“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.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” John 10:1-6 ESV
We learn in the next section of scripture that Jesus Christ is the door, but he is also the shepherd of the sheep. Not only is he the door, but, as the shepherd of the sheep, he enters through the door. And, what is the door? It is the way to salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
Jesus is the Way. But, he also provided the Way. And, what is that way? It was through his death, through his shed blood on a cross, and through God-given faith in him that we can enter through that door and be in fellowship with him.
And, how did Jesus go before us? He did so by going to the cross and by dying in our place so that he could put our sin to death in order that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He had to die first so that we could be crucified with him in death to sin, and so that we could be resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, what does it mean to follow Jesus? Well, first of all it means to follow him in death to sin and in living to righteousness. And, it means to hear his voice and then to walk with him in obedience to his commands. For, this is the door Jesus provided for us that we might enter into eternal life with God. Because he died, we can die with him to sin. And, because he lives, we can live with him to righteousness (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
For, Jesus was not only that sacrificial Lamb given for the sins of the world, but he was/is our high priest who made the sacrifice for sins, by sacrificing himself on that cross so that we could be delivered from our bondage to sin. He had to go through that door first so that he would make the way for us to go through that door. And, that door is Jesus, but it is also his sacrifice for our sins so that we can be delivered from our slavery to sin.
By another way
The door is Jesus, but we can only enter through that door because of his sacrifice for our sins. We can only enter into his salvation by God’s grace and because of what Jesus did for us in dying in our place so that we could be delivered out of our slavery to sin. And, we can only go through that door by God-given and divinely persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, too, which surrenders to Jesus Christ as Lord, which repents of sin, and which turns to God to now walk with him in obedience to his commands.
But, there are thieves and robbers who come into the sheepfold by another way, not by way of Jesus, and not by way of the cross or by death to sin and walking in obedience to his commands. And, they don’t walk in, but they climb in, like climbing over a fence. They sneak in. They are not true sheep nor are they true shepherds of the sheep. These are strangers to Christ’s true sheep. For, they refused the way of the cross. They chose to hold on to their old lives, and so they are lost for eternity (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17).
But, they snuck into the gatherings of the church in order to deceive, to steal, to kill and to destroy the sheep. And, much of the way in which they do that is through deception, and by convincing people that they don’t have to repent of their sins or obey Jesus or walk in holiness.
And, if we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, and if we are listening to our Lord, and if we are being discerning of error, then we should know when it is a stranger’s voice we are hearing and when what we are hearing is the truth from God’s Word. And, thus, we should not be ones who are being led astray by false doctrines and by false gospels which appeal to human flesh. But, we should be hearing our Lord’s voice and following him where he leads us.
“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.” John 10:27-30 ESV
This passage here is one of the most misquoted passages in scripture. For, many people quote verses 28-30, but they leave out v. 27. Thus, they give themselves this promise of not being snatched out of God’s hands based on their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But, this promise is not for everyone who says “Lord, Lord,” but for everyone for whom Jesus truly is Lord.
For what this says is that Jesus’ sheep (his true followers) listen to him. And, this is not just about reading the Bible or memorizing scripture or listening to sermons with our ears. This is about listening to Jesus with our hearts. And, it is about paying attention to what he says, and taking it to heart, and it is about following (obeying) what He says, and walking in his ways and in his truth.
And, he said something similar to this when he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily and follow Christ. For, he said, if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) that we will lose them for eternity. But, if for the sake of Jesus, we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will have eternal life with him (Lu. 9:23-25).
And, Paul repeated this same teaching when he said that we have to walk (in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and not according to our flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God. And, John taught the same when he said that we have to walk in the light as Jesus is in the light if we want to have fellowship with God and with one another. And, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, it isn’t everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ who has the promise of not being snatched out of the Lord’s hands, and the Father’s hands, but it is those who are listening to Jesus and His Word, who are paying attention to what he says, who are taking it to heart, and who are applying his truths to their lives, as a matter of practice, who can’t be snatched out of God’s hands.
So, we need to be discerning here, for these “thieves and robbers” who enter by “another way” are very good at taking scriptures out of context and applying them broadly where they don’t belong. And, they will deceive you into believing their lies and into rejecting the truth, and then you may believe you are secure, when you might not be at all.
For, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in practice), not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. If we practice sin, we don’t have eternal life with God. We will perish in our sins. But, if we walk in purity, holiness and godliness in the power of God under his leading and direction, then we have eternal life with God.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.