Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John 21—last chapter, Dave— and we’re going to pick up with verse 18, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou was young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst wither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee wither thou wouldest not. This spake he, (that is, Jesus speaking) signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”
Dave: Yeah, this follows Christ’s, well, you could say mild rebuke, or at least bringing Peter to publicly confessing that he loves the Lord and he wants to be true to him three times because he’s denied Him three times, and now he is telling him. Peter said way back there in chapter 13 of this book—which, Tom, it’s almost beyond comprehension for me now that we’re closing in on finishing it—but Peter had said to Him, “Lord, I’ll die, I’ll go anywhere, I’ll follow You, I’ll go to the cross. If they’re going to crucify You, they can crucify me too.” And now Jesus is saying, “Well, Peter, that’s going to happen.”
Remember, He said to them, “You can’t follow me now, but you will follow me hereafter.” They couldn’t be on crosses with Jesus. We would be all confused. “Well, I guess they were helping to pay for the sins of the world, too. You know, they’re right up there with Jesus,” as the Catholics call Mary the coredemptrix as well as mediatrix, and you would get that impression from Mel Gibson’s film that she’s bearing this suffering too.
Tom: Right, vicariously.
Dave: Yeah. She’s suffering right along and it’s her suffering also with Christ. You would have gotten that idea if the disciples had all gone to the cross. You remember, way back at the beginning Jesus said people would run up to Him and say, “Master, we’ll follow you wherever we walk.”
And Jesus would say, “You sure you want to follow me? You want to know where we’re going? We’re heading for a hill outside Jerusalem called Calvary and they’re going to nail Me to a cross. Now, if you’re going to follow Me, pick up your cross right now; that’s where we’re going.”
But they couldn’t follow him. They all forsook Him and fled. They were thinking of themselves. Whereas Jesus was thinking of us, they were thinking of themselves.
But now, Peter, you’re going to have an opportunity.
Tom: Dave, we went back a little. Let’s just go back to Jesus saying to Simon Peter three times, “Feed my sheep, feed my sheep, feed my sheep.” And I think about pastors out there. God has put sheep into the care of these pastors, and sheep obviously being their congregation, their membership, and so on. And they have to feed—that’s their calling, to feed the sheep. But I’m concerned that so many are looking for a program, or the leading of some individual who’s influencing thousands and thousands of pastors and following that person to feed their sheep his program. And there’s not just one or two out there, but there are a number of guys who are leading the way in this and trying to transform the church. But what does it mean, “feed my sheep?”
Dave: Well, Tom, it gets back to what we talked a little bit about before—the bells and whistles and the sights, sounds and smells…
Tom: Or programs, new gyms, new kinds of facilities, all kinds of things that attract the flesh. Is that feeding the sheep?
Dave: Christ is not talking, quite obviously, physically. He’s using a physical example, “feed my sheep,” for spiritual truth. Obviously, a pastor doesn’t have sheep sitting in the pews, right? These are not literal sheep, and feeding them is not literal feeding with some physical food. Although, I’ve observed that you get more people to come out to a potluck or some kind of a dinner than you can to a prayer meeting. Instead of prayer and fasting, they want fun and feasting. But, Jesus is not speaking physically, he’s speaking spiritually.
What do we feed on? We feed on the word of God. We quoted in the last segment, I think, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them.” He didn’t chew down a page of the Bible. He’s speaking of spiritual truth. And again, we’ve talked about this in the past. [It’s] very important.
We mentioned DNA briefly a few minutes ago. Words are not physical. When I say “truth,” you know what I mean. When I say “justice” you know what I mean. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? It has nothing to do with the five senses, okay? But sadly the Catholic Church has got all those senses activated and other churches [do] as well. Or they have as you’ve say, the programs, the things that cater to our flesh. No, we need to feed the soul and the spirit with Living Water, with the Bread of Life, which is Christ Himself, which is not a program. We’ve got to get back to the Bible.
And, Tom, sadly—we’ve talked about it in the past—we are getting away from the Bible. We have so many paraphrases. They have trashed God’s Word and they’ve put their own words in there. Dynamic equivalency and so forth. Or films, we’re going to improve the Bible by films. I don’t want to keep talking about this, but it’s very much on my heart.
We need the Word of God. We’ve got to get back to what God said instead of our ideas of what we think God meant and, somehow, whether it’s in a film, or in a paraphrase or whatever, we’re going to improve the Word of God. So you’re going to feed the sheep? Feed them with the word of God.
“Oh yeah, but that’s so boring. I mean, people don’t want that.” Yes, we do live in the day that Paul foretold—warned Timothy about it. “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”
Where do you get doctrine? Well, Paul tells you, 2 Timothy:3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God. It is profitable for (or is to be used for) doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness.” Now that’s not popular. Somebody comes to my church Sunday morning and I’m going to give them reproof? Correction? Instruction in righteousness? I’m going to give them doctrine? That’s not what they want. “Let’s dumb this down a little bit. Make it a little bit easier to swallow for the sheep.”
So, when He said “feed my sheep,” He’s talking about the truth. You’ve got to give them the facts. You’ve got to give them the truth from the Word of God. You’re not beating the sheep, you are feeding them…
Dave: …with the food that they desperately need.
Tom: Right. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Dave, as we’re weaned off the Word of God, we see that happening throughout the church. The truth—the truth is going to go with it. Confusion is going to reign.
Dave: Tom, we call our ministry The Berean Call, because the Bereans searched the Scriptures. Why did they search the Scriptures? To check Paul out. They’re checking Paul, the great apostle! We want to be sure what he is saying is according to the Word of God. We’ve pointed out in the past—we haven’t said much about it lately—but we have a new priesthood in the church now: Christian psychologists. And they say all truth is God’s truth. They don’t get their truth just from the Bible, which Jesus said is THE truth. They get some from Freud and Rogers and Maslow, and, “You don’t know psychology. You don’t have a degree in this, so how can you check me out?” they say. “Just from the Bible? No, there’s more to God’s truth than that. So if you want to check a Christian psychologist out, you can’t just go to the Bible. You can’t be a Berean.” The same problem we’re having now with these paraphrases. How am I going to check this pastor out from the Word of God? Eugene Peterson, who’s a pastor, he says that his message, The Message, it’s just another version of the Bible. Well, then, where am I going to go to check it out to see whether it’s true or not? Because now I’ve got all these different versions. They’re not even close in some instances to what the Bible says. We have been robbed of the truth and the sheep are not being fed and, Tom, I hope people don’t think I’m too critical. I’m concerned. And Paul wept night and day for three years. He tells the Ephesian elders, “You know that night and day I warned you with tears.”
Then, Tom, I don’t think we’re overdoing it if we’re concerned too.