John 10:1-11 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.
“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.’”
Thieves, Robbers, and Strangers
Who are the “thieves and robbers” among us today? They are charlatans (frauds, swindlers, impostors), wolves in sheep’s clothing who put on an outward show of Christianity but who are fakes and pretenders. And their motivation for the fakery is to trap and to deceive the naïve into following their lies and into rejecting the truth. And the door they come through is not Jesus Christ and his salvation, but a fake Christ and a fake salvation.
The stranger, I believe, is the same as these thieves and robbers. The stranger is not a true shepherd of the sheep. He does not care for the sheep at all but for his own ego. His goal is to build his earthly kingdom and to use whoever he can use to get there. And if some people are no longer of use to him or were not ever of use to him, he will cast them aside, for they will just get in his way of him trying to meet his goals.
These strangers (thieves and robbers) are following a business plan model for how to plant a “church” or in how to grow a “church,” and so their bible has become marketing books and books on church growth written by businessmen, and they study books written by men more so than they study the Scriptures, and many of them meet with other pastors for “jam sessions” on what is working for them businesswise rather than for mutual and personal spiritual encouragement and growth and development.
Since they are following business models on how to grow and to plant “churches,” they are not following Jesus’ model on how to grow his church, which involves the spiritual growth and development of the true believer in Jesus, and which involves teachings on holiness, righteousness, the forsaking of sin, and walking in obedience to our Lord as a matter of life practice. For they do not teach forsaking sins and obeying our Lord.
And since they are fakes and not the real thing, and their goal is to deceive, to steal, to kill, and to destroy the true church, the body of Christ, they are going to lie to you. And they will teach Scriptures out of their context, and they will twist them in ways which tickle itching ears. And now they are marketing “the church” to the world and so they are conforming “the church” to the world and they are altering the gospel to appeal to the flesh of man.
And these “strangers” abound everywhere, at least in America they do. And the vast majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ are following these strangers, and they are not following Jesus Christ in his ways according to his truth. And they are not following the purity of the teachings of Scriptures because they are accepting gospels of men, instead, because they make no requirements for them to die to sin and to walk in obedience to Christ.
The True Shepherd
The true shepherd of the sheep is Jesus Christ. He is the door, the only way to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God because he died on that cross in order to put our sins to death with him. And he was resurrected from the dead that we might be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For he died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
So when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him free from slavery to sin and now living as slaves to God and to his righteousness. Sin is to no longer have dominion over our lives, for Jesus set us free. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies to where we obey its lustful desires. But we are now to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
And with regard to our salvation, we are not saved by a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ, or by words we said in a prayer, or by a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what he did for us on that cross. We are saved by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ which leads us to die with Christ to sin and to walk in holiness and in obedience to our Lord, and which leads us to daily die to sin and to walk in obedience to our Lord in surrender to his will for our lives (Luke 9:23-26).
And those of us who truly know the Lord and who are following him with our lives, we will not follow these strangers. We will be discerning with regard to the lies they are spreading and we will reject their lies and we will expose the lies for what they are, and we will tell people the truth, instead. For Jesus 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 (Matthew 7:21-23).
[Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Sound the Battle Cry!
By William F. Sherwin, pub.1869
Sound the battle cry! See, the foe is nigh;
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armor on, stand firm everyone;
Rest your cause upon His holy Word.
Strong to meet the foe, marching on we go,
While our cause we know must prevail;
Shield and banner bright, gleaming in the light,
Battling for the right we ne’er can fail.
O Thou God of all, hear us when we call,
Help us one and all by Thy grace;
When the battle’s done, and the vict’ry’s won,
May we wear the crown before Thy face.
Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along;
Onward, forward, shout aloud, “Hosanna!”
Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.
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