Feed My Sheep

Friday: Feed My Sheep
Story Passage: John 21
Other Passages: Psalm 23, Matthew 7:15-23, Acts 20:28-30, James 1:22-25
Objective: The church needs leaders. We must follow Jesus, and we must follow our leaders.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:10, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Introduction: Caring for Sheep
Who takes care of sheep? (A shepherd.) What kinds of things does a shepherd have to do to take care of his sheep? [Accept some answers from the children.] Does the shepherd have to make sure the sheep have food and water? (Yes. See Psalm 23:2) What do we call people who take care of God's sheep - the church? (Pastors.)

Story: Feed My Sheep
Peter was one of Jesus disciples, but after Jesus went back to heaven, Peter became a pastor of the church in Jerusalem. Jesus knew Peter was going to have to lead the church, so before he left, he talked to Peter about it. Jesus and his disciples had been sitting near the Sea of Galilee eating breakfast. [Read John 21:15-18, stopping after Jesus says Feed my sheep the last time.] Did Jesus have a flock of actual sheep, that he wanted Peter to feed? (No.) So what was Jesus talking about? (People.) The people who love Jesus and follow him. Jesus was telling Peter to lead the church.

Point: Leading God's Sheep
Why do you suppose Jesus told him three times? Do you suppose he wanted Peter to remember to do this? It was important. Feed my sheep. What should he be feeding them? Was he supposed to cook Macaroni and Cheese? Maybe fish? Lamb chops? (No.) He was supposed to feed them by teaching them God's word, so that they would grow in Jesus. Do you suppose Peter also had to protect the church from wild animals? Wolves and lions? The Bible calls false teachers wolves, because they come into the church looking just like the rest of us, pretending to be followers of God, like wolves pretending to be sheep - but then they try to steal people away from God. They teach things that aren't from the Bible, things that aren't true. And the Bible calls Satan a roaring lion, looking to see who he can devour. He wants to take away God's sheep too. So a pastor, as a shepherd of God's sheep, has to protect us from those things, by teaching us the Bible so that we won't go astray.

Transition: Following
Why do you think a pastor has to teach us things? So that we can just sit there and not pay attention? (No.) Is it so that we can fill our heads with knowledge and never use it? (No.) Is church just a place to go and play with our friends? (No.) What are we we supposed to do? We have to follow God's teaching. Ephesians 2:10 is our memory verse for today: For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Why did God prepare good works for us ahead of time? So that we could not do them? (No, so that we could do them.) Following God isn't just about going to church once a week. It's about doing. It's about how we live our life every day, doing the things God teaches us in the Bible.
Could you think of some other things God wants us to do, besides just going to church? [Accept some answers. Possibilities: praying, studying the Bible, giving money, telling other people about Jesus, taking care of our parents when they're old, ...]
Hopefully today you've learned or been reminded what it means to follow the good shepherd. We don't want to leave everything up to the Pastor to just do it all - all of us should be doing God's work, in the church, and when we live our lives. So, help your Pastor out this week.

Invitation: Dedication
Invite any children who want to follow God to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.

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