Feed My Sheep!
Why does Jesus Christ describe the final era of God’s Church as “lukewarm?”
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ spent forty days with His disciples providing them final instruction for serving God’s Church. (Acts 1:1-3)
After breakfast one morning, Christ discussed with Peter his responsibilities for being a minister of God. (John 21:15-17) In this discussion Christ gave Peter three commands: “Feed My lambs”, “Tend My sheep” and “Feed My sheep.” The use of lambs and sheep illustrate the varying levels of spiritual maturity within God’s Church.
If the ministry were following Christ’s command, would God’s Church be “lukewarm” today?
Historically, the ministry has always been a major source of trouble within God’s Church. Christ called some “liars” in Revelation 2:2 and shows them as false teachers in verse 20. Paul understood the ministry would create problems in Ephesus after his departure. (Acts 20:28-30) Peter warned about the negative impact of ministers in II Peter 2:1-3. John considered the ministry the source for the spirit of “Antichrist”. (I John 2:18-19)
Prior to Christ’s return the ministry has proven again to be a problem in the final era of God’s Church. Instead of obeying Christ’s command to “feed the flock”, the ministry is behaving like those Paul was concerned about in Ephesus. Following Mr. Armstrong’s death, ministers have risen up “speaking perverse (distorted) things, to draw away disciples after themselves.” And the result is “many (brethren) have followed their destructive ways because of whom the way of truth has been blasphemed.”
Today, God’s flock is in serious trouble from not being properly fed. The ministry is feeding itself first, demonstrating how irresponsible shepherds operate.
“Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds; ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and cloth yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty (harshness) you have ruled them.’” (Ezek. 34:2b-4)
Verses 5 and 6 explain the impact these shepherds have on God’s people.
“So they (the flock) were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth and no one was seeking or searching for them.”
The failure of the ministry is clearly evident in God’s Church. These men have chosen to pursue their own interests at the expense of God’s flock. This has caused people to scatter (II Thes. 2:3a) and created the “lukewarm” spiritual condition in God’s Church today.
In Matthew 24, Christ says He will deal with the ministry at His 2nd Coming.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.” (verses 45-47).
“But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 48-51).
In John 21, Christ connected feeding His flock to a minister’s love for Him. The ministry’s lack of love has led to the Church being “lukewarm.”
To correct this problem, the ministry would do well to heed Christ’s admonition to Laodiceans in Revelation 3:19.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be[come] zealous and repent.”