Title: God's Model for the Church
Purpose: To motivate the church to be good sheep
Intro: 1. Camden Main Herald, swithched photos in the paper
a. One was of the board of selectmen, the other a flock of sheep
b. Under the picture of the sheep were the names of the board of selectmen
c. Under the picture of the board was the caption: The flock, naive and vulnerable
2. Last part of the section on models. Anyone want to be a model yet?
3. Last 2 weeks we have dealt with shepherding model for leadership
- Feed/ Ensure health/ Rescue/ no scatter/ Protects from predators
4. Sheep is a pejorative term, but that is what God Himself calls us
(we are naive and vulnerable)
5. If the shepherd is the model for leadership, then sheep is the model for the flock.
6. With shepherds, we as sheep have several responsibilities:
I. To be sheep
A. No one likes to be sheep, but this is what God has lovingly called us
B. Anything other than a sheep in the flock is a predator
1. Ezek. 34:17-21 - Got to be sheep not goats.
a. God is going to judge between sheep and goats
- This is what Jesus said in Matt 25
- Sheep were ones who had compassion, goats were not
b. Some in the flock had no consideration for others
- Tread down the good pasture
- Stirred up and fouled the clear waters
- Made it impossible to eat - many became sickly
c. Some in the flock were bullying others
- Pushing others around
- Thrusting at others with their horns
- They scattered the sheep (didn’t bring together) (was a cowboy)
d. Sad thing is the leaders were part of the problem
- They did nothing to prevent or fix the problem
- They themselves were also guilty of the same thing (v.4)
- Unacceptable situation for leader to be a goat, he is sheep too.
2. To be sheep, not wolves
a. Wolves are more sneaky than goats
- They wear disguises (sheeps clothing - Red Riding hood)
- Try to pass themselves off as sheep
- When you think its safe, they pounce on you
b. The problem is that the shepherds were letting goats and wolves harrass
their sheep, and instead of doing anything, they ALSO were harrassing
c. So many congregations tolerate antagonists, and the rest of the sheep
begin to get sick.
3. Sheep are gentle, kind, soft. Look at the quiz
C. The quiz: Answer the questionaire honestly here
1. Are you a Goat?
a. Do you agitate others in the flock?
b. Do other agitators drawt o you easily?
c. Do you always have to get to the root of every problem in the church?
d. Do you fight feelings of disagreement or resentment toward your
shepherds (or other leaders)?
e. Do you have trouble making it to every assembly?
f. Do you have problems listening to the word preached?
g. Do you find yourself constantly butting the system - exempting yourself?
h. Do you have trouble when you are admonished or corrected by the
shepherds (or other leaders)?
2. Are you a wolf?
a. Do you have an inward drive to have a cheif seat or high position in
b. Do you find yourself bothered if you have to do what others in the
flock are doing?
c. Are you drawn into strife and carnal things easily?
d. Have you been in trouble with church leadership and haven't seemed
to be able to work it out?
e. Do you have problems submitting to shepherds (or other leaders)?
f. Are you trying to defame your shepherds or other leaders and draw
away others to follow your way of doing things?
g. Do you talk negatively about your shepherds or other leaders?
h. Have you become sly, sneaky and deceitful in your attitude and actions?
i. Do you father security from other people who support your views?
3. Are you a sheep?
a. Do you hate strife, malice, dissension, arguing and doctrinal debates?
b. Do you enjoy still waters, submitting to your shepherds (other other
c. Do you enthusiastically attend assemblies at all opportunities?
d. Do you love to hear God's word preached?
e. Do you hunger after truth from God's word?
f. Do you receive admonishing and correction from your shepherds
(or other leaders) easily?
g. Are you content where you are in the flock?
4. What fits you most? If you are a goat or a wolf, radical changes need to
D. Our obligation is to be sheep, not goats or wolves
1. Does this apply to shepherds as well?
2. (I Pet 5:1-4) Didn’t Peter say to shepherd the flock under you? -- AMONG you
a. Shepherds are part of the flock too, so this also applies.
b. They are to prove as EXAMPLES
c. This means respect, listening, honor, everything is 2 way street
II. We need to hold our shepherds in high esteem (I Thess 5:12-13)
A. In other words, text says to appreciate and esteem them highly in love
B. What does this mean?
a. Some translate it “know your leaders"
b. Is talking about recognition. (is what you do when you prize someone)
2. Esteem them highly in love - What does this mean?
a. Synonyms: Appreciate, respect, prize, value, treasure, uphold
b. Antonyms (goat): Despise, condemn, mock, ridcule, attack, scorn, reject
c. So are you a sheep or goat?
3. Live at peace with them
a. Sheep are easy to live with. They don’t do any goat stuff
b. Goats not live at peace with anyone
4. Heb 13:17 goes right along with this - Obey leaders and submit to them
a. But what about “not lording it over the flock”
- "Obey" gives idea of absolute authority
- Does not mean sheep are not to listen to their shepherds
b. "Obey" is a poor translation, word is passive. Lit: “Be persuaded”
- Listen to their leading
- Sheep are to follow the sound of the shepherd’s voice
- Have on open heart and listen to their counsel
- Sometimes they will tell you to swallow pride (Reheboam)
c. Make their ministry a joy, and not a grief
- Wolves and Goats give shepherds grief, sheep do not
- If you listen to them, live at peace, esteem, appreciate, you make
their ministry a joy
- Causing greif will only do you harm
C. Rebellious boy Timmy
1. 10 yr old, Obnoxious and defiant, especially in public places.
2. Dr. Wilson dreaded his visits. Attacked the clinic, grabbed instruments, files
3. Mother just shook her head in exasperation
4. Needed work done, Wilson sent him to dentist who understood children
5. Get in chair. No. Son, I told you to get in. If you make me, I will take
off all my clothes
6. Go ahead. He did. Dr. told him get in chair. After, Timmy asked for clothes
7. I’m sorry, tell mother we are going to keep clothes, you can have back tommorw
8. She took him home, ignored all onlookers. Next day returned for clothes
9. She thanked Dr. Explained how he always makes unreasonable demands.
10. He always threatened to take off clothes, you are first doctor to call the
11. Timmy has changed quite a bit since yesterday.
D. Timmy’s parents did not shepherd him, but allowed him to hold them hostage
1. Who was Timmy hurting? Himself. Imagine what would happen if continued
2. Who was his parents hurting? Timmy.
3. No profit to you if you make your leaders work a grief. (even if youre right)
4. A good sheep holds his leaders in high esteem, and does not abuse them.
III. Give elders double honor (I Tim 5:17-20)
A. Now this is specific instruction for elders and not just leaders in general
B. What does it mean to honor
1. Honor means “to value”
a. Different ways to honor/value someone
- Used of Judas’ 30 pieces of silver (Mt 27:9 - “price”)
- To highly esteem/ respect (Jn 8:49 - “I honor my Father”)
- To respect (I Pet 2:17 - “Honor all men,...honor Kings”)
b. “Honor” is the theme of I Tim 5
- Starts with general statement on how to honor others in the church
- Moves specifically to widows
- Then it moves to elders
c. Text says to give “double” honor
- To those who work hard at preaching and teaching
- (v.18) Not muzzle ox, laborer worthy of wages (also in I Cor. 9)
- Talking about paying your elders
C. Some congregations are doing this
1. Also send to elders/wives retreats, workshops, education, etc.
2. We pay preacher (I Cor. 9), pay for continuing education, etc.
3. What about elders?
4. Some retire early and the church supports them
D. If we value our elders, it will also mean helping to support them
1. Valuing them also means you will offer to send them to retreats
2. Valuing them also means you might provide tuition to send them
to Bible School
IV. As sheep we will not receive flippant accusations
A. Text says only on the basis of 2 or 3 witnesses
1. Reason - These are men whom we have recognized for their character & ability
2. We have recognized them by appointing them to positions of leadership
3. Positions of leadership inevitably will open the door to accusations
B. The reasons I’m talking about this is not only because it is part of the passage, but
because it is often practiced in the wrong way, or not at all.
1. If the accusation is only from one person, it is likely only a personal problem
2. If you have 2 or 3 witnessess:
a. It is a problem that affects a bunch of people and can be verified
b. It may even be a recurring problem that needs to be dealt with
3. If recurring problem with elder with witness, -- rebuke in presense of all
a. So others may be fearful of sinning
b. If elder providing poor example of holiness, love & humility, and it
goes unchecked, it gives permission for others to grow horns
4. It may be talking about the person making the accusations
- If he continues to be a goat and attack the elder publically due to personal
problem that he alone has and no one else does, he is to be rebuked
C. Lincoln’s riddle - If you were to call the tail of a dog a leg, how many legs would it
have. Answer=5? Wrong, still have four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg
1. I used to think it was the honorable thing to do to tolerate the goats
a. After all, weren’t we supposed to be patient, kind, longsuffering.
b. We all have our faults, who are we to condemn the goats?
c. Besides, maybe they will learn to be kind sheep??
2. At another church, used to say “that’s just the way he is”, and let it go
a. A couple of men often held the church hostage, everyone bent to them
b. Several families were run off, the preacher was run off
c. Now there are 20 sickly sheep in that congregation.
3. Jesus did not tolerate the goats. They were theives & robbers, harrassed the
people and neglected the wheightier matters of the law.
D. It is NOT the honorable thing to tolerate the goats
1. There is a difference between being patient and working on it, and just blowing
off a problem and not dealing with it.
2. The shepherds of Israel tolerated the goats, and what did God say?
a. Woe to you shepherds of Israel (v.2)
b. I am against you shepherds (v.10)
c. That should send chills up your back
3. Titus sent to appoint elders to silence goats who were upsetting whole families
4. God says he will judge the goats
5. God also says he will judge those who tolerate the goats as well.
1. It isn’t always easy being a sheep
2. Sheep have a resonsibility
a. To be a sheep, not a goat or wolf
b. To highly esteem their leaders and not be greivous to them
c. To give their elders double honor
d. To not receive the single accusations of a goat.
3. I hope if you are a goat, you will saw off your horns and undergo a radical transformation
4. I don’t think we have any wolves, but if you are, I hope you leave. Wolves do not belong in
the flock of God. Elders are charged to beware of the wolves.
5. Everyone of us should strive to become better sheep, even those who desire to be shepherds.
6. We each should want to have our names under the photo of the sheep, because only the
sheep belong to God.