PROTECTING THE FLOCK is nothing less than exercising the heart of the Good Shepherd himself, who said, “…I am the Good Shepherd…I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary.”
THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS John 18 records that when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, several of his disciples were with him. He stood up to the soldiers, insisting that his disciples be let go. That was his shepherd heart - and it is the kind of heart He has placed inside His people! Such a heart resides in you, pastor, and in the “mighty men” (and women!) of your congregation.
The Lord Jesus is our perfect example of protecting the sheep, even to the point that He would lay down his life for them. The Bible makes it clear He loved us enough to lay down His life. And it is that kind of love that He has poured into our hearts. If He loved the church enough to “save it” - should we not do likewise? He “gave Himself” for the church - and we are privileged to do the same.
King David had such a heart, even while a lad. In 1st Samuel 17 he makes his case before King Saul as to why he should be allowed to take on Goliath: “…I have been taking care of my father’s sheep…When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it…and rescue the lamb…” Thus, when Goliath threatened God’s people, David was PREPARED - because he had been TRAINING!
OTHER REASONS YOU SHOULD PROTECT YOUR FLOCK LOVE! That’s right, good old-fashioned love. You protect your flock because you love them! And when we are “under the influence” of love - we are protective of others! In 1st Corinthians 13: Paul writes, “love...always protects...”(NIV). The good shepherd, Jesus said, will lay down his life for the sheep. We love our families, and we are committed to their protection. Why would we love our flocks any less?!
PRISCILLA AND AQUILA. Note what Paul says about these two saints in Romans 16 - “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me...”
Read again what Paul says about these two saints. They RISKED their lives! And that is precisely what we are to do as we protect the saints when they gather to worship.
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS. They were conscious of threats against them, and took precautions. Have you ever considered this? They often met in secret - an act of defense - because they knew about the opposition outside their doors. This was, to say the least, wise on their part.
THE WISDOM OF JESUS. John 7:1 states that Jesus refused to walk in Judea because He was aware of those who wanted to kill Him. How interesting! Why didn’t He just “go anyway,” and trust God to take care of Him? Because He was wise. In this instance He chose to not place Himself in harm’s way. This was nothing less than a case of wisdom combined with a type of self-defense.
THE WORTH OF A HUMAN BEING. When it’s all said and done, does it not come down to the fact that as Christians we adhere to the biblical teaching that people have “worth?” Psalms 139 states that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by our Creator. Psalms 8 says, “...what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
We, as God’s creation, have been crowned with “glory and honor!” Let me also put this before you: Are we, as human beings, worth more than mere animals? In Matthew 6:26 Jesus says to His disciples: “...your Heavenly Father feeds them (the birds of the air). Are you not of more value than they?”
And did the Lord Jesus not also make this clear in Matthew 12, when the Pharisees were angry at Him for healing on the Sabbath? Jesus’ response was to call their attention to the WORTH and VALUE of human beings: “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep!”
AND WHAT ABOUT PAUL’S WORDS IN 2 THESSALONIANS 3:2? It is here that Paul asked the believers in Thessalonica to pray for him, especially that he would be “delivered from evil and wicked men.” The Greek word for “evil” can mean “harmful.” And doing harm is precisely what someone may intend to do when they enter your church with evil purposes.
DID JESUS EVER USE “FORCE” TO ACCOMPLISH GOD’S PURPOSES? Yes, He did! When He entered the Temple and saw that they had turned it into a marketplace, He made a whip and drove them out!
TAKING PRECAUTIONS IS SCRIPTURAL! Proverbs 22:3 states: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” How many churches have “suffered the consequences” because they did not take steps to decrease the chances of an attack at their church? It is only wise that if we see possible danger - such as an active shooter in the church, or a pedophile who would assault our children - that we would take the necessary precautions.
YOU MAY HAVE AN ALEXANDER THE METALWORKER IN YOUR CHURCH! In 2 Timothy 4 Paul warns young Timothy about a man named Alexander. Paul says of him that he “did me a great deal of harm.” He then warns Timothy to “be on your guard against him.” The word “guard” means to set an eye upon so that danger can be avoided. There are churches with “Alexanders” - men and women who intend to bring harm to our members.