A bride takes great care whilst preparing for her wedding day. Everything has to be just right.
There is a great wedding day coming up. Rev 19- the wedding of the Lamb and the bride is making herself ready for Jesus. The bride is a BIG bride. We need to gather that bride for Jesus.
Matt9: Jesus had a great compassion on the crowd and asks the Lord of the harvest to send out the laborers. Remember this is His bride and the wedding will happen. We are to be involved in preparing the bride. That’s what leaders on a mission are there for. Jesus cares deeply about his bride. He expresses his deep affection for his church." If you love me you will care for my bride." It’s an awesome responsibility.
TEXT: John21: 15-17
Jesus gives Peter a great responsibility.
Verse 15-17: Jesus instructs Peter to Feed his lambs, the care of the sheep, and feed the Sheep. Both men and women are involved in this.
1. Feed my lambs – the Greek verse in v15 is “ania” – little lambs. These are 2 groups of people i.e. children and new believers. Feeding and caring of children and new believers is a massive responsibility. From the lips of children god has ordained praise.
Luke18: Jesus called the children to him and said we need to acknowledge them and care for them and feed them well. Young believers need to be treated in the same way – we need to care for them. Mission is about making disciples and not just converts. We need to be acknowledging children’s ministry as important and not just to keep them out of our hair.
2) Tend my sheep – the Greek word for tend is ‘pomenade. ’It is a verb which implies guiding, guarding, protecting. Be a shepherd. We are under shepherds with the task of looking after HIS people. The pastor, apostle, shepherd, teacher, evangelist all need to be involved in this. Philip Keller wrote some good books on this. A good shepherd will spare no pains to get good grazing grounds. He will protect them from disease because they are susceptible. So from morning to night he looks after them. Even at night he is alert for wolves. That is some description of a shepherd. Sheep are stupid and silly creatures. Sheep require more attention than any other live stock. Unless the shepherd make them move on they will eat grass till its barren. They are near sighted and easily frightened. They are timid. They have no homing instincts. They can’t find their way home. Sheep are lost without a shepherd. Leadership and pastoral ministry involves in this. They are God’s silly sheep. We have to look after them. How?
· Look and listen- always be on the lookout for wolves and trouble. They are alert at night. They are alert for an intruder. Be aware of what’s going on. Simple questions are needed. Why is xyz? Who is xyz? Why is xyz down? Listen to what people are saying. If you are a pastor listen to your wife. Always believe the best but keep your ears to the ground.
· Pray and tune into the Holy Spirit – He will nudge you in the right directions. Pray for those under your care and the unsaved.
· Be caring, courageous and confronting – People are made in the image of God. Don’t beat the sheep verbally. – feed them. Take time to listen to what they are saying. Listening – is really hearing what they are saying. Jesus ‘speech was full of grace and truth. We need to be truthful but is it filled with grace? The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.
If you show sincere care and concern God will use you to save souls and build people up.
We also need the courage to confront – sin in people’s lives. Kick a wolf out of the church. Be honest about people’s behavior. Confrontation is never easy. Courage is not the absence of fear but mastering it. This is the Shepherds role.
- TEAM it – Jesus sent us out two by two. Appoint Elders – it’s impossible to shepherd a church on your own. If you have no one, phone a friend, use those over you in the Lord. The devil loves to isolate shepherds.
Always be diligent- if its children’s works do it with all your heart. Remember you are serving Jesus. Jesus hands are on our hands and he will help us do it. Professionals and God TV can’t do it for you.
3. Feed my sheep
What are you feeding your people? Is it junk food? Give them a healthy diet.
Barny coombs – if we want to see people grow strong and stand in tough times they should be like trees in Psalms 1. A good shepherd makes them lie down in green pastures and still waters. Teach the bible systematically and do topics i.e. grace, who am I in Christ, Holy spirit, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, finances, worship , prayer, Family , faith, the lost the cross , the gospel.
If you are going through a book, you need to teach but you also need to teach people how to read the word of God for themselves. You don’t have to have an 8 course meal every Sunday. Prepare well. It’s not just preaching – when you meet people one on one – don’t just talk nice platitudes. Help them find strength in God. We must help them find God.
Shepherding is the key to seeing disciples being made. This is the heart of Jesus.