?

“Ye feed not the flock”

Feed them what? Purina Sheep Chow?
Jeremiah 3:15, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding,”

What kind of knowledge?

Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

There is nothing wrong with being a babe. As a matter of fact, I release you to be who you are. If you are a babe, do not be ashamed of it.

Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use [application of the Word] have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The devil will accuse you soon enough on all that you cannot do. I release you in Jesus’ name to do what you CAN do without drivenness or shame or performance.

What is so important about this knowledge, discerning good and evil?

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea4:6). And again, “My people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge”, (Isaiah 5:13).

Why is this knowledge important?

Because a long time ago, in a place far away, there were two trees….. When Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they knew evil, as Adam knew Eve and bore a son. Evil came into them and became one with them. Prior to eating of the tree they did not need to know evil, because they were protected from it. It was irrelevant to their lives. Now that mankind has taken evil into his very being, he needs to discern what it is and how to get it back out again into the dry place from whence it came. This is needed for man to regain his peace, liberty, sanity and health.
“The diseased have ye not strengthened”

If about 80% of all disease has a spiritual root with various psychological and biological manifestations, and it does. Who again I ask, are we going to send the diseased to, if we are to give account for their spiritual well-being? The Church is stuck with the deal. Statistically today, the church is as sick as the world!

The pastors of mankind have lost their way and they cannot see it. Without the recognition of spiritual roots and the need to take responsibility for sin and iniquities, our leaders are blind leaders of the blind. Often the diseased are left to figure their problem out for themselves and many are accused in the midst of it by the devil, others and themselves.

“Neither have ye healed that which was sick”

James 5:14-16 gives clear instruction.

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Healing is not a random act of divine kindness. It is an expectation.

“Neither have ye bound up that which was broken”

Have you ever been involved in healing someone’s broken heart? It is a wonderful a rich experience that should be common to pastors! Today a pastor’s role is viewed as marrying and burying and being able to drive the church bus safely in between! God help us!!

2Tim 2:24-26 is a classic text on binding up that which is broken.

Imagine coming upon a bird that has a broken wing. You cannot just run up to it and help it. It will go into “fight or flight”. You may know how to fix its wing, or help it, but it doesn’t know that. People are like that too. We cannot just run up to them and make them all better. For many, they have turned for help so many times, and have been wounded further, and examining the issues of their heart one more time, is just one time too many. Here is how the Bible instructs us to be in this situation….

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

“And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd”
“My sheep wandered through all the mountains”

Again I mention the research given by H.B. London listing the leading cause of church growth in America today is people moving from one church to another? This is symptomatic of the restlessness and drivenness of a scattered and disillusioned sheepfold. After a while, sheep that are not being healed and delivered seek out other modalities to restore the peace they need. New Age and alternative medical practitioners are among the main beneficiaries of wandering sheep.

A Day of Pastoral Reckoning

Jer 23:1-4 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD….I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

Eze 34:8-10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; {it is a sad commentary when we find the seminaries of today encouraging the pastors of tomorrow to find large flocks that are more profitable} for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

Accountability for Keeping the Commission

We are not responsible for any person’s healing. Urgency to heal a person is a snare, do not get urgent over someone’s healing.

God will make us give account for how we exercise ourselves to the fulfilling of the mandate given us. To whom much is given, much is required. He tells our sheep to “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy,” in Hebrews 13:17.

God gives an awesome responsibility to pastors and has declared that WE be the healers of the sick in His name and in His power. He has ordained that we be the ones who bind up the wounds and heal the broken hearted. For this reason He has established the equipping of the saints for ministry. For this reason He has given us the gifts of discerning of spirits, of healing and of miracles, that His flock may be tended, healed and delivered.

Are you a pastor? You have just been given your job description by the creator of all flesh and the Father of all spirits! Our sheepfolds are to be places of safety. That is our job. It is our Father’s Commission; the charge given to us.

Do not be afraid of it, for the power and authority of God is with us to walk in it and cause His sheep to lie down safely. As we get into God’s Commission to Believers we will see that God has an exciting expectation for believers which has some of the same elements!

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