21. FEEDING HIS SHEEP, BEING FED LIKE A SHEEP
Why do we feed pablum, meat, or even just milk to the Lord's flock? Well, we all have a command, like did Peter, when Jesus told him... "FEED MY SHEEP".
15. "So when they had dined, Jesus saith unto Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapao) thou Me more that these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed (Gk = bosko = to feed, tend a flock, take care of, lead, defend) My lambs (Gk = arnion = young Christ-like ones, for this word is used elsewhere in the Bible only of Jesus).
16. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agapao) thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I lovest (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep (Gk. = probaton, older Christ-like ones, saved men in general).
17. He saith unto him, the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (phileo) thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest (phileo) thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed My sheep (Gk.= probaton = saved men in general)."
Twice Jesus asks Peter... "Do you love (agapao) Me?"
Peter says "Yes, Lord... I go beyond just recognizing your spiritual value, I admit to (phileo) a loving relationship and a valued close adoration for You."
Peter was not going to tell the Lord that he had learned to love Him as he had been instructed to love his enemies.
No, Peter wanted the Lord to know of his relationship-based admiration, esteem, respect, and adoration for Him.
When Jesus asked Peter the third time, He used the word "phileo" and this broke Peter. He had twice told the Lord that he "phileo" loved Him, and now the Lord questioned that!
We need to recognize that the Lord wants a special kind of love from us. A perfect love, a relationship kind of love with Him. We should not simply love Him because of Who He is, or because of What He did for us, or because He is One of the Godhead. We need to have a relationship with Him. Speak to Him on a personal basis, have Him dwelling in us, speaking, talking through us. Peter claimed that type of relationship.
The Lord asked Peter, to FEED His sheep. It is time we do that, feed the baby lambs, and feed the adult sheep. If the baby lambs are fed, they will mature to adult sheep.
So much of what is being fed to others out there, is poison food, false doctrines, errant ideas, false religions, humanism, political correctness, and works of the flesh. That poison diet will kill. We have to 'feed the lambs' and 'feed the sheep' and seek to identify sources of poison food for them to avoid.
"Sheep" are referred to 500 times in the Bible in referring to believers. There are many similarities between sheep and believers. Both often go astray. When astray by themselves, they are helpless. The shepherd can lead sheep, and they do not need to be "driven" as cattle. Sheep know the voice of their shepherd, and will not follow another shepherd.
"And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers."
We have this good Shepherd Who so loves His flock, that He tells us that if we truly love Him with a perfect love, we will be feeding, and tending to His flock. He is in us with rhema power, with words of resurrection life, and will manifest Himself to us, but we must be about His work. We are to be the body of Christ, because we have partaken of the Bread of Life, and become part of His body. As His body, we do His work. We are to tend to, care for, feed, help, etc. His flock.
"By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if ye have love one for another."
That love is shown in 'feeding' the flock of the Lord.
What we feed upon, as we come to Jesus, is the Word of God. The written word, His spoken word are food for our souls. We have to judge the 'spoken' words to our hearts to be sure they are the Lord, and not our own mind, not some demon spirit. Therefore, the written Word of God are vital in that testing, to be sure the spiritual food we eat, is good food, not poison.
"God, Who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son..."
The Bible is the revelation of God’s will. The Bible is not man’s attempt to find God, but God’s attempt to speak to mankind. There is ample proof that the Bible is God’s Word.
There is unity of the 66 books over a span of 2000 years in the writing. There are miracles that came in confirmation of the preached Word. There is irrefutable fulfillment of Bible prophecies. The grand scope of the Book sets it apart from all other books. The influence of the Bible during the centuries is awesome. The scientific and historical accuracy is flawless. There is an excellent moral tone, that exceeds any manmade moral goals.
II Peter 1:21
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit..."
I Corinthians 14:37
"If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."
Yet, for all of us today, the ancient Greek, and ancient Hebrew, in which the Bible is written is a foreign language. We depend on study, translation, Bible dictionaries, and need to study and find the harmony of the correct understanding of the Word.
The bulk of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the bulk of the New Testament was written in Greek. There are no errors in copyists, or omission that affect any doctrine. The most ancient copies found (amidst the Dead Sea Scrolls, for instance) are shown to be the same as those copies of later origin, so that the translations we have, can be trusted to have been done from valid copies.
The Bible is infallible. Some translations have errors of translation, or misconceptions due to changing connotations of words. Yet, when going to the original language to verify the message of translations, we find the original to be the infallible Word of God. So, the Bible is intelligible. We can understand it. The Bible is a ‘revelation’, meant to reveal, not conceal.
"...whatsoever things were written afore time, were written for our learning..."
The mysteries of God are no longer to be mysteries. There are things and concepts that our finite minds may not yet be able to comprehend, but that is not what the Bible is speaking. The Bible is God’s attempt to tell mankind what mankind is able to receive. God’s Word does not surpass mankind’s reason. God did not have the Bible written to tease mankind with ‘non-understandable’ truths.
"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ."
II Timothy 2:7, 15
"Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things... study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God..."
The Bible (rightly understood) is authoritative. We need to beware error, for some things do require a bit of study. But when we correctly have studied and harmonized the message of one part with the totality of the Bible’s truths, then we can trust this authoritative passage.
II Peter 3:16
"...some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction."
Some people due to their false doctrines chosen to uplift their pride, or salve their guilty soul, wrestle with passages of the Word. They could have grown in understanding and learned what God has wanted to say, but sin, pride, anger, bias, etc blind them to truth.
They then misunderstand some words, and ignore some passages. The taking of verses out of context, the changing the meaning of some words, the misapplication of God’s message leads to arguments, splitting of churches, variance in the congregations.
Spiritual milk for the babes, spiritual pablum for those starting to mature, spiritual meat for the more mature saints, and all of it is found or verified by the Word of God. Our refrigerator and cupboard of food spiritually is the Word of God. Surely, God may speak to your heart, confirm His love, give you direction for your day... but even that is to be tested by the Word of God. The Word of God confirms He loves us, but it also reveals to the heart, any sin and failure of which we are to confess in humility to keep our relationship strong. The Lord wants to direct us daily, but the Word of God shows us He will never direct us to fleshly, sinful things, but He will direct us into places where we demonstrate the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, etc of His nature now in us.
The food we eat spiritually, the milk of the Word, the meat of the Word, the pablum of the Word, all comes from the Written Word... and any other food is tested by that written Word of God, to keep us from the poison words of the devil.