Excerpts from “The Battle of the Shepherds for Man’s Allegiance”

“The pathway of sin is not only unintelligent; it is a state of mental abortion. It is a state of mad persistency in foolishness. It is a state of violating every true intellectual thought that could ever be issued as to why man should prefer the false way of life rather than the true way of life.”

“Many church bodies seem not aware in the least that they are admonishing their constituents to seek to get certain blessings from God that they may consume them upon themselves. Thus we see that this spirit to get and to live a selfish gratification can go all the way from the depraved things of life into the very sanctuary that is supposed to represent God. And we have a multitude of people who are professing to be servants of God so that they may benefit by it, if not in this life, in the life to come that they may be spared the consequences.”

‘If anybody is going to be won to the Lord then, they have to be won to confidence. The apostle John said “perfect love casteth out fear.” And so the shepherd of the sheep wants us to walk in happy confidence and in tender love.’

‘We also see this in verse 4, the last part, “for they know His voice.” How wonderful is the grace of the living God. This wonderful shepherd has a personal interest we notice in verse 3, “to him the porter openeth and the sheep hear his voice and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out.” God is not dealing with us in mass. The Shepherd wants to know us personally. Isn’t that wonderful? How glorious is the privilege of being a child of God. He calls us by name; the hairs of our head are numbered the Lord says. So great is God’s knowledge of our circumstances and of our needs. He is kind, we notice. “He leadeth them” not driveth them. The oriental shepherd never stood behind his herd with a whip and chased them along to encounter dangers before he did, or to explore the area where they were going to see whether anything would happen to them before he arrived. And this Shepherd leads us, and he goes before.’

“I am reminded of some of the scenes I saw down on the farm. Here we have these mother hens in a nice box with all facilities that were needed and here were the vertical sticks on the front of that box. And the little chicks ran out through those sticks and seemed to get quite a distance away. Then a little disturbance would come and they knew where to go back they would go with a great scurry, and if the old mother hen was aware of those situations, she invited them. Many times it seems like she had different sounds for different arrangements and different conditions. At least the chicks seemed to do various things in response to certain manifestations. And so they had the privilege of going in and out, having the guardianship of protection, having the watchcare of tender love, and yet having the freedom to explore the acceptable avenues of life. Also the oriental shepherd had his sheepfold which had a narrow door to it, and there he would examine everyone as it came in at night to see if it had some burrs upon it, to see if it had sores that needed attention. How tender is the viewpoint of the overshadowing shepherdhood of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

‘Let us look at what they have to receive from their shepherd. We notice from the Lord’s words in John 10:1 that he is a thief and a robber. “He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” Why, do you mean that folks would go after a thief and a robber? Is that a possibility? And back in the 8th chapter of John, our blessed Lord during those deep days of controversy, said in verse 44, “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father (or the desires of your father) ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own for he is a liar and the father of it.” In this shepherd then, there is no truth. The external is merely a veneer by which deception is practiced. Oh, how agonizing to think that people have an interest in following this shepherd, and by the way, “the lusts of your father, ye will do” that of course cannot refer primarily to what we call the base things of life, because the devil doesn’t even have a body to practice what we call the base things of life. And so it has to refer to that inner disposition of supreme selfishness of heart that is totally wrong. But people can be of their father, the devil, and be in religious garb and be in elevated places in society. And he is the angel of light which goeth about seeking to persuade all to follow him. We notice also from this verse that he intruded upon the sheepfold. He doesn’t own anything; he’s not the rightful possessor of anything. He hasn’t created those whom he has been successful in persuading to follow him. He’s an intruder; he’s a robber. He has come up another way, the Lord Jesus says. And he doesn’t come to benefit anybody we notice in verse 10that he comes to steal, to kill and to destroy. You mean that there are people who adhere themselves to a great and glorious being who doesn’t intend to do them one ounce of good? You mean they’re attracted to spend their lives in allegiance to a great personality who is seeking their ill, actually? How it should stir our hearts to give our every energy to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.’

“The Christian produces by God’s grace that inner buoyancy of joy in spirit because his heart is right with God, and the joy springs up from within and flows out through the life.”

‘I took out of my file this morning a very pathetic picture which I look at every now and then. Every large stock yard has had great technical and scientific advance in the processing of the animals that come there. But there is one thing, the last I heard of this, that has never been changed or never has been improved upon. A big meat packing house in Chicago had a few years ago, 16 what they call “Judas goats”. This picture I have shows one of these goats rushing down the ramp, leading the sheep up the ramp to the slaughter. And here he’s pretending to really have something for them. They were down here in this pen. They turned this goat in; he’s been very carefully trained. At the end of the pathway when he gets through the escape door that he has, they give it something very good so this goat will want to get back. The whole thing is a bated procedure. And so he is turned loose in the pen and starts to baa, gets everybody excited, “Here’s the way to go right here, come on, come on, come on. I’m the one who has something to offer to you; you’re looking for leadership, aren’t you?” “Yes.” “Well, this is the way; I have it. Follow my ways and you shall receive the real benefits of existence, I have it, come on.” And so we have him rushing down the ramp and we have the herd coming after with great fervency and some of them can’t even hear the leader but they’re running because the rest of them are running and we have a great disturbance going up that ramp. As the slaughter pen is arrived at, they have a nice little gate that this goat slips out through and on they go rushing past the gate. “Where is he that offered these things to us. Where is our leader?” Lo and behold, he’s been spared the consequences of the pathway and the sheep go on through. But justice has its day, too. They used to only let one of these goats live about 12 years and one of these days the gate doesn’t open and the goat has to go along with the rest. That’s the picture of the world rushing madly on. No wonder Jesus said what He did in the 9th chapter of Matthew when He saw the multitudes (vs.36) “He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd.” But isn’t it wonderful that this text says that “ye were as sheep going astray.” Thank God there can be a break to these situations. Thank God there can be a renewal of the soul and a deliverance from falsehood, an awakening to see all the foolish stupidities of life and the glorious purity of the true shepherd and wonderful life that he comes to bestow upon men so that we become awakened and drop out of the old crowd and go after the true shepherd no matter what it takes, no matter what it costs.’

‘The Lord does not force us down into humiliation. He so embarrasses us by his own humiliation, that we want to go lower to join Him. And thus in the process of the cross of Christ, the heart is humbled where to the point it says, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”‘

‘And so this text says “but did now return (or did now turn yourselves) into a new directive of life. Here we have the evidence of true and genuine repentance. Turn away from all these false things. Shouldn’t it delight our hearts today, irrespective of our problems, irrespective of our pains, irrespective of every limitation, that there is an existence in the universe, a true area and an atmosphere of holiness and pure virtue. Shouldn’t that thrill our souls? That we do not need to live a life of falsehood.’

“Oh, the tenderness of the true shepherd and bishop (overseer) of our souls. Yes, there is a tremendous battle of the shepherds. There is no question as to the outcome as far as the shepherds are concerned. The true shepherd is going to be victorious. But his problem is not one of force; it is one of allegiance. It is not one of a measured energy; it is that of inner persuasion that sinners may turn from their sinful and selfish ways.”

Click here to read the entire document by Gordon Olson.

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