Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Shepherd and Bishop of Your Soul

Temple Baptist Church - 6-21-2017
1 Peter 2:24-25


A.  To understand the interpretation of these two verses, we must once again remember to whom Peter was writing. 

1.  Displaced Jewish Christians who came to Christ by faith and were persecuted to the degree that they fled from their national homeland of Israel and relocated to Asia Minor.  There are things that they do not understand:

2.  What was their relationship to Israel?  It was the religious Jews (i.e. Paul) who persecuted them and drove the out.  The answer: they were still Jews, God’s chosen people.

3.  If they were children of God, why were they suffering so greatly?  They were appointed to suffer as Christians because the world hated Christ and would also hate His children.

B.  Peter is trying to encourage them in the Lord because they were saved, belonged to the Lord, and were a heavenly people instead of an earthly one.

1.  Peter reminds them of the Price paid for their salvation in verse 24.  “his own self bare … in his body on the tree”

2.  Peter reminds them of their Previous condition prior to salvation in verse 24.  “our sins”

2.  Peter reminds them of their Position in Christ in verse 24.  “ye were healed”

3.  Peter reminds them of their Purpose of living for Christ in verse 24.  “should live unto righteousness”

C.  With these things in mind, let us look at verse 25.

1.  Israel’s lost condition.  “sheep going astray”

a.  Somewhere between Israel’s return to rebuild the walls and the Temple in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, things changed spiritually.  Israel quit looking for the Lamb of God and looked for a Messiah King.  They wanted physical deliverance instead of a spiritual one. 

John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Matthew 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

John 19:14-16  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  (15)  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.  (16)  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

b.  During the “400 Silent Years” between Malachi (the end of the Old Testament) and Matthew (the beginning of the New Testament), there arose the religious sects of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.  Though Israel continued to offer the blood sacrifices required by God, they thought that they were right with God through their separation from the world and good works.  Neither animal sacrifices nor good works could ever merit righteousness with God!

Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

c.  These two heresies still plague the religious, self-righteous people of our day.  Salvation is always Christ plus something instead of Christ alone.  Baptism, good works, church membership, sacraments, Mary, the Pope, the preacher, etc. have all been added to the finished work of Christ called the Gospel.  Jesus summed salvation up in one verse:

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

2.  The saved Jews present condition.  These saved Jews had been a part of these “sheep going astray” but, through accepting the finished work (death, burial, and resurrection) of Christ the Messiah for their salvation, had “returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop” of their souls.  “Shepherd,” though used in both Old and New Testaments, was a familiar term to these dispersed Jews.  “Bishop” is a New Testament term that they were getting acquainted with.  I want to look at both considering these verses. 

a.  Definition of the terms:

1)  Shepherd – to tend, to pasture, to allow to graze.  The word “shepherd” shows a distinction between the shepherd and the sheep.  The Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm was not a sheep.

a)  The Good Shepherd - John 10:11, 27  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  (27)  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  (The Lord is good to us.)

b)  The Great Shepherd - Hebrews 13:20  Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  (The Lord is One of a kind.)

c)  The Chief Shepherd - 1 Peter 5:4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.  (In all things, the Lord is preeminent.)

2)  Pastor – to tend, to pasture, to allow to grace, to be a part of.  As the Old Testament shepherd was not a sheep, the New Testament pastor does the same work as the shepherd but is one of the sheep.  Jesus Christ was not our “Pastor” because He is not like us, He is God!  He is called our Shepherd.

Ephesians 4:11-16  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  (12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (13)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  (14)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, andcunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  (16)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

3)  Bishop – superintendent, to be over, to be above, to be among.  As the Bishop of our souls, Christ is the Head—He is the authority—He is the overseer.  The office of a Bishop gives his place in the local church and its authority over the corporate body of the local church.

1 Timothy 3:1  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

b.  They had returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of the souls!

1)  Israel did not have the New Testament when 1 Peter was written but were thoroughly familiar with the Old Testament.  The best known of all mentions of a shepherd was the 23rd Psalm.  The Psalms were hymns of the Old Testament saints. 

2)  When David penned this immortal Psalm, he was not speaking of a normal shepherd of sheep but a Spiritual Shepherd!  David did not need a human shepherd.  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” says it all.  David wrote of the “Shepherd of his soul!” 

3)  This is the Shepherd that Peter wrote about; this was the Shepherd that these saved Jews had returned to! 

a)  The Shepherd that feeds and leads the soul. 

b)  The Shepherd that gives peace and restores the soul to righteousness when we fail. 

c)  The Shepherd that protects and accompanies us through the veil of death. 

d)  The Shepherd that makes our soul a table in the presence of our enemies. 

e)  The Shepherd that anoints our soul with the oil of the Spirit and fills our saucer when our cut overflows with joy. 

f)  The Shepherd who gives goodness and mercy in this life and takes to His home for ever. 

c.  That was their Shepherd and Bishop of their souls.  That is our Shepherd and Bishop of our souls!  The Israel who sung about Him had left Him for the self-righteousness of Phariseeism.  In our day, we see this Psalm on Funeral Obituaries of people who know nothing about Him.  They memorize it and quote it but do not know the Shepherd of the soul. 

d.  These precious Jewish believers had returned to Him.

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