DO YOU LOVE ME?
By Dr. Richard Ing
In John 21:15-17, the Lord Jesus asked Simon Peter,
son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?
He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith unto him again the second time,
Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He
saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him,
Feed My sheep.
saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him
the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he
said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love
Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My
Much has been written about how the word "love" changed
from "phileo" to "agape,"(in the Greek) in the above
passage, but little attention has been placed on the words, "Feed My
lambs," and "Feed My sheep."
It was the Lord's parting instruction not only to the apostle Peter, but
to all of His shepherds and leaders, even unto today. He didn't say, "Feed yourself," or
"Feed the church;" He said, "Feed my sheep."
In modern times, however, most of the leaders of God's
people are instead feeding themselves through a ravening organism they call "church." They have created huge ministries that
generate massive amounts of wealth and property. They live in penthouses, drive expensive
cars, fly first-class and join country clubs.
Many are millionaires; nay, multi-millionaires and even
billionaires. They own radio and TV
stations, airplanes and ships. They
rival some of the biggest businesses in America. They devour widows and orphans. While the shepherds are fat. the sheep are spiritually
skinny and mal-nourished. Instead of strong
meat, they are fed milk. They are mere
shadows of what God intended for His people.
The problem is not a new one. The writer of Hebrews (who I believe is the
apostle Paul) expresses his disappointment in Hebrews 5:10-14:
of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard
to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one
teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are
become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in
the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who
by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
In Isaiah 3:1-3, after many warnings, the people refused to
turn back to God and His ways, and God declared that He would remove "the mighty man, and the man of war, the
judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty,
and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the
eloquent orator." In other
words, He would remove the strong among His people, the wise, those that are
mighty warriors, and mature leaders, prophets, and those that are honorable and
spoke the deep things of God.
Instead, ". . . I will give children to be their princes, and
babes shall rule over them. And the
people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his
neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the
base against the honourable."
Is. 3:4-5. "As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule
over them. O My people, they which lead
thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." This is happening today. Many of today's pastors are more interested
in a big ministry with many members and contributors, and with wealth and
notoriety. They avoid casting out of
devils, speaking in new tongues and healing the sick. Neither do they require that the sheep under
them walk the hard road of obedience to God.
They deceive the sheep into thinking that all is well because God is
blessing the church with money. But, the
sheep and leaders are lukewarm and weak and cannot stand against the
Again, in Isaiah 9:14-17, the Lord states that He will cut off Israel head and tail, branch and
rush, in one day.
ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he
is the tail. For the leaders of this
people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on
their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and
every mouth speaketh folly. For all this
His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
In Jeremiah 5:26, the Lord laments:
among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares;
they set a trap, they catch men. As a
cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are
become great, and waxen rich. They are
waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge
not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of
the needy do they not judge. Jer.
In verse 31, God says, "The
prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their own means; and my
people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"
Judgment is coming to the house of God and the shepherds
will pay a steep price. "Son of man, prophesy against the
shepherds of Israel,
prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds of Israel
that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the
wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock." Eze. 34:2-3.
Wherever I go around the world, I have found local church
leaders more interested in feeding themselves and "the church" than
the sheep. They may call it church, but
it is far from the church that the Lord Jesus gave us two thousand years
ago. If the first apostles were to
return to earth today, they would be shocked at the modern church. It is a fake.
Many pastors in foreign countries admire and try to emulate
American televangelists and the leaders of mega-churches. They often dress immaculately, form large
worship teams, produce DVDs and CDs of their music, record and publish DVDs of successful events, and so
forth. They try to have their own radio
shows and television programs and to compete against other churches. They rent or purchase large spaces, push the
sheep to contribute big sums of money.
They purchase buses and vans, and expensive computers, sound systems and
other equipment. They entertain the
sheep and give them easy and funny sermons so as to keep them coming back. They seek fame, wealth and power. They yearn to have their names alongside
famous international Christian leaders.
They question me about mega-churches and seek knowledge on how to be
It's all about the organization, the church corporation, and
very little about feeding the sheep spiritual meat. The sheep are starving for strong meat, but
all they get is jokes and simple lessons about how to deal with life's problems,
cloaked as Christian theology but is nothing more than Christian psychology and
counseling. Almost nothing is taught about the baptism of
the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, casting out of devils and healing the
sick. Yet, these things are basic and
foundational to Christianity. Mk.
16:17-18. Pastors of mega churches
mostly avoid the strong meat. I have
ministered in so-called "Pentecostal" churches and found that 95% did
not speak with new tongues, cast out devils or heal the sick. Yet, the power of the Holy Ghost manifested
in signs and wonders was the impetus for the Pentecostal movement in the early
1900's. It is a fake kind of
Jesus' last words in the Gospel of John were, "Feed My sheep." The Lord's last words in the Gospel of Mark
were: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall
they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up
serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they
shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mk. 16:17-18.
A person's last words are often the most important words he
can think of as he leaves. These words
were of great magnitude to the Lord.
Yet, they are being ignored by organized religion. "Feed My church," is the not the same
as, "Feed My sheep." For one
thing, it is no longer God's church; it is now man's church. The Holy Spirit was kicked out centuries
ago. Jesus is only a stage prop around
which we can play church and collect money.
Few are interested in obeying Him above all else. It's me first; God second or even third,
after job or family. Those who sincerely
want to serve God cannot find food for their souls. They remain babes their entire lives, stuck
in a religious system that honors man and his ways, and not God's ways. They are taught to walk the broad and easy
road and never the hard road to life. "And if the blind lead the blind, both
shall fall into the ditch." Mt.
Where are the shepherds that strengthen the sheep and
prepare them for the battles against the kingdom of darkness that are
soon-coming. Where are the mighty men of
war that will overcome Satan? Where are
the fathers? What will happen when the
rubber meets the road and Satan springs his traps and comes with murderous
intent to destroy the church and all Christians? Mt. 24:15; Rev. 12:13-17; Da. 8:11-14, 24;
well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with
their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from
me. But in vain they do worship Me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Mt. 15:7-9.
"And I heard
another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not
partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4.