John 10:1-6 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.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
By Another Way
We who believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith, which submits to Christ as Lord, are Jesus’ true sheep. And, the sheepfold is wherever the sheep are gathered together, which is called the church, the collective body of Christ. And, Jesus is that door into the sheepfold, i.e. he is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him.
But, there are people who enter into the “sheepfold” by another way other than the way God provided. It doesn’t mean they are now Jesus’ sheep, or that they are truly members with us in the body of Christ. But, they are gathering together with his true sheep under the false pretense that they, as well, are part of the Lord’s pasture. But, they entered by another way.
So, this “another way” is like an add-on to the true way, or it is a fake copy of the real way, giving the outward impression of the true way, but altered to make it more inviting and palatable to the flesh of humans. So, from a distance, it looks like the “real deal,” but on a closer look, it has an entirely different character to it. It is dressed up to look like the real thing, but on a closer examination, the differences are quite obvious and striking.
Thus, this “another way” may have the appearance of being the narrow road that leads to heaven, but it is dark (evil, perverse, crooked), and it is distorted and dishonest. And, it has no barriers, no protections, and no safeguards in place to keep people from falling to their deaths into the pit of hell, because they have removed God’s commandments which are there for our protection. Thus, they give their followers permission to continue in their sinful practices without guilt, proclaiming God’s grace covers it all.
The Ones Driving
So, the ones who are traveling by this “other way” are the ones doing the driving, not Jesus. They are still in control of their own lives, making their own decisions about how they want to live their lives, too. They are directing their own paths and determining their own life course. Their “walks of faith,” thus, are in their own strength, doing their own thing their own way. Jesus is not their Lord and master, because they haven’t relinquished control to him.
They cover up the truth with lies, and they suppress and quench the Holy Spirit, too, with the things they make up in their own minds, which they then pass on to others. So, the “gospel” they are sharing, which has the appearance of being the right way, but not, is nonsense. For, the salvation they are offering is a lie. It is empty talk. And, it saves no one, for it still leaves them bound in their sin, and still on their way to hell, not heaven.
For, what they are teaching in this “another way” is that we can be saved from our sins and be guaranteed heaven when we die, but that we don’t have to leave our lifestyles of sin behind us, and that we don’t have to obey our Lord’s commandments, and we don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord.
Now, they may not all come out and say that outright, but many do. But, by what they teach, and by what they purposefully leave out, it says it. So, it still gives the same message, which I will give an example of here at the end. For, it requires nothing of the “believer” other than some outward confession of faith or some words repeated after someone else in a prayer of sorts. But, then it guarantees them heaven, which they say can never be taken away from them, regardless of how they live from that point forward.
So, we need to be discerning with regard to the messages we listen to, and which we end up believing. For, if we are not, we may end up following these “strangers,” and end up going down the wrong path, and end up in hell, not in heaven, while believing we are going to heaven when we die. But, what we believe, and what we follow reveals whether or not we are truly following Jesus with our lives or if we are following the “strangers.”
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.”
So, what is this “true way” to salvation from sin and to eternal life with God? It is the way to freedom from our slavery to sin, and it is the path of true righteousness and holy living. For, it submits to Jesus Christ as Lord. And, it forsakes our former lives of living to sin and self in order to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24).
And, it is the way of love. For, if we truly love another person we are going to care about what is best for him or for her. So, we aren’t going to sin against him willfully. We aren’t going to live in sin claiming God’s grace covers it all, as though that is our right, because love does no harm to its neighbor. So, love will not lie to, cheat on, commit adultery against, trick, steal from, abuse, manipulate or otherwise take advantage of others.
It is utter selfishness to demand our own way and to think that we can do whatever we want now that we are “saved” and “going to heaven.”
For, Jesus didn’t pay the penalty for our sin so that we could go on sinning without guilt, but so we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died, not just to save us, but to transform us. He died on that cross so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; Eph. 4:17-24).
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.”
This is one of those passages of scripture which I mentioned earlier. The deception, in this case, is not so much in what is said, but in what is left out. For, most of the time that you will see these verses quoted, they do not include v. 27, but only vv. 28-30.
And, they quote vv. 28-30, and they apply them across the board to anyone who merely confesses Christ as Savior of their lives. And, the purpose is to give the assurance to anyone professing faith in Jesus Christ that heaven is guaranteed them, and it can never be taken away from them, no matter what life course they take, and no matter how they conduct their lives.
But, that isn’t what it is saying. It is saying that Jesus’ true sheep hear him; they listen to him. They don’t just listen with their ears and then walk away and forget what was said. But, they listen with their hearts, with the full intent to hear what Jesus is saying so that they can obey what he says.
And, then his true sheep follow him. They do what he says. They obey him. They follow his lead, and they do the kinds of things that he did. And, they pattern their lives after his character, and not after the world. They go the way that Jesus has given us to follow, which is the way of righteousness, not the way of adultery, lies and forgery.
If we want to be assured eternal life with God, in other words, we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer conduct our lives according to the flesh. We must not walk in darkness (in sin), but in the light (truth, righteousness). We must not make sin our practice, but righteousness should be what we practice, in the power of God’s Spirit within us (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, don’t take the “another way,” and don’t follow after “strangers.” Know the truth which can set you free from your bondage to sin, and which can put you on the true path of righteousness and eternal life with God. And, if you are on the wrong path, don’t try faking that you are on the right path. God knows the difference! He is not fooled by your performance one bit!
Jesus’ true sheep listen to him, and they follow (obey) him. Truth!
Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer
Lyrics by Margaret Becker
Music by Keith Getty
Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.
May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.
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