[SW415] 01/18/2020 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn

“I Will Raise Up Shepherds”

Text: Jeremiah 23:1-8, etc.

False shepherds destroy and scatter the sheep of the Lord’s pasture today, just as they did in the days of Jeremiah. But woe to them! The Lord will judge the false shepherds, and He Himself will gather His repentant ones and raise up shepherds after His own heart, who will lead them and feed them His truth! 

Verses 1-2 —

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending (feeding) My people: You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to (cared for) them; behold, I am about to attend to (judge, punish) you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD. 

This warning was given by the LORD in the days of Jeremiah, and it is given to today’s false shepherds! Note that He does not exhort them to repent, but warns them of His coming judgment of them.

To today’s false shepherds, I speak His words — 

Woe to you, for you are destroying and scattering the sheep of His pasture! So, you will be judged for the evil of your deeds! 

Because of your false words, His sheep are like sheep without a shepherd, just as Jesus Christ declared of God’s people in the days when He walked the earth (Matthew 9:36). They are confused and panicked, weary and flung away from the Lord. Therefore, you will be confused and panicked, weary and flung away into hell, by the Lord. 

You were responsible to protect His flock, and feed them the truth. But you are filled with lies, so you have fed them that which fills you. Therefore, they perish for lack of holy, intimate knowledge of the Lord (Hosea 4:6). Therefore, you will perish.

You have gathered the sheep of His pasture to you, with your false words. You have led them to worship the god of self, thereby committing adultery against their Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and denying their Lord. Therefore, He will gather you to Him in the day of judgment, and He will deny you (Matthew 7:23).

As Jude, Jesus’ half-brother, wrote —

Jude 4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

You who are false shepherds have crept in unnoticed, to teach lies.You have not led them through the narrow gate, into zoe, eternal life. Instead, you have led His sheep down the wide gate and onto the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13). Therefore, He will destroy you.

You have not gathered His sheep to Him, but to yourself. Therefore, you will be gathered by the Lord, and destroyed. You have driven them out of His pasture and into exile. Therefore, He will drive you into eternal exile, in hell.

The sheep of His pasture are driven out from His presence and His protection by encouraging His sheep to sin (Isaiah 59:1-2)! Therefore, He will drive you out from among His sheep, and cast you into hell, where you will be eternally tortured and will eternally burn (2Peter 2:17, Mark 9:43-44, 46).

You have preached rebellion against the Lord (Jeremiah 29:32). The enticing false words you have spoken have destroyed many of the sheep of His pasture. So He will destroy you. 

Instead of being shepherds who protect His sheep from wolves, you yourselves are the wolves in sheep’s clothing who have come into His congregation, and even have come up from among His congregation. You devour His sheep, and they perish. Therefore, He will send you into the gaping mouth of hell, to be endlessly devoured by fire.

Paul warned the shepherds he appointed for the church at Ephesus —

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

Verse 3 —

“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.”

He Himself will gather the repentant remnant of His flock, bring them back to Himself, and —

Jeremiah 3:15 “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. 16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD (see Revelation 21:2); nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” 

He will gather the repentant remnant of His flock. He will appoint for them shepherds after His own heart. Even now, the repentant remnant of His church and His people Israel are gathered to Him through such shepherds. 

Shepherds after His own heart are shepherds whose hearts are filled with His Holy Spirit. Their sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24), so they do not sin against the Lord. Therefore, they do not encourage His sheep to sin. They have pure, cleansed hearts (Acts 15:9). They are partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), and bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Because they are His shepherds, they feed His sheep the true spiritual food they need, so they no longer spiritually starve. The Spirit teaches His shepherds all the truth (John 14:26, 16:13), so they are able to teach His sheep the truth that the Holy Spirit teaches them. His shepherds exhort His sheep to ask their Father in heaven to fill them with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), as Jesus Christ commands (Acts 1:4-5). 

His repentant sheep obey the command of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd and Chief Shepherd over the shepherds He gives you (1Peter 5:4). They stay and wait and are they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). Therefore, they no longer speak of the ark of the covenant in which God’s presence dwelled, for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit fully and permanently dwell inside of them (John 14:23). Thus, their bodies have become His ark. 

And because His sheep’s sin nature has been crucified, they do not walk anymore according to the stubbornness of their hearts, because heir hearts are longer evil. Instead, their hearts are purified (Acts 15:9), just like the hearts of the shepherds He has given them. They are no longer deceived by the lies of the false prophets, for the Holy Spirit teaches them all things, just as He teaches the shepherds the Lord has given them.

Verse 4 — 

 “I will also raise up (establish, decree) shepherds over them and they will tend (shepherd) them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

His shepherds teach His sheep the truth that Jesus Christ will set them free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36). Therefore, when they obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit, His law is written on their hearts, so they obey Him always —

Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

His sheep are filled with His perfect love, so they no longer fear judgment by the Lord (1John 4:18), for He has given them new, obedient hearts. Nor do they fear death, for it has no victory, and it has no sting for His sheep who have repented and been filled with His Spirit so they no longer sin against Him (1Corinthians 15:55)!

And none of His repentant sheep will be missing —

John 6:39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

And in His prayer to His Father, Jesus Christ said —

John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”

Verses 5-6 — 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;  and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’”

This is a prophecy of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)! The LORD promises a righteous Branch from the lineage of David. That Branch is  Jesus Christ, who was the descendant of David, who is and eternally has been God the Son (John 1:1-12) —

Isaiah 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse (the father of David), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 

This righteous Branch will reign as king — indeed, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)! He is God the Son and He rules with divine wisdom, justice and righteousness!

The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, died and rose and ascended and was glorified, returning to His Father’s right hand. Before He ascended, He commanded His apostles to wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They and the 108 who gathered with them obeyed. Thus, they became the shepherds He raised up.

Many were saved from the wrath of God and reconciled to Him when Jesus Christ walked the earth, even from among Judah and the remnant of Israel who dwelled with them. And many more have been saved over the past 2,000 years — truly saved by the good news brought on the beautiful feet of His shepherds. And continue to be saved and, in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command that His shepherds have taught them, are filled with the Holy Spirit.

All who have come to faith in Him, and have obeyed His command to filled with His Holy Spirit, will dwell securely, for His Spirit is in them and will remain in them forever —

John 14:15   “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

Verses 7-8 —

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”

He is a living God! He is eternal, active, present, and visible through His creation and through those whom He has filled with His Holy Spirit! They are His witnesses here (Acts 1:8), living proof of the living God!

When you are saved by and filled with the living God, beloved, you will say of Him, “He truly is the living Lord — I know it is true, because He fully and permanently indwells me! He led me into the true Promised Land of freedom from slavery to sin! And He has prepared a place for me where He is, so I will live with Him forever!” (See John 14:2-3.)

Lord Jesus, may Your wayward sheep repent! When they do, You will surely deliver them from the mouths of the false shepherds, and lead them to the shepherds whom You have raised up for them! Make it so, I pray! Amen!