“Feed My Sheep”
by Pastor Mark
January 20, 2017
Thank God for the IPC India Family Camp
This week has been a wonderful time of camp. We thank God for His manifold blessings upon our Indian brethren. The theme for this year was “Feed My Sheep”. These were the words of the Lord Jesus to Peter when he returned to Him after his denial. (John 21) The Lord Jesus instructed him to feed His sheep/lambs three times.
The Apostle Peter did his part in feeding the New Testament church. He also wrote an epistle to the pilgrims of the diaspora and to feed them the word of God…to help them have a right understanding of their faith as they went through the trials of life. These are some lessons that ministered to my heart in this family camp.
1. The profound foreknowledge of God
“To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,” (1 Peter 1:1,2)
One significance lesson is about the foreknowledge of God. How should we understand the foreknowledge of God? The word “foreknowledge” in Greek is where we get the English word “prognosis”. It is to have knowledge before something happens. God has full knowledge of the future…of all that will happen. He has a plan concerning our salvation.
The Lord Jesus had foreknowledge of Peter that he would deny Him three times but would return to Him and continue to minister by feeding His flock. Peter did not know all that was to happen to him…but the Lord knew. This is indeed such a profound perspective.
Pastor Charles taught that the word “elect” which means “chosen” is actually found in verse 1 in the Greek text. A literal translation is “To the elect pilgrims…” These were chosen pilgrims. They were still specially chosen by God even though they were scattered as part of the dispersion. These pilgrims were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. Let us appreciate that we have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. Let us stand in awe that all that God has planned and will happen to us is all within His foreknowledge.
2. A living hope
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3)
It is through the abundant mercies of God that we are begotten of God. When Peter was led to the Lord Jesus through his brother, Andrew, it was through the abundant mercies of God. When we are born again, there is the regeneration of our soul and we are given new life. We are born again so that we could move from a hopeless situation to having a living hope. This is a hope that is alive and not dead. It is to have hope in God concerning the future. The pilgrims were going through many challenges in life, yet they were meant to have this living hope in the Lord…in His foreknowledge concerning the future.
There was a time when Peter almost lost hope. He had denied the Lord Jesus three times and had decided to go back to fishing. (John 21) He almost gave up on following the Lord. But the Lord Jesus reached out to him and restored him that he may find hope again. This was the living hope that Peter had discovered through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This living hope helped him through many persecutions. Even if our trials would bring about death, there is hope in the resurrection of the Lord to help us to look beyond this life. Let us be challenged to find a deeper appreciation of the foreknowledge of God and to have a living hope in Him.