Sunday Service | Mt. Zion Church | 16 September 2018 | The Crown of Glory | Eternal Crowns Series | 1Peter 5:1-4
Have we ever think how many hungry souls we can find around us? Honestly, physical famine is less dangerous than spiritual famine! There is an urgency to help those hungry souls before the devil catch them and bring them to the hell forever. God called us to love Him above all things and also love people Mt.22:37-39. God also promised a crown of glory for those who have a passion of a shepherd! Having a duty as a shepherd is not an easy task, it will consume our time, energy, money, and also our feelings. That’s why God really appreciate and honour those who want to be the extension of God’s hand and God’s heart in this hungry world!
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1Peter 5:1-4 NKJV
CALLED AS A SHEPHERD
This is the good news! The Chief Shepherd is looking for those who want to be the shepherd. God’s heart is always filled with very big compassion for those who not having a shepherd! Anyone who say that they love God must also be ready to receive a calling as a shepherd. Back to the last days before Jesus departed to heaven, Jesus called Peter, who assumed as the leader also the older among the disciples and asked him a very serious and important questions.
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I *love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I *love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you *love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
(* = NKJV footnote: have affection for) John 21:15-17 NKJV
The proof and also the action of our love to God must be reflected in our attitude toward people around us, which is also called the lamb and the sheep. The Bible like to illustrate the people as the sheep. The book of Isaiah told that all we like sheep gone astray, everyone has turned to his own way Is.53:6. The love of God will definitely lead us to fulfil the calling of a shepherd. The main task of a shepherd is to feed the sheep and Jesus keep repeating the importance to feed and tend the sheep. Jesus asked Peter if he love Him (agape – the greatest Greek word for love), somehow Peter realised all of his weakness and replied with another word which is phileo. This word also translated sometimes as ‘love’, and to show the differences the NKJV translator put a footnote: have affection for. The second question is the same with the first one. Jesus wanted Peter to love Him with the best quality of love, but somehow Peter realised and remembered his denial few weeks before and he keep telling Jesus that he only had affection for Jesus and not that heavenly love that Jesus wanted to. Somehow at last questions, Jesus downgrade His words asking if Peter love him (phileo), and it made Peter very sad and he still replied back with the same words.
No matter in which level our love to God, the calling is remained the same, Jesus always calls us as the shepherd and He wants us to FEED THE SHEEP from the very beginning of our journey with God! The promise of the crown of glory is not only given to those who called as a pastor by occupation but that invitation is widely extended for anyone because God want to call all believers as a pastor by vocation – those who have the heart as a shepherd – this is the very big good news! The crown of glory is not only prepared for the local pastors because they feed the sheep in the local church. Sunday School teachers is definitely also the shepherd for kids in the church. All volunteers in the church also have the same heart as a shepherd and not only fulfil the roster of ministry in one particular day. All parents also must have the heart of a shepherd and leading the whole family to the green pasture and still waters. All believer is a shepherd to their community, their neighbourhood, their workplace. Let’s have a good response to this calling and be a shepherd wherever we are, knowing that a crown of glory is prepared for us!
FEEDING THE 5,000 THOUSAND HUNGRY SOULS
34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So, He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” 37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” 38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Mark 6:34-38 NKJV
The miracle about feeding 5,000 peoples is not about physical food but more about the bread for the souls! We can learn about the crown of glory as well through that miracle.
1. The compassion – we need to have the same compassion just like Jesus! The crown of glory is given for those who have compassion. Compassion is always started from the heart and this is the best engine which will drive our mind and our body to glorify God Pr.4:23. Compassion will always find a way to be accomplished. Compassion will lead to miracles. Compassion will lead believers to experience the greatness of God. Compassion is letting that still small voice – the voice of the Holy Spirit that will lead us to all truth – to keep alive within our heart 1Ki.19:12.
2. Sheep need shepherd – we can find sheep everywhere but it is very difficult to find shepherd! And to be honest sometimes the sheep like to refuse the shepherd as well! Sometimes the sheep like to run away Luk.15:4 even kick back Deut.32:15. The shepherd is those who have the wide heart and like to forgive. Being a shepherd for others also means that we need to get ready for any problem, for any back-stabbing, for any kickback, and keep the heart away from any bitterness. The people of Israel definitely need shepherd and Moses had a good heart for doing that. However, the process and also the routine of being shepherd was very hard and sometimes painful Num.11:12-15. We need to keep and maintain our heart to always have the right reaction as a shepherd. No matter how bad the sheep, God always looking for the shepherd who have a humility to keep teaching the good things! The servant of the Lord must be able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, because we never know if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth and escape the snare of the devil 2Tim.2:25-26.
3. Teach all things – the sheep need to be nurtured with all kinds of nutritious food, so they can grow well and be completed! The shepherd will take that risk to touch the ground and speak about all things, not only about the easy one but also about the difficult one. Even Paul is not called personally as a pastor 2Tim.1:11, but having a heart as a shepherd, Paul always push himself to declare the WHOLE counsel of God Act.20:27. The sheep always need to know from A to Z and God called believers to have the lips of a shepherd Pro.10:21, the lips of the righteous will feed many. This is the strong reason why all believers must grow and keep increasing in the knowledge of God and fully pleasing Him Col.1:10.
4. No excuse to postpone this glorious calling – unfortunately, at that moment the disciples had not the same heart with Jesus, so they could find any excuse to avoid that glorious calling! We will always able to use anything as an excuse not to fulfil the calling of a shepherd. We may say that we are too young or maybe too old. We may say that we tired already or we are too busy with other stuff. We may say that there is always tomorrow or other people can do it better than me. We can have thousand reasons to postpone that glorious calling and it also means that we will postpone that crown of glory as well! While Jesus still focusing in feeding all of those hungry peoples, the disciples keep insisting Jesus to send them away! As believers let’s be responsible with our calling and the grace we already received. Let’s ask Holy Spirit to always anoint our eyes and open the eyes of our heart, so we may see that crown clearly and have no excuse anymore.
5. From lunchbox to lunch feast – last but not least, let’s always remember that God always able to use even the least of us to make the feast! The starter package for that miracle was only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. To accomplish the shepherd’s calling God can use anything we already have, NOT something that we are going to have! While we must keep in our mind about spiritual growing, in the same time we must understand and be ready that God can help and sustain us anytime, at any level of our understanding, at any level of our ability! God can help Moses with the rod in his hand Ex.4:2. As a righteous person, we can start at anytime to open up our mouth and declare the will of God, even though we never have a session at any Bible college!
CONCLUSION: LOOK UP FOR THE CROWN OF GLORY
If we just look into the problem and difficulties within the sheep, we can be discouraged and lose our heart. But, if we keep looking up to the crown of glory, we will be encouraged and be strong. Be strong and of good courage! Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go Josh.1:9. There is a reward for that glorious calling. The people that we love and minister not only become the crown of glory but also the crown of rejoicing in the presence of Lord Jesus Christ at His coming 2Thes.1:19-20. God know exactly and always understand every pain and sacrifice when we do the duty of shepherd. God is always looking for faithful and wise shepherd who keep doing the task of shepherd, keep giving the food to his household. Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing Mat.24:45-46. Let’s get prepared for that crown of glory. AMEN.