Thieves and Robbers
John 10:1-6 NIV
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, our Lord and Savior, is both the shepherd of the sheep and the gate by which we enter into relationship with God. He left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, and was crucified on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. When we believe in him, we become part of his body, the body of Christ, the church, i.e. we are now his sheep.
Nonetheless, many are trying to enter into relationship with God by other ways other than through Jesus Christ. Many of these, though, make a pretense of having entered through Christ or else they believe falsely that they have entered through Christ because they have followed after the lies of men in their deceitful scheming. Or, they are not truly trying to enter into relationship with God at all, but they have infiltrated the church under false pretenses in order to steal from (spiritually) and/or to kill and destroy believers in Jesus Christ and the gospel message of our salvation.
These false shepherds of the sheep are hypocritical liars who pretend to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but it is lip service only. Their hearts do not belong to God but to Satan. And, they serve their own flesh, not the Lord. They are leading God’s people astray, and they are leading many to a false grace gospel which leaves its adherents still in slavery to sin, and bound for hell, while promising them freedom and the hope of heaven.
The way in which they do this is by teaching a half-truth gospel. A half-truth, if told on purpose, is still a lie. They cleverly blend lies and truth together to make it sound like truth to unsuspecting ears, while they are luring their converts into a well-laid trap. For, you see, they teach that God’s grace requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ and no submission to the cross, i.e. to death to sin and living to righteousness. But, that is a lie!
For, God’s grace to us is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel. God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. His grace to us delivers us from slavery to sin, it does not coddle us in our sin so that we don’t feel guilty about continuing in sinful practices.
Thus, the Lord’s true sheep, those who have died with him to sin, and have been born again of the Spirit of God, who are being led by the Spirit, know the truth of the gospel, so they don’t follow after the lies of Satan. They resist the lies and they hold on to the truth. They guard what has been entrusted to them with the help of the Holy Spirit so the thieves cannot break in and steal, kill and destroy. And, they expose the lies of Satan and of his false shepherds so that people will know the truth, because it is in believing the truth that they will truly be set free.
The Good Shepherd
John 10:7-13 NIV
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
The truth of the gospel is that faith in Jesus Christ is divine persuasion as to God’s will for our lives. If we are persuaded by God, as to his will for our lives, we will, thus, submit to those purposes. We will yield to the Lordship of Christ, and we will thus be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and be resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old lives of living for sin and self will be forsaken, and we will now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer live our lives to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh.
For, if we walk according to the flesh, in darkness, and we hold on to our old lives, we will lose our lives for eternity, i.e. we won’t have eternal life with God. If we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins. For, if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap corruption (destruction). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in wickedness, we are liars.
The false shepherds of the people care nothing about God’s people. They are just being paid to do a job, and part of that job is to lead people away from God and to a flesh-driven false grace gospel so that they will remain in bondage to sin and under Satan’s control. Their job is to lie to the people and to prepare the way for the control of the beast and the false prophet. And, these false shepherds are political and religious leaders in the world whose job it is to destroy the church and the gospel of our salvation.
So, when their job is finished, and it is time for the beast and the false prophet to rule the world, they will step aside and they will allow this beast to rule and to attack the church. But, we need to hold on to Christ and the gospel of our salvation, and guard what has been entrusted to us with the help of the Holy Spirit, so that, even though we are attacked, mistreated, falsely accused, wrongfully imprisoned or whatever else they may do to us, we remain strong in our faith and in our commitments to Christ and to his gospel.
The Lord’s Sheep
John 10:24-30 NIV
The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Many people quote the second half of this passage of scripture minus the first half, and they claim this promise for all who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ. But, the reality of this is that if we are true sheep, we will listen to our Lord, and we will follow him in obedience. This is not saying we will live in absolute sinless perfection, but that sin no longer has mastery over our lives, but Jesus Christ is truly our Lord (owner-master), and our lives are now given over to him to follow him in his ways and in his truth.
So, know the truth, and live the truth, and it will set you free. Also, know the lies so that you can resist them with the truth, to help others to be free, too, and to keep you from being deceived by these clever enchanters.
The Heart of Man
An Original Work / April 4, 2012
Based off Matt. 15:1-20; Mk. 7:1-23
Listen to me ev’ryone and
Understand this teaching of Christ:
Why do you break the commands
Of God for the sake of tradition?
When you follow the ways of man,
And don’t obey the words of Christ,
You nullify the words of God,
And you hold to the ways of man.
What comes out of a man’s mouth is
What makes him unclean and dirty.
The things that come out of the mouth
Come from the heart, from within him.
The heart of man is so sinful;
From his nature, out comes evil:
Lying, cursing, greed and malice,
Lust and lewdness, deceit, slander.
Jesus calls us to obey him;
Turn from our sins; follow His ways.
Yet, his people honor him with their lips,
but their hearts not with Him.
Their worship of God is in vain.
Their teachings are rules taught by man.
Jesus calls us; gently leads us
To return and follow His truth.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 12:51 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this truth from Your Word. Make it real to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name.