Good Shepherds (Elders) of the Flock (Church)

It should be the heart’s desire of every elder to be a good shepherd of the flock (church).  In Ezekiel 34 God describes the bad shepherds and the good shepherds of Israel.  I want to use to take a good look at the good shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel 34:11-31 - 11 For thus says the Lord God: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God. 16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."This seems to me to be a beautiful imaginary of the good shepherds {elders}of the church today.  What are the characteristics of the good shepherds {elders} of the sheep {church} today?

1. ELDERS ARE TO SEEK & SEARCH OUT THE SHEEP.What a fitting example Jesus is to elders.  In Luke 15:3-7 we read: 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'  7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.  Let elders take the lead and seeking out the sheep who are weak, struggling, and gone astray.  Elders should have a work for the sheep {members} to be involved in that is aimed at seeking out those members who are weak, struggling, and gone astray.

2. ELDERS ARE TO FEED THE SHEEP.Elders take the lead in feeing the sheep by being Bible school teachers.  In 1 Timothy 3:2 Paul reminds elders that 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach. They also see that the sheep are fed through a well-balance diet of spiritual food in the Bible school program and from the pulpit.2 Timothy 4:2  Paul exhorts Timothy 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  Elders must be sure to see that the sheep {member} are fed with a well balance diet of God’s word.  In John 21:17 Jesus said to Peter, an elder “Feed My sheep”.

3.  ELDERS ARE TO LAY THEM DOWN IN A GOOD FOLD.This carries with it the idea of feeding them, comforting them, and protecting them.  In Psalms 23:2 we read - 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.Elders must see to the flock {members} that they are fed which I have already covered in number two.  Now let’s think about the work of elders is to also comfort and protect the flock {members}.  In 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 we read that we are to comfort others - 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Paul tells us to 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. Elders are also to protect the good fold of the Lord.  In Acts 20:28-30 we read - 28 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. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

4.  ELDERS ARE TO SEEK THE LOST & BRING THEM BACK.  Elders are to take the lead working together with the deacons and members in seeking the lost and bring them back to the Lord.  Elders, deacons, and members must look to Jesus’s example, Luke 19:10 - 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.  Elders, deacons and members are to be seeking would daily. Acts 5:42 - 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.They are to be doing it everywhere they go. Acts 8:4 - 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.All of us can say what Philip said to Nathanael, “Come and see.”  When we find the lost we can all:  bring them back, bind up the broken, and strengthen what was sick.

By Robert H. Martin