How to Become MORE Than a Follower!

What is it Like to Be MORE Than a Sheep?

Biblical Leadership Series

Matthew 4:19

Oct 27, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1st Peter 2:25)


A.      Last week, we learned that we all need to become very good followers of Jesus Christ!


1.      There is no other starting place for anyone

2.      We all start out as sinners, lost and in trouble with God

3.      Like sheep that have gone astray

4.      And then the great Shepherd came and drew you to Himself! He became YOUR great Shepherd

5.      And from the moment you were born again, you have been following, learning, growing… at least you SHOULD have been!


B.      Well, this week, I want to move on to becoming MORE than just followers – more than just sheep!


1.      Obviously there are some big differences between sheep and a shepherd

2.      Sheep eat – Shepherds feed!

3.      Sheep flock together – Shepherds stand alone!

4.      Sheep follow where the flock is heading – Shepherds call the sheep to follow him!

5.      Sheep have few cares or worries – Shepherds carry heavy burdens!

6.      Sheep love eating and sleeping – Shepherds love the sheep!


C.      Let me ask you some questions…


1.      Why were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego able to STAND, ALONE, when absolutely everyone else around them couldn’t?

2.      Why was young David able to face down and kill a massive giant named Goliath, when seasoned and well-trained Israeli soldiers couldn’t?

3.      Why was Paul of Tarsus able to go from town to town, and be stoned, beaten, and imprisoned, and yet leave a Bible believing, soul-winning, Gospel preaching church in almost every place he visited?

4.      It wasn’t because any of them just went with the flow! No!


D.     It is SOOOOO easy to just “go with the flow…”


1.      To be only a follower of the crowd – of the flow of the world around you

2.      A dead fish goes nowhere other than the water takes them!

3.      You may never be a pastor, or a mayor, or a Taoiseach

4.      You may not lead a massive corporation like Ford, or Apple

5.      But you CAN break out of being a mindless, spineless, culture of this modern age


E.      To move from sheep to Shepherd – from follower to Leader, and World Changer – that is God’s challenge to each and every one of us! (John 21:16)


1.      It is more than just wanting to be “in power” – the apostles wanted that, and were mistaken

2.      Rich people want power – personal power, to help them make more money

3.      Politicians want power – personal power, to create a world in “their image”

4.      But Christians, Bible believers want something much more!

5.      We want to be MORE than just a sheep  - become leaders, pace-setters, a light, salt! That’s what Jesus saved us to be!


F.      Warning! It will probably cost you everything to become more than just a follower!


1.      If you are even the slightest bit squeamish, then leadership won’t be for you!

2.      If you are quick to complain, and whinge and murmur, and find fault, then by all means, stay the way you are, and don’t risk getting hurt!


G.      I don’t want anyone trying to be like anyone else in this room – only that we all strive to be like Jesus of Nazareth!


II.    Message


A.     Seek the Closest Relationship Possible (Mark 3:14)


1.      A sheep should want to be as close as possible to the shepherd

2.      Jesus calls people to be WITH Him, not just to follow Him (Mark 3:14) “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.”

3.      There were LOADS of people who followed Jesus… (Matthew 4:25; 8:1; 19:2)


a.       Some for free food

b.      Some for amazing entertainment – never saw anything like it

c.       Some for the miracles


4.      But few just hungered to be with Him! To be right next to Him!


a.       Often, only 3 of the twelve disciples got very close – Peter, James and John


1)     You find only them up on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17)

2)     You find only them at the healing of the daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue in Mark 5:35-37

3)     And Jesus separates Peter James and John from the others, and brings them deeper into the Garden of Gethsemane with Him than anyone else (Mark 14)


b.      But in the end, it was JOHN who found the closest place nearest to Christ’s heart (John 13:23)!


5.      There ought to be such a drive, such a competitive spirit in this church for who would walk closest to, and furthest with, Jesus!


a.       Most everyone seeks to get ahead – thinking they know best or better

b.      Jesus asks us to watch Him, and do like Him, but He most of all wants us right there with Him!

c.       It is only in this place that you will hear God’s clear calling and direction

d.      If you spend a load of time with Him, it will show – it will have an effect!


B.     Work Harder Than Anyone Else (1Cor 15:10)


1.      I’m serious!

2.      God hates laziness and apathy when there is work that needs to be done for Him. The world is going to hell, and we are supposed to be making a spiritual difference here in Cork – that takes work!

3.      Labour more for eternal things, for spiritual things than for the passing things of just this life (John 6:26,27)

4.      Spend and be spent for everyone around you (2Cor 12:14,15)

5.      Work hard at being the best giver!


a.       Sheep take…

b.      Shepherds give, and give, and give some more!


6.      Start at the bottom!


a.       No Christian in this room should have a problem Starting at the bottom at anything!

b.      As helpers

c.       And then work harder than everyone else! To become a leader!

d.      That’s where we shine!

e.       The world will stand in awe of a hard-working Christian!

f.        It ought to start at home and at church!


7.      Make sure you get some scars – some GOOD scars from serving the Lord (2Cor 11:23-30)


a.       We carry plenty of scars from stupid sinful activities

b.      But the apostle Paul was in labours more abundant


1)     In stripes above measure

2)     In prisons more frequent

3)     In deaths oft.

4)     Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

5)     Thrice was I beaten with rods

6)     Once was I stoned

7)     Thrice I suffered shipwreck

8)     A night and a day I have been in the deep;

9)     In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

10)In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

11)Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

12)Who is weak, and I am not weak?

13)Who is offended, and I burn not?

14)If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.


c.       Paul wore the scars of a life lived for Christ!!!


8.      Sheep get scars from wandering away all the time into trouble

9.      Shepherds get scars from protecting the sheep, and leading the sheep, and rescuing sheep, and from obeying the Lord his Shepherd!


C.      Trust God More and More (Proverbs 3:5,6)


1.      We have a convenient kind of faith in Europe:


a.       A faith that we are comfortable with

b.      It works for us

c.       But it is not real

d.      In reality, MOST people are resting on the faith of others: Of their parents, of their pastor, of their church

e.       They have very little of their own faith, confidence, trust in God

f.        Sheep trust the shepherd

g.       But shepherds trust God!


2.      Everyone has to learn to trust God – it doesn’t come naturally!


a.       Moses learned that, when HE was humbled and made into a lowly shepherd


1)     He made constant excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God asked of him

2)     That is, until he learned that the ability was not in himself, it was not in the rod, but all Moses’ sufficiency was and always would be in the Lord God!


b.      Samson had to learn to trust God instead of his jawbone of an ass!

c.       Gideon had to learn his victory was not in the size of his army, or even in any of those 300 empty pitchers that he ended up using… he learned to trust in the Lord!

d.      David’ victory was not in his sling…

e.       Elisha had no power in his staff…


3.      Great things are accomplished only with great faith


a.       Faith that YOU personally have

b.      The centurion had more faith than all the disciples! (Luke 7:6-10)


4.      Next time you face a storm, a wall, or an enemy, decide to trust in the Lord, and be willing to stay trusting Him until the storm calms, and the trouble passes, and the enemy runs away!


D.     Allow Yourself to Hurt A Lot (Philp 1:12-18)


1.      A.W. Tozer said these words, “Whom God would use greatly, he will hurt deeply.”

2.      God will allow a lot of hurt into your life – don’t fight it! I do, but I don’t want to!

3.      It is ONLY during those darkest of times, that I fellowship with Christ the best, and I learn how to trust Him the most!

4.      So, Fail a lot – Moses did! People will find fault with you, and mock you and hurt you as you try and do the right things and fail…

5.      And Hurt a lot – don’t let it numb you, or cause you to get bitter or calloused!

6.      The important thing is that you NEVER stop feeling! The moment you, you are through!


a.       Just as Christ as touched with the feeling of OUR infirmities, so also should WE feel the troubles and infirmities of others around us

b.      That’s when we move from being a stupid, uncaring, selfish sheep, to a caring, compassionate Shepherd!


E.      Do A Lot of Things Alone (Matthew 14:23)


1.      At least be ready to go it alone as a Christian!

2.      We are a lot like sheep – we go where everyone else is going. We do what everyone else is doing.

3.      We need to be more like the Shepherd (Luke 9:51-53)


a.       Jesus started out alone, people flocked to him, but in the end, everyone abandoned Him… and yet he kept going!

b.      He only wanted to do His Father’s will


1)     John 4:34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

2)     John 6:38  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

3)     John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.


c.       Set our course, and go, no matter how many come along, or how few


4.      This doesn’t mean be a loner, but that your friends no longer control you, and when God directs you in a different direction than everyone else, then you will go it alone:


a.       To the mission field

b.      To another job

c.       To new, more godly friendships – even if there are not many


F.      Make the Hard Decisions (Joshua 24:15)


1.      It is always so easy to just let others make up your mind for you


a.       Let others decide what you wear, what you watch, who you hang with

b.      THAT’S no problem


2.      BUT! If you want to be more than just a dumb sheep, then start making some hard decisions:


a.       To do the right thing

b.      That you will keep yourself pure (eyes, heart, mind, and body)

c.       That you will be honest for the rest of your life

d.      That you will do WHATEVER Christ asks of you – not matter what!

e.       That you will make HIM THE priority of your life, over family, work, worries, or fears!

f.        That you will never ever ever pick up a drink, or a cigarette

g.       That you will walk away from some friend that is ruining your walk with Christ


3.      Sheep don’t make many decisions – they just follow

4.      Shepherds make the hard decisions!


G.     Shepherd Where You Are At – Care for YOUR Flock (Acts 20:28; Luke 15:3-5)


1.      It is easy to see what ought to be done in other people’s lives, and ignore your own home

2.      YOU, Be faithful over what and who God has placed you over, and He will put you over more!


a.       A group of believers is a church - it is Christ’s flock – His sheep

b.      Don’t compare your efforts or your “flock” with anyone else!


3.      Just take the best care of YOUR flock


a.       Your home, and your children

b.      Your co-workers – they may not know it, but you are their shepherd, trying to get them into the right sheep fold!

c.       Your little Sunday School class, or teen group

d.      Those men and women in R.U.

e.       The people who are looking up to you for leadership


4.      How? (1Peter 5:2)


a.       FEED them – teach them line by line, truth by truth this Bible!

b.      WARN them – you have to be more than people’s friends!

c.       LOVE them

d.      SHOW them – be the example


H.    Take Time Seriously (Eph 5:16)


1.      Don’t waste time anymore

2.      Always redeem the time – always trying to get more hours out of a day

3.      Making NOW count

4.      Yes, take breaks, have some diversions

5.      But the majority of people do almost nothing for Christ, when in reality, we should do very little for the world, other than win it to Christ!


a.       READ!


1)     Read your Bible, cover to cover, over and over

2)     Read BIOGRAPHIES of great men and women of God

3)     Read books on astronomy, and science and history


b.      Learn things


1)     Don’t just let the world dumb you down

2)     Learn cool stuff – like physics, and mechanics, and electricity

3)     Learn how to build stuff

4)     Discover how to do things no one has ever dreamed!


c.       Stretch yourself! Go to university!

d.      Get up earlier and do more in your day than others

e.       THAT’S what LEADERS do! Sheep stay in bed, and play games, and watch youtube

f.        Turn off the TV, Facebook

g.       Take courses

h.      Start discipleship

i.         Do a year of Bible Institute

j.         Have a hobby that develops you instead of wastes all your time!


6.      TAKE YOUR TIME SERIOUSLY – it will never come again!


I.       Be Weird on Purpose (1Peter 2:9)


1.      Sheep look all the same

2.      Shepherds look different – act different – think different!

3.      So, Decide who you are going to be


a.       A fool to God, or A fool to the world?

b.      It means start living Out of step

c.       Not conformed to the world’s ideals

d.      But transformed


1)     Not drinking at all anymore

2)     Not knowing all the movies and music of this day (my age was the 70’s and 80’s – after that, it is almost a blank, praise God)!


J.        Have Some Victories that God gave YOU! (1Sam 17:33-37)


1.      Like David had against the bear and the lion

2.      Don’t you have any victories?


a.       Any souls that God allowed YOU to win to faith in Jesus? Your children even?

b.      Any bad habits that God enabled you to put away?


3.      Get you some spiritual victories!


a.       Give out a tract and invite to church until someone does!

b.      Keep putting down your cigarettes until you don’t pick them up ever again!

c.       Pray and fast and pray some more about some need or burden until it is lifted or helped by God alone!


4.      Sheep WATCH

5.      Shepherds DO!


K.     Take Risks – have Vision (Acts 20:22-24)


1.      People who just do what everyone else is doing, never take worthwhile risks, and never break away from the “herd” – they are only sheep

2.      Shepherds take risks


a.       Not stupid risks like stepping off a building

b.      But they Pick on the biggest, meanest bully at school, and invite him to Teens, and to church on Sunday! Tell him you are praying for him to get born again! Tell him or her that to their face!

c.       They ask pastor if you can preach a 5 minute message sometime for pop-corn preaching

d.      They believe God when everyone else has given up on prayer, and on trusting God to work everything out for good!


L.      Never Stop Being Like the Master (Isaiah 40:11; 1Peter 2:21)


1.      That is what leadership, REAL leadership is all about!

2.      There is no better example!

3.      He broke the old mould!


a.       Of religion

b.      Of politics

c.       Of sin’s glory and grip on culture


4.      And He made a new mould! He set the pace! He

5.      Be the example for those around of, NOT of a sheep only, but of a Leader, a Shepherd! A Pattern for others to follow!


a.       Don’t let the world mould you anymore

b.      Don’t let the pressures, stress, culture, fashions shape your life anymore

c.       YOU be the fashion – the light, the salt of the world

d.      BE an example of what a follower of Jesus Christ is, and acts like!


III. Conclusion


A.      Obviously there are some big differences between sheep and a shepherd


1.      Sheep eat – Shepherds feed!

2.      Sheep flock together – Shepherds stand alone!

3.      Sheep follow where the flock is heading – Shepherds call the sheep to follow him!

4.      Sheep have few cares or worries – Shepherds carry heavy burdens!

5.      Sheep love eating and sleeping – Shepherds love the sheep!


B.      It is SOOOOO easy to just “go with the flow…”


1.      To be only a follower of the crowd – of the flow of the world around you

2.      A dead fish goes nowhere other than the water takes them!

3.      You may never be a pastor, or a mayor, or a Taoiseach

4.      You may not lead a massive corporation like Ford, or Apple

5.      But you CAN break out of being a mindless, spineless, culture of this modern age


C.      God’s challenge to each and every one of us is to move from sheep to Shepherd – from follower to Leader, and World Changer!


D.     How?


1.     Seek the Closest Relationship Possible

2.     Work Harder Than Anyone Else

3.     Trust God More and More

4.     Allow Yourself to Hurt A Lot

5.     Do A Lot of Things Alone

6.     Make the Hard Decisions

7.     Shepherd Where You Are At – Care for YOUR Flock

8.     Take Time Seriously

9.     Be Weird on Purpose

10.Have Some Victories that God gave YOU!

11.Take Risks – have Vision

12.Never Stop Being Like the Master


E.      Warning! It will probably cost you everything to become more than just a follower! But it is worth it! Far better being a leader, a pace-setter, a light, salt, than just a sheep!