JESUS WAS BORN
TO BECOME OUR GREAT SHEPHERD
JESUS WAS BORN
TO SHOW US HOW TO BE
NOT BE HIRELINGS
11 I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the Shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.
The Lord spoke of ‘porters’ who watch the sheep, guard the door, and prepare the sheep for the return of the Good Shepherd. They represent the called ones of God, the ministers, pastors, evangelists, apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. that are charged with doing the work of the Lord while He is preparing a fold for His sheep in heaven.
Jesus came to this earth, leaving the glories of heaven, humbling Himself to be born in a stable, so that coming to be our Good Shepherd, He could show us how to be good undershepherds, and not be ‘hirelings’.
Now, we see that there are ‘hirelings’. Who are the ‘hirelings’? We shall see, but first, we are reminded that Jesus is the ‘Good Shepherd’. He is One Who would give His life for the sheep. That is great dedication and love. The love of the Lord for the sheep is greater than any love man ever could attain.
John 15:12-17 (KJV)
12 This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.
17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Note that we are commanded to love others. The ‘porter’ seems to have done that. The hirelings we are about to notice, do not. The Lord soon, after this sermon, gave His life for the sheep. He was preparing the disciples then for the time after that, when they would need to be ministering, doing the works of Jesus amidst His flock. He reminds them here that the ‘greatest love’ is when one gives even His life for others.
He is telling them this “that your joy might be full’. Full joy in our work for the Lord comes from dedication to His work, and love for those to whom we minister. Getting complete answers to prayer is associated with this idea in Jn. 16:24. Joy and peace come, but they are based on obedience to the command of the Lord to love.
Jesus made this plain, as a ‘commandment’, not as an optional encouragement. He was ordering, commanding, demanding that we be motivated by love in our work. We are to love to the same extent that He did, to be willing to lay down our lives, if it ever would come to that.
Jesus said, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” If we do not do as He commands, we are not His friends. If we obey, we have a close relationship with the Lord. This command to love has its benefits if we are obedient, and its hazards if we do not.
“Henceforth I call you not servants’ is Jesus letting us know, that as we work taking care of His flock, awaiting His return, we are not “bondslaves”. We are full partners, personal representatives of the Lord on earth.
The ‘porters’ were this kind of ‘friend’ entrusted by the Good Shepherd to do ministry to the sheep in the fold, until the Good Shepherd returned.
The ‘hirelings’ are not this kind. They are doing it for pay, for gain, not for love. We are to represent Jesus, and reproduce His works, and have His kind of love. We will share His inheritance, if we share in His suffering and His sacrificial living for Him, and love His sheep.
Jesus says that we are “chosen” and “ordained” to: bring forth fruit, produce works that are eternal, have answers to our prayers. This kind of ministry is done if we are ‘porters’, not ‘hirelings’.
But he that is an hireling, and not the Shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
The word ‘hireling’ is the Greek word ‘misthotos’ meaning one who serves for money or reward. One who is a ‘merchant’.
Peter referred to this kind in his epistle:
2 Peter 2:13 (KJV)
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
We see some ministries today, whose leaders are ‘hirelings’. They are not difficult to find, for they sport their greed, proclaiming it to be godly, and claim it is Scriptural. They offer ‘deceivings’ while they ‘feast’ with the saints. They promise blessings from God if you make them wealthy. They fleece the flock, and make themselves fat on the things that belong to the sheep. They have multiple mansions, luxury cars, several jet planes, and suits that cost more than my whole wardrobe. These hirelings are now described by Jesus in this sermon.
The hireling fleeth ...careth not
The sheep are not a care to the hireling. He is not willing to lay down his life for the sheep, but rather sees the sheep as purposed to lay down their lives, their wool, for him. The sheep are not a guardianship to him.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and in Him we can put our trust.
1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)
7 Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
The hireling is to have ‘love’ for the flock, but the hirelings’ love is for their own life. The sheepfold has persons set over it, by calling, to guard His sheep, to teach His sheep, to intercede for His sheep. Some are faithful, as the porters, some are only hirelings.
Those that are faithful are true under shepherds. The true called and ordained under shepherds preach Jesus, they hear His voice, His commands, and are not motivated by earthly gain, but have their minds and heart set on the return of the Good Shepherd.
The Scribes and Pharisees claimed that they sat ‘in Moses’ seat’ and what they spoke others were to do, or not do. They claimed to be the guide, the lord of others. They were hirelings of that day. Sitting in the chair of Moses, as they believed, they taught the law, but it was twisted and perverted. They grew rich and powerful, and the common person amidst their flock was fleeced by those hirelings.
The hireling refers to those who feel employed to take care of the sheep, to whom wages are paid. The Lord does not want hirelings caring for His flock. The hireling pretends to guard the sheep, but only guards them for pay. If it ever means danger for the hirelings, they do not risk life or their own wealth. They flee the flock, when the flock is in danger.
The word translated hireling is sometimes employed in the Bible in a good sense; but here it is referring to those unfaithful to his trust. Some today are hirelings, working only for their support, and who are unwilling to face any danger. They do not have self-denial for the welfare of the flock.
The hireling is not there due to a call of God. Jesus says ‘whose own the sheep are not.” They are not entrusted by Jesus with His flock, they have tried to lay claim to sheep that are not theirs, but the Lord’s.
The hireling therefore "leaveth the sheep" when danger or trials come. Since he is a hireling, he regards only his wages. The hireling does not ‘love’ the flock.
Zechariah 11:17 (KJV)
17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
Ezekiel 34:2-6 (KJV)
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?
3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
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.
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.
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.
The hireling has not truly been concerned with bringing souls to Jesus. He only counts the potential gain to be had by increased numbers. The sheep are not the produce of his labor, but often sheep of a fold elsewhere, that he has stolen due to their ability to give to him. Those in another fold who are needy, sick, lame, are ignored, shunned. The hirelings only interest are his own welfare, and what he can gain from the fleece and the fat of the flock.
The hireling counts the flock to be his own, until they are no longer than they are profitable to him.
In Bible times, some kept their own flocks, and others hired people to keep them for them. An owner will naturally have feel more interest in the preservation of his flock than the hireling could. We are to know that we all serve the Lord, and this flock is His, and we are all ‘family’ with the flock. They are our family, they are our charge to help and encourage. We are all waiting for the same Good Shepherd to return. We may be a porter, but we are also His sheep.
The hirelings were referred to often in the Old Testament,
only under different titles and names.
"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God. And mine hand shall be upon the prophets, that see vanity, and that divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord God."
The hirelings encourage false security. God says that "I am against you (hirelings). God gives them no chance of success for their ministry, for they will lose the place of honor they have held. They will be taken from the civil registry of citizens of God's kingdom. They will not get to see the blessed land of the saints.
HIRELINGS BUILD FALSE WALLS
"Because even because they have seduced My people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar; Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?"
The "wall" is the Hebrew word "hayis" and means "an inferior partition". It refers to the practice of those days of building forms packed with wet dirt, and then let to dry... The forms are removed, and mortar is put around the dirt. There was no lime in the mortar, so it was more like a paint. Therefore it is called "untempered mortar".
The wall was no more than a whitewashed dirt wall that had no real strength, although it looked like the cement walls that did have strength. The false doctrines, heresies, and unbiblical morals espoused by false prophets may seem good, real, and sound, but like the walls, they are only strong in appearance.
These walls refers to the practice of the hirelings to give empty hopes. These hirelings encourage people with fake and lying lullabies. People headed for a devil's hell may trust the false walls of the false prophets, and truly believe they are headed for heaven. Many encourage congregations to accept and live in sub-Christian standards, unbiblical ways, and to therefore make themselves double guilty.
For these false and fraudulent walls, God says He will send an "overflowing shower"... God will wash away the whitewash they have added to the walls of heresy, schism, apostasy, and conformity to the lies of the devil...
God says that He will send "great hailstones" to crush the weak walls of the hirelings. Their false doctrines do not stand up to the truth of the Lord, the truth of the Word of God.
God then says that He will send a "stormy wind" to blow away the evidence of the flimsy partition. The eventual end of the lies of hirelings that once hindered saints is to be blown away by the Lord. He will not allow their lies and deceptions to survive.
God will then challenge them with "where is the daubing???" (vs 12) When their walls fall due to the revelation of truth by our Lord, the only thing they will have is the taunting and ridicule of the Lord.
GOD IS VERY ANGRY AT HIRELINGS
"Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life. Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver My people out of your hand; and ye shall know that I am the Lord."
God is easier on witches who admit their alliances with demons and the devil than He is with hirelings who claim to be speaking for God... The condemnation is lighter on those who make no pretense of speaking for God... The hirelings of today who claim inspiration from the Holy Spirit will lose their influence soon. Their sins have "disheartened the righteous" and have "encouraged the wicked."
WE MUST NOT BE HIRELINGS,
NOR FOLLOW A HIRELING
Gideon was a ‘porter’, an under shepherd, not a hireling. He was an impoverished farmer who was in hiding from the enemy of the day. In his hiding place, God placed a call upon his life and told him to deliver God's people. He was given charge of a flock of the Lord. This inconspicuous farmer took 32,000 people toward the battle. On his way, God had him first send the 22,000 fearful home. Then God told him to send 9700 hesitant home too. This left him only 300 to battle many, many thousands of trained soldiers. Then God told him to give each a lamp, and a trumpet and stand on a hillside and watch God give them the victory. Courageous and obedient, Gideon was the chosen leader that followed God, the true Leader. He cared for the flock of the Lord. He risked his life for the flock.
Different under-shepherds vary according to personality and according to charge from the Lord Jesus. We are not to despise them for their differences. Christians should be tolerant of different ministries. We should appreciate the spectacular, and the less spectacular working of the Spirit. Christians should be able to accept those who don't please them. Even the awkward and weak are to be accepted (Romans 14:1). Paul learned a great lesson from Barnabas in the decision on John Mark. God has a way of purposely choosing the weak, foolish, etc. We are not to challenge His choices. It is God Who "appoints" the true under-shepherds.
I Corinthians 12:28
"And God hath appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues..."
The church today has too often forgotten the fact that the choice of under-shepherds, and the division of gifts of ministry belongs to God. There should be a definite call of God for a person to choose to enter ministry in a body church. All of us are priests, but not all are called to pastor a body church. Nor are all called to be administrators in a church. For too long we have tried to run the body churches in democratic ways, or in authoritarian ways. In the process, we have too often forgotten to seek God's will, or find out who He has appointed to do the various kinds of ministry within a body church. Far too many churches are being served by people who are in the wrong ministry. Some ushers have been appointed by God to serve in administration. Some administrators need to get into their appointed ministry of intercession. Some pastors who have no desire to study the Word of God, or to intercede for the people should re-examine their calling, and see if it is valid. We must be very careful to never allow ourselves to become a ‘hireling’.
Just as the human body needs many parts with different functions, so the "body of Christ" needs people with various ministries. Eyes are needed to see, and some in the body church are needed to have spiritual vision. The hands of the body lift and help, and many helpers are needed in the body church. The nose is needed to smell and detect odors, and some are needed in the body church to detect evil. The ears of the body attune to the sounds about them, and in the body church the Lord is trying to speak, and some need to attune themselves to the voice of God and hear His message. The feet can be swift to carry the body to various places, and some of the body church need to be ready to carry the gospel message outside the four walls of the building of worship.
Many ministries are needed in the body church. Too often the church has been many "pew fillers" and a few "ministers". This is not God's plan. Every cell of the body has a purpose, and when they gather in a body church, each should do its ministry in a way that aids the body church. The office of pastor of a body church is to be given to those who are truly called to that area of ministry by God Himself. Jesus wants under shepherds who are willing to lay down their lives for the sheep of the flock of Jesus. He does not want ‘hirelings.
When one enters the body church where a pastor is truly called and truly serving the Lord Who is the Good Shepherd, it will be easily evident. The warmth of fellowship that pervades the building, the peace and harmony that reign, the testimonies of spiritual well-being, all show that the under-shepherd has been listening to the true Leader of the church and following His directions.
The office of pastor in a body church embraces a complex variety of tasks. He/she is placed in that position to serve, to minister God's messages, and to exhort and encourage. He/she is not there to be the plumber, janitor, or whipping boy. He/she is there to give all that God gives him/her to a needy, hurting, and thirsting group of Christians. His/her ministry should be stripped of the "chores" that usually clutter a ministry. His/her calling is from God, and his ministry is to follow God's direction, not a committee's directives. The pastor is the under shepherd of the Good Shepherd, and that awareness will be evident.
Though the under shepherd may not be an evangelist, he/she will often do the work of one. Though the pastor may not be an administrator, he/she will often do that work. He/she will most often need to be searching the Word of God, interceding in his/her private prayer closet. His/her prophetic ministry depends on his/her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. His/her teaching may sometimes be to a large group, but most often need to be done individually and confidentially. Sometimes he/she may be called to leave the great, large worship centers, and go into an apostolic ministry. His/her counsel for others will come from the Lord, and be given to them with meekness and humility.
The true pastor is not a cowboy who is "driving cattle", but is an under-shepherd who will "lead" sheep. There is a vast difference in "driving" and "leading." He/she will not try to be a "lord" over the others, but seek to serve them as an example of what God wants all to become.
The true pastor will carry a burden for the flock. The pastor will love and care for all regardless of their spiritual condition, their length of time as a Christian, their personal wealth, and their relationship with the pastor. He/she will not question their past, but see their potential... as our Lord does. The watchful vigilance and intercessory prayers of the true pastor will be time consuming... but vital.
The true pastor is worth more than any congregation can afford, but he/she is not a hireling. The true pastor will not serve for the money, and will exhibit personal risk, inconvenience and total sacrifice in his/her courageous ministry.
The true pastor will feed and nourish the congregation in order to fit them for fruitfulness. He/she will seek to enlarge the flock by allowing them to bring in more sheep.
Being an under-shepherd is not a pastime. It is serious business. The Lord is spending much time here in the sermon of the Good Shepherd, making sure we know that while He is away, we must be careful who we allow to be our under shepherd.
To be an ‘under shepherd’, a ‘porter’, and not be a hireling, we must be sure that we are ‘anointed’ of the Lord for the work.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me for He has anointed Me..."
We must then analyze our calling, as to its purpose for the Lord, the Good Shepherd. Do we feel called to help the poor, or fleece the rich?
"He hath anointed Me to preach good news to the poor... to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind... to set at liberty those that are oppressed..."
Do we want to help the flock of the fold to anticipate and prepare for the return of the Good Shepherd.
"...to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
The Good Shepherd was that way, Jesus preached there in Luke that this was His calling. Jesus has passed on to us, the same calling, to be good under shepherds. We must never become a ‘hireling’. Jesus was born in a manger, to become our GOOD SHEPHERD, and to show us how to be good under shepherds. We must never be a ‘hireling’.