I PETER 2:21-25

There are two great needs of mankind in the world today:

1.  Remember that prior to salvation Christians were at one time unsaved, without hope, without God, and on their way to a Christ less eternity in hell; but the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed them out of it.

Ye [you] has reference to believers.  Were as sheep going astray is a reference to Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.”   Ye were indicates continuous action in past time.  This is the way we used to be all the time. We were sheep going astray which suggests that we were being misled or wandering about, but were going in the wrong direction.  Which brings us to the second great need.

2.  After salvation God expects the Christian to live in a way that glorifies God and brings pleasure to Him.  (Isaiah 43:7; I Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 4:11)  However, some have strayed and need to return to the Shepherd of their souls.

I Peter 2:25, But indicates a strong contrast.  Believers are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Now indicates at the present time.  Are returned suggests turned about, returned, or were converted.  Its tense suggests action which occurred at some point in time in the past, and the fact that we returned in the past suggests that we are still where we returned.  We are not longer wandering away.

We returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

  • Christ is referred to as the Chief Shepherd in I Peter 5:4.
  • He also referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11, 14.
  • A shepherd is a sheep herder, one who looks after his sheep.
  • Here it refers to the One and only Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • He is also referred to as the Bishop of your souls.  Bishop means overseer, guardian or superintendent.  He superintends our very lives, overseeing them.  We need to be living for  Him.  (adapted from Notes on I & II Peter & Jude, second edition, 1993, revised 1994; p. 43; Dr. James A Qurollo)

There is a great need that believers have to return to the Lord.  Believers need to always remember what they were which is true of all men and women.

1.  Believers had been sheep going astray. In other words they had wandered away from God.  Satan using the temptations of the world had been extremely successful with his temptations of the greener grass of the world, its food, drugs and pleasures.  Some Christians had wanted to live and wander around as they pleased.

  • They wanted to be left alone to do their own thing.  They did not want to be under the authority of a sovereign God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying ‘all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'”  (Matthew 28:18, NKJV)  Therefore they had turned away from God and his green pastures [His blessings] and looked to the world to supply their needs in contradiction to:

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

2.  Now, however, believers had returned to the Shepherd of their soul.    They had repented (I John 1:9) and turned back to God.

The shepherd is a picture of Christ, a picture of the love, peace, joy, care, provision, protection and security which He alone gives to those who turn to Him and follow Him day by day.  When we come to Him, He takes complete responsibility [charge] for the care of our lives.  Something special occurs when we trust Christ as Savior.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in heavenly places IN CHRIST.”  (Ephesians 1:3, emphasis added, NKJV)

As our shepherd Christ is watching over our souls and looking after them. William Barclay says that Jesus is our Overseer, Caretaker, Guardian, Protector, Guide and Director.   (The letters of James and Peter, p. 258)  When we have strayed from God and His path on which he blesses His children, the question is, how do we get our life straightened out?

“And saying, Repent ye:  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Mathew 3:2, KJV)

“Blessed are they that mourn:  for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4, KJV)

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  (Acts 2:38)

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  (Acts 3:19, see also Acts 8:22; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 3:13; Ezekiel 18:21, KJV)

The Shepherd in detail:

The Shepherd leads and shepherds the sheep.

  • He loves the sheep as His own.
  • He must lead them to the green pastures and still waters.
  • He must see that they are nourished and protected.
  • He must see that they are given the very best care possible.

1.  He feeds the sheep even if He has to gather them in His arms and carry them one by one to the feeding pasture.

“He shall feed the flock like a shepherd:  he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”  (Isaiah 40:11)

2.  He guides the sheep tot he pasture and away from the rough places and steep cliffs.

“The LORD  is my shepherd:  I shall NOT WANT.  He maketh me to lie down in GREEN PASTURES:  he leadeth me beside the STILL WATERS.  He RESTORETH my soul:  he leadeth me in the paths of RIGHTEOUSNESS for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW OF DEATH, I will FEAR NO evil:  for thou art with me; they rod and they staff they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23: 1-4, emphasis added, KJV)

3.  He seeks and saves the sheep who get lost.

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.  How think ye? If a man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?”  (Matthew 18:11-12, KJV)

“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick…”  (Ezekiel 34:16, KJV)

4.  He protects the sheep.  He even sacrifices His life for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd:  the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  (John 10:11, KJV)

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”  (Hebrews 13:20, KJV)

5.  He restores the sheep who go astray and returns them.

“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”  (I Peter 2:25, KJV)

6.  He rewards the sheep for obedience and faithfulness.

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”  (I Peter 5:4, KJV)

7.  He shall keep sheep separate from the goats.

“And before him shall be gathered all nations:  and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”  (Matthew 25:32-33, KJV)

APPLICATION:

What is the status of your life?

Have you really accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?

If you have not returned to the Shepherd of your souls in the sense we have been thinking about;  you should listen to Jesus for He said there are only two important roads in this life that one can follow.

One leads to heaven and one leads to hell.

The road to hell is traveled by those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ and continue on the self-centered lifestyle they want more than God’s free gift of eternal life.

The other road is traveled by those who have returned to the Shepherd of their souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christ called this road narrow and hard to find.  The road you travel is your decision and yours alone.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)

So the obvious question is which road are you traveling?  The one that leads to Heaven or the one that leads to Hell.  It’s your choice, we present the biblical truth but you must decide what you will believe.

Consider this, when you are traveling a really nice spacious road where many are walking through the park and not even notice a small gate leading to a cramped, difficult path.  Even though a lot may notice the small gate, they would generally choose the easier and well-traveled road.

FACT:  People tend to feel more comfortable and secure when they observe many on the same course.  It gives them confidence to be in step with the majority and not to be looked upon disdainfully for being different.

As we saw Jesus taught that when it comes to one’s course in life, the broad road should not be the path one chooses when dealing with life. Although it appears to be the right choice, Jesus said that the broad path leads to loss and ruin.

By contrast, the difficult path requiring one to break away from the crowd is the way that leads to life [heaven].

For those who heard what Jesus had to say, the decision is to accept Him as the promised Messiah and the Son of God [Savior] and travel the narrow road.  Then to follow His example and teaching proved to be the difficult path, the one leading to life.

Also recognize that once one truly accepts Jesus as personal Savior, that person finds the narrow road as one that resulted in disapproval by the world, reproach and even the possibility of violent treatment.

On a map you can see many roads into any major city.  You can pick whatever route that suits you.  Many people think the same thing about variety among churches—They will say we are all on different roads to the same place.

But what did Jesus say about the two different roads? He said that there are different roads but only one goes to heaven and it is narrow and rough to travel.

In John 4, we have seen the same truth taught but with different characters.  Jesus met a woman at the well and she immediately pointed out that her people worshiped differently for His.  (John 4:19-20)  Jesus did not reply that both roads led to the same place.  He said that one road was right and the other was wrong (John 4:22), and that if she wished to please God, her worship must be  “in truth (John 4:24).

When we listen to Acts 15: 1-31, we find that the apostles disputed with some who believed in Jesus but taught error about what one must do to be saved.  Instead of concluding that there were different roads to heaven, they gave notice to the churches that one road was right and the other was wrong.

The idea of “different roads” is used to avoid discussing different religious teachings and practices.  After all, does doctrine really matter if your attitude is right?  Oh, yes it does according to the Bible.  The Bible says that there are doctrines that God hates (Revelation 2:15), and some doctrines are of demons (I Timothy 4:1).  Taking heed to doctrine is necessary for salvation (I Timothy 4:16; II John 9), because obedience to God’s “form of doctrine: is what makes one free from sin. (Romans 6:17-18).  Even many who say they believe in Jesus are on the wrong road because they do not obey.  (Luke 6:46; Matthew 7:21-23)

Multiple roads enter the picture when men choose their own ways, but only God’s way is right and leads to heaven…the narrow road.  God says:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  (Proverbs 14:12)

According to the Bible many are on the broad road, the comfortable road but that leads to hell and eternal separation from God.  A lot of people are on different roads, but they are not all headed for Heaven.  Which road are you on and in which direction are you heading?  The road you are traveling is the one YOU have chosen.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16, NKJV)