Guarding The Priceless Flock
At our old house our neighbor had goats. He placed a donkey in the flock with one assignment, “Guard, defend, keep watch.” During the day I’d watch the donkey take one of the big billys. The buck would strut his stuff, lower his horns, charge, and hit the donkey full force in the chest. The donkey just stood there until he tired of the game. Then he showed his teeth, stomped his feet, and the arrogant goat would retreat in terror. This donkey ruled the herd by day, but when it counted, at night, he failed.
Paul warned the church leaders of Ephesus that the flock they were supposed to guard was priceless. The purchase price for each one was the sacrificial blood of Jesus. The greatest danger would arise not from the outside but from inside the church. Paul called these false teachers “savage wolves,” and their M.O. would be to pridefully call others to themselves instead of teaching that everything depended on grace alone.
“Watch yourselves and all the flock that the Spirit of God has appointed you overseers. Shepherd the church of God which He brought with His own blood. I know that after I leave savage wolves will come against you not sparing the flock. And out of you will rise up men speaking twisted things to draw away disciples after them.
Therefore be alert remembering that for three years day and night I did not cease from warning each one of you with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance with all those who have been set apart for God.” Acts 20:28-32
Once when some of my grandkids were visiting, they ran into the house. “Papa, you’ve got to come. One of the goats has his head caught in the fence.” I thought I could just go and pull some wire and set the trapped goat free. Sure enough the head was caught, but when I looked over the fence, there was no body. The coyotes, during the night, had done their savage, deadly thing.
LORD, raise up pastors, like Paul, who will keep your “word of grace” at the center of their teaching and guard their flocks from false teachers who add human requirements to your message of grace. Help me to guard my own heart and allow your Spirit to move me to tears as I plead with my brothers and sisters in Christ to guard their hearts against not coyotes from the fields but disguised wolves moving inside the fence.
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