Apostolic Shepherding

7189604_sThe Great Shepherd and Apostle of our Confession, Jesus Christ the Lord, has told us what to look for in those who are true shepherds, after the model which He Himself demonstrated while in His life on earth.  In the ninth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, as the Lord looked over the crowd of people, He uttered a cry for assistance in the great work of shepherding the flock of God, which contains three characteristics of what He was looking for in those who would continue His ministry as shepherds of the sheep.

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’ ” (Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV)

THE CONDITION OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds CARE about the CONDITION of the flock.  Jesus was moved with compassion; He genuinely cared about their condition in all aspects.  Most shepherds who are called by God begin with sincere motives that put the needs of the people ahead of personal agendas, empire building, and ladder-climbing in the Kingdom of God.  Some, however, have become more concerned about the “contributions” of the flock, rather than the “condition” of the flock.  As shepherds, we must maintain the heart of God for the people, not using them as means to an end, but placing the value on each individual that God has assigned to humanity, and serving them accordingly.

THE GATHERING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds GATHER the flock of God.  Jesus noted that the sheep were “scattered” without a protecting shepherd, making them more vulnerable to the attack of wolves and other predator beasts.  The shepherd is motivated to gather the flock of God, not for numbers’ sake alone and reaching corporate ministry goals, but for their need of protection and direction.  God’s people are to develop the nature of a sheep, which is to “follow the voice of another.”  Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice.” (John 10:27).  Christians must be gathered together for the protection offered by a spiritual covering, but also to learn how to be led by the Spirit of God as a result of learning to walk with the flock under the guidance of the local shepherds.  As new believers, we don’t know His voice clearly yet; we are often confused about direction in our lives and, having the loving counsel of seasoned shepherds, we gain confirmation that we are truly hearing the voice of the Lord.  The goal of true shepherds is to train people to hear His voice and to be led by the Spirit of God.

THE STRENGTHENING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds STRENGTHEN the flock of God.  Jesus also noted that the sheep were “weary” – they needed rest, but they also needed the strength that comes from proper nourishment.  A true shepherd wants to produce strong Christians who are able to complete the journey through this life in victorious fashion that glorifies God.  This means preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God, including “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” (see 2 Timothy 3:16).  Believers need not only milk (not too much candy!), but also meat (and strong meat) of the Word to grow from babyhood to manhood and become reproducing disciples.  True shepherds know that the future of the flock depends on the healthy reproduction of the flock.  As a shepherd, if my sheep are not reproducing more sheep as a result of being properly fed, trained, and equipped, then the future of the flock is jeopardized.  As true shepherds, let us CARE, GATHER and STRENGTHEN the flock of God according to the apostolic model of Christ.

Advertisements

The Kingly Anointing

30085725_sIn 1997 I wrote a book entitled He Cutteth Out Rivers, describing the difference between the Prophetic, Priestly, and Kingly anointings, and how believers can flow at all levels.  Since that time, God has been speaking specifically about the Kingly Anointing that has been released upon the Church and with greater detail regarding characteristics of this particular anointing.

OUR POSITION AS KINGS

First of all, we should understand that all believers already have the status of a “king” according to Revelation 1:5-6, which says, “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us Kings and Priests unto God and His Father…”.  Jesus is called the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in 1 Timothy 6:15.  The “other” kings and lords mentioned in this verse happen to be those who are “in Christ” and already have the positional status mentioned.  We must now learn how to actually live out this positional truth in our everyday lives by renewing our minds to the Word and acting accordingly in thought, word and deed.  Glory to God! We are who He says we are, we have what He says we have, and we can do what He says we can do!

OUR FUNCTION AS KINGS

Current apostolic revelation emphasizes kingdom government concepts, which are the truths that Jesus will run the universe by for eternity.  We are just in the “training for reigning” and “schooling for ruling.”  Part of our training and schooling includes the nature and role of kings in the kingdom of God.  The truths regarding the nature and role of prophets and priests have been restored to us in recent moves of God, and now is the time for kings to understand their function and biblical role in the restoration of the church.

Apostle Paul told us in Romans 5:17 that everyone who receives the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness “shall REIGN IN LIFE by one, Jesus Christ.”  It is kings who reign by exercising dominion in all realms of life and ruling with character, wisdom, power and wealth.  There is a kingly anointing that has been released upon the restoration church, and we are seeing apostolic leaders raised up with a generational blessing upon their lives because they have become sons and daughters of the house, having learned to serve those with an Elijah anointing upon their lives.  It is time for these “sons and daughters” to partake of the next level of anointing that God is pouring out upon us by receiving the revelation being given and following those who are walking in it.

THE KINGLY EXAMPLE

The Gospel of Matthew is written mainly to the Jews to prove that Jesus was indeed the awaited Messiah who fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming King.  This gospel portrays a King teaching others how to be kings.  “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born KING OF THE JEWS? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2).  Jesus shows us in this gospel how to live and reign in this life as a king in the kingdom of God.  He totally ruled over the kingdom of darkness through apostolic power and authority.  He also established rule in the hearts of men by love and servant-leadership that would make any sacrifice for their welfare.  He won the confidence of those he served by his kingly character, wisdom, and power.  He demonstrated the unlimited resources available to a king ruling under the authority of Omnipotence.

A POOR KING?

According to tradition, “poor Jesus” was born in a stable to “poor parents” who were turned into the night when they showed up at the door at the inn “begging for lodging.”  According to the truth or the Gospel, Joseph went to the hotel to “rent lodging” because he could afford it, but the hotel was fully booked for the night, so they went to the stable because Mary was about to deliver the Christ.  Shortly after the birth of Jesus, wise men arrived and “opening their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11).  There is a principle demonstrated here whereby one always entered the presence of a King bearing gifts in honor and respect.  This not only occurred at Jesus’ birth, but also during His life and ministry (see Luke 8:1-3).  Jesus walked in the wealth of a king while on the earth and never had shortage.  Have you ever seen a poor king?

It is the kingly anointing that is attracting wealth these days.  We should not be after the “loot” but after the “root.”  We must develop the character and wisdom of kings, and then the power and wealth will follow.  The message of the Kingly anointing is for those who are ready for maturity as saints.  We can see from the Old Testament that the kings who ruled without character and wisdom failed and led people to destruction, but those who ruled with Christ-like qualities had long and successful reigns that glorified God and blessed people.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS KINGS

I believe the kingly anointing is for the apostolic church which has embraced responsibility for the advance of the Kingdom in this present age.  It is obvious from the past behavior of many Christians that a person can experience prophetic anointing and minister to God as priests at the altar while still living fleshly, self-centered lives.  However, the kingly anointing will flow through character and wisdom produced in the lives of those who have decided to “wholly follow the Lord” in all the restoration truths given to us up until now in the Church.  The kingly anointing was given to His disciples (those who “left all to follow Him”).  We are the people who live in this tremendous time of restoration of all things, so let’s determine to “be all” and have all” that God provided and desires for our lives, so that we can demonstrate the authority and power of the Kingdom of God in this present age.