Shepherds And Prophets

Thursday, March 21, 2013, 6:46 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “He Gives Purpose” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 23 (NIV):

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.” (cf. Ezekiel 34)

The shepherds referred to here are kings, rulers, civil leaders and spiritual leaders. I see two main ways in which these shepherds (and the ones today) destroyed and scattered the sheep of God’s/Christ’s pasture (and are doing so today).


There are sheep that these shepherds drive away. These are the sheep who are following after Christ and the true gospel, who have child-like faith eager to please their Lord Jesus in every way, but thus serve as a threat to the kingdoms of men and their man-made religion. One pastor told me that he was taught (not by God or by God’s word) to watch out for people who might come into his church who have “strong convictions,” because they potentially have their own agendas which may create divisions within the church. This may or may not be true about people with “strong convictions.” A lot depends on the convictions. So, I shared with him the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12 where it says we are not to say to another part of the body “I don’t need you!” And, I lovingly shared what the Lord was teaching me through this passage of scripture. I received no response from the pastor.


There are sheep that the shepherds fail to give proper care for. These shepherds are more focused on feeding and caring for themselves and their own interests (building their own earthly kingdoms) than they are in caring for the true spiritual needs of the people. In other words, these shepherds are looking out for number one (themselves), and they will say whatever the itching ears of the people want to hear instead of telling them the truth of the gospel, because they want the people to like them and to keep coming to their institutions of men. By doing so, they have not strengthened the spiritually weak, or healed the hearts which are wounded by sin’s deceitfulness, nor have they searched for the spiritually lost or backslidden Christians in order to bring them to repentance and obedience to Christ.

And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.

The “Prophets”

Personally I believe that we no longer have “prophets” in the sense of those who once spoke God’s exact (God-breathed) words to the people. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, for they all pointed to him. Now God speaks to us through his Son and his word. Yet, we, who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, have the Son within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, who still speaks to our hearts, and who gives us words to speak in encouragement, counsel, teaching, instruction, in sharing the gospel and discipleship. So, we are, in this sense, God’s messengers, so it is imperative that we understand what scripture teaches so that we can correctly handle the word of God.

So, in looking at God’s “messengers” today, which includes all of us who give testimony to Jesus Christ and to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to understand, Biblically speaking, what qualifies someone today as speaking falsely.

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the Lord.
They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’”

Those who speak falsely fill people’s minds with false hopes. This is happening in today’s institutional church here in America in sweeping numbers. A movement has swept across evangelical Christianity which teaches faith in Jesus Christ absent of the cross of Christ in our lives, i.e. minus repentance and a walk of obedience to Christ and to his commands. They teach that all one has to do is “believe”, yet they give the impression that believing is merely an emotional decision or an intellectual assent to what Christ did for us, yet it does not teach death to our old way of living in sin and for self, and it does not teach the necessity of a walk of faith and obedience to Christ and to his commands.

They also teach that once you pray the prayer to receive Christ that you now have your ticket into heaven, that no one can take it away, and as an added bonus, you will be raptured out before the time when God visits this earth in judgment. Yet, nothing is required other than an obscure understanding of the word “faith.” One man told me one day: “I don’t have to repent. I just have to believe.” That says a lot. Yet, scripture teaches that repentance and obedience are indeed essential elements of saving faith (see Eph. 4:17-24; Luke 9:23-25; Rom. 6; 1 John; Gal. 2:20; et al). So, anyone who is teaching that repentance and obedience to Christ are not required for salvation is teaching a lie and is giving people a false hope, and if they tell people that God will not judge (discipline or correct) them, even though they may be following the stubbornness of their own hearts, then they are, again, filling the minds of people with false hope (see Rev. 2-3).

But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.

Amen! The passage goes on to say that these false prophets (messengers) declare their dreams (visions: ideas and thoughts) and goals (purpose statements) that they create and think up in their own minds, and that they also borrow from other messengers. Wow! Does this speak to today’s church! This sweeping movement across evangelical Christianity in America not only dilutes the gospel of Jesus Christ and does not turn people from their evil ways, but it is man-made, created in the minds of men, and carbon-copied from one church to another to another to another. Each has a “vision” and “purpose statement” that they have decided is for their church and that everyone should follow, and if you are not on board with them, then they suggest you go someplace else where you can “fit in.” And, it is the same message from church to church to church –borrowed from other “prophets.”

These “visions” and “purpose statements” created in the minds of men and borrowed from one ‘prophet’ to another often are just words on a piece of paper that are sometimes not followed at all, sometimes altered to accommodate some while excluding others, and are frequently used as threats to keep people in line, or to suggest that they leave and go someplace else.

Yet, they may well be taken right from scripture and perfectly practiced in all respects. God is not against us having dreams, goals, visions or to formulate purpose statements, as long as they are centered in the word of God, consistent with scripture, and that their goal is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience in leading people to repentance and toward faithful and humble surrender to God and to his purposes for our lives. And, if our visions and goals are in line with scripture, and we make public declaration of them, then it is essential that we do our best to practice what we proclaim, because the world is watching us.

He Gives Purpose / An Original Work / June 9, 2012

“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”

Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.

“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”