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Do You Love me



By Dr. Richard Ing

In John 21:15-17, the Lord Jesus asked Simon Peter,

Simon, 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. 


He 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 sheep. 

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:

Called 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 devil. 

Again, in Isaiah 9:14-17, the Lord states that He will cut off Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.

The 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.


Therefore 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:

For 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. 5:25-28.

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 like them.

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 Pentecostalism.

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. 15:14.

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; Da. 9:27.

"Ye hypocrites, 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.

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