Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Try to visualize the scene below:
An open field, with sheep of all sizes freely grazing. The sheep seem comfortable and safe. All of the sudden you notice the shepherd of this fold enter the scene with a whip in his hand. You watch in horror as each sheep is singled out and whipped mercilessly.
This scene is a fictional one, but few realize that this fictional scene is all too reminiscent of the reality being played out in many so-called "Christian" churches in record numbers.
The fictional shepherd in the above illustration would not last long in the business of shepherding if you or I were owners of the fold. But in the real world, this type of Shepherd often abuses and destroys the sheep he has oversight of, all in order to satisfy his selfish and covetous desires.
The false shepherds of today in charge of many Christian churches do not whip the sheep physically, they whip them Spiritually. They have left off following God in order to follow their own selfish agendas.
What is even more unbelievable is that a vast number of sheep that are being abused put up with this abuse. They tolerate the abuse and cruelty of the false shepherds because the shepherd is seen to have a "special place with God".
These false shepherds use fear and intimidation to control their congregations. These are the tools they use to threaten the sheep into submission.
Of course, there are many good shepherds who seek to do God's will and strive to take good care of the sheep God has left in their care. But the idle and false shepherds tell their congregations to submit to God, but what they truly are aiming at is getting the sheep to submit to them. These false shepherds use God's name in vain because in their hearts, they are using his name to gain personal profit and to achieve their own selfish agendas.
Keep in mind who I am referring to here:
I am speaking of violent and control freak shepherds (pastors and those in authority) over many Christian churches in the world today.
And why do they do this?
1 John 2:19 & 2 Peter 1,2, and 3
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
We can see by this verse that it WILL be made known to us exactly who is false and who is holding the truth of God and living by it.
A false shepherd: This is exactly what you must look to for understanding them and their character and what their agenda is:
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned *false* words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
We see (because of their covetousness) by using false words, these false shepherds will make merchandise of us. Or rather, they will attempt to make merchandise of us. To me, this means they will view us as a method of gain. Does this sound familiar of some of today's mega preachers and teachers?
The motives of today's Christian teachers and preachers are many times in question. A shepherd who is prideful, covetous and useless will do much to destroy the sheep he is supposed to be protecting.
And what happens to the sheep that are scattered through no fault of their own? Those who are led astray by a foolish and selfish shepherd? Anything and Everything. From their horrible experiences with false and abusive shepherds, many of them are hardened and turn away from the God who truly loves them.
Religion and God's Truth
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.
These spiritually abused, beaten and abandoned sheep are scattered and vulnerable to every false belief system this world has to offer them
Many of them end up cursing god and man but most of all, religion. Notice how I separated God from religion? The reason is that God is as far from religion (man made rules that hold no cohesiveness with the true gospel of Jesus Christ) as the east is from the west. We are given a definition of pure religion from James.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Compassion that springs forth from our hearts to help others in need, coupled with keeping ourselves unspotted, untainted from this world and the effects of the sin and evil that is loose in this world is what we are to strive for.
We are not to be unavailable to those who are in their darkest hour and need help. We are to be completely THERE for those who have needs. Jesus while in this earth, did not join himself with the RELIGIOUS.
He was, as he still is today, near those who were humble and contrite in spirit. Those who were meek and lowly.
Those who could ADMIT that they were sinful and in need of a shepherd. The Pharisees of Jesus's day would not admit that they needed a shepherd. They saw themselves as the ultimate "leaders" to the people. They were in reality the blind leading the blind.
Religion, in it's form mainly practiced today, is any doctrine comprised of man made rules and obligations, many of which are never commanded by God.
The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is never about man made rules, one is only able to gain the true Gospel of Christ through God's Word.
God's truth to mankind is made known only through the Bible .
To control others is very beneficial to these false shepherds and pastors. Their thoughts are continually resting on the type of force/control that can best be utilized in order to extract gain of some type that would benefit them. Their thoughts are not geared toward the best interests of the sheep.
There is an advantage some sheep have when they come up against a false shepherd. But it relies solely on whether they have knowledge given them by the Word of God. We are told in the Bible how important knowledge is when we read in Hosea 4;6
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
Now if you take a person who lacks knowledge of the truth of God's word, that suffers spiritual abuse at the hand of a false shepherd, the outcome is bleak and severe because he has no base of truth to call upon in order to judge the matter clearly.
That truth will always be God's Word.
God's Word is able to separate lies from truth. Deception can then be shown for what it truly is. There is no other weapon in God's spiritual arsenal like his truth. His word will penetrate every error in doctrine. It will separate a false gospel from the true gospel.
The result of a lack of knowledge when dealing with spiritual affairs is devastating, destructive and dangerous.
You are open prey to those who have a personal agenda.
Many are taking advantage of the spiritually ignorant.
But we have an advantage over those who would try to abuse us spiritually if we have the knowledge that comes from God. Those who have no root of truth in them are continually subjecting themselves to other's views and other's truth, not God's.
Here is what we are to strive for:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
His word is light and makes us capable of discerning right from wrong, truth from lies, man's thoughts from God's commands.
But without this weapon, God's truth, we sheep stand defenseless against the ever increasing number of false shepherds and their devices.
On our own, we cannot protect ourselves from the onslaught of deception that comes at us from all sides, every day of our lives. New insights, new theories, new gospels that those who have left God are constantly bombarding us with. This is why it is absolutely necessary to study to show ourselves approved unto God by taking in his truth above any other form of instruction.
The hurting and wounded sheep (those who God calls his own) are surely on God's mind and in his heart in their distress. God says that even HE will seek out all of the scattered hurting and wounded sheep that the false shepherds have scattered!
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
These false shepherds have fed themselves and not the sheep of God's pasture. They have grown fat and the sheep have grown lean. They have neglected and abused the sheep that Jesus was sacrificed for and loves so, but rest assured that they will be held accountable for their abuse one day.
They are already judged by God
2 Peter 3
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.