As in Jesus' day, we are not without our modern day Pharisees - hypocritical and self-righteous individuals, who pride themselves on their observance and adherence to religious and denominational doctrines of men, duties, and responsibilities with little regard to obeying God's Word. Placing more emphasis on the outward show of salvation than the renewing of the mind and formation of an intimate and personal relationship with the Savior.
"Misery and sorrow unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Misery and sorrow unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like unto whited grave, which indeed appears beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so, you outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matthew 23:25-28).
In Hearing My Voice (Part 1), we established Christ as The Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd - One Fold and One Shepherd! However, when Christ ascended up into heaven, He gave gifts unto men for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ. One of those gifts were that of a Pastor - Jesus' under-shepherds called to lead and care for God's people. "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding" (Jeremiah 3:15).
The office of the under-shepherd, just like all the offices and gifts in the Body of Christ, is an extension of Jesus' ministry in the earth. In his pastoral work, a good under-shepherd is watchful and most importantly, loves the flock God has entrusted into his care. He is responsible for feeding God's people and giving them instructions in righteousness! God uses the under-shepherds to fine-tune, polish up, and improve the saints - not the 'aints.' You do not have to teach people how to do wrong, or how to sin because it is in us all from birth - that sin nature. As under-shepherds of God's flock, we have to teach His people how to live and walk in this newness of life they are not accustomed to. We not only have to do the will of God ourselves, but we have to teach others to do His will also - that is if we want to hear the Lord say, "Good and faithful servant, well done."
The role of the under-shepherd is not always a popular one. The flock does not always want to be protected, guided, corrected, and re-directed - the rod and staff offend them because they have turned away from the truth. At times, the under-shepherd encounters so-called believers who have itching ears, not wanting to endure sound doctrine. This is why they follow after 'hirelings' in their lust for preachers and teachers, evangelists and prophets who will please and appease their sensibilities.
HOWEVER, UNLIKE THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND UNDER-SHEPHERD, the 'hireling' does not care about the sheep, their well-being does not concern him the least bit. Why should he? The sheep does not belong to him he is only the hired help, in it purely for the material reward. He does not care if the sheep are scattered, tossed to and fro with every doctrine of man. His only objective is to fleece the sheep for whatever he can get out of them - leaving them broken and destroyed, vulnerable to ravenous wolves who are lying in wait to deceit them.
The flock of God has a duty and responsibility to work out their own soul's salvation with fear and trembling. The sheep has a duty and responsibility to pray and seek God's face daily that they may know the Spirit of God. You cannot have a second-hand relationship with the Father, you cannot have a back door relationship with the Father - you have got to get to know Him for yourself. Follow a leader only as he or she is following Christ!
If you are stuck in the mud, Jesus is a Savior - 'The Good Shepherd' who will never leave you or forsake you!
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).