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.”
The Shepherd and The Door
Jesus Christ is both the shepherd of the sheep and he is the door of the sheep (see v. 9). He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. He is the only way to God in heaven and to eternal life with God.
The sheepfold is the kingdom of heaven, and it is the church, the body of Christ, and it is the gatherings of the church. So, if someone enters the sheepfold by another way other than through Jesus Christ, they are not really of the sheepfold, although they may be gathering with the sheep.
So, what is the way into the sheepfold that is by way of Jesus Christ? It is by God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ via dying with Christ to sin and being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
For, Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15).
So, through faith in Jesus Christ we are no longer enslaved to sin because Jesus delivered us from our bondage to sin. But now we are empowered of the Spirit of God to walk in newness of life in Christ in holiness, godliness, self-control, and purity (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Tit 2:11-14).
Now we walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but now according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, and we make sin our practice, we won’t have eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins.
[Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
Thieves and Robbers
So, who are the thieves and robbers? They are those who do not enter the sheepfold by the door (Jesus Christ) but who climb in (sneak in) by another way. And what is that “another way”? Well, it is any way that is in opposition to Jesus Christ and the way of the cross.
So, we go to the Scriptures, and we look to see what they teach regarding our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God, and we read them in context, and we don’t cherry pick the ones we like and ignore the ones we don’t like. But we seek God’s face to show us the truth.
We don’t just believe what we hear people say, in other words. For, there are many liars and deceivers out there who are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are masquerading as servants of righteousness but who are out to steal, kill, and to destroy, not to save.
At the very least, many of them are teaching that a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to secure us salvation from sin and eternal life with God, no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward. But that just isn’t biblical.
Some of them now are going to the extreme of teaching that God requires nothing of us other than some obscure and undefined faith in him, which does not lead the “believer” to repent of sin, to walk in obedience to the Lord, and to submit their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In fact, some of them are teaching that it is actually sinful to obey the Lord, to repent of sin, and to submit to Christ as Lord. For, they say, to require repentance, obedience and submission to Christ is to teach works-based salvation or lordship salvation.
So, what they teach is that we can “believe” in Jesus, be saved from our sins, have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny, but that our belief does not have to or that it should not change how we live our lives. So, they have turned God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (Jude 1:4).
They follow Jesus, not Strangers
The Lord’s true sheep listen to him, not just with their ears, but with their hearts, and they heed (obey) his words. They follow Jesus wherever he leads them, they submit to him as Lord, and they do what his word teaches us that we must do.
They don’t listen to the thieves and robbers. They don’t listen to strangers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing disguising themselves as servants of righteousness. For, they don’t recognize the voices of these strangers. They are discerning in recognizing what is obviously false.
And this is because they know Jesus’ voice. They know the truth. They might not know it all, but they will know enough to not listen to those who are teaching what is blatantly false and misleading. And this is because they have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
They will know that God is not going to all of a sudden tell us it is a sin to obey him, to repent of our sins, to walk in his ways, and to submit to him as Lord. Our God who is fully holy and righteous is not going to tell us that we can now go on living in sin guilt free. All that is opposed to who God is.
Yes, we are saved by grace, through God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, and this not of ourselves, not of our works, but it is a gift of God. But God’s gift of grace is NOT permission to keep on living in sin, and it is NOT permission to ignore him, to deny him, and to refuse to obey him.
God’s gift of grace is deliverance from our bondage to sin and it is empowerment to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. And the works we now do are of God, not of ourselves, and they are what God prepared in advance for us, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).
So, know what the Scriptures teach so that you can believe in the true gospel and in the biblical Jesus and in biblical salvation from sin. For, we must die with Christ to sin and we must live to Christ and to his righteousness, and we must no longer live in sin, doing whatever we want.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8]
By Jonathan Foreman
I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all
So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope
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2 thoughts on “Follow Jesus, Not Strangers”
Truth! Faith without works is dead.
I was having a great checkup with my doctor, and she commented on how much I had improved. When I told her I had been doing everything she had recommended during our last visit. She seemed surprised, saying most of her patients don’t follow her advice. That surprised ME. I trust my doctor, what else would I do?
In the same way, if we trust the Lord, we’ll do what He says, believing it is best for us.
As the kids would say – “DUH.” 😉
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Amen! Thank you, Annie.