Thursday, January 19, 2006
Feeding the sheep?
Well the following is my take on it:
Alot of people are leaving the church and giving up following Christ because most of the teaching in the churches are not feeding the sheep.
How often do we here preaching or teaching that is all about reaching the lost? I bet its at least 75% of the time. How many of these messages attempt to use guilt as a motivator to get people to share their faith? Now don't get me wrong I believe in the great commission of going into the world and making disciples. But we emphasize this part of the commission and rarely do the second part which is; teaching all the things which He has commanded us.
We are very good at proclaiming that we are saved by grace through faith but, how often to we proclaim that we should live by grace through faith? How often are we taught the unconditional love of God for those who have believed upon Jesus Christ for the remmission of sins? Do we really know what the grace of God really is? Do we really know that God is love? God does not have love HE IS LOVE.
Unconditional love, grace, living by the Spirit are rarely heard much less taught with passion in alot of churches. What did the Lord say to Peter when He asked Peter if he loved his fishing more than Him? Peter said; you know that I love you and Jesus said then feed my sheep. Peter had experienced the unconditional love of God when Jesus told him that. Peter had denied Christ, he had failed, he had sinned, he thought he had dissappointed the Lord and was resolved to go back to his "old life" of fishing, because how could God love him now. Peter had been with Jesus around 3 years before he really, really knew that God loved him unconditionally. How much more time for those who are new believers to come to a true knowledge of the truth and yet thats not what they hear?
Jesus didn't say; I'm really dissappointed in you Peter or look at what I have done for you and you did this to Me, if you feed my sheep then you will feel better about yourself. No, Gods ways are not our ways, His ways are higher than our ways...Praise God!
Is feeding the sheep proclaiming guilt laden messages to new believers, (who are no different spiritually than a newborn child or a preschooler), about a dying world that needs Christ and its all on your shoulders to save them? Or how about this one; "He died for you the least you can do is live for Him"...sounds good but its..guilt, condemnation, guilt to those who have not been built up in Christ with a firm foundation by the renewing of the mind, by being properly fed grace & truth. Is that what you hear in your head or tell yourself when you sin? Isn't that a miserable feeling knowing everytime you sin that "voice" is saying the least you could do is NOT sin because I died for you. Well its not God the Father that Jesus showed us, its some imaginary god you have created for yourself with the help of some legalistic preacher, teacher, or 'friend'.
No wonder people leave our churches, they are starving to death for Gods love and are only getting a false God who demands repayment for saving their soul by going out and saving or telling someone else the same message to subject them to the same false God who demands the same payback from them. What a cycle of death and misery. The true God wants to feed you not starve you from His love. The true God wants you to know that HE loves you.
If you are fine with this and think that paying God back is what God's salvation is all about then you have missed the Gospel message, you either have fallen from grace or you really never knew it. You may be in danger to what Jesus told the pharisees about going out after a proselyte and making him twice as much a son of hell.
If you have seen the Lord and have found yourself falling from grace then God wrote the book of Galations for you. If you have never experienced the grace of God then He wrote the gospel of John and Romans for you. If you are a pastor or teacher that has been caught up in this, I was to my friend and God still loves us. Change your mind and remember God's power to change people is not condemnation, it is His love & kindness.
What in the world did Jesus mean when He said come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I WILL GIVE YOU REST? What did Jesus mean when He said I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will NEVER hunger, and he who believes in Me will NEVER thirst? What was Jesus talking about when he said the work of God is to BELIEVE on the one He has sent?
Believing in Christ is not just fire insurance, He is life itself, its learning to quit living a life by performance or the elementary principles of this world for self-worth and resting in the unconditional love of God and being set free. Lets get back to teaching this and learning what gifts have been given each of us. Then our lives will cause those without hope to ask us about the hope within us. We will be living it from within and not faking it from without. Those who have the gift of evangelism will satisfiy their God given desire to tell the good news by telling it. Then those who don't have the gift of evangelism will not be abused by guilt laden messages in attempts to force them to use a gift they never had to begin with.
How do we get so far from what is actually bibical teaching and still call it biblical? I hate to be harsh but it may just be what Jesus said about the false teachers and that we would know them by their fruit. What is their fruit? It has to be what they are teaching does it not?
So thats my take on things in alot of churches today and why so many quit and "go back to fishing"; They are fed too much meat before they even get a chance to drink the milk. If you feed a baby meat he will choke on it and die. Lets find out for sure why some have left, before we have a self-righteous attitude and assume they really never were saved to begin with. It may just be our legalism disguised as meat was too much for them to chew.