Gentle And Lowly In Heart
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 1 Peter 5:2
Many of us have experienced abusive pastors or religious leaders who have believed that a gift from God or some anointing has made them better than others, and they abuse the power and position that has been given to them in love. True ministry must be done in the same spirit that Jesus ministered to others. He who is gentle and lowly in heart never verbally beat his disciples into any form of submission to achieve His own stated purposes. Jesus Christ who was meek and mild had numerous occasion to rebuke and tell off impetuous Peter who didn’t always control his tongue, but He didn’t! Hence Peter learned by experience what the true shepherd was like and told all religious leaders, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.”
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word overseer as:
o·ver·se·er n. 1. One who keeps watch over and directs the work of others, especially laborers. 2. A supervisor or superintendent.
A supervisor or superintendent is not a king, never mind a benevolent dictator? He is an employee who has been given the task to keep watch over and direct the work of others. However he should heed the words of Jesus who told us what would happen to bad supervisors:
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. “Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
“But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ “and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, “the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:45-51
Since the “once saved, always saved” teaching is a doctrine of demons, then any unfaithful Christian leader can find himself cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Yet God’s word is unchanging:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:15-20
In his book, Churches That Abuse, sociologist Ronald M. Enroth ( Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1992) identified 10 sets of features he found in abusive churches: control-oriented leadership, spiritual elitism, manipulation of members, perceived persecution, life-style rigidity, emphasis on experience, suppression of dissent, harsh discipline of members, denunciation of other churches, and the infliction of painful exit processes. An overview of the churches described indicates that control was obtained over every aspect of temporal life—ranging from dress codes, the space between parishioners in pews, the kinds of cookies eaten, the assigning of marital partners, the destruction of marriages, the separating of families—to the point that the readers see that individuals were led to replace their conscience and internal accountability with leader-dominated dictates that reflected that man’s personal desires. (Few were woman pastors, and most of the pastors were self-appointed rather than ordained. Mind you, quite a few ordained pastors had been put in jail for other crimes including murder and rape.)
A common protest thrown at those who take a stand for the truth is that we are not supposed to judge. However there are innumerable verses in the Bible dealing with false teachings and refuting the errors. Hebrews 5:14 tells us that mature believers, those who are of “full age,” are those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern (judge) both good and evil.” Jesus Himself said: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). In 2 Timothy 2:17 Paul not only warns of the heresies of two men, he also names them. He also states “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). “That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3).
For the record, Jesus taught His disciples to beware of false prophets, who would come to them in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they would be ravenous wolves. The false ones will be known their fruits. Those who reject and deny what God has not denied including apostles, prophets, gifts of healing, miracles and speaking in tongues cannot be true prophets, but rather false ones. Those who rob, rape and use the sheep to build their own kingdom rather than those of the sheep cannot be true shepherds. For God’s word is unchanging:
“As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. John 10:15-16
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5:2-4
True shepherds of the flock of God serve as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to them, but being examples to the flock. Unfortunately as seen by the many religious scandals in America true shepherds are very hard to find.
But there are those foolish religious leaders who teach “Judge not, that you be not judged” or “touch not my anointed?” But if you don’t judge a religious leader how can you be a fruit inspector? You cannot! No, God’s word is unchanging about the whole counsel of God:
“For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. “Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “ Acts 20:27-35
Take heed, watch and remember are not passive verbs but active verbs and is something that God’s word instructs all of God’s people to do. They have a divine calling to be fruit inspectors. For God’s word is unchanging:
“Remember Lot’s wife. “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:32-33
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” John 2:13-17
No, Jesus Christ was not very kind and nice to moneychangers in the house of God. Rather He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. He gave an example what His true disciples were to do also! To be like Jesus is to do what Jesus did? God’s word is unchanging:
Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? “Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:5-12
“Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, “who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Luke 20:46-47
Being dumb and stupid and not taking heed and being beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is not something that would please Jesus or God? Otherwise Jesus would not warn His disciples about the false ones and their deeds and teachings! God’s word is unchanging:
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,” When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, “He permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:11-15
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:30-32
The Word of God tells us Miriam, the wife of Aaron, spoke against Moses and she really put herself in a lot of trouble with God. The bible records:
Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?”
So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. Numbers 12:6-9
Because Moses was faithful in all God’s house God spoke to Moses face to face and treated him differently from others who only heard about God. Now many presumptive idiots who think that because they are in leadership they are automatically the anointed ones like Moses was and anybody who speaks against them is going to be zapped by God and lose their life. But the Word of God tells us that we are all anointed ones and God’s word states:
“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:150
The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15)
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28
Foolish ones, including religious leaders, fail to appreciate the fact that when they harm of God’s true apostles or prophets by word or deed they harm themselves and cause the judgment of God to fall on them. A prudent person would do well to ensure that he or she harms no one and obeys God’s word that states:
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
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