John 10:1-5 ESV
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The problem here, though, is that too many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are following the voices of the strangers, and they are confusing their voices for the voice of Christ. And, that is because these “thieves and robbers” are clever enchanters who are very manipulative, charming, funny, entertaining, and convincing, and so many people are flocking to them.
And, many of these “thieves and robbers” are serving in positions of leadership today within our churches, and within the governments of our nations, and within our community organizations. And, they are leading many people astray. For, they have a way of “charming the socks off people,” i.e. of completely manipulating them into thinking their way, or to go their direction, even in opposition of what they once believed as true.
These are those who have infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Jesus Christ, and to lead us back under slavery to sin, convincing us that what they are teaching us is true freedom, and that the true freedom we have found in Christ Jesus from slavery to sin is legalism and not to be followed. So, they twist the scriptures to their advantage, because they want us in slavery to sin, for they don’t serve Christ, but Satan.
But, Jesus Christ, the true shepherd of the sheep, died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, not to leave us still in bondage (addiction) with no way out, or continually “struggling,” i.e. continually yielding to sinful practices and living in persistent moral defeat. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, that we might walk in obedience to our Lord. He didn’t just forgive us our sins so that we could continue to walk in sin without guilt or remorse. That is not freedom if we are still under bondage!
So, we need to be discerners of truth so that we don’t end up following these strangers and end up not following (obeying) our Lord, the true shepherd.
John 10:9-13 ESV
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
The way to salvation from sin and eternal life with God is through faith in Jesus Christ. That word “faith” literally means “divine persuasion.” And, it is a gift from God. Since the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, thus, is not human-based faith, but it comes from God, and is persuaded by God, then it will submit to God’s holiness. We can only come to faith in Jesus Christ, in fact, if God the Father draws us to Christ. And, if he is the one drawing us to faith in Christ, then our faith will be true faith, which will submit to Christ.
For, you see, these strangers, these thieves and robbers, are out to destroy the church, yet they will come to you as wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they will convince you that what they are telling you is the truth, but their mouths are filled with deadly poison. They are blood suckers who want to suck the life of Christ out of your lives and to inject into you what is not of God, but is of Satan, who is the great deceiver who wants us to disobey our Lord.
So, they cut the gospel in half, and the half that is a lie, thus, ends up on top, covering over the truth, hiding it from sight. So, they cherry pick verses out of the Bible which, taken out of context, say what they want them to say, and they make those few verses their gospel message while they ignore the bulk of the teachings in the New Testament on what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God. And, they convince many people to follow their lies, too.
For, what they are telling people is that they can “believe” in Jesus but that it costs them nothing, i.e. they can continue in their sinful lifestyles, basically, and yet still have eternal life with God. They tell them that because they repeated some words after someone, or because they confessed that they believed in Jesus, and in what he did for us on that cross, that they are now part of God’s family, and that heaven is their eternal destiny, and that it can’t be taken away from them. So, how they live doesn’t really matter.
So, again, we must be discerners of these lies and of the truth, too.
John 10:27-30 ESV
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Here we have a prime example of what I am talking about here. Most people, it would seem, when quoting this section of scripture, leave out verse 27, and they apply the rest of the verses to anyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of their lifestyle.
But, what verse 27 says is that we who are Christ’s true sheep hear his voice, we listen to him, he knows us, and we follow (obey) him. So, the rest of these verses thus apply to those who are listening to Jesus’ words, to his words in the New Testament, but not just the ones he verbalized when he lived on this earth, though, for he is the author of scripture. So, also the words penned by his NT apostles who were preaching his gospel.
This is not saying that we are living in absolute sinless perfection, for if we could, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins. But, what it is saying here is that Jesus’ true sheep are those who make it their practice to listen to the Lord and to follow (obey) what he says. For, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit living within us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. For, this is why Jesus died, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 4:17-24).
In fact, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin) then we have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17).
And, we must know here what else scripture teaches us on this subject, for it says that if we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to our flesh, i.e. according to sin, that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, we need to live in harmony (agreement) with God and with his Word, and we need to do what it says, and we need to reject all that is evil.
An Original Work / September 2, 2012
Based off Ro. 12:9-21; 1 Pet. 3:8-17
Love each other truly.
Cling to what is good.
Hate all that is evil.
Never lack in zeal.
Serve the Lord with fervor.
Joyful in hope be;
Patient in affliction;
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
Share with all God’s people
Who are found in need.
Do not be conceited.
Love, and show compassion
Keep your tongue from evil.
Peaceful you must be.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
God sees who are righteous;
Listens to their prayers.
But He’s against evil –
Is His to avenge.
Do not fear what they fear.
In your hearts, make Christ Lord.
Serve Him faithfully.
Honor one another.
Live in harmony.
Sunday, April 21, 2019