Today, more is shared on the ministry of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd who returns those who are lost to their fold.  Ministry to the lost further proclaims the divine mercy and righteousness displayed as divine judgment; and what begins as a focus exclusively upon Israel broadens to embrace the whole world.  The lost are those who at one time have been joined to divinity through covenant, inheritance, promise, revelation, or sacrifice.  In some cases, the lost have been scattered or driven away by GOD expressing wrath against sin.  In other cases, the lost are not those who are defiant, insolent, rebellious or scornful so much as they are those gullible, impulsive, naïve and susceptible.  Like Moses, who turned from the path as he was on his way home to get a closer look at a bush that seemed to be in flame, lost believers indulge curiosity, and become drawn away from sacred knowledge and fellowship among the faithful.  Unlike apostates and backsliders whose awareness and self-will are under the influence of sin, the lost have not set out to be separated from the congregation of believers.  The lost continue to desire and value communion, however, they want to be free of challenging elements and restrictions such as condemnation, discipline, doubts, duties, falsehood, fear, punishment, questions, suspicions, and uncertainties.  The work of Jesus Christ as Savior and the task of those who follow him has included restoring the lost by completely and correctly embracing them again.  The Gospel is an outreach to all having faith, yet, in need of spiritual correction and guidance, the scattered and otherwise disinherited.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  The Sheep Who Lost Their Way? (11/18/2014)

Genesis 18:  20-26, KJV—And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;  21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.  22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom:  but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.  23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city:  wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?  25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee:  Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?  26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Psalms 60:  1-4, KJV—O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.  2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it:  heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.  3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things:  thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.  4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Psalms 119:  175-176, KJV—Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.  176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Jeremiah 3:  12-14, KJV—Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you:  for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.  13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.  14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you:  and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

Jeremiah 10:  20-21, KJV—My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken:  my children are gone forth of me, and they are not:  there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.  21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD:  therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

Jeremiah 30:  11-20, KJV—For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee:  though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee:  but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.  12 For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.  13 There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up:  thou hast no healing medicines.  14 All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.  15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity:  because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.  16 Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.  17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.  18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.  19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry:  and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.  20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.

Jeremiah 50:  5-7, KJV—They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.  6 My people hath been lost sheep:  their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains:  they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.  7 All that found them have devoured them:  and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.

Ezekiel 34:  31, KJV—And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 34:  11-12, KJV—For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

Ezekiel 34:  15-25, KJV—I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.  16 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:  but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.  17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.  18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?  19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.  20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.  21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;  22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.  23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.  24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.

John 10:  7-16, KJV—Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers:  but the sheep did not hear them.  9 I am the door:  by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  11 I am the good shepherd:  the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth:  and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.  14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father:  and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Matthew 9:  35-38, KJV—And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.  37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;  38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Matthew 10:  5-7, KJV—These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:  6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 15:  21-28, KJV—Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  27 And she said, Truth, Lord:  yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith:  be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

John 11:  47-54, KJV—Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.  48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him:  and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.  49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,  50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.  51 And this spake he not of himself:  but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.  53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.  54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Matthew 28:  16-20, KJV—Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him:  but some doubted.  18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

James 1:  1-3, KJV—James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.  2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:  13-15, KJV—Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God:  for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:  and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

1st Peter 1:  1-3, KJV—Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.  3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1st Peter 2:  21-25, KJV—For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:  by whose stripes ye were healed.  25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Ephesians 2:  8-22, KJV—For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Luke 1:  50-52, KJV—And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

Jude 1:  20-25, KJV—But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,  21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:  23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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