Matt. 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
As we have just celebrated father’s day, I had it on my heart to share a very important and powerful truth that satan has worked very hard at coming against. It is the importance of having a spiritual father in your life. Scripture is very clear that it is God’s design not man’s, that every believer find their shepherd whom Jesus gifted to help develop them and grow them up in God. The devil has continued to deceive people in the body of Christ making them think they don’t need a shepherd because they have Jesus, or that they need to simply find a church that gives them in the natural what they want and are comfortable with.
Jesus clearly reveals in Matthew 9:36 above that those who do not have a shepherd, they will become weary and scattered. The problem with many believers is they may know they need a attend church to grow in their walk with God, but the focus is on finding a church instead of a spiritual father. This would be like us looking for a family to live with instead of who the father of that family is. As great as a family can be to you, they cannot take the place of a good father.
The other key thing to consider is that often we see things in the natural are a reflection of things in the spiritual as well. So it is with finding a spiritual father. For example, you did not have a choice as to who your natural father would be, so why do we think that it is our personal preference that determines who our spiritual father is going to be. The Bible actually tells us how we can know when we have found our spiritual father, and it has nothing to do with what you want in the natural, but everything to do with whom the heavenly Father desires to have as a spiritual father in your life.
John 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
John 10:2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
John 10:5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
John 10:6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
Throughout my ministry life as a pastor I have taught this truth that God has a spiritual father for you. Many people have told me over the years that it really doesn’t matter where you go to church. That is the same thing as saying it really doesn’t matter who father’s you, but in fact it does. If you take time to study these verses of John chapter 10 you will find out that Jesus is teaching us about how He selects for us our spiritual father.
He tells us here that He is the door in these verses, and the shepherd who came through Him, who was gifted in other words by Him to be a pastor. He will speak and when he does those who are to be his sheep will know his voice (v. 4). This is not referring to Jesus in the first part of John 10, because Jesus Himself said He was the door in this example. When I heard Dr. Mark T. Barclay speak for the first time there was something within me that just knew he was different. I did not know it at that moment, but that was the confirmation in my spirit by God that he in fact was the spiritual father God had for me. I am so grateful to know I have found my spiritual father.
Since I have gotten to know him and become one of his sons in the faith, my wife and I are no longer going through life weary and scattered. We are on track with our assignment and we are fulfilling what God has called us to do. Whenever we need direction, correction, or just some biblical advice, I have a shepherd I can turn to that is there to help us stay on course in our walk of faith. This is why so many believers are weak spiritually and become scattered.
2 Tim. 4:1 I solemnly call on you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge those who are living and those who are dead. I do this because Christ Jesus will come to rule ‹the world›.
2 Tim. 4:2 Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach.
2 Tim. 4:3 A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear.
2 Tim. 4:4 People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.
In these set of verses we have the most precise description of the responsibilities of a shepherd. Paul is writing this letter to Timothy who was the pastor of the church at Ephesus. Take note that in verse 2 Timothy is given specific instruction as to what he was required by God to do. He was to spread the Word of God, even when the time may not seem right (people may not want to hear it). He was to point out errors in people’s lives. He was to warn them about things to come, and what they were to be aware of in their daily lives. He was to encourage them in their walk of faith, and he had to remain patient in doing so.
Then he is told the day is coming when people will no longer listen to accurate teachings. Instead they will follow after their own desires, and surround themselves with teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. They will refuse to listen to the truth. The people who are doing this don’t even realize they are doing so. They may be listening to the wrong people not even realizing they are not their shepherd, or they are people who once knew who their pastor was and even acknowledge this, but they eventually wandered away by becoming deceived, offended, misled, etc. They don’t think it matters that much where they go to church. The sad truth is many of these people even stop going to church.
If these are the responsibilities given to the pastors, then what is the responsibility of the sons and daughters who are to receive their pastor as a gift from God in their life? Let’s look at these again and see what God expects of His sheep in response to what the pastor is required to do as mandated by the Lord whom He serves and works for.
1. Pastors are to spread the Word whether people want to hear it or not.
This means that when you find a God-appointed shepherd whom God wants you submitted under, he is going to teach things that you are not always going to want to hear. That is how growth occurs. A muscle does not grow when it is always comfortable, but when it is challenged and it responds by getting stronger. So it is with spiritual growth. If you are always wanting hear what makes you comfortable you are not going to grow and you are deceiving yourself thinking you don’t need to grow as a believer.
2. Point out errors.
There are it appears less and less believers it seems who want anything to do with a pastor who is willing to address issues that involve people living in error. He should not do so using names of people in the pulpit, but a pastor who is teaching and preaching as led by God is going to point out things a times that people in his church are doing that are wrong. This is a part of his responsibility as a pastor. People call it stepping on my toes. If you don’t hear about what you are doing that is wrong how are you ever going to correct the mistakes you are making?
3. Warn people.
Pastors are to warn people about sinful practices, judgments to come, things that can hurt their life, etc. A believer should heed those warnings realizing that God is trying to spare their life from pain. But when believers won’t receive these warnings they then wonder down the road why they end up somewhere they don’t want to be.
4. Encourage them.
Every pastor should as well encourage his people helping them to learn how to walk by faith, learn who they are in Christ, and help them realize that God will always be there for them. This is what believers want all the time, but if you feed a child only candy they are going to get cavities and experience an unhealthy future.
So realize the power and the blessing of having a spiritual father in your life. It is by God’s design, and it is a great strength, protection, and a necessary part of your life if you want to walk in the light of what God has for you. To deny this need is to deny God’s Word on the subject. Both pastors and believers need to know and walk in what God expects of their life. Doing so brings about God’s purpose and plan for us.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker