The Difference Between Cows and Sheep

The early church realized they had everything they needed to do the Work of God.  And they got busy and started changing the world one life at a time. After the last sentence of scripture is completed we see two major things happening.  Saviour sensitive churches are sending men out and they are making copies of scripture.  And this took sacrifice.

They needed scripture.  It was God’s precious Word and it must be shared.  And where are they going to get more copies?   No printing press yet.  Can’t just print them.  Copies must be handmade and there is no one else to do it.  Rome isn’t going to do it.  The Jewish scribes will continue to copy the Old Testament but they sure are not going to make copies of the gospels.

It was the responsibility of independent New Testament churches.  So someone had to give money.  Writing materials had to be acquired. Someone had to give time to copy it.  Someone had to suffer writer’s cramps.  One assignment I had was to write by hand on paper my own copy of the book of John.  It is not easy.  It is slow.  It took me a long time and John is small in comparison to the entire N.T.

And have you ever thought about how hard life was back then.  I know there was an elite class. But for the masses life was hard.  Most worked from sunup to sundown just to eke out a living.  No electricity, no modern convinces.  No running water.  Health care was horrible.  They did not have lazy boys and no foam mattresses.  And life often was even harder when you became a Christian.  Some lost their jobs, and there was persecution.  The savior sensitive people did not let any of that deter them.  They sacrificed, they went, and they told.

But not every church.   Not every church kept by the stuff.  Not every church kept the main thing the main thing.

We see this before the Bible is completed.  Just look at the Churches in the New Testament.  Take a close look at the Church at Corinth and spend some time reading the letters to the churches in Revelation.  Some were slipping and some slipping really bad.  And each of those churches is unique and all have a different set of issues.

Some will say.  Wait a min.  You said every Church has the same leader.  The all-powerful perfect Jesus.  If that is so, then why isn’t every one of His churches under His leadership sacrificing, giving, and going?

This is another basic truth that must be laid down if we are going to properly understand church history.   And it has to do with the difference between cows and sheep.

Over and over again Jesus calls us sheep.  John 10:14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep.  John 10:15 I lay down my life for the sheep    John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice,

Jesus tells Peter feed my sheep.  We are sheep.  My cousin raises both cows and sheep.  For the cows they have what they call a cattle prod.  You will never find a sheep prod.  It does not work.  You don’t deal with sheep that way.

When spring comes they use horses and drive the cows to the summer pasture.  You drive cows.  You make them go where you want them to go.  You don’t drive sheep, you lead sheep.

But don’t sheep run off.  Doesn’t the bible talk about sheep going astray.  Yes some do.  Here is a huge truth to get ahold of.  Yes sheep are lead, not driven, but the sheep must want to be led.

When it is time for the lambs to be born, my cousin will stay up many nights so she can be present when the lambs are born.  She misses a lot of sleep.  Funny how they so often are born at 2 am.  The connection that she makes with them at birth is strong.  That strong connection really helps the lamb want to follow her.

It is fun to watch how the sheep interact with my cousin.  How exited they are to see her and come running to her.  Her sheep want to be led by her and they want to interact with her.

A close walk with Jesus and a strong connection to Him, abiding with Him, will make His sheep want to be led by Him.  Jesus set this up to be voluntary.  Paul said I die daily.

We are to Love the Lord our God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  Joshua said Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.

The Psalmist said O love the Lord, all ye his saints.  Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments.  That is a personal choice.

This is one of the reasons that Pastors are instructed to not lord over the flock.  That never really works.  Anything not done for Jesus out of a free will is not worth much.  God does not force anyone to get saved.   Irresistible Grace is a false teaching.

Just as you have a free will to get saved or not.  After salvation you still have your free will.  Now the choice is how close to follow Christ.  How well do I want to listen?   How much faith am I going to have in His Word, His instructions, and His promises?

The problem is never with the Leadership of Jesus.  The problem is always with the follow ship of the sheep.

Why is this important?  How does this impact Church History?

Very simply, if all of the individual churches were following close to Jesus, they would not fall into error.  The false teachers, the wolves in sheep’s clothing would not find an audience.  Jesus does let each individual church decide just how close they want to follow Him.  And just like sheep.  Some want to be led by the shepherd and some don’t and run off.

So far we stated our purpose of looking at history, and that is not to pass a test.  It is to allow the examples of those that went before to encourage and challenge us.  We laid down the foundation that His churches are independent and vertical in authority and imperfect, and that Jesus gave them everything they need to do His work, and we emphasized that sheep must want to be led and that some don’t.  Therefore you will see churches in history having their own unique level of closeness and obedience to Jesus.  Each unique church will have its own issues with their level of follow ship and closeness to Christ.

Church History Filter #3

#3 Each individual Church is unique and has its own level of follow ship and closeness to Christ.  Some want to be led by Him and some do not.  Some will stay close and some will drift away.

This is a Biblical principal and really helps clear up a lot of what you see in Church History.  Most ignore this.  The tendency seems to be to take churches (plural) and put them into groups and then consider that since they are in that group that they are all the same.  If they can find one that in the group that has a strange idea, then they say all in that group believe it and then discount the entire group.  Of course they do not do that to whatever group they advocate.  When you see this, know that the filter they are using is off.

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