FOLLOWING JESUS IN THE GREEN PASTURES OF HIS WORD, #613
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (JOH 10:4-5).
Now, as we pointed out in the last chapter, the true Shepherd of the flock of God, which is the Lord Jesus Christ, entered in by the door. He entered into His office as the Messiah, through the ordained way of God as set forth throughout all the entire Scriptures. All of the prophecies were fulfilled. Everything that was spoken of the coming of the Messiah was fulfilled in the Great Shepherd of the sheep. He entered into that ordained way, ordained of the Father, from eternity.
The spirit of love that was found in Jesus' ministry was in striking contrast to the murderous hatred of those blind religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. They were the religious leaders in the day when our Saviour came upon this earth. They had hearts of self-righteousness. They were self-serving. The spirit of Christ is in total contrast to that of the scribes and Pharisees. He came in a spirit of self-denial. He came in a spirit of serving. He came in a spirit of love. He came to seek and to save those who were lost. In contrast, the scribes and the Pharisees were driving out the flock that was there. They were ruling them with force and with cruelty.
The Pharisees, whose hearts were filled with self-love, resisted not only the Lord Jesus, but they attacked the sheep as was prophesied of them in EZE 34:2-4, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel [the scribes and the Pharisees were the shepherds of Christs flock. They were those who were there to feed and to lead the flock, but He says, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel] prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them."
They had a self-righteous spirit. They were feeding themselves anything that would gratify themselves or cause them to be exalted. They lacked that self-denying spirit, that self-sacrificial love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we see the great Shepherd of the sheep. He comes with such a totally different approach than what was being used by the leaders of Christs church.
As the true Shepherd of the sheep, who is THE LIGHT OF LIFE, appeared; they could not come to the light. They saw in the light that their true character was being revealed. When they brought a woman taken in adultery, they wanted to see what Jesus would say. Moses has said such a one must be stoned, but they brought her to Jesus to see what He would say, wanting to take Him in His words. What did Jesus say? He said that whoever among you is without sin, you cast the first stone.
The Light of Life, the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, showed in their hearts, and what was the result? The story is told in JOH 8: 3-11. They were convicted in their hearts and one by one they went out. Then, Jesus stood up and He looked, and He was standing alone with that woman. And He said, "Where are your accusers? Are there none that accuse you?" She answered, "None." He said, "Neither do I condemn you." I want you to understand the distinction between the spirit of the scribes and the Pharisees, who were ruling with force and cruelty, and that spirit of Christ, coming with that spirit of love. They could not come to that Light because their true character was being revealed.
So what is the result in JOH 8:59-9:1, "Then took they up stones to cast at him [Why? He was revealing who they were.]: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth."
He was being rejected, while He was walking among these Jews, standing there with their hands full of stones to stone Him, He hid Himself from them. Then He stooped down to the ground and made clay and anointed the eyes of one who was born blind, one whom He had come to call. He had come to bring them out of this sheepfold of Judaism, or we will say, of the professed religion. They were the people who professed religion but had not the spirit of Christ. Jesus stooped down, and He made clay, and He anointed his eyes and told him to go, wash and he would receive his sight.
Now, this blind beggar whose eyes Jesus anointed with spittle and clay was also rejected for the Light, which he reflected. When the Holy Spirit works grace in your heart, Christ is in you, the hope of glory. Now you understand why the saints are often compared to stars. You dont hear the saints compared to the moon. The moon is nothing but a dark mass, but stars have light within themselves. Gods people have light within themselves. Do you know what that is? That is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Now, when this blind beggar received this grace, He immediately started to shine the light, which was the spirit of love. This light was even enough to blind the eyes of these proud Pharisees, and they rejected him. This sheep of Christ, this one whom Christ had healed of His blindness, this one who was now speaking of what Jesus had done for Him condemned them. What did they do? They rejected Him, because they couldnt stand to his light.
Watch what we see here in JOH 9:34, "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?"
He was telling them things that condemned them. He was telling them the things that he saw in Christ. It was a condemnation to them because the Light condemns those who will not come to the Light, because their deeds are evil. This was the Light that was being reflected by this man who was born blind, and they threw him out.
"Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." Those who have no desire that their deeds should be made manifest will cast you out of their company when you reflect the Light of life to them and the world. They have no desire to be condemned.
Now, had Jesus remained inside the sheepfold of Judaism, i.e., the sheepfold of professed Christianity, He would have remained the constant object of assaults because he was among "thieves and robbers." That is what we read here in JOH 10:1, "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." These scribes and Pharisees had not entered into their office, as I explained previously, the ordained way. They were thieves and robbers, and they were persecuting the true flock of Christ.
The Pharisees "casting out" of this poor beggar was, in fact, the Good Shepherds providence. He was leading him out from the Pharisees barren sheepfold. You and I must understand something. There is nothing that comes upon us except by the hand of God. Not one hair will fall from your head without the will of our Father. Now, do you suppose that when you are within a circle and that you come under persecution, it is because that person was bad? Do you start looking at a person for having brought about the circumstances that are driving you out of a church? No. This is what we see when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them.
The Lord Jesus Christ will lead you out of that Pharisee sheepfold. How does He do it? How was He driven out? How was He persecuted? They not only drove Him out, but they crucified Him to get Him out. Do you know how we are going to walk if we follow our Saviour? We are going to take up our cross, and we are going to follow Him in the way of the cross. What does that do? It crucifies everything of our flesh. Now, what you need to understand is, this was Gods providence. It was the providence of God leading this blind beggar out of that false leadership by bringing Light into his soul. When that happens to people, they start reflecting that Light; the leaders can no longer tolerate them, and they will put them out.
I spoke with a Roman Catholic nun on an airplane between Great Falls and Minneapolis. As I was visiting with her she saw through the fallacy of her religion, and just as we were getting off the airplane, she said, What must I do? Must I leave the Catholic Church? I said, That wont be necessary. All you need to do is take the Light that you have received and shine it within the church. You wont have to go out. They will put you out. You wont have to worry about it.
This is so true, folks. When you find that the Light of the Spirit shines in your soul, and you start speaking the Word of Christ verbatim, professed religion will not tolerate you. This is what the Word of God says. So, we want to see that this mans excommunication was Gods providence. Also, I want you to notice that as he was put out, from there he was led into the green pastures of the Word of God. Now, he is no longer under the teaching of any private interpretation of the Word, but it brought him within the teaching of the Word itself.
Look at PSA 76:10 and I want you to see how the Word of God verifies how that the Lord uses the driving of you out for His own glory. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." The wrath of man shall praise God, but He limits this, and He restrains them. They are not allowed to go beyond what the Lord will license them to do. If they were able to do, as their hearts desire was, they would probably kill you. They would probably murder you like they wanted to murder the Lord Jesus Christ, but He withheld their hand. He withheld their eyes. He withheld Himself from them, and He hid Himself from them as He passed among them. They were not able to slay Him with stones. It was not His time.
Now, God uses the brutal hand of His enemies to drive His sheep out of their fold. You and I are not able to stay within the flock and within the fold of those who do not serve Christ. Thus He will deliver them from the force and cruelty whereby false shepherds ruled them.
This is most often how the Shepherd leads His sheep out of darkness into the blessed Light of His love. You will never rightly understand the love of Christ until you learn to understand the bitterness and the enmity of the human heart. You will never rightly understand the beauty of the tranquility of Christ, until you have learned a little bit of the unbelief and of the frustration of the human heart. You will never rightly learn to understand Christs blessed love and the love of the Father in giving His Son until you see it in contrast.
I have spoken before about Christ and His art gallery. As He draws the picture of the beauty of the sunshine of His love, the black backdrop that makes it glow with such beauty is to see the bitterness and the hatred that is in the heart of man by nature. These contrasts are what make the beauty reveal itself with such manifestation.
Now the Lord Jesus had to first experience being cast out by the scribes and Pharisees to show us the beauty the Shepherd of the sheep. Jesus came and drew him and brought him to the furtherance of the light of the gospel and brought him to understand what it was to believe in Christ. So now we have this outcast, this man who was shining the Light that he had.
I want you to see now in JOH 9:35-38, "Jesus heard that they had cast him out. And when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."
It was the casting out of the false church that made it possible for the man to truly understand what it was to by faith see the Lord Jesus Christ. He understood that by faith he came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that brought him to the proper worship of Christ. He was cast out by the Pharisees, and the Lord Jesus heard this and sought him and revealed Himself to him.
Now our text says, "When he putteth forth his own sheep [There isnt one word in Scripture that isnt significant.], he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice."
The words his own sheep refer to those spoken of in JOH 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Who are His own sheep? I want you to see the beauty now of the sovereignty of God in His election. He has chosen His own from eternity, and He gives that right spirit, that right understanding, that willingness, that desire, to come unto Him. He gives that to His own sheep.
Our Saviour's "own sheep" are distinguished as those who believe and know His voice. Now, is it everybody who believes? No. Who is it that will believe? There is no such thing as a limitation of the atonement. Anybody who teaches you so does not understand Scripture. There is a limitation in salvation, and salvation is limited to those who believe. There is a great distinction here. If I were to tell you that the atonement was limited, then I would have to tell you that the atonement doesnt apply to you. Then I am wasting my time preaching the gospel to you. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." JOH 3:16. Thats where the limitation lies.
Now, let me show you how this still is in perfect harmony with Gods sovereignty in our election and in our salvation. Let me show you that in JOH 10:25-27. Who is it that will believe? "Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep."
Do you see Gods sovereignty there? That is why they didnt believe. We are not going to tell you that the atonement is limited because the Scriptures clearly tell us otherwise, but salvation is limited to those who believe. Do you know what that does? On the Day of Judgment, every person, including those Jews, who absolutely rejected Christ, they will account for what Jesus says right here in JOH 10:25, "Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me."
Every human being will account for that knowledge. They will be chargeable on the Day of Judgment, and they cant put it on the Lord and say, "Yes, but I wasnt elect and the atonement wasnt for me, therefore I was excusable."
No such thing is going to work. The limitation is inwho believes, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." JOH 3:15. "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep." That is why we dont believe. By nature we are all at enmity with God. By nature we have no love for God. It is when Christs call of the gospel becomes effectual in our hearts that we start to have a desire, "Whosoever will," let him come. Who will come? "As I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
PHI 2:13 says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Now we see Gods sovereignty. We see that it is all of grace, but for every person who stands on the outside, God will call on them to live by the revealed will of God. We must understand that we have absolutely no basis to claim a right to walk by the secret will of God.
What does DEU 29:29 tell us? "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God [we are not to make them our concern.]: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever [why?], that we may do all the words of this law."
If you were going to live by the secret will of God and say, "Well, if I am not elect, then I am not going to be saved." Now, I make it Gods fault that I am not saved. I must live by the revealed will of God: that I might do His will. The Lord Jesus is telling us here, they did not believe because they were not His sheep. Salvation is only limited to those who believe. If we refuse to believe, it is not Gods fault. It is our fault. His revealed will is that we are commanded to believe.
Notice this in 1JO 3:23, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." That is His commandment. If we refuse to believe, we are transgressing the commandment of the Father.
Now, those who truly believe savingly upon Jesus Christ will follow His voice, which is His Word. He is the Word. See what we read in MAR 10:52 of the blind beggar, who received his sight, "And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." That is the immediate effect when we hear, when we are given spiritual ears to hear the Word of God. The immediate effect is "and he followed Jesus in the way."
Now, this word way comes from the Greek word hodos (hod-os), which means "a road, a highway." We are following Jesus in the way or the road that leads to eternal bliss. It is a highway. The blessed example of Jesus, the Christ, which is left on record in God's Word is this HIGHWAY! The Lord Jesus Christ is this highway.
I want you to see this in ISA 35:8, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Now this highway, this way that the Lord will make, is the Lord Jesus Christ where He says in JOH 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." We are to follow Him in this road that leads to eternal bliss. What is that road? It is the way of holiness; it is the way of the cross, and the way of self-sacrificial love. It is the way of self being crucified, crucifying the old man of self.
Now, as we follow Jesus, who is "the way, the truth, and the life," we find that it is "the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men."
It is for wayfaring men, people who are journeying through this world. We are walking through the wilderness, and we are wayfaring men. We have no abiding place. We are only here as a preparation for eternity.
Now we want to notice, this way of holiness is a very HIGH-WAY!
Look at ISA 55:9, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." The way of the Lord is a very high way. His ways are higher than our ways. Do you know what that means? We have to be able to surrender our entire human reasoning to the authority of Gods Word. We must be able to give over all of our supposed translations of the Bible, and our private interpretations. We must be able to give it all over and accept the Word of God for exactly what it is.
Neither man nor angel in heaven would have ever imagined that God would open such a way for fallen man to become reconciled again with Himself. It was a way that was above every imagination of every thought. Who would have thought that the Father would give His own Son that He might come to suffer, bleed and die? Who would have ever thought to open that way, whereby we can again be reconciled with God?
2CO 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." What mind would have ever thought of such a way, that He would give that His own Son would be made sin for us, who knew no sin? This is so totally contrary to all human reasoning. This is so totally contrary to anything that any human mind would have ever conceived. That He would give His own Son to take our place, to pay our penalty that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He made a way; He made a high way.
This highway is called the way of holiness. Do you know why? When we were created in Adam, we were created in the image of God. We fell from this. We were living in a state of perfect conciliation with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, in a state of innocence, but we have fallen. To be reconciled means we must be reconciled with His will and be brought again into that image of God. We must be delivered from the power of sin and cleansed from our sin. We must be delivered from the pollution of sin. We must again be made fit in character that we might again be able to dwell with holiness. This way is a way of holiness. It is a way of being brought back again into that perfect image of the Father.
I want you to see how this way is a way of holiness in ROM 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." He, by His perfect obedience, has again made us righteous, in other words, by the imputed righteousness of the Son of God we are made righteous.
Christ purchased our righteousness by His own righteousness as we see in PHI 2:8, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." In other words, He was obedient. He humbled Himself and became obedient. Now, His sheep follow Him in the way. Do you know what that means? You and I must humble ourselves. We must become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We must take up our cross and crucify everything of the flesh, crucifying everything of the old man of sin, and again come to where we can walk in that way of holiness.
Now our text says, "he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." Have we learned to know that voice of Christ where we hear Him saying, "Father, not my will but Thine be done." Do we understand that? Do we hear what Jesus is saying while He was sweating blood, under His Fathers wrath upon our sin in LUK 22:42-44, "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
Do we hear that voice of Jesus saying this? Do we hear this echoing in our ears when we see how He loved us with such a love that He would allow our sins to be plaited as a crown of thorns upon His head? Do we love one another with the love that He loves us?
I want you to look with me in JOH 15:12. Do we hear His voice, where He says, "This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you." He loved us enough that He covers all our sins with His blood. Are we able to understand that love covers a multitude of sins? Are we able to follow His footsteps, where He says we are to love one another, as He has loved us? Or do we take our brothers sins and spread them to the world in gossip?
You see, true charity, true love is to look at every person in the best possible light. When the scribes and the Pharisees saw their own hearts, they didnt have one stone left to throw at a woman who was taken in adultery. If the Lord opens our understanding to get a glimpse of our own heart and to see the depravity of our own heart, how will we find anybody who is depraved enough that we have a stone to throw? We must speak of every man in the best possible light.
In LUK 22:42-44 our Saviour was beseeching the Father, "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." The Lord sent an angel to strengthen Him as He was bearing the fire of Gods wrath upon our sins, and being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly.
Have we ever comprehended the love of Christ and to see with such love that He purchased our salvation? Now, sin becomes exceedingly sinful. Now we look at sin as the grievous condition it is. To think that the Father would give His own Son because the love that He had for His people, for that love He restrained the love He had for His Son. While Jesus was pleading, while He was sweating blood, pleading if that cup might pass from Him, but for the love that the Father had for His own people, He restrained the love that He had for His own Son. Why? The Father restrained His love because Jesus came to redeem us from iniquity.
There are so many people who would like to be redeemed from hell, but they love sin. Do you know what He came to redeem us from? He came to redeem us from all iniquity, and this makes sin become exceedingly sinful. Now we have a desire to follow Him in that high way of holiness.
We may not form such an awful impression of our heavenly Father as to think He delighted in seeing the blood of His own Son, and in giving Him to bear the penalty of our sins. We want to take notice that His own Son was tortured to death, and His blood was dripping to the ground. We may not form such an ill picture of the Father to think that He delighted in this unspeakable suffering. No, I want to tell you, the Father's delight was in the humble obedience of His Son, wherein "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" as we see in PHI 2:8.
Watch especially the word wherefore when we read in PHI 2:9-11. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." What does that word wherefore mean? It is a connecting word meaning on the account of. It was in exchange for such humble obedience, unto death, even the death of the cross, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him."
The Father saw the blood of His own Son, which was shed, as an act of such unconditional surrender to the will of the Father. Now the Fathers wrath was appeased and He could forgive because His justice has been perfectly satisfied. He sees the blood of His own Son that was shed as an act of such humble obedience, as our substitute.
His wrath was appeased as we see in 1JO 4:10, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Propitiation means the appeasing of His wrath. That is what we have to understand; the Father saw in the blood of Jesus that now His wrath was appeased. His justice was satisfied, but His joy and His pleasure were in that perfect, unconditional obedience.
Christ's own sheep, who hear their Shepherd's voice in His agony over their sin saying, "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done," understand the meaning of ISA 35:8, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness."
Do you understand now why salvation and the gospel call for holiness? It is because that is what is needed for us to be reconciled with our Father; He is a Holy Father. He sent His Holy Son to deliver us and to redeem us from all iniquity. That sacrifice makes sin become exceedingly sinful.
The voice of the Shepherd of the Sheep says in PHI 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." What does that mean? It means that you prefer your brother ahead of yourself, you put their welfare ahead of your own. Now, as the result of our fallen condition we are not able to render perfect legal obedience, but we must follow our Saviour in the way of gospel obedience.
I explained in PHI 2:9-11 how the Father gave such glory to His Son in exchange for His obedience. Now look at Verses 12 and 13, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
What is salvation? There is such a mixed bag of ideas as to what constitutes salvation. Do you know what it is? It is to become reconciled to God. We are reconciled in the first instance in the perfect obedience of His Son, then our rebellion must be broken. Our hearts must be renewed so we have a desire to do His will. That is what it means in saying that God "worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure." We come back into the service of our Lord in the way of gospel obedience.
As we hear our Shepherds voice, we find we can no longer remain in the company of those who walk in the imagination of their own hearts. We can no longer stay in the company of the worldly, selfish enjoyment of sinful ways.
In 2CO 6:17 we read, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and [See the connecting word] touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." The Lord will not receive us if we continue a mixed bag. He cannot allow nor will He accept that we are going to serve two masters. We cannot serve two groups. No, we are either walking with the flock of God or we are walking outside of it. He says we are to separate ourselves, and "touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you."
We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve in the kingdom of Jesus, and the kingdom of darkness. See what Jesus said in JOH 8:34, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Are we serving sin or are we serving Christ?
Our only place to find freedom from the servitude of sin is to follow Jesus in the way of holiness. Now take notice what we read in JOH 8:36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Free from what? Freedom from the service of sin is our reward. We are going to be servants; we are either servants of Christ or we are servants of sin. If Christ shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Now, as we become free from the service of sin, we can follow Jesus in the way of serving the Father acceptably. We have to understand that we come short. The Apostle Paul said in ROM 7:19-22, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man."
You and I will find throughout our daily lives that our hearts have to weep over the wrong thoughts, the wrong attitudes, and the things that we do. Unholiness still remains within, but it causes us grief. It causes us to desire that a law of God in the inner man is our chief delight. In other words, that is acceptable gospel obedience, when our heart repents of every evil and longs and delights in what pleases the Lord. Now the Lord looks upon us in the finished work of His Son. We are not going to merit. We are not going to purchase salvation by good works, but until we have departed from iniquity, we can claim no salvation.
We are free from the service of sin, then we can follow Jesus in the way of serving God. We see this in ROM 6:22, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." That doesnt mean that we no longer have sin within us, but we are being made free from the service of sin.
JOH 10:16 says, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." We follow our Saviour in the way of holiness. However, now I want you to notice that Satans gospel of salvation is a gospel without repentance. Satan has his gospel too. Satan will tell you about the atonement of Christ. Satan will tell you all about how that He came to take the penalty of sin. He will tell you all about escaping hell and going to heaven. There is one thing Satans gospel never teaches, and that is reconciliation with the will of God. He never teaches repentance. Do you know why? Satan wants you and me to have a selfish religion. He wants you and me to have the thought that we can go to heaven by accepting or something so the end result is that we have remained living in sin. We need to watch for this theology carefully.
Our text says in JOH 10:4-5, "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him [those who live under the gospel of Satan know nothing of hearing the voice of Jesus or of following Him.]: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." So, now consider the message in the previous verse. " and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." V: 3.
We hear His voice and follow Him. We hear His voice, and He calls us out. We cannot remain in the service of sin. He calls us out of that service.
Many are the Scriptural references where Jesus leads His "own" individual sheep out of the sheepfold where Satan's gospel was being preached, calling them by their name. It is not just coincidence if you are no longer able to live under a gospel that does not teach repentance. Throughout Scripture we see references where Christ calls an individual by name.
Take notice in LUK 19:5, "And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus [He called the man by name.], make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house."
See how Jesus called a single individual that was His own from the collection of taxes to follow Him. Look at MAT 9:9, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." In every instance where there is one who is called by Christ, they follow Him.
When Jesus revealed Himself to an individual woman of Samaria, see what the blessed results were in JOH 4:28-30. "The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him." There is such a beauty in that verse. The Lord opens our heart to where it is totally transparent before the Lord, and we start to realize that every thought, every word, every deed is totally transparent in His sight. He understands our thoughts afar off; we are naked before Him. Now, we start to see sin in its true light.
What did this woman do? She said, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that I ever did." What had He told her? He had told her that she had had five husbands, that she had lived with four and that the man she had now was not her husband. She knew then that He understood her inside out, that she was totally transparent before Him. So, what is the end result? Immediately, there is a desire to get others to understand the gospel. When we get to where we understand what it is to hear the voice of Jesus and follow Him in the way, our burden is now for our fellow man. She went out, and she went to them in the city, and they went out of the city and came unto Him. See, there was a blessed result.
This was the same effect, a blessed result, we read in MAT 9:10 of Matthew's following Jesus in the way. "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples." Not only did He save Matthew, but He went to meat, He went to sit down with these publicans and sinners to tell them the way of salvation. Many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
Now, the next verse reveals so plainly why the true sheep cannot follow the voice of a stranger. See the total contrast in the un-loving voice of those who are strangers to the love of God. Here we see the Lord Jesus sitting among these publicans and sinners and eating with them. Then in MAT 9:11 the voice of disapproval is heard, "And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" They disdained to do this. They thought that was a disgrace. They had an un-loving spirit. Now, He says, you cant follow the voice of a stranger. Why? There is no love. All they have is a legalism. All they have is a legalistic religion. They are not looking for the souls welfare. They dont hear the voice of Christ.
We see another example of an unloving spirit in JOH 9:34, "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." The voices of strangers do not understand the love of God. They do not understand the love of Christ, and they do not understand the love of the flock for the Redeemer.
Now, what a blessing it is that the true flock of Christ have a High Priest who knows. The chief priests, the high priests of Israel, didnt understand. They were unloving, they were unkind. They did not understand the heart of these publicans and sinners, but look at our High Priest, He can so intimately relate to every feeling and every trial.
If you have been through kidney stone operation and somebody starts telling you of the immensity of the pain, you can relate to it, because you have been there. If you understand what our Saviour went through in His temptation and in His trial, then we understand that He can intimately relate to every trial, every temptation, that confronts us. Look at HEB 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Therefore, He can be so intimately drawing you with the spirit of love.
The true flock of Christ, who know what it is to be ruled with force and cruelty, cannot follow such a stranger's voice. We have a High Priest who understands the loving spirit, self-sacrificing, spirit. You can come running at the Shepherd's voice which says in HEB 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." You can come to that, because there is a loving, forgiving spirit. You are not coming before a condemning spirit.
Jesus calls us with a voice of love. It is a tender voice. Our text says in JOH 10:4-5, "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." There is no love in a voice of strangers. It is only those who rightly understand the sacrifice of Christ who know and understand the love of the Father, and of the Son. Amen.
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion and sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.