His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Why is it that most sermons today are geared towards dumb sheep? Why are they being preached to from only half a gospel? You know, only from the parts that don’t allow the sheep to ever challenge the shepherd’s message?
Men who are supposed to be watchmen and shepherds leading their flock to refreshing, clear water and lush green pasture, instead spoon feed and burp their sheep as if they cannot eat and drink for themselves. They feed them old dry grass and regurgitated oats and let them drink stale, stagnant, murky water.
Instead of leading them into paths along rocky cliffs to higher and fresh greener pastures, like Lot they play it safe by staying in the comfortable meadows of the pleasant valley below where the grass has already been eaten away by all the other flocks with the same caliber of shepherds who rotate the same old dry grass and which has long ceased to provide any proper nourishment for the sheep.
Instead of leading them to fresh springs where the cool water is pure and quenching, they are content to let them drink from stagnant, murky water that is stale and full of disease keeping them continually weak and making them sick often.
Yes, it is risky business leading sheep to higher ground by way of narrow and stony paths along the rocky cliffs. They could fall off the cliff and plummet to their deaths. They could be attacked along the way by wild animals. But then that is what the shepherd’s staff is for, isn’t it? To guide them along the way and keep them on the path. And that is what the crook in the staff is for, isn’t it? To catch them if they fall. And that is also what the rod is for, isn’t it? To beat and fend off wild animals to protect the sheep.
I have news for them. The sheep are ready and willing to go. But the shepherd is not. The sheep want to go but they will only follow the shepherd. The shepherd is afraid and unwilling to walk through what they imagine to be the valley of the shadow of death. They fear that evil will befall them. They fear that the Lord will not be with them. It is the shepherd who has become disabled and immobilized by fear, apathy and ignorance but most of all, disobedience.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4
These are not true shepherds but hirelings who flee when the wolf of sickness and disease and demonic influence attack their flock and they abandon the sheep to the world of always practicing medical wizardry, pharmaceutical witchcraft and psycho-babbling soothsayers. They are spiritually broke and devoid of any visibly manifested dynamic power and are utterly incapable of exercising any spiritual authority over the enemy to protect the sheep. They will not stand in the gap nor raise their sword against the enemy nor give their lives for the sheep. Instead they give them lip service and sit back in their comfortable parsonage while they turn a deaf ear to the cry of the sheep outside their door as they allow the enemy to come in like a flood and ravage the flock.
Their weapons conform to the world and are made of religious sounding pandering and ear tickling words, empty faithless prayers begging God to do something they refuse to do themselves even though Jesus Himself commanded them to do it, paper pushing, fictitious 503(c) non-profit corporate shells complete with litigious attorneys, a worldly CEO, President and Board of Directors, to secure tax deductible donations, music that is begging for God to show up when He should already be present in the believers, crying like the prophets of Baal trying to call down the power that Jesus already sent down when He ascended on high and is inherent and resident in all true believers, social service programs disguised as ministry opportunities, Sunday school and bible studies infused with endless secular philosophy and manmade psychology. Their counseling ministries are no different and include referral services for difficult cases they dare not begin to handle to worldly practitioners readily leading and surrendering their sheep to the slaughter.
Where is their fruit? They are stagnant in growth, only replacing those that leave or die with new attendees (tithe payers), seeking to attract more attendees by expanding outreach programs and events. According to national statistics, only 20% in any church community get involved in any form of ministry, only 5% evangelize by sharing the gospel and witnessing to others and less than one tenth of 1% ever effect divine biblical healing or true prophesy.
They give the sheep regurgitated oats to keep them fat and happy and in line. Ironically, oats happen to be a sheep’s favorite snack food. It is what they want but not the fresh green grass that they need. When sheep break out of their pasture, the shepherd will go out with a can of oats and shake it loudly for the sheep to hear. By shaking the can, the sheep perk their ears and respond with their feet because of the appetite of their belly. So like the pied piper, he can easily lead them back into the fold, close the gate and shut them up.
Instead, the hirelings live in a twisted reality where they choose to believe that the word of the New Covenant does not really mean what it says because they are absolutely terrified that if it did, that they would have to be able to actually perform the signs and wonders to accompany and confirm the word they are supposed to be preaching. And since they do not believe the word, where else can they possibly go to obtain such power to perform miracles?
“But isn’t salvation more important than signs and wonders?”
Well, what do you believe that salvation means? The Greek word for salvation is “sozo” which is translated both as “healed” and “saved”. But the best translation of this word is “to be made whole”. If someone is being led to Christ and they are still sick in their body, then are they made whole? If someone prays a prayer to confesses Christ but are still imprisoned in their wheelchair, then have they been saved, delivered, set free, healed and made whole? If someone claims to be born again but sees no deliverance from their sickness or disease, then what are they saved from and unto? They are still captive by the devil and have not been set free by the full redemption Jesus paid full price for with His broken body and the stripes on His back. They are not made whole until they can see, in Jesus’ words, that the kingdom of God has come nigh unto them.
It is as if you visit a prisoner and tell him that you are holding in your hands a Habeas Corpus petition to the court that can possibly secure their release from prison. They don’t understand what that means so you patiently explain to them that this is a legal demand that the court must show cause or prove that the imprisonment is lawful or otherwise release the corpus or the body. You show them the paperwork and point out the chapter and verse sections that specifically say this and ask them “If you have faith in this document and file it with the court you can be set free. Do you believe this?” The prisoner, now excited about this new concept and possibility of freedom, eagerly says “Yes, I believe that this Habeas Corpus is my redemption and can set me free!”
So you say “Congratulations! You are now a believer in Habeas Corpus!” You are so excited because you have converted a non-believer to a believer in the Great Writ of Habeus Corpus. You tell everyone. But you never file the paperwork. You never argue it in court. You have made them believe that they can be set free but you do not enforce it. When the prisoner asks you “By the way, when do think I could be set free?” You respond “Oh, well, you must have faith and if you have enough faith then you can petition the court to see if the judge might consider setting you free. But when you die you will be set free for sure. Guaranteed!” Is this what the modern day message of salvation has become? A mere promise upon death to be set free and a definite maybe to perhaps be set free in this life? Or did Christ come to set the captives free here and now and commands us as His disciples, to be His enforcers?
“But what about the charlatans who are performing so called signs and wonders and leading the believers astray? What about the false preachers and televangelists who have become rich from fleecing the flock with false miracles and misleading them to send in money and donations to receive their healing?”
What about them? It does not change your responsibility one iota. What did Jesus respond to Peter when he asked Him about John “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Jesus saith unto him “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.“ And what did Jesus say to John when he said “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.” Jesus said “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.“ If Jesus was not concerned about it, then why should you be? They are neither your servant nor your concern and you cannot point fingers at them as an excuse for your failure to preach the truth and to perform accompanying signs and wonders accordingly. Jesus did not accept it then and He will not accept it when you stand before Him. He is telling you today “What is that to you? You follow Me.“
What if these hirelings stuck their neck out and actually started to preach what the New Covenant said to do and what Jesus commanded in John 14:12 and Mark 16:17-18? Why, they could risk everything! Everything here being the trust and respect of their sheep and along with that their wool (tithes and offerings) and even their very own livelihood. Heaven forbid! If the sheep lost their faith in the shepherd, the sheep might wander off and find another pasture with another shepherd. There goes the wool!
So week after week they preach from an Old Covenant which has long expired and which does not risk such confrontations. It is safe ground and does not require one to perform. It puts all the responsibility back on God and on the sheep and away from the shepherd. It is all talk and no action. And they have become quite adept at crowd control speaking and endless philosophizing while wandering aimlessly with nowhere to go and nothing to accomplish just like the Israelites walking around in circles in the desert year after year with no promised land in sight. Oh, it’s promised alright, but it is so far off. “We must tarry ’til He comes and takes us there. In the meantime let’s just make the best of it!”
Well that’s not what the New Covenant says. In Luke 19:13 Jesus tells us in a parable to “Occupy till I come.“ The word here means “to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade” and “to carry on a business”. As such we need to busy ourselves with the Lord’s business of declaring that the kingdom is here by destroying the works of the devil and setting the captivates free. Just like Jesus did. Nothing less will do.
Every now and then they might dip their toe into the New Covenant, but like dipping into an ice bath they quickly run back to the lukewarm pool of the Old Covenant. Like a pair of old soft shoes, comfort and assurance is what they seek, having clocked-out long ago from the heat of the battle, not being able to withstand in the evil day, they have stored their armor in what was once their war room (prayer closet) while their sword has been holstered so long that it is now stuck in its sheath and rusted in place.
Their shield of faith is full of holes from the wicked one’s fiery darts, their belt of truth has been let out so many notches to accommodate the extra fat from the additional acquired doctrines of men, their breastplate has been enlarged many times having become a breastplate of self-righteousness, their gospel boots are shiny from polishing without a trace of mud on them, neatly put away with mothballs in the closet. The only thing that still fits and which they hang on to for dear life, is their helmet of salvation, for if they lost this, then all would be lost.
Yet, somehow they believe that they own the flock of sheep (and their wool) and that the flock is supposed to feed them. They would never come out and say this of course, and instead shake the bucket every Sunday to collect the government allowed, tax deductible donations for the fictitious, non-profit corporation and claim that it is for the Lord’s church. Wait a minute. Doesn’t church or “ekklēsia” literally mean “the out-called”? And aren’t the believers the assembly of the out-called? How did this get so turned around? Last I read the New Covenant, the shepherd was supposed to feed the flock. The well fed sheep would then gladly give their wool (tithes and offerings) to the house of God and the shepherd who ministers about holy things, waits at the altar and preaches the gospel should also live of the things of the temple, partake with the altar and live off the gospel.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:13-14.
However, do they minister about holy things or do they fill the sheep with unholy things? Do they wait at the altar to hear and obey the voice and instructions of God or do they run with recycled and regurgitated doctrines? And do they preach the full gospel which includes the whole message or do they preach half a gospel starving the sheep? And despite the impoverished living conditions of the emaciated sheep, they still expect and demand loyalty and insist that the sheep stay within the barbed wire fence of their concentration pasture. And surrender their wool! Is it any wonder that James discouraged the brethren “be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”?
Don’t let them ever dare catch one of the sheep visiting another pasture! Don’t the sheep realize that there is no pasture like theirs! No other pasture has the truth (oats) like theirs does! No other shepherd will take care of the sheep like their shepherd does! There is no other pasture, period (which by the way also makes up a good chunk of the preaching every Sunday to make sure that the sheep stay in line and don’t wander off)! And there better not be any questioning the shepherd’s authority or the sheep will be marked for wrath as touching God’s anointed (which again is Old Covenant theology and does not apply here)!
If they are “caught” attending another pasture, then they and their sheep family will be sat down, interrogated, reprimanded and if they will not repent and conform, then they will be ostracized and banished from the flock and shamed as an example for the rest of the flock to not ever dare even think of wandering off! They care not how much better the conditions are in the other pasture.
Jesus foretold us this would happen in John chapter 10. But here is hope! If you are a shepherd, the fact that you have made it reading this far, means that the Lord has been dealing with you about this very issue. If your heart’s desire is to be a true shepherd, now is the appointed time to take this to heart, repent and convert.
Many shepherds do not want to live like this but do not see a way out. They are so stuck in this harness and just don’t see how they could possibly get off of the treadmill they have been on for years. Their overhead and fixed expenses are running their lives. They are constantly checking the donations numbers to see if it will meet their expenses this week. Just meeting payroll is a constant and overwhelming burden. But of most concern is, “How could I possibly do it? How would I make the move? First and foremost, how and where do I get the power to be able to do this (walk in the power to perform signs and wonders to confirm the word)?”
The answer is in 1 Peter chapter 5. Shepherds are to be examples to the flock.
If you are sick and tired of playing church and know in your gut that there has to be so much more to proclaiming the kingdom than what you are currently doing and the Lord has been tugging at your heart for you to mend your ways and seek hard after Him, then here is a plan of action:
First, repent! This means to stop doing what you are doing and turn around. This includes confession to your sheep. You will be surprised how much respect you will gain in their eyes. They will be so excited that you are not just a pompous windbag speaking hot air at them from behind a pulpit, but are actually seeking out truth and are ready to take them on a lifetime adventure. Sure, there will be some old ewes and stubborn rams that will buck you but this is where grace comes in. Maybe they just need to go and find another pasture. Be not dismayed, they are the ones who chose to stay behind. Those you lose will be replaced tenfold.
Second, become born again. If you claim to already be born again then please explain why can you not see the kingdom of God manifesting in your sheep? This is the same kingdom that Jesus told the disciples to declare had come near unto those that they had healed, cleansed, delivered and raised from the dead. Jesus told Nicodemus that unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God. So do you really want to argue with Jesus? Just confess and ask Him for forgiveness that you did not, or were not willing to, see this sooner, submit to Him and ask Him to show you your next steps and for the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. You know that He will do it. Trust Him with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
Third, renew your mind and the spirit of your mind, which is your attitude, to the truth of the New Covenant and believe every word it says. Make John 14:12 your new life directive. Post this directive in big bold letters where you see it every day. Believe that these signs of Mark 16:17-18 shall follow the believers. Believe what Jesus said! Believe! You are a shepherd for Christ sake! Literally!
Fourth, practice! Go out and start praying for people with laying on of hands and get them healed. By yourself if you want. Better yet, humble yourself to go out with a believer who gets results and let them get you activated. In the name of Jesus, cast out the demons of sickness and disease with your word. Command their bodies to be healed. Expect instant results. Don’t worry if you don’t see anything right away. We walk by faith and not by sight. Just because you don’t see something does not mean that nothing happened. It will take some time and practice for you to learn how to operate in the these graces. Yes, graces. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 never uses the Greek word for gift when talking about healing but calls it a “charisma” or grace. All believers are expected to be able to operate in all the graces of the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and fall flat on your face, time and time again until you start seeing results. Maybe you will see just one out of twenty get instantly healed when you begin your journey and little by little you will see more and more as you build your mustard seed of faith and become stronger day by day, exercising and building yourself up in your most holy faith. Pretty soon you will be surprised when you don’t see instant results.
Fifth, lead! You are a shepherd. You must lead your flock. Sure, you may not become the greatest faith healer or the next John G. Lake or Smith Wigglesworth of the century, and many of your sheep may excel you by many times, but if you are to be a faithful shepherd then you must lead them and fully support their efforts by training and encouraging them to walk and act just like Jesus did. Only then will your sheep rightly respect you and will your flock grow. Because you will be walking in power just like the Head Shepherd, teaching your flock to touch the world exactly like Jesus did while He walked on earth and which task He has now assigned to us.
They may appear to be dumb sheep but that is only because they will suffer abuse and take it and still remain loyal. This is their nature. It is the spiritual nature of Christ in them. But don’t be fooled. They are smart enough to recognize truth.
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:2-4
Here are 2 definitions of the word dumb from Merriam-Webster:
a : lacking the human power of speech <dumb animals>, b of a person often offensive : lacking the ability to speak
temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or astonishment) <struck dumb with fear>
Don’t be dumb shepherd any longer. The Holy Spirit has given you the power to speak and to act and to do the same works that Jesus did, and even greater.
Franciscus M. Dartee
Grow in Faith | Walk in Power
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