January 4, 2015 - A. V. Rauf
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Part 4-Conclusion)
But then, back in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Luke there were also some shepherds:
Luke 2:8-18—And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
The Hebrew word for “shepherd” and “pastor” is the same word; the same applies in Greek. These are shepherds who watch their flock – not hirelings. There is a great spiritual darkness which I believe has already descended upon this earth as we are fast approaching the end of the age; but at the same time God has a plan for the Church, because the darker it gets outside, the brighter the light of the true church must shine:
- “Watchman, watchman, how far is the night?” (Is. 21:11)
- “Is He coming in the second watch of the night or the third?” (Mk. 13:35)
- “He is coming like a thief in the night.” (1 Th. 5:2)
- “Work while you have the light, for night will come when no man can work.” (John 9:4)
Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Acts 20:28—Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
You have 3 types of pastors: true pastors, who are willing to even lay down their lives for their sheep; just like a true husband is willing to lay his life down for his wife; Marriage is the closest thing to fellowship with God that He created (i.e. Israel-wife of Jehovah, Jesus the bridegroom for his Bride the Church)
Then you have hirelings- their just working on a salary; and finally you have wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Much more can be said here but I will save this for a future post.)
A dear friend of mine brought to my attention that according to recent statistics, 6 out 10 pastors quit within their first year of pastoring! God knows how urgent it is for true men of God to be raised up to rightfully divide the Word of God and to feed the flock and build them up spiritually. Lets look at the rest of the chapter in Acts 20:
Acts 20:28-31a—Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
The apostle Paul warned the church of what was to come. He went on the write to Timothy as to how bad it would get prior to the return of the LORD:
I Timothy 4:1-2—Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
II Timothy 3—This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
I am of the conviction that apart from the many prophecies being fulfilled as harbingers to the advent of Ant-Christ, one of the most profound indicators is the false teaching that is being propagated as truth in may of our pulpits today.
Yet despite this, God has raised true messengers of His Word.
Hebrews 13:17–Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Once again, there will be those faithful shepherds who watch over their flock no matter how dark it gets.
It’s a dark place and it’s getting darker, but there are true shepherds. That is the kind of Jew who was ready for Jesus to come the first time, and that is the kind of Christian who will be ready for Him to return.
Who is not going to be ready? “Herod mourned, and all Jerusalem with him.” The Sanhedrin were troubled. The theologians were pulling their hair out. They won’t be ready – people like that rarely are.
In contrast, the individual clergy like Zacharias and his faithful wife, or Joseph the adoptive father of Jesus – a man who was just, or a teenage girl who said, “I am in need a Savior”, or the shepherds who faithfully watched their flocks, or an elderly woman whose whole life was spent in prayer and serving God and telling others about Jesus, or an elderly man who longed for the Messiah to come and was filled with the Spirit of God – they tell a different story.
They were the kinds of Jews, who were ready for Him to come the first time, and I assure you, they will be the kinds of Christians who are ready for Him to come the second time.
As I bring this series to a close, my prayer for all of you, for your families, for myself and for my family, when I look at these Jews who were ready for His first coming, is that by the grace of the God of Israel we will be among the faithful who will be ready the second time. My dear brother and sisters in Christ, I urge you to take heed……It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.