Do Not Follow Strangers

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 Pharisees of Jesus’ Day

Jesus was evidently directing these remarks to the Pharisees. And who were the Pharisees? They were the religious and the learned and they were teachers of the Scriptures, and they were self-righteous and hypocritical, and they opposed Jesus Christ, and they harassed him continually. And they did all their deeds to be seen by others, and they loved the place of honor.

They were those who shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. They were not on their way to heaven and they were preventing others from entering heaven as well. And they made their converts twice as much the children of hell as they were themselves. And this is exactly what many preachers and pastors and devotion writers are doing today.

They were those who were religious about tithing but who neglected justice and mercy and faithfulness. They were those who made certain that they looked good on the outside in front of others but inside they were full of greed and self-indulgence. So Jesus told them that they needed to clean the inside first and then the outside would be clean (in truth).

Jesus said they were like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. Outwardly they appeared righteous to others, but within they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. And they were sons of those who murdered the prophets and they themselves would be guilty of like conduct (Matt 23).

They were those who did not enter the sheepfold by the door but who climbed in by another way. They were thieves and robbers and strangers who were leading the people astray because they were leading them to a false gospel based in the teachings of men and not in the teachings of Christ. And they were showing them the wrong door of entry to heaven.

The Pharisees of Our Day

There are actually many parallels between what Jesus said about the Pharisees of his day and what can be told about our modern day Pharisees. And I am not speaking just of those who are legalists, for even the liberals can be Pharisees, too, for being a Pharisee just means that you are not what you profess to be for you live the opposite of what you profess.

For anyone professing genuine faith in Jesus Christ, from a biblical perspective, is professing that he has died with Christ to sin and that he is living to Christ and to his righteousness. And/or he is professing that he is in relationship with Jesus Christ by faith in Christ and that his sins are forgiven and that now he is on his way to heaven. And he professes to believe God.

But there are many people professing faith in Jesus Christ today, and some of them are pastors and elders of church congregations, who have never been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and so they were never raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, and so they continued living in habitual sin, and so they do not obey the Lord, and so they are not in relationship with Christ and they are not heaven bound (1 Jn 3:4-10).

So, they claim to be Christians but they live the opposite of how a Christian is supposed to live, according to Scripture. They are those who depart from the standard of what a Christian is supposed to be like, and so they are the addicted to sin and the self-indulgent. Many of them are living in immorality, lying, cheating, committing adultery, deceiving, betraying and manipulating.

They are pretending one thing outwardly while they are living the opposite usually in secret where no one can see what they are doing. They may pretend to be your friend while they stab you in the back. They may pretend to be loyal and faithful while they betray and are unfaithful when you aren’t looking. So they are one thing outwardly to impress others while inside they are something entirely different.

And those who are in positions of power and authority and influence over others, such as were the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, are leading many people astray from the truth. For they are not those who have entered by the true way of the cross of Christ and they are leading many to follow them in their hypocrisy and in their false faith.

For they are teaching that we can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have our sins forgiven, be on our way to heaven, but how we live will not impact our eternal security. So they are giving people carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin while promising them heaven. But that is a lie from hell. For the Scriptures teach we must forsake our lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways, and then we have the hope of heaven.

The Sheep Hear His Voice

So, we are being cautioned against following these strangers (liars and thieves) who profess one thing while they live another and who have slipped in among us by another way other than the way of the cross of Christ. So, we are to be those who test what we hear and read to make certain that it is of God and that it aligns with his word (in context) so we don’t believe lies.

We should not jump on any “bandwagon” that looks good and sounds good without first checking it out to make certain that it is good. For we have many Pharisees among us who are charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing who are out to destroy us and not to see us be truly delivered from our addiction to sin and walking in holiness and righteousness.

For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if we forfeit our old lives of sin for the sake of Jesus, we have the promise and the hope of eternal life with God (Lu 9:23-26).

Jesus also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23). And John said something similar when he said that if we say we know God but we do not obey his commandments that we are liars. The truth is not in us (1 Jn 2:3-6).

So, just know that the Scriptures teach that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness and we must not walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, and we must not practice disobedience, but righteousness and obedience are to be what we practice if we are those who are in genuine relationship with Christ and who have the hope of eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Seek the Lord

An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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