X04.12........How To Feed Sheep

1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 

What do we believe "feeding the flock" or "feeding the sheep" means?

When we hear these words, most Christians would probably envision the idea of Sunday church. Most see the idea of being under the authority of the pastor (shepherd) of the church--who "has the rule" over us--and teaches us the word of God. We believe this is what "being fed" or "feeding the flock" means--and we believe that this idea comes from the Bible.

We are wrong.

 

How do you feed sheep?

You do not cast seed at them.

You do not hold them still, and rule over them, and lock them up and throw seed at them.

 

Sheep are fed by being sent through a gate, out into a field.

Sheep are fed by being released through a gate, and set free to find their own nourishment.

Sheep are fed, not by being held, but by being released.

 

Now, you may be looking at these ideas and say to yourself--"these are just your ideas". They may seem right--after all, it is true that sheep are fed by being lead through a gate, and led to a place where they can find nourishment. This may by literally correct (and it is--if you were to study how to feed sheep--it really does make perfect sense)--But they are not Biblical---right?---Wrong!


1 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
7 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.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Jesus described "feeding the sheep"--being the "good pastor" (shepherd---the Greek word used here is "poimen" the same word translated as "pastors" in ephesians 4:11) in these verses. And the action He describes as feeding the sheep, or leading the sheep is--

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

Jesus describes the act of being a "good pastor" as being like a door. Like a gate. Those who follow His pastoral ministry are led to release--they are brought, through His door--to find "pasture" (which means "nourishment" or "growth or increase")

How to feed sheep?

How to feed the flock of God?

Jesus says that being a good pastor--is like being a gate, which brings release to those that follow that leading.

If we read the previous chapter of the book of John, we will see that Jesus had taken a blind man, anointed his eyes with mud, and told him to wash in the "pool of Siloam" The word "siloam" is as the Bible says, interpreted as "sent"--which is the Greek word "apostello". Jesus, not only had healed this blind man, but released him to apostleship. If we read all of John chapter 9, we will see that the blind man immediately begins to witness Jesus to other people, including the Pharisees who reject him. When they see the healing and release of the blind man, they ask Jesus to explain what has happened. His explanation then continues in John chapter 10. Jesus explanation of the miracle of release is to say that it is the pastoral anointing in action.

Jesus defines the pastoral gift as that of release.

 

A "good pastor", according tot he Bible, is someone who leads others to their ministry. Who acts as a gate, to lead others to witness the Gospel out to the world. (the ministry of the church is Biblically meant to be out to the world!)

The Bible is consistent with itself. The teachings of Jesus are perfectly consistent.
If the ministry of a "pastor is meant to hold others under authority, then why did Jesus define ministry thus--?

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(Matthew 20: 25-28)

All Christian ministry is meant to be service toward others. The pastoral anointing is meant to be one of release--of leading others to their ministry.

"Feeding the flock" means release.

"Feeding sheep" is encouraging and leading others to their ministry.

We need pastors!