Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feed the Sheep, Rebuke the Swine, and Expose the Wolves

It is a mistake to form a view of Christianity that is based upon the puritanical standards of Victorian era straight-laced genteel refinement. Neither do you lead a church that way. You take the Bible as it is – hard hitting and to the point – and use it as your guide.

1. Feed the sheep.
The Bible instructs us to deal with people differently, and the first thing we have to do in that process is DISCERN who goes in what CATEGORY. When we are dealing with Christians, repentant sinners, or eager seekers of God, our efforts should be to show love, encouragement, have patience, and help them grow. I love people and have given more than half of my life in service to others. Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-18).

2. Rebuke the swine.
These are people who are habitually unrepentant in their sin. They are not acting like sheep, though they claim to be. Some people in church simply need to be confronted about their lifestyle and told to shape up. This cuts against the grain of our genteel sensibilities of sugar-coated sentimentality in Christianity today. But this kind of action is called for in order to maintain a healthy New Testament Church. Jesus said, “…. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).

3. Expose the wolves.
These are false teachers or purveyors of false doctrines. With the wolves you cannot be too severe. You expose wolves to protect the flock. You call them by name. You kick them out, run them off, and expose them for what they are – purveyors of death. You don’t even be nice to wolves; they are undeserving of courteous treatment because they are predatory by nature. The most scathing words ever spoken by Jesus Himself were directed to false teachers. Read Matthew 23, noticing how “un-nice” He was. Also take note of the derogatory (but accurate) names He called them! Even the apostle Paul calls a false teacher by first name – “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds” (2 Timothy 4:14). The only thing you do with wolves is stand up to them.

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