|Saturday, November 24, 2018|
St. Ann's, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
often hear many believers use the term "sheep" to speak derogatorily about the church. They say things like "you're behaving sheepishly" as a synonym for "foolishly". For them, being a sheep, makes them feel inferior, weak and incapable. It is literally as terrible as considering oneself to be dumb and totally unintelligent.
Beloved, nothing can be further from the truth. The term sheep, was ascribed to God's people by God Himself. He'll never use a derogatory term to describe His people, whom He purchased with His own blood.
… the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Hence, the term sheep, is one of the most complimentary ways to refer to God's people. This is because;
1. Sheep Are Easy To Lead - Prov. 23:3.
This is because they are very trusting. God wants people that He can lead, who will trust Him and not lean on their own understanding.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It is people who are led by the Holy Spirit that can manifest as sons of God and enjoy the privileges of divine sonship.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Sheep therefore, respect authority, so as sheep, let us be obedient to Godly authority and avoid rebellion at all costs.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
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. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Hebrews 13:7, 17-18
2. Sheep Only Graze And Feed On Fertile Grass - Ps. 23:1-2.
Unlike goats that feed on any and everything, including garbage, sheep only feed on green grass. We are called sheep because God expects us to feed on His unadulterated Word and not on garbage. He believes we would embrace His Word as our first priority and final authority.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Psalms 119:105, 128, 130, 165
Beloved, commit yourself to studying, meditating and being a doer of God's Word.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
3. Sheep Love To Flock - Ps. 100:3; 122:1-2; Heb. 10:25.
Sheep are designed to flock; they are social animals. They appreciate one another and as a herd, they are easily protected from predators, who see them as one massive organism. As we know, there is strength in numbers.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Hence, this concept of binding together helps them, to better face adversity. This is partly why the shepherd leaves the 99 in the flock and goes after the one lost sheep, because apart from the danger of being killed by predators, that sheep can die of hunger. Sheep won't graze properly when alone, they need to flock to feed well. Beloved, remain humble, and appreciate others in the body of Christ We are designed to flock because as sheep, we CANNOT SURVIVE AS LONE RANGERS. I therefore encourage you to fellowship with other believers, by attending Church services regularly so that we can get the best out of one another
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
4. Sheep Generally Avoid Conflicts - 2 Tim. 2:23ff.
Servants of God don't walk in strife. They are very peaceful, hence, avoid unnecessary conflicts. They would quicker flee, hence, we are to flee all appearance of evil.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2 Timothy 2:19, 24
Peace is a major feature of God's kingdom.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Hence, we are called to peace. God's peace helps us overcome the fears that we face daily on earth. Note, that only peacemakers are described by Jesus as the children of God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
5. Sheep are very flexible and adaptive - Jn. 3:3-6; Rom. 8:14.
This is why they generally don't walk in a straight line. This technically makes them very sensitive to their surroundings and are able to sense danger from different angles. We can liken this to them having a very high level of "flexibility or adaptability, rather than rigidity"; hence, they are not bound by religion or the traditions of men, but are led by the Word and the Holy Spirit.
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
They have very keen senses of hearing, vision and vibrations, hence, I believe that as sheep we are called to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so that we can walk in the spirit.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
6. Sheep have an unusual ability to tolerate pain - Heb. 12:1-3.
This keeps them less vulnerable to predators. We have the spirit of long-suffering and endurance.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering…
We are called to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:3
This ensures that we are not reactionary but responsive and proactive in our character. We are not easily hurt or offended and we do allow any natural unpleasant circumstances to derail us from our faithfulness and loyalty to God and the advancement of His Kingdom. We walk by Faith not by sight.
For we walk by faith, not by sight:
2 Corinthians 5:7
7. Sheep are low maintenance - Phil. 4:10-13.
Farmers keep them because they are easier to maintain and less destructive than goats. In essence they do good and not evil.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Beloved, we are called to a life of contentment not covetousness. A man's life does not consist in the abundance of the material things he owns but in how rich he is towards God.
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Contentment also means that we do not allow the love of money to destroy us.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:6, 10
This is part of our adaptive capabilities as sheep, being able to handle or to do well in both good and bad times.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Beloved, remember that the sheep is the shepherd's most prized possession. His very existence as a shepherd, depends on the viability and maturity of the sheep. He therefore takes the time to ensure that the sheep know and hear his voice.
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Beloved, note that it is as sheep that we hear the master's voice. Hence, being sheep is the key to maximizing our sonship role of being led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). The shepherd's integrity and his good name depends on the good behaviour (or maturity) of the sheep.
… he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
The shepherd trains the sheep, to ensure they're not destructive. This enables him to maintain a good relationship with the farmers, who own the grazing fields. No farmer will allow the sheep to graze on their land, if the sheep are poorly trained and destructive. This is why, he leads the sheep in paths of righteousness for his name's sake or to protect his good name.
This means that no wise or worthy shepherd, mistreats or maltreats the sheep in his pasture. He will literally give his life for the sheep rather than abuse the sheep; this is who Jesus is to us, He is that good shepherd that provides for and protects the sheep (John 10:11). It is in our designation as sheep, that Jesus gives His life for us, hence, this is a privileged position and one that we must readily embrace.
Beloved, as you can see, being called sheep is a complimentary term and not a derogatory one. We are indeed God's people and the sheep of His pasture.
I remain committed to making your life better. Until next time, keep feeding your faith and starve your doubts to death. Stay strong. I love you.
Copyright © 2018 Dr. David Ibeleme
Victorious Faith Ministries,
P.O. Box 4378, St. Ann's, Trinidad & Tobago. W.I.
Tel /Fax : +1(868)223-7159 ; 6251449