John 10:1 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.”
Reading this reminded me of this passage of Scripture in Jude 1:4:
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
What this is talking about is that there are people who have become participants and members of local bodies of fellowship of the church, particularly those who are the pastors and elders of such fellowships, but they don’t know Jesus. For they are not genuinely saved. For, they did not enter into the fellowship of the church by the way of the cross of Christ.
They entered into these fellowships either by invitation from someone, which was given to the people of the world to come to “the church,” or they entered by way of physically being born into a family who regularly attended “church,” or by being hired on or voted in as pastors and elders or Bible study leaders, or by a false profession of faith in Jesus Christ, etc.
But attending gatherings of the church, or gatherings of what is often falsely called “church,” does not mean one is a sheep, with Jesus as his Shepherd. Making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ does not make one a sheep. And being physically born into a church-going family or being hired on as staff at one of these institutional (state) churches does not make you a sheep, either. We become sheep by genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
John 10:2-4 ESV
“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.”
So, what does Jesus say here about the Shepherd and his sheep? His sheep are those who listen to him, with their minds and hearts, he knows them, he calls them by name, he leads them, he goes before them, and they follow (obey) him, for they know his voice. These are those who can’t be snatched from his hands (See Jn 10:27-30).
John 10:5-6 ESV
“’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.”
They won’t follow the lies or the liars and deceivers. This is not saying they will understand everything in the Scriptures, for we will never know everything there is to know about the Scriptures in this life, but when it comes to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, they are not going to follow someone who is teaching what is in opposition to the pure gospel.
For, God put within every human being the knowledge of him, not just that he exists, but of his divine nature and will for mankind, so that if we refuse him, we are without excuse. For, it isn’t that we don’t know right from wrong, but if we reject the true gospel, it is because we choose to reject the truth and to follow after the lies (Rom 1:18-32).
So, a true sheep, who has come into intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, who is born anew of the Spirit of God to newness of life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, is not going to follow strangers who are telling them they don’t have to turn away from their sins and that they don’t have to obey God nor submit to the Lordship of Christ.
They are not going to follow strangers who are telling them that God requires nothing of them and so they don’t have to do anything to please God. They are not going to believe the lies which teach that God’s grace covers over all our sin so that we can keep on sinning without guilt and without punishment, either. They will know better!
John 10:7-11 ESV
“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 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.’”
So, true sheep are not going to listen to these strangers who are thieves and robbers, whose goal it is to destroy the sheep. And how do they destroy the sheep? By teaching them that they can keep on in willful deliberate habitual and often premeditated sin, and by convincing them that they still are saved, and that they are going to heaven when they die.
They destroy them, for they deliver no one from slavery to sin, but they leave them still in bondage, destroying their own lives, their marriages, their families, and other relationships, too. And they steal, kill, and destroy them by giving them a false hope of salvation and eternal life with God while they knowingly are sending them to hell.
But the true door to heaven and to eternal life with God is through genuine God-given and divinely persuaded faith in Jesus Christ. By faith, the true believer in Jesus is crucified with Christ in death to sin, he is resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, and he now walks according to the Spirit and no longer walks (in practice, in conduct) according to the flesh.
A true follower of Jesus Christ is not perfect, for we all live in flesh bodies, and our flesh is at war with the Spirit, but we are now being led by the Spirit, and we are walking according to the Spirit, and sin no longer has dominion (control, reign) over our lives. Now we are under Holy Spirit control and so we submit to Christ’s Lordship over our lives.
Daily by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh and we are living holy lives, pleasing to God. We are following our Lord in obedience to his commands, and we are no longer living as though we are “single,” but now was though Jesus is our husband. And that is life in the Spirit of God, loving our Lord by following him in obedience and doing his will.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32, 51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Acts 26:18; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 1 Co 15:2; 2 Co 5:10, 15, 21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Heb 3:6, 14-15; Heb 10:26-31; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 2:24-25; 1 Jn 5:3]
Jesus, Be Near to Me
Words and music by Tommy Walker
Jesus, be near to me
Let me know You are here
How I need You, how I need You
To reveal Yourself to me
Through Your unchanging truth
Through the breath of Your Spirit
In my questions and pain
Whisper words of Your love
Always the same…
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