Sermon:  A Sheepish Church  

Summary:  The epilogue of John 21 reminds us of the pastoral work of the church, which 
begins with reconciliation and restoration by Christ alone which frees us to love Jesus 
authentically and therefore be able to care for His sheep, which were fish drawn near 
by the net of the Gospel and have now  become Christ's sheep. 

Know:  The church is a shepherding institution that cares for people as Christ did

Feel:  Compassion for people as Christ had compassion

Do:  Reflect on how the church is like a sheepfold and how it is like a body.  Compare 
and contrast these two metaphors and highlight the lessons for the church today.  Discuss 
how redemption and reconciliation by Christ is needed in order to love as he loved and be 
involved in caring for others.  Examine the roles that members, ministry leaders, deacons, 
leaders, etc. might fulfill caring ministry.

Text:  Jn 21:4-17

Scripture Reading:  1 Cor 12:24-26

1.  When catch fish, what you do with them?  In the kingdom, you care for them
2.  Context and Review
	a. Last time, we looked at the apostolic mission of the church as sent
		- Were reminded that the church is a fishing institution
		- Fruitfulness is God's work, our work is faithfulness
		- Jesus not calling for renewed skill/effort, but for faith & obedience
	b. Now will look at what happens after the catch
	c. What do you do with fish after you catch them?
	d. The church is search & rescue institution, so you don’t consume the fish
3.  This morning we will look at the pastoral mission of the church
	a. When hear word “pastoral,” think of pastors, shepherds, elders, etc.
	b. Might think that pastoral type of care is limited to them
	c. Caring ministries for the sheep are not limited to official shepherds
		- Also called “overseers” - Their responsibility, but not do it all
		- Example: Acts 6 -Grecian widows cared for by appointed servants
		- Early church deacons cared for needs of people
			-- Word “deacon” means “servant” 
			-- They served and cared for people
			-- They were part of the shepherding
	d. 1 Cor 12:25 - All the members have the same care for one another
		- This is something that every member is involved in
4.  What does the Pastoral Mission of the Church involve?

I.   Restoration by Christ
	A.  Peter desperately needed restoration
		1.  He had denied Christ 
			a. He denied Christ three times
			b. The third time he cursed and swore
		2.  He went away and wept bitterly
			a. He had failed
			b. He thought he was ready to die with Christ
			c. But deny Christ 3 times?  What kind of dedication is that?
		3.  He desperately needed reconciliation and restoration
		4.  The only place it could come from is from Jesus himself
	B.  The problem if restoration did not come from Christ
		1.  He would be plagued by guilt, desperation, and despair
			a. He would be the “disciple who denied Christ 3 times”
			b. His devotion would be questionable
				- Sure, he is faithful when times are good
				- But what about when times get rough?
			c. He could become self-absorbed, trying to undo his past
				- Try to make up for it
				- If do enough, maybe can erase it?
				- Would become self-absorbed - All about himself
			d. Nothing he could do would be enough - Result: Empty, 
				- Nothing to give
				- How can he minister like this?
		2.  His life might be plagued by deception
			a. Try to hide it and any other shortcomings
			b. Can become self-righteous
			c. Could be mean, no patience for other strugglers
			d. Put on a face, not let people know who he really is
		3.  Is this what Peter is destined for?  Is he finished?
	C.  ILL:  Play word association.  Say a name, what do you think of?
		1.  Some biblical names
			a. Agrippa - “Almost persuaded to become a Christian”
			b. David - King, Goliath, Bathsheba?
			c. Judas - Betrayer, 40 pieces of silver
			d. Apostle Paul - Missionary, writer of epistles
		2.  Non biblical names
			a. Adolf Hitler - WW2, tyrant, holocaust
			b. Richard Nixon - “I am not a crook,” Watergate
			c. Dr Kevorkian - Death doctor
			d. Mother Teresa - Compassion
		3. One more name: Apostle Peter
			a. Lead Apostle, 1st Gospel Sermon, Passionate
			b. Usually not think of him as failure
			c. Stumbled, but he did not fail
			d. Why?  Peter was ultimately restored and redeemed
				- Jesus had fellowship with him, ate with him
				- Jesus did not hold it against him, forgave him
				- Then Jesus charged him to caring ministry
				- This was necessary to release him from sin, failure, 
				  and guilt
	D.  It is necessary to Christ to redeem and restore
		1.  We can't do it by our self, it will backfire
		2.  Only Christ can truly release you from sin and guilt
		3.  Once sin is gone, it is truly gone
			a.  Ps 103:12 - Far as east is from west, removed sins 
			b.  Sins are lost, you are found
		4.  **When this happens, you a free to love Christ authentically…

II.  Freedom to love Christ
	A.  Since Peter not have to be focused on "making up" for failure, he can 
	      be free to just love Christ
	B.  What does "free to love" mean?  Take a closer look…
		1.  They are sitting around a charcoal fire…again
			a.  Last time around a charcoal fire was at house of Annas
			b.  It was there he denied Christ three times
			c.  This time, he affirms his love for Christ three times 
		2.  Notice what Jesus does an does not do
			a.  He does not throw the denials into his face
			b.  Allows Peter to reaffirm his love once for each denial
			c.  Has fellowship with Peter, eating a meal together
			d.  Does not tell Peter he must undo or erase his failure
				- Jesus has already erased it at the cross
		3.  Peter is free to love Christ authentically
			a.  He does not have to undo or erase the past
			b.  He can now have pure motives
				- Can serve out of love and not guilt
				- Work hard because of love, not trying to undo past
			c.  His passion, working hard, etc. is for the right reasons
				- 1 Pet 2:24 - By his stripes/wounds we are healed
				- Eph 2:8-10 - Salvation is God's gift
				- Phil 2:12-13 - God is at work in you to will and work 
			d.  Can love authentically because Christ's love is 
				- Jn 14:15 - If you love me, you will keep my 
				- Did not say - "If you want to be saved, keep my 
				- There is a higher motive that is not self-absorbed
				-  Motivation is love
	C.  ILL:  Like when you do something wrong when a child
		1.  Usually there is some sort of consequence
			a.  Stealing something, have to sell something to replace it
			b.  If lie about where you went, might be grounded
			c.  Consequences are corrective learning experiences
		2.  Good consequence should not include withholding love
			a.  You can't spend time with me because you did wrong
			b.  I will not hug you
			c.  You will have to earn your way back to me
		3.  What will child learn if you withhold love as a consequence?
			a.  They think of love as a bargaining chip to use, therefore 
			     people are also things to use
			b.  Not know what love is, therefore self-absorbed
			c.  Grow up with fear, uncertainty, despair, anger, emptiness
			d.  Can't have good relationships, nothing to give, empty
		4.  But if child is loved unconditionally, what happens?
			a.  They learn unconditional love
			b.  When they love, the motivation will be a pure one
			c.  Will have lots to give, full of love
			d.  They are free to love authentically
	D.  That is what Christ has done
		1.  He has freed you to love him authentically
		2.  Therefore, if we are not in a right relationship with Christ
			a.  It is not because he no longer loves us
			b.  It is not because he leaves us or forsakes us
			c.  It is because we walked away from him, not him from us
			d.  His invitation to come back is always open
		3.  Ps 46:10 - Cease striving and know that I am God
			a.  No need to strive endlessly to undo the past
			b.  He loves us unconditionally
			c.   If we repent and return, he will receive us
			d.  No fine to pay, he has already paid it in full
		4.  **We are freed to love Christ authentically, and are therefore fit 
		     to minister to others…

III.  Free to love his sheep
	A.  Talking about those who were once fish
		1.  They were drawn up by the net of the Gospel
		2.  What do you do with them when they are in the net?
		3.  Church a rescue organization, so you don't consume the fish
	B.  You love them unconditionally as Christ loved you
		1.  Jesus questions Peter
			a.  "Do you love me?"
			b.  Since you love me, take care of my sheep
				- They are his sheep
				- Jesus loved them so much, he died for them
			c.  Jesus reaffirms commission to Peter
				- Had already given commission in chap. 20 along 
				   with others
				- Now Jesus singles him out
				- Peter needs full reconciliation and restoration
				- Can't minister effectively without it
			d.  This message not just for Peter, but for us
		2.  The fish became sheep, Christ's sheep
			a.  They were not to consume or eat the sheep
			b.  They were to love and care for the sheep
		3.  1 Cor 12:12f – Uses the metaphor of body for the church
			a.  Each part is connected to each other
			b.  Each part is to have the same care for each other
			c.  Therefore, caring ministry is for all parts of the body
		4.  May sound strange, because it seems this is a job for elders
			a.  Jn 10 – Jesus is the good shepherd
				- Ultimate example of love
				- Ultimate example of caring ministry
				- Not mean he the ONLY one that is to love & care
				- We are to follow his example to love and care
			b. 1 Pet 5:1-5 - Peter said shepherds to be examples to flock
				- They are to show what unconditional love is
				- Show by example what it means to love one another
				- They are not the ONLY ones to love and care
			c.  The church is involved in care and compassion	
	C.  ILL:  Troy was one of the ones I studied with and baptized in Mesa, AZ
		1.  Talked with parents, he came in just as we started to study
			a.  Got all the way through the study, parents not ready
			b.  Troy spoke up and was ready to obey the Gospel
		2.  A little about Troy
			a.  From a less affluent part of town, no money, 
			b.  Not a lot of friends
			c.  Had an accident, reduce mobility, health problems
			d.  Big struggle just to get baptized, but he did it
		3.  He was so glad to now have the family of God
			a.  He hasn’t asked for money or anything
			b.  He has been there every time
			c.  He has been reading and studying his Bible
			d.  He is participating in the singles group
		4.  He called me to say thank you a couple weeks ago
			a.  He spoke about the church, and how he has been 
			     included and accepted
			b.  Church is making an impact on his family
				- They see how the church has been treating him
				- Some people pick Troy up
			c.  Refers to the church simply as “my family”
			d.  Over 60 people obey Gospel during and after campaign
				- Many are staying
	D.  That is pastoral caring ministry
		1.  It is not rocket science to love people as Christ did
		2.  Don’t have to “solve” all people’s problems
			a.  When cannot solve all people problems
			b.  When we think we can, that is pride
			c.  Jesus is the only one who can make it right
				-It may not happen completely till he comes again
				-Some may have scars until Jesus completely heals
			d.  We cannot “fix” everything
		3.  Christ’s charge for us is to humbly love people
			a.  I can’t fix everything, but I can love you
			b.  I can weep with you when you weep
			c.  I can rejoice with you when you rejoice
		4.  Pastoral ministry is loving and caring, not necessarily fixing
			a.  That takes the pressure off of us
			b.  Remember, it is only in the eternal kingdom where Jesus, 
			     not us, will make everything right
			c.  In the meantime, the church loves and cares for people

1.  This is what happens when fish become sheep 
	a.  Are you his sheep, or are you still a fish?
	b.  Jesus wants you to be his sheep so he can lead you home (inv)
2.  If you are a sheep, then you are called to love his sheep
	a.  Sheep are not inactive, completely helpless lumps of wool that 
	     consume grass all day
	b.  Christ's sheep follow his footsteps
3.  It is not complicated to simply love as Christ loved
	a.  Do you love Jesus?  Then you will love his sheep.
	b.  Do you love Christ?  Then you will have compassion for his flock.
	c.  Are you devoted to the Lord?  Then you will care for his lambs.
4.  In order to do this
	a.  You need to be reconciled and restored by Christ (inv)
	b.  If he redeems you, you are free to love him authentically
	c.  If this happens, you can love his sheep as he did

Small Group Notes:  A Sheepish Church

Summary:  The epilogue of John 21 reminds us of the pastoral work of the church, which 
begins with reconciliation and restoration by Christ alone which frees us to love 
Jesus authentically and therefore be able to care for His sheep, which were fish drawn 
near by the net of the Gospel and have now  become Christ's sheep.

- Which kind of animal describes you best?  Goat, sheep, bear, dog, fox, chicken, rabbit, 
frog, fish, cat, gecko, other: ___________

Explore:  Jn 21:4-17

1.  The two main metaphors in this chapter appear to be fish and sheep.  How are the 
two metaphors related to each other?

2.  Why did Jesus ask Peter if he loved him three times?  What did Jesus' response each 
time seem to suggest about the nature of Peter's ministry?

3.  Why was reconciliation and restoration by Christ necessary in order for Peter to carry 
out his ministry effectively?

4.  1 Cor 12:25 teaches that each member is the have the same care for each other.  How do 
the roles of members, ministry leaders, deacons, leaders, etc. fulfill the ministry of 
caring in the church?

5.  Metaphors should not be pushed to the extreme because they are often limited.  How is 
the metaphor of sheep a limited metaphor when it comes to the caring ministry of the church?  
Brainstorm a fitting metaphor or analogy that describes the caring ministry of the church.


6.  What kinds of attitudes are necessary for you to be able to genuinely have care and compassion for others?

7.  What are some possible ways you can fit in to the caring ministry of the church?

8.  What are some ways God can use you for a fishing and/or shepherding kind of ministry?