The Sheep, Goats and Pigs

The fact is, you can’t disciple someone who doesn’t want to be discipled, someone who doesn’t want to obey Jesus. Many churches are full of people just like that, people who are only cultural Christians, many of whom think they are born again just because they have given a mental assent to a few theological facts about Jesus or Christianity. They are pigs and goats, not sheep. Yet many pastors spend 90% of their time trying to keep those pigs and goats happy, while neglecting the ones whom they could help spiritually and should be serving, the true sheep! Pastor, Jesus wants you to feed His sheep, not the goats and the pigs (see John 21:17)!

But how do you know who are the sheep? They are the ones who come to church earliest and leave the latest. They are hungry to learn the truth, because Jesus is their Lord and they want to please Him. They come to church not just on Sundays, but whenever there is a gathering. They get involved in small groups. They often ask questions. They are excited about the Lord. They are looking for opportunities to serve.

Pastor, devote the majority of your time and attention to those people. They are the disciples. To the goats and pigs who attend your church, preach the gospel as long as they can stand it. But if you preach the true gospel, they won’t be able to stand it for long. Either they will leave the church, or if they have the power, they will attempt to remove you from your position. If they succeed, shake the dust off your feet as you leave. (In a house church setting, such a thing cannot happen, especially if your church meets in your house!)

Likewise, evangelists should feel no obligation to continually preach the gospel to the same people who have repeatedly rejected it. Leave the dead to bury the dead (see Luke 9:60). You are an ambassador for Christ, carrying the most important message from the King of kings! Your position is very high in God’s kingdom and your responsibility is great! Don’t waste your time telling anyone the gospel twice until everyone has heard it once.

If you are going to be a disciple-making minister, you should be selective in regard to who you teach, not wasting your valuable time on people who don’t want to obey Jesus. Paul wrote to Timothy,

And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2; emphasis added).