…ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,…
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand (Joh 10:26-29).
This is the third time I have posted this article, the last time being June 9, 2017. Some things need to be said over and over again. As I move among people and engage them in conversation I am impressed with their needs. My witnessing is simple, centering around John 3:16 and the question: “When you die, are you going to Heaven?” The next questions are: “Do you need to be saved?” “Do want to be saved?” “Do you know how to be saved?” Jesus’ sheep sermon is one of the greatest needs today among church people.
The “Roman Road” is good but Jesus didn’t use it. I got John 3:16 out of Jesus’ sermon to Nicodemus. The early Christians didn’t have the “Roman Road” for thirty years and yet they preached Jesus everywhere they went as they were driven out of Jerusalem. They preached Jesus out of the Old Testament and passed along what they had heard Jesus say as He preached in the open places. Dying is a serious thing and we need to make sure we are ready.
“This is one of those emphatic scriptures. “My sheep hear my voice.” All of them. Their ears are connected to the voice of Savior who died for them. It does not say that Jesus’ sheep are perfect in behavior but that they hear His voice and they follow Him. In the Bible, we read several places about the proofs of people being saved.
Some will ask, “But what about this or that thing in my life or in the life of someone I know who claims to be saved?” One preacher said, “A lot of churches are trying to preserve results they’re not having.” Bob Jones, Sr. said: “You’ve got to do more than prop up a dead dog to prove he’s alive. He’s got to take off after an old tomcat on his own without your helping him.” We should teach new converts but unless they’ve got the real thing, all the teaching in the world is not going to transform their lives. “Ye must be born again!”
Jesus said: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35) This is how people looking on can know about people they are watching. Do they love one another? It’s not whether they are regular in church attendance. Attending church is a very good thing but it’s not a Bible sign that you are saved. A lot of religious people are not saved. You can go to church and hate everybody there. So, church attendance does not indicate that you are saved. The Bible standard in looking at other people for salvation is “do they love one another?”
Jesus was on Solomon’s porch in the Temple and some religious Jews gathered around Him in a heated conversation over whether or not He was the promised Messiah. They did not believe in Him (even as His own brothers did not believe in Him) and Jesus told them why they did not believe in Him. They were not His sheep. Some people had no trouble believing Him and believing in Him. Old Simeon and Anna had no trouble believing in Him because they were in touch with God. That’s the way it worked. The people who were in touch with God saw right away that He was the promised One. But those who had trouble submitting to Yahweh from the heart, also had trouble believing on Jesus.
Jesus said, “…ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” This means that a lot of people in church attendance, maybe your church, maybe your family, are not Jesus’ sheep. I didn’t come up with that. Jesus said that. This connects with another thing Jesus said: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat 7:22-23)
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Mat 7:20-21) Is the last verse a hard verse to understand? It need not be.
We are not saved by works. But we are saved by a faith that works. Today, we’re talking about people hearing the voice of Jesus and following Him. That’s who the saved people are. How is your faith working for you in your life? We do not enter the kingdom of heaven by doing the will of the Father of Jesus, but if we are saved our sincere commitment is to be doing the will of Jesus’ Father. From the heart, we are traveling in that direction. Otherwise, we don’t have any real proof we are saved.
James, the half-brother of Jesus said: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (Jas 2:17-18) Actually, every man shows his faith by his works. That’s just how it is. God can see the faith in our hearts and know if we are saved. But, we can’t see in the hearts of people. We can only show people who we are by what we do and how we talk.
The 10th chapter of John is the sheep chapter; the Good Shepherd chapter. Everyone in Israel knew a lot about sheep and shepherds, so He talked to them about something they understood and applied it to Himself. When He told them He and His Father were one, they, again, picked up stones to stone Him. His sheep made no attempt to stone Him; just His enemies. People who don’t like genuine “Jesus Talk,” don’t know Him.
J. Vernon McGee has some pointed things to say about this and I have borrowed him in abbreviated form.
His sheep hear His voice. And they follow Him. The brand of ownership on the sheep is obedience. Do you want to know whether a person is saved or not? Then see if he is obeying Christ. Our ears must be open to His voice. "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them" (Pro_20:12).
"I know them." I'm glad somebody knows me, aren't you? I am sometimes misunderstood, and I have to explain myself to people. However, I never need to explain anything to Him. He knows when I'm putting up an excuse; He knows when I am evading an issue; He understands me. He knows.
"And they follow me." I believe in the eternal security of the believer and in the insecurity of the make-believer. "They follow me"—it's just that simple. If the shepherd called his sheep one morning and started up the hill, and out of five hundred sheep in the sheepfold, one hundred came out and followed him, then I would conclude that those one hundred were his sheep. And I would also conclude that the other four hundred were not his sheep.
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." Friend, when He gives to them eternal life, that means they don't earn it and they don't work for it. He gives it to them. Note that it is eternal life. It is forever. If it plays out in a week or in a year or until they sin, then it is not eternal life after all. They are not really His sheep if the life does not last forever. The sheep may be in danger, but the Shepherd will protect them. They may be scattered, but He will gather them up again. They shall never perish.
May they backslide? Yes. Will they perish? No. The sheep may get into a pigpen, but there has never yet been a sheep in a pigpen that stayed in a pigpen. Sheep and pigs do not live together. The sheep is always a sheep. No man can pluck that sheep out of the Savior's hand. No enemy, no man, no created being can pluck them out of His hand. This is wonderful! (McGee-Abbreviated) Ω (This is an edited reprint from early January 2017)
Read Through the Bible in a Year (These links do not work)
September 5, 2017 – TUESDAY
A.M. Proverbs 7-8 P.M. 1Cor.14:21-40
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today
Acapella Congregational: At Calvary (3.32) (Gaither Congregation)
One of the Great Songs of the Christian Faith