12 Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14 and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Jesus likens the church to a flock of sheep. He is the Chief shepherd, pastors are shepherds, and wolves are those who infiltrate a flock in order to devour the sheep. Sometimes wolves pretend to be one of the sheep, and sometimes one of the shepherds. The latter is what happened to the churches in Galatia. Shepherds and wolves serve different masters. Shepherds serve Jesus, for Jesus’ glory whereas wolves serve themselves, for their own glory. In Galatians 4:12-20, we see at least five contrasts between shepherds who love the flock, and wolves who devour the flock. 1) Shepherds are flexible, and will change everything but the gospel for your good; wolves are often inflexible, not changing anything but the gospel. 2) Shepherds trust in the sovereignty of God, even through suffering; wolves trust in their own works. And if you’re suffering, they often believe it is due to your sin or God’s displeasure. 3) Shepherds will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it; wolves tell you what you want to hear, even when they should tell you the truth. 4) Shepherds love you like a parent and want you to be dependent on Jesus; wolves use you like a prostitute and want you to be dependent on them. 5) Shepherds want you to be more like Jesus; wolves want you to be more like them. You need shepherds who love, lead, feed, and protect you. But more than anything, you need a Chief Shepherd. His name is Jesus, and he loves us so much he laid down his life for us.
1. Was there anything from the sermon, big idea, or Galatians 4:12-20 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
2. What has particularly struck you about the nature and conduct of a true Shepherds’ ministry? What about a Wolves’?
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17
3. According to Hebrews 13:17, why do we need pastors? Practically, how do you think we should “obey” and “submit” to our leaders?
In 1 Peter 5:4, we are told that Jesus is our “Chief Shepherd.” In addition, in chapter 2 verse 25, Peter says Jesus is the “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
4. In what ways does it comfort you to know that Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and Overseer of your soul?
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
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