God has ordained that there be congregations of Christians over which He has appointed pastors to feed them with spiritual food, knowledge and understanding.
14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
In v.15 the word “pastor” is translated from the Hebrew “ra`ah” (raw-aw'); to tend a flock; and was used in a general sense, to rule. A flock of sheep need a shepherd which is a person who tends a flock of sheep. A shepherd and a pastor serve the same vocation and function. As a shepherd is to a flock of sheep so is a pastor to a congregation of Christians.
Often times the shepherd is not the owner of the sheep, although he does have authority over the sheep. The good shepherd is one who has been trained to fight against wolves and wild beasts; and lead the sheep to the best pastures and fresh streams of water. The sheep greatly benefit from the knowledge and protection of the shepherd. Without a good shepherd the sheep would be scattered and destroyed by wild beasts. They would not know where to find the best pasture and the fresh streams of water.
Congregations of Christians still need pastors today. Do you understand and will you admit that you need a pastor? Jeremiah prophesied that God would give you pastors according to God's heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Will God work contrary to this prophecy and feed you privately so that you have no need of a pastor? Are you an exception to the plan of God to give people a pastor to feed them spiritual food? If you think that you don't need a pastor or that God no longer gives all His people a pastor; then, you have allowed a spirit to deceive you contrary to the clear teaching of the Word of God. If you refuse to submit to the pastor God has called and sent to feed you, then, a wild beast spirit will deceive and destroy you. When people accept and submit to the pastor which God has ordained to rule over them, then it shall be according to the rest of this prophecy: “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it.” God will bless this New Testament family of God, which is the church of God, which is the New Jerusalem.
Did God follow through with a fulfillment of this promise to give pastors to the New Testament church of God? Yes, He did. Look in Paul's letter to the Ephesians.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
God gave the church spiritual leaders to teach the people to understand the righteous principles of God. Although God is a very personal God and He will help you through your circumstances of life, He does not personally teach you everything you need to know without the aid of one of His ordained ministers, i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Paul obeyed God. Then, God spoke to His minister Ananias and Ananias obeyed God when God told him to go pray for Saul and tell Saul what to do.
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
There are many men and women who claim to have been called by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ; but the truth is: God did not call them or send them to preach the gospel. They are false shepherds who harm, divide and scatter the sheep. God warned Israel against these false shepherds and that warning still applies to us today.
1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
God is against the false shepherds; but, God still calls and ordains true shepherds who feed His people. Who gave you the pastor you have chosen? Was he sent by Satan or by the one and only true God in heaven?
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Jesus challenged Peter with a triple emphatic order to feed the sheep of God. All of God's pastors and ministers operate under this triple emphatic order to preach the truth without fear or favor of men. The apostle Paul acknowledged this sober responsibility:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Pastors can backslide and sadly many have backslidden and after they have been mightily used of God, only later to become a castaway because of their own sins. They have forsaken the way of truth and followed after the lust of the flesh and pride. Satan loves to tempt and destroy church of God preachers who fall into his evil snares and bring a great reproach against the beautiful church of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 4:13-16
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
A pastor is responsible for his own soul and the souls of all who sit under his teaching. If a pastor refuses to teach the judgments and warnings of God to the people, he can not be saved himself.
1 Timothy 3:1-7
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice [newly planted, young convert], lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
If a man does not know how to be a good husband and father, how can he possibly be a good pastor? Let him first learn how to take care of his own house. I must add here that a pastor may have members of his own household turn against him; but that does not bear the exclusive proof that he has not known how to rule his own house. It may be that his family has rejected the message of truth which he has faithfully preached. The standard for this admonition is: “Did he preach the truth and set a righteous example before his family?”
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
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.
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 emphasized this same oft repeated warning and exhortation: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves,...” Salvation and holiness must first start in the heart of the preacher before he can teach others. The salvation of souls is my greatest burden and desire. The greatest joy I have ever known is the knowledge that I have had some small part of a person coming to know and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
I love you and I want to be a good pastor to those whom the Lord has sent to me to hear the Truth and come to the Light. I intend to be faithful all the days of my life to this heavenly vocation of winning souls to Jesus. To all those who live in my area, I look forward to being your servant, teacher and pastor.