THE PASTOR’S MANDATE- ‘FEED MY SHEEP’
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, He gave Simon Peter this mandate- ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ Jn21:16,17. A pastor in the Greek means a shepherd– one who tends to a flock. To be a pastor of a church, one must have a calling from God. It is not just a job, but a spiritual calling with great responsibilities to serve God by teaching and protecting His people. Thus, the mandate Jesus gave to ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ applies to all pastors, even as Jesus is ‘THE CHIEF SHEPHERD’ 1Pe5:4. Jesus said ‘I am the GOOD SHEPHERD: the GOOD SHEPHERD GIVETH HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP’ Jn10:11.
David the psalmist wrote ‘The LORD is my SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT’ Ps23:1. David said ‘Know ye that THE LORD HE IS GOD: it is HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE’ Ps100:3. The word PASTORS is found only once in the New Testament Ep4:11, and SHEPHERDS 17 times. They are synonymous and the same. Jesus did not mean for PASTORS to literally take care of sheep, but to take care of God’s people as surrogate shepherds.
WHAT DID JESUS MEAN BY ‘FEED MY SHEEP’?
In this mandate,Jesus meant for Peter and ALL PASTORS to NURTURE, CARE, STRENGTHEN, PROTECT, TEACH, GUIDE, HELP, ENCOURAGE, CORRECT, WARN AND SAVE all those who belong to Him or who want to come to Him. Pastors need to protect the sheep from predators (false teachers and false prophets) Mt24:11,24, from false teachings and false doctrines. Pastors need to teach the unadulterated Word of God, about His standards, love, justice, judgment, and wrath.
Pastors need to warn people about Satan, whose job is ‘to steal, and to kill, and to destroy’ Jn10:10; of sin, to be holy and righteous, to be ready for the soon return of Jesus Christ and for the Rapture. People need to be warned of God’s forthcoming severe judgment and wrath, the Endtimes, and the coming Great Tribulation and about HELL! To neglect this mandate that Jesus gave to ‘FEED MY SHEEP’, would put both the Pastor and the Flock in danger of hellfire and of losing their salvation!
The pastors’ first and last order of business should be to SAVE SOULS, to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Anything short of this is a total failure! If one goes to church but loses his soul, he will PERISH IN HELL; the church has failed him, but the PASTOR WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! The LORD said ‘When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and THOU GIVEST HIM NOT WARNING, NOR SPEAKEST TO WARN THE WICKED FROM HIS WICKED WAY, TO SAVE HIS LIFE; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND’ Ez3:18.
God said ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I WILL ALSO REJECT THEE..’ Hos4:6. In church, we are supposed to learn about God, the need for REPENTANCE and to be ‘BORN AGAIN’ Jn3:3,5, the Christ-life, and eternal life; to be filled with the Spirit, how to be saved, and how we should live our lives! Invitations and prayers during altar calls should be made for people to repent, to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour, or to recommit their lives to Him!
AN OPEN ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTER’- By Watchman73
The following is a polite but powerful Open Letter by a writer with a pen name of Watchman73 to an unnamed Pastor. His excellent blog can be found at https://bythebloodofthelamb.wordpress.com Here is Watchman73’s insightful, inquiring, incisive, and indicting open Dear Pastor Letter written straight from the heart of God that is sadly applicable to many thousands of apostate Christian churches and pastors in America and in the world today:
“I’m writing not to offend, but rather to respectfully inquire. Please don’t take offense to my questions, for I am a humble servant of God with no formal education in religion. You see sir, I have not been to seminary, nor have I been trained to read and love C.S. Lewis, as this seems to be a prerequisite for modern day preachers. I am a common man with a career and a family, reading my Bible daily, and praying for the Holy Spirit to give me discernment and lead me in the paths of righteousness.
While I do find your personality to be charming and your sermons to be quite entertaining, I do have a few burning questions. I say burning because week after week these questions arise during the course of Sunday worship service and completely distract me from worshipping in your congregation. I’ve tried to relax and ignore the angst that rises up in me every Sunday, focusing on the good parts of worship and the biblical excerpts that are sprinkled in your messages, but the questions remain.
WHEN WILL YOU CALL US TO REPENTANCE?
When will you speak of repentance and how I can be saved? When will you show me my brokenness and my need for a Savior? Can you please continue to speak of God’s unending love for me, but remind me of God’s sovereignty? Is a mention of hell and the eternal consequences of our sin and rejection of our one and only Savior Jesus Christ not in order? When will you teach us that wisdom comes from the fear of God?
WHEN WILL YOU STRENGTHEN THE BELIEVER?
Would it be possible to teach us of the spiritual realm that we cannot see, but that nevertheless surrounds us? Maybe you could focus a few minutes on enlightening us on the spiritual warfare that is taking place around us daily and the battle for our very souls? Maybe a mention that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places? If you don’t mind me saying, in my humble opinion, ignoring evil and pretending the devil is not like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour is foolishness.
I, for one sir, pray that you would encourage your flock to put on the whole armor of God, that they may be strengthened and encouraged to stand against evil, fearing nothing but God Almighty. Remind us what the armor of God consists of so that we can even begin to put it on. You know the verse…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, right?
WHEN WILL YOU TEACH THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD?
When I listen to your sermons or the teachings that take place in your Sunday morning classes, it seems that only certain parts of the Bible are ever taught. I find it odd that there is never a mention of prophecy. I am quite sure that in your seminary classes you have studied much more of the Bible than I have, and you’re quite aware that a little more than 25% of God’s Word is prophecy, right? So my question to you is, why do you teach only 75% of the Bible? Is it not God’s Word? Is it not your responsibility to teach the full counsel of God?
Do you not think that those scriptures that were written thousands of years ago and preserved in their entirety throughout the ages are the living Word of God? As God’s Word declares ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works’, right (2Ti3:16,17)?
WHEN WILL YOU WARN THE FLOCK?
I know that you are an intelligent man, and that you watch the news and see the state of our nation and the world. I have the feeling that you probably don’t want to frighten the congregation or waste time on anything other that preaching the Word of God. Am I right? Let me ask you another question. Do you think that the EARLY CHURCH that was so violently persecuted sat around having snacks and speaking only of the goodness of God and his enduring love while their brothers and sisters were being tortured and murdered in the public square, or ripped apart by lions in the colosseum? Of course not. But that couldn’t happen in America right, so why bother?
If you don’t know that our government is corrupt and evil, and totally hijacked by globalists bent on creating a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT, then I suggest you do some research. If you are aware of this information and are withholding it from your flock, then shame on you sir! It would be better that you never went into ministry, for there is a greater responsibility on your head as a preacher and teacher of the Word of God.
So I ask you, when will you tell your people of the mounting danger that lies just outside of your sanctuary doors? When will the persecution of Christians be important enough to mention on Sunday? Will it be when the government forces you to perform gay weddings in your church or face losing your 501c3 tax exempt status, or worse yet, be arrested? It’s about to happen in America.
WHEN WILL YOU MAKE READY THE BRIDE?
Jesus made it clear throughout the Gospels, and the New Testament that the believer is to watch and be ready for Jesus’ return at any time. I have yet to hear any of those verses taught in your church yet. Forgive me if I missed that Sunday service. Has it occurred to you that there is a theme throughout the scriptures to watch for our Lord’s return? Or that if we are found not watching when he suddenly comes, we will be surprised, shamed, and shut out of His presence? Is that not the way you read your Bible?
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25 needs to be taught at some point doesn’t it? The prospective brides were all virgins (Christians) but half of them were foolish, not having oil for their lamps (the Holy Spirit) and the other half were wise, with oil for their lamps and ready to go out to meet the bridegroom. So half were prepared and looking for the return of their bridegroom and the other half were not. What happened to the foolish virgins? Does that not apply to the Lord’s church? Is it not worthy of mentioning some Sunday? Do you truly know what our BLESSED HOPE is as believers (Tit2:13)? Will you, yourself be READY at that moment when our Lord returns unannounced? Are you watching for all the signs of His return, given to us in the Bible?
These questions burn in my heart. The angst I feel every Sunday, I feel throughout every day of the week; for I pity the lost and the foolish that turn away from the truth. I pray that you, as a Christian leader would do the same. I pray that theses questions would create a spark and light a fire in your heart. If you’re offended by this, then I pray you might examine yourself and your teaching. I pray everyday for you to make mention of these things and that the people that fill your congregation would not only be prepared, but would truly be saved. THERE IS A GREAT APOSTASY that is happening now, and I pray that you sir, would not be a part of it. The clock is ticking…it’s almost midnight…one more question Sir… ARE YOU READY?”
JESUS ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTERS’ TO THE 7 CHURCHES
Unlike Watchman73 polite letter, Jesus wrote scathing ‘DEAR PASTOR LETTERS’ to the 7 Churches in Asia Minor found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. He strongly decried their failings, disregard and disdain for the Gospel message nearly 2000 years ago. And so the apostasy in the churches continues even today!
Basically, while Watchman73 guardedly questioned his Pastor, Jesus strongly rebuked the church Pastors for what they neglected and failed to do. He said ‘THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE. REMEMBER THEREFORE FROM WHENCE THOU ART FALLEN, AND REPENT, AND DO THE FIRST WORKS; OR ELSE I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, AND WILL REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK OUT OF HIS PLACE, EXCEPT THOU REPENT’ Re2:4,5. Jesus used very strong words, even accusing the church for being the ‘SYNAGOGUE (meeting place) OF SATAN’ Re2:9,3:9.
Jesus said ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because THOU ART LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPUE THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH’ Re3:15,16. In chapters 2 and 3, Jesus repeatedly told the churches to REPENT OR THEY WILL NOT HAVE ANY PART IN HIM Re2:5,16,21,22, 3:3,19. Except the people and pastors seek REPENTANCE, they would not have eternal life, but perish in HELL!
PAUL’S CHARGE TO ALL PASTORS AND MINISTERS
The apostle Paul wrote ‘I CHARGE THEE THEREFORE BEFORE GOD, AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH THE WORD; BE INSTANT IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON; REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, MAKE FULL PROOF OF THY MINISTRY’ 2Ti4:2-5.
Being a Pastor is a very difficult job, especially today. People do not want to hear about sin and hellfire, about God’s judgment and wrath, but more likely want to be entertained. But pastors must obey God, and not compromise His Word. Paul wrote ‘For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST’ v10. Pastors should seek not to please man but God, by what they preach!
TODAY’S APOSTATE CHURCHES
Over the past 20 years, a new paradigm has emerged within the churches. It is the SEEKER-FRIENDLY (aka Emergent Church) movement, to have more people come to church, and to enrich their coffers. The focus is on the unchurched, rather than on the unsaved; how to make church more contemporary, palatable, and people-friendly. The SEEKER-FRIENDLY church movement has caused an explosion in mega-churches with some membership numbering in the tens of thousands, and the pastors having become very rich. Emphasis is placed on the individual’s personal needs rather than their spiritual needs. These churches are often soft on sin, on fornication and young people shacking up, on homosexuality, on same-sex marriages; allowing ‘creative gay people’ to do church worship, and using programs, dramas, sophisticated lighting and special sound effects, high-tech/multi-media support in their services, but often not preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Sin and God’s judgment are not being preached; holy living is not advocated. The soon return of Jesus is not heralded. Satan and the coming Antichrist system are not mentioned. People are not warned of God’s coming great wrath upon the earth and of the coming Great Tribulation. HELL IS NEVER A NICE TOPIC TO TALK ABOUT! There is more talk on fun and fellowship, surfing and sports, dating and marriage, raising children, support groups, health and weight loss, and Christian entertainment, rather than on the Gospel of Jesus Christ- on sin, judgment, repentance, God’s wrath, end-times, what God is doing today, the lateness of the hour; how to be saved, how to pray; how to learn the Bible, etc. Humor and positive messages to make people feel good are used to keep them entertained and returning every Sunday. While some of their programs are good, many attending may not be saved because the GOSPEL OF SALVATION is not being preached!
The Bible tells us that only by the ‘PREACHING OF THE CROSS’ are men saved 1Co1:18. Preaching anything else will NOT bring salvation to people. REPENTANCE, the turning away from sin and turning to Christ, must be preached Lk24:47. Paul said ‘FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH’ Ro1:16. He said ‘it pleased God by the FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING to save them that believe’ 1Co1:21. Paul said that if any man or even angel preached any gospel other than what he had preached, let him be accursed Ga1:8. Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ Jn3:16. ONLY JESUS SAVES; NOTHING ELSE!
SATAN’S ROLE IN TODAY’S CHURCHES- ANOTHER GOSPEL
Apostasy, deception, and errors have crept into churches that don’t follow the Word of God. Satan uses his ministers to destroy faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said ‘And no marvel; for SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works’ 2Co11:14,15. If Satan cannot stop people from going to church, he will give to them another gospel. Paul wrote ‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from (God) that called you into the grace of Christ unto ANOTHER GOSPEL’ Ga1:6. A good feeling, non-threatening, no-salvation gospel is being preached today– a soft, warm, and fuzzy message! Because of that, the salvation of many pastors, ministers, and many of their members come into question.
JESUS’ WARNING TO ALL PASTORS AND MINISTERS
There are grave consequences in disobeying Jesus. Pastors and ministers must obey JESUS’ MANDATE, ‘FEED MY SHEEP’ or they will PERISH! Jesus said ‘NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? AND THEN WILL I PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY’ Mt7:21-23. Jesus will disavow knowing these ministers that didn’t do God’s will, but did their own will. Their names were not written in the Lamb’s BOOK OF LIFE and thus they will perish and one day, be cast into the LAKE OF FIRE Re20:15!
A FINAL MESSAGE TO PASTORS
This blog is not meant as a personal dig or putdown on pastors, but to point out the seriousness and grave responsibilities given by Jesus to ‘‘FEED MY SHEEP’. If they do well, they will be rewarded Re22:12. But if they don’t, they will perish along with the people they were charged to minister to. However, many churches, denominations, and pastors today are going into apostasy, ‘even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction’ 2Pe2:1.
There are many other places in the Bible where God showed great disdain toward pastors. Pastors are mentioned only 8 times in the Old Testament, only in the book of Jeremiah, 7 of which were used negatively and in a derogatory sense. God voiced His anger and dismay toward them. They were brutish and abusive to the flock. The references are Je2:8, 10:21, 12:10, 17:16, 22:22. Je23:1,2 state ‘WOE BE UNTO THE PASTORS that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the PASTORS that FEED MY PEOPLE; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I WILL VISIT UPON YOU THE EVIL OF YOUR DOINGS, SAITH THE LORD’.
In Matthew 23, Jesus severely chastised the scribes and Pharisees, the pastors and ministers to the Jews in his days. Jesus called them HYPOCRITES 7 times v13,14,15,23,25,27,29 (they say, but do not Mt23:3). He accused them of religious pride, deception, fraud, covetousness, excesses, and even hindering the work of God. They would not only perish in hell Mt23:33, but would ‘..receive the greater damnation’ Mt23:14. Jesus said ‘FEED MY SHEEP’– take care of my people! It is not too late to REPENT. But Jesus also said ‘EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH’ Lk13:3,5.