BY: ELAINE COOK
TO BRING THEM IN
WE ARE ALL ONE
THE RESTORED IMAGE
THERE IS NO SIN
THE GATHERING PLACE
“As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his flock that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep. Therefore will I rescue My flock and they shall no more be a prey…nor shall the beast of the earth devour them. I will feed My sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:12, 22, 28.
Smiley lifted her head as she sensed that she heard a word in the little breeze that was caressing her ears. She left the temptations of the green grass that lay before her and concentrated hard. Was that the Shepherd’s Voice she had heard? It had been a long time since she had heard it, but it was drawing her as His Voice always did. “Come away with Me. Come away with Me,” it said.
At the sound of that gentle, loving Voice, a great longing arose within her woolly breast to feed once again in the flock of the Chief Shepherd. He always cared faithfully for His sheep. He let none go hungry, nor did he neglect them so that the beasts of the field came in and ravaged the flock. In this pasture the weak and sickly among them were not cared for. Rather, with force and cruelty they were ruled over.
Oh, how she longed to be in the care of the Great Shepherd! Then could she lie down and find that place of sweet rest that all good sheep long after. Again, the breeze seemed to say, “Come to Me. Come to Me.” This time it sounded louder and not so far away. Smiley decided to talk to Woolly about it. She nuzzled up close to her friend and asked, ” Did you hear the Voice of our Great Shepherd calling us to follow Him?”
Woolly jumped. “Oh me, oh my! Yes, I did hear it, but I am afraid to leave by myself.”
“Couldn’t we go together?” Smiley suggested. “I’d like that. I’d like to leave this place and find our True Shepherd again.”
With a mutual “Baa” they agreed, and then sauntered slowly away from the rest of the flock, still hearing that Voice urging them on. As soon as they were out of sight, they romped with glee to be out of the sheepfold where the hireling had kept them in bondage and ruled over them with cruelty. They rejoiced that they had obeyed the Good Shepherd’s Voice to “Come out.”
TO BRING THEM IN
To their surprise and delight, Smiley and Woolly met others of their kind who had left the familiar sheep fold to search after the Good Shepherd. It wasn’t long before they decided it would be a good idea to join together and establish their own sheepfold. They were sure that they knew how “to do it right.” They would never make the same mistakes that had been made in the sheep folds they had left behind!
So, they found a place where there was a good-sized haystack so that they would be sure of their food supply. Then, they invited a shepherd who had a reputation for being a good teacher of sheep, to come and be their shepherd.
Alas, the shepherd was cut out of the same mold as all the others they had known and gradually, the same old bondages began to creep in until the sheep felt stifled. They didn’t know what to do. The Great Shepherd had called them to come out. Why did they not feel any freer than before?
The answer came soon when a great wind arose and lifted the haystack up and scattered it to the winds. All the provision they had made for themselves was gone! What should they do?
In the sighing of the wind as it began to die down, they heard, unmistakably, the Great Shepherd’s Voice: “I brought you out to bring you in.” Suddenly, each sheep realized that He had brought them out to cause them to run hard after Him and to establish a close, intimate relationship with Him so that they could walk where He walked. They could find where He feeds His flock at noon – at the highest point of light and spiritual understanding. That is the reason He called them to leave the “under-shepherd’s” tents behind. This was to be an “alone” walk with Him where He would teach them of Himself and they would learn what was in their own hearts. In short, they understood that He wanted them to yield up their soul life to Him so that His Spirit might rule within them.
This was a new concept to them. So new that each sheep happily left that devastated field and walked away, seeking the Great Shepherd – to know Him as He really is!
WE ARE ALL ONE
After trudging along many a weary day seeking the Great Shepherd, Smiley and Woolly met up with an old friend, Scotty, who said, “Oh, it’s so exciting! There is a special camp for sheep that you simply must attend! It is called “One Spirit” and everyone is welcome there. There is no such thing as a goat or a wolf or a coyote. They tell us we are all sheep! There are not some who belong to the Great Shepherd and some who are not of His fold. Everybody is the same – there is one Lord, one faith, and one Spirit. There is no such thing as a goat, a wolf, or a coyote. Because they all have a spirit, they all are counted as sheep. Isn’t it marvelous?”
Smiley didn’t know what to think. It would be very nice if this was so, but she had never heard of the Great Shepherd saying such a thing. Well, they’d just go and see if it were true, so they followed Scotty to the campgrounds of “One Spirit Camp.”
As they settled down at the edge of the field they heard the under-shepherd say, “For sheep to come into the unity that is going to bring all the other creatures in among us, we have to have the vision to know that the Great Shepherd is in every creature. There are not goats, and wolves, and coyotes. There is only one faith, one spirit, one Great Shepherd. There is no such thing as “a sheepfold” and creatures “outside” of that fold. Because we have a spirit, we are all one! If you breathe, you are a sheep.”
Smiley and Woolly surveyed the motley crew that was listening to the orator. There were creatures of all kinds. Besides sheep, there were those who were traditional enemies of the sheep, looking very smug to hear that they were now being classed as sheep. It didn’t matter anymore if they knew the Great Shepherd, as long as they had a spirit, they qualified as sheep.
Woolly whispered to Smiley, “I don’t like the sound of this. It makes knowing our Great Shepherd unnecessary. Anyone can be a sheep without ever passing under His rod. I don’t agree with that! I remember the wonderful change that came over me when I came that close to Him. I have never been the same since. I was born from above. My heart’s longing now is to be like Him whom I love with my whole heart. When I consider the sacrifice of His life for me, to reconcile me to Himself, how could I discount that and say that all creatures are sheep?”
Smiley agreed, with tears in her eyes. “Let’s proceed on our journey. I don’t like how those wolves are looking at me with their hungry eyes. Why, I do believe they would bite and devour us if we were not in this company. I remember what the Great Shepherd told us: ‘This is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in the Great Shepherd. He that hath Him hath life; and he that hath not the Great Shepherd hath not life.’
“I do not see how any creature could be changed into a sheep unless the Great Shepherd imparted His life unto them. Let us leave this place. I feel very uncomfortable here. He is telling us that the Great Shepherd holds no creature accountable for his sin – that there is no sinner outside the sheepfold of the Great Shepherd. I can’t believe that the wolves here have no desire to destroy me. Let us flee before the oration is over. You can’t tell when they might turn on us, – for all their declarations of being sheep, they don’t look any different! I cannot see any love for our Great Shepherd in their eyes.”
THE RESTORED IMAGE
As the two labored on, they became hot and weary and decided to seek shelter under a large overspreading tree. To their dismay, there was another sheep there – an old ram. He had two sets of horns – one straight, and one rounded. Smiley exclaimed, “Oh, he is of the ancient breed of Jacob sheep!” He was talking, even though they could see no one else around. They decided to lie down on the other side of the tree and listen. This is what they heard him say:
“What shall I say before Thee, who are the Judge of all the world? I have nothing to bring before Thee. Here I stand, naked and bare in Thy presence, and fall down before Thy Face bewailing my misery, and fly to Thy great mercy, though I am not worthy of it. Cast me down, I pray Thee, to the ground in my innate self, and kill the self of mine through Thy death, that I may live no more to myself, seeing in myself works nothing but sin. Therefore, I pray thee, cast down to the ground this wicked beast, which is full of false deceit and self-desire and deliver this poor soul of mine from its heavy bonds.”
Woolly said to Smiley, “These words reach me at the deepest level in my soul. Do you think Jacob would speak to us if we approached him?”
Smiley answered, “He must be seeking the Great Shepherd even as we are, so let us make ourselves known to him.” They approached Jacob timidly saying, “Please sir, could you tell us more of the Great Shepherd whom our soul loveth?”
Jacob looked upon them with delight. “It would be my pleasure to speak to you of things from above. That holy Jacob Boehme of years ago told us that God stirred Himself to produce creation. He was desirous of having children of His own kind. Creation was an act of the free will of God. God unfolded His eternal nature, and through his active love, or desire, He caused that which heretofore had been in Him merely as spirit (as an image contained in a piece of wood before the artist has cut it out,) to become substantial, corporeal.
“God longed after the visible substance of His similitude and image, and so created man. Man was created a pure virgin, after the form of the Eternal, with a pure mind and holy faculties in which dwelt no lust. His will was in God. He was to be a perfect symbol of God; to attain the great fountain of meekness and love welling up from the heart of God.
“Understand what you were before the fall; created to live eternally in love! Know how sin arose that you may lay hold of the remedy for it. The fire and light (which is the meekness and love of God) was in Adam. The fire of God is the root of all things, and the origin of life, the cause of all strength and power. Lucifer took offense at the light, the humility of God, and entered into the fierce might of the fire, for he would domineer. He turned away from the will of the Eternal, for the fierce power of the fire delighted him more than the meekness in the still habitation of God, and he became the prince of this world. He ever moveth in a fire, which consumeth all else to himself. The devil’s fire desires a body to devour and turn to nothing and to darkness.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Smiley, “these thing are so wonderful! Please tell us more.”
Jacob cleared his throat and continued, “The heavenly image, lost in Adam, the bright life of Christ, has been the birthright of man ever since the treader down of the serpent of self-will was promised. Christ restores this image through regeneration, by which man re-enters into the one Tree, Christ. This divine fire of the Spirit of Christ continually crushes the head of the serpent, i.e the desire of the flesh, beneath his feet, for the devil holds before the soul the unclean forbidden tree; for he would have inward dominion in man. When a man yields himself wholly to God, his will falls again into the unsearchable will of God. Such a man as Adam was before his fall shall rise again, and enter into, and eternally possess paradise. Man will enter again into the ‘speaking word’ and speak with God!”
Woolly and Smiley put their heads down on the grassy mound and closed their eyes. Such words were so pure and clean. They came from an unpolluted stream and brought life and peace to their souls. They were lost in the contemplation of the greatness of their beloved Shepherd and Bishop of their souls.
THERE IS NO SIN
After a blessed time with holy Jacob, the two sheep departed with grateful hearts for the cool drink of spiritual water, which they had received. The day was cool so they made good progress until they saw a crowd assembled beside the road and heard a voice crying aloud. As they drew near they stopped, out of curiosity, to listen.
A man was standing on a stool beside a covered wagon that was used for peddling healing potions. The peddler cried aloud: “God holds no man accountable for his sin! When you sin, it is not you doing it. We do have a scapegoat. It is not us. I, the new creation man, do not sin. Sin is ignorance and misuse of God’s law. Sin is not real. You only have to focus and reaffirm that which is good in you and you will be all right.”
Smiley and Woolly looked at each other in alarm. What kind of remedy was this that was being offered to the people? If men are not accountable for sin, then why did the Great Shepherd give His life for His sheep?
Woolly said: “John the beloved told us, ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.’ 1 John 1:8-10. And in the early church, “… many that believed came and confessed and shewed their deeds.”
Smiley added, “Why was the law given? Why did there need to be a perfect sacrifice of the Lamb, Jesus Christ? If the sheep were not held accountable, then why did we need our Shepherd to die for our sins? This belief makes a mockery of His sacrifice. Why, then, have a lake of fire? Why send preachers to the heathen? What comes of all the dire warnings throughout the old and new testaments if ‘God holds no man accountable for his sin?’ If such were so, our Lamb of God died in vain and so did all the martyrs.”
The huckster started passing out sugar-coated pills to the assembled crowd. The labels on them said, “LOVE” and it was the cure-all for every ill of humanity. It didn’t matter if it was human love, from self, or if it came from the Shepherd. It was all classed as the same thing: love, unconditional love.
Once again, the salesman’s voice cried aloud: “I have spoken to people who didn’t know anything about Christ and have sensed the compassion, the love of God within them. They have just never been brought into an understanding of God as I have known Him, but there is only one God. Folks, if someone is manifesting love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, meekness and temperance – that’s the fruit of the spirit. Have some more pills, folks. They’ll fix you up in no time!”
Smiley answered, “I think he should say that no one can manifest the fruits of the spirit unless he is a sheep and has been born from above through the agency of the Shepherd of the sheep. It is true that some can show forth some goodness from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even our own goodness is unacceptable to God. Isaiah told us that, “All our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”
Smiley and Woolly agreed with a smile. ‘Yes! And there were two things that could not ever be offered upon the altar to our Great Shepherd. They were: leaven and honey. Neither our sin nor our sweetness, or goodness was acceptable to Him. He is looking for “a new creature.” Those who are ignorant of God’s righteousness go about to establish their own righteousness, even though they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Rom. 10:3)
“I believe holy Jacob would agree that the power of the soul can also reproduce the ‘goodness’ of God. It is only a soulish power of love. Religion for thousands of years has reproduced the ‘fruit of the spirit.’ Man is ever trying to be good. That is the main focus of the teaching that some of the hirelings call “New Age.” Actually, it sounds like the same lie that the serpent fed to Adam and Eve. They say, ‘You are light, life and love. You are God.’ If a person is not born from above – and is not a sheep – all their goodness is as “filthy rags” in our Shepherd’s sight. The true fruit of the spirit comes only from His nature. It can only come forth from the Tree of Life, from a crucified life in the Lamb.”
Smiley and Woolly had agreed to by-pass the cities as much as possible. They were carefully trying to find their way around the next large place when they saw a large sign advertising Vanity Fair. It seemed there was no way to by-pass it. They had to go right through it. In so doing, their eyes took in a wide array of signs beckoning the curious and the complacent to come and taste their wares.
One sign said, “See God in Everybody”. Another said, “Know the Heart of God,” and another booth advertised: “God Sees No Evil.” There were more, but these were enough to stop the two friends in their tracks. This must be a place where you could learn more about the Great Shepherd! They should abide awhile and visit each of these wonderful booths. How fortunate they were to have found them. They had such an eagerness to learn about their lovely Shepherd that they barely had patience to wait in line at the booth that said: “God sees No Evil.” As the sheep settled down, the teacher began to say: “You cannot enter into the Holy of Holies and look with the eyes of God and see evil. You can’t do it! God’s eyes are too wonderful to behold evil. Don’t you know that you create your world around you? There is no evil or sin. There is only good and life. Only good can come from God! I can’t be good and I can’t be bad. I just AM! I can never change! All appearances, which testify to life and death, good and evil, yin and yen are never the truth! God is only good! There is no evil – it is but an illusion. I tell you, folks, the Book of Job should not even be in the Bible. A good God would never test a man like that! I have invented the world I see. Sin is not real, and all you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause.”
As his arguments started to wax bolder, Smiley and Woolly made themselves as small as they could and crept out of the room. They found a place where they could talk. Woolly said, “I just don’t know what to think. I feel upset inside, but, you know, our Shepherd is leading us into new pastures called the ‘ Kingdom of God’ and He has changed so many wrong concepts that we had held. How do we know what is truth for us now? I’m afraid.”
Smiley, who had more years of following the Great Shepherd, comforted her. “Remember when Job’s wife told him to curse God and die, Job replied, ‘What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ Job became a mighty overcomer through the chastening (child-training) of the Lord. The enemy hates to acknowledge that. You know, my dear companion, the Bible declares, ‘For by him (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him..’” (Col. 1:16)
Our Shepherd also told us, ‘If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ (I John 1:8) He also said of Himself: ‘I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.’ (Isa. 45:7)
Woolly was comforted by these words and said, “Perhaps I’ll feel better if we visit the booth ‘See God in Everybody.’ That sounds like a good one.” So they stood in the next line-up. The speaker wound up as if he were going to be heard a mile away. He started, “When you enter into the realm of Tabernacles you see nothing but Christ in his creation. You can see nothing but Christ in His creation. You can see man kneeling before a Buddhist statue and see Christ in him. Do you know it’s possible to be regenerated and saved without ever hearing the name of Jesus? If you don’t think that’s true, you don’t really know the heart of God. I declare to you that God is in every man. The spirit of the living God is in every man.” He paused for a breath and the two ewes rolled their eyes at each other. This didn’t sound at all like the voice of the Great Shepherd! They hastened out before they could hear another word.
Woolly said, “I may not be terribly bright, but I know one thing from experience: “You must be born again – born from above.” It doesn’t just tell us that in the Good Book. I have experienced it for myself. I know that I was a new creature with new desires and new attitudes after I received life from above. The things I loved before I then had no interest in and the things I hated, like the things of the spirit, I then loved. All this was made possible only through the power of the shed Blood of the Lamb of God. We overcome the flesh and the devil by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, loving not our lives unto death (Rev. 12:11) This doesn’t happen to the ones who are just practicing consciousness as they talk about here!
Smiley agreed, “Why, if a person was walking in falsity and error and someone said they saw nothing but Christ in them, wouldn’t that serve to establish them in their falsity? They would feel they were right when they were not. I’d say that the Great Shepherd could see every man perfect from His heavenly perspective because He has paid the price for the redemption of all mankind.
“Yet, on the earth it is still in the stages of being worked out. We know it takes line upon line, percept upon precept, days, months, years and even ages. Man cannot declare that done on the earth, which is yet in progress, yet in our hearts, we know that He is doing the work and shall finish it.
“Truly, no man can say he is other than he is. If he is unregenerate, we could draw him to the Shepherd by our good conduct toward him. But it is not being true to the man to say that he is complete and the Lamb is in him when he knows Him not and walks in falsity. That is not being true to the man, to meet his need where he is. I have learned that it is not wise to declare a thing true before it has been inworked. It can bring a snare. Why should a man seek for what he believes he already has? He is kept in his bondage and ignorance, believing he is in the truth and the Son of righteousness abides upon him when he knows Him not.”
“That rings true to my ears,” Woolly responded. “If the seed of God were in every man would it not have to be quickened at some point – like you would light a candle that was unlit? I’m not sure I like this place. It makes me feel creepy. I don’t feel the warmth of the Shepherd here at all.”
“There’s a booth over there called ‘The Cross.’ Perhaps we’ll find some truth there. Let’s try just this one more.” The woolly creatures moved across to the next booth where a barker was speaking through a big horn. “God’s will for you is perfect happiness. Our mission is to escape from crucifixion, not from redemption. There is no need for help to enter heaven, for you have never left. There is no God outside yourself that you need to pray to, for there is no God outside yourself. It was revealed to me that in my kingdom there is no reward as to what I do, neither is there any punishment. Since “I” and my Father are one, I can therefore be nothing else but the Father!”
Woolly started gasping for breath, “Let’s get out of here, I feel like I’m choking to death! I can’t stand another word!” They trotted as fast as their short, little legs could go and fled from all the enticements to walk an ” easy way” (their own way). With empty words promising great things had the hucksters of Vanity Fair tried to seduce them. To have agreed to them would have been to betray their Great Shepherd and they would not do that.
THE GATHERING PLACE
Not too far after they left Vanity Fair, they stopped to rest and pray. As soon as they were quiet, they heard a very familiar sound – the sound of their own kind! Their hearts beat with excitement. They had not met with many of their own kind for a long time. “I hope they love the True Shepherd,” Smiley remarked as they hurried to where the sound was coming from.
To their joy, they came into a large green meadow where other sheep were peacefully grazing. They looked up as they entered the meadow. “Welcome,” said one whom they learned was “Wiser”. Do you wish to eat in the pasture of the Great Shepherd and to lie down and rest here? All who have kept their hearts pure unto Him are welcome here.”
“Oh thank you, thank you!” cried Woolly. “You are so kind. We barely escaped from being snared in falsity at Vanity Fair. Did you pass through that place?”
“Yes, indeed,” replied Wiser. “We have endured temptation of every kind before we came to this place of still waters and green pastures and the presence of our Great Shepherd. But when we considered the Love that was poured out upon us by that Holy Lamb, how could we ever turn away from Him and choose our own way? We have all come to fear our own way more than anything else, for we have found that it is always a betrayer of that Holy Lamb and strives against the things of His Spirit. Some of the flock here would be pleased to share some of their experiences with you in order that you might be strengthened.”
Sunny, a young ewe with bright eyes, stepped close and said, “Welcome, friends. I had a hard time when they told me that the problem with mankind was simply a case of mistaken identity. Their solution was to merely awaken to my true “Godhood” by annihilating all sense of self-consciousness and personality. “I didn’t understand that at all so they explained that Buddha taught this 600 years before Jesus came on the scene. The doctrine was known as anatta, which means no self. I thought at first they meant death-to-self like Paul talked about. But this nirvana, or Buddhist’s heaven, is achieved by losing all sense of personal identity and duality so that nothing but a God-consciousness remains.
“I thought, at first that sounded pretty good. And the person who shared this warned us that it was true and it was from our Good Shepherd and we were not ever to judge it or condemn it. I didn’t know what to do. This leader is quite an authority on spiritual matters and I’d never want to even entertain the thought that he could possibly be wrong and is teaching falsity. I refused to think about it. I hid my face in my wool and pretended everything was all right even when my heart said it was not.
Finally, Wiser came along and found me in confusion and hiding my face. He reminded me of all that Jesus and His disciples taught concerning the need for repentance of sin, and redemption. This doctrine would make the new birth obsolete. It would mean that it was never even true in the first place. It would mean that Jesus really never understood the problem and so He was not qualified to provide the answer! If God-consciousness were the answer, it would be equivalent to our salvation. There would be no need for a sacrifice and no need for a Savior. I heard that I should just accept the fact that I am God, one congruent whole, and beside me there is no other.”
“Now,” Wiser said to me, “if there were any truth to that, why didn’t our Shepherd endorse it when He was here? That teaching would have saved him a lot of suffering on the cross. But He told us that all who had come before Him were thieves and robbers – and that included Buddha!
“We don’t condemn other sheep for being caught in this snare, but we are definitely to judge every matter to discern if it is true or not. If we refuse to judge, we leave ourselves an open prey to being deceived by wolves-in-sheep’s clothing. That’s scary. I remember the Good Shepherd saying that we sheep would judge the world, so I believe it’s right to judge a matter rather than be ensnared by falsity.”
Woolly and Smiley both nodded their heads and twitched their ears in agreement. “We are glad to learn of your testing. That helps us to understand things better. We also have been told never to judge a matter – as if that were really evil. I’ve been giving this some thought and I feel that we sheep have been confusing the two words “condemn” and “judge” somehow. It would be very foolish of us never to discern a matter to see if it is right for a follower of the Good Shepherd to believe or to do. If we didn’t ever know, we’d be liable to get eaten by the wolves, don’t you think?”
Wiser, who stood a head taller than any other sheep there, took up the topic and added his opinion to it. “In the Shepherd’s school I learned that there is a difference between those two words. Condemn means, first, ‘declaring guilty, or pronouncing the sentence.’ Next, it means ‘censuring other men’s persons, purposes, words, or actions, either rashly, unjustly, or uncharitably.’ I agree that we shouldn’t do that. That is truly unkind. “But we should judge. Judgment means: first, ‘the sentence or decision of a judge; second, ‘the spirit of wisdom and prudence, enabling one to know and discern right from wrong, and good from evil, to set right, decide, examine, come to a conclusion.’ There was a time when a wolf disguised himself as a sheep and came into our midst to take advantage of us. I discerned the cut of his jaw and knew his nature was not that of a sheep, but no one would listen to me. They became so enamored of him that they gave him a very high place in their affections. My judgment of the matter they chose to ignore, accusing me of “judging.”
“Time went by and the sheep found a terrible thing had happened in their midst. Something despicable had been done by the hand of the one they refused to discern – who, in their eyes, could do no wrong. Only a wolf could have done such a dastardly deed, which I shall not go into in the presence of this holy, elect company.
“The sheep were devastated and wondered how they had missed it and had failed to discern the matter. I reminded them that we are to judge every matter and to know a man after the Spirit, whether he be truly in the faith or no. John the Blessed has warned us: “Everyone who is taking the lead and not remaining in the teaching of Christ has not God. He who is remaining in the teaching, this one has the Father as well as the Son. If anyone is coming to you and is not bringing the teaching, be not taking him into your home, and say not to him ‘Rejoice!’ For he who is saying to him to be rejoicing is participating in his wicked acts.” (2 John 10 Con Literal)
“Our dear brother Paul warned us that a little leaven that could leaven the whole lump. He judged a wicked sin in the flesh and delivered this brother over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved. He told them not even to have social relations with a wicked brother. And, he reproved them that they had not judged the matter, nor mourned over it, but had let it slide.
“He scolded them, ‘You are not judging those within! Now those outside, God is judging.’
“It appears quite clear that there is to be a righteous judgment, by the Spirit, made by the flock of God else they are all blind and easy prey to any fast talker. Paul said further, ‘Are you not aware that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world is being judged by you, are you unworthy of the least tribunals? Are you not aware that we shall be judging messengers, not to mention life’s affairs?’ (1 Cor. 6:2, 3)
A solid little sheep called “Bimbo” brought forth a vigorous protest: “I think the Shepherd wants us just to love everybody – unconditionally! That’s what I believe! His nature is Love and if we’re coming into His nature we should show only love, no matter what.”
Wiser stroked his beard and sighed deeply. “That sounds wonderful but it is not true. There must be a discerning, a deciding before the Lord if something is true and should be fully received as the Truth. Without it, the flock of God will continue to be ravaged by beasts. The issue here is not love – it is truth! “Our shepherd said many times that He did not come to condemn the world. He came to save it. He already knew the condition of man and He came to lift them out of it. He did it through the love gift of Himself, not by telling the world how hateful they were! Yet, He did not shrink from judging a matter that needed to be set right. The temple hierarchy felt His judgment when He overturned the tables of the money-changers and charged them not to make His Father’s house a den of thieves.
“It seems we need to divide the matter aright. As His sheep, we are to judge all matters within His flock, whether they be of the Great Shepherd, or no. In this way, no leaven of sin can come in and begin to work until it has leavened the flock and defiled them. We are charged to watch as watchmen upon the wall. Why should we watch if there were no reason for it? “Yet, on the other side, we endeavor to live at peace with all men and extend to them unconditional love, not condemning them for being fallen creatures, but loving them with the Shepherd’s true love. We scattered sheep who have left the folds of the under- shepherds have learned many things in our long journey to this pasture. The sun has scorched us by day, and the cold has tormented us by night, and false teachings have tried us sore. But, this one thing we have learned: If a teaching exalts self or demeans our Shepherd by giving him a lesser place, it is not true. Turn your back on such and believe it not. Keep your eyes on the Great Shepherd and hide His precious words in your heart that you may always walk with Him in Truth!”
The Great Shepherd Himself has given us this warning: “There must needs be heresy among you to prove the true seed. Whatever is in your heart will be made manifest. If you desire to use your liberty to walk in the flesh, there will be a message to accommodate you. If you have not allowed Me to work a true brokenness in your life, then the deep root of pride will rise up and reach for the throne while rejecting My process to bring you there, resulting in deception.
“Denounce the hidden works of darkness wherever they appear, else the young men and the maidens will not know the balance and the security that lies in the Truth. Many things are done in the world for the sake of unity. Compromise is the watchword of the hour, yet I would require that there be no compromise of My sacrifice and the uniqueness of it, for apart from it there is no salvation – nay, not for any man, in any age.
“I am jealous for My godhood among the company of My sons.”
“And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men and I am your God saith the Lord God.” Ezek. 34:31
SCATTERED SHEEP [Elaine Cook] 1