CHRIST AND HIS FOLLOWERS KNOWN BY THEIR WORKS, 629
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. (JOH 10:25).
Our text is Jesus' answer to a question, the question that the Jews asked Him in the preceding verse. Look at JOH 10:24, "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." I want you to see the heinous, blasphemy contained in that verse. They are actually saying that He is the cause of their wicked unbelief.
Their reasoning was inexcusable wickedness. They were trying to put the blame of their unbelief upon Christ. They argued that Jesus was responsible for their unreasonable, God-dishonoring rebellion. I want you to see how grievous such a charge was against a Saviour who had condescended to come down from His throne in heaven and dwell among sinful men and to reason with them. He had told them who He was. Their reply was, "How long dost thou make us to doubt?" as though He was now chargeable with their ungodly rebellion and unbelief.
I want you to notice something, and this sounds a little closer to home sometimes than we would like to admit. This is the religion of the unregenerate! The religion of the unregenerate is that they want to lay the charge against God for their rebellion, for their refusal to believe. When God came to arraign Adam before the court of justice, he attempted to put the blame on God for his sin!
Notice of this in GEN 3:12, "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [in other words, He had given Adam somebody who was faulty, as though His creation was not perfect] to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." So he lays the charge against God. This is the religion of the unregenerate, i.e. that is to make it Gods fault that we are still living in sin. They put the charge on God because God didnt save us, because God didnt work grace, because God didnt and now we are pleading the religion of the unregenerate.
The religion of the unregenerate traces the fault back to God because a person is not sure if he is among the elect. How many people will go on in their sins and say, "Well, how do I know if I am elect? Well, if I am elect, then Im elect. If Im elect I will be saved, and if Im not Im going to be damned." Therefore, it is all Gods fault that they continue in sin.
Our text teaches that our attitude and our actions are our credentials. Jesus says, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." If we were to put this into other words, we might say, "You have seen with your own eyes, My labor of love, my actions, the things I have done. That bears witness of Me. You dont believe what I have told you, but what you have seen with your eyes is absolutely unrefutable; that bears witness of Me." So it is with our attitudes and our actions; they are our credentials.
So many people can make such bold and profound professions; yet they run on with a heart filled with bitterness against their own brother and hatred and an unforgiving spirit. They have a heart filled with deceit and falsehood, claiming with a loud profession that they have much grace, but Jesus says, " the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." (JOH 10:25)
What does the Lord Jesus tell us in MAT 7:16-17? "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."
He said we will know them by their fruits. This is what our Saviour is teaching us here. Our actions are our credentials much more than our profession. Many dont have the courage to make such a big profession, but by their actions you can see a godly spirit. You can see Christ in them. You can see Christ reflecting from their attitudes and their actions, from the spirit they have. It is by our actions and our attitudes that we have the evidence that we have been renewed in the spirit of our mind. The renewal of the spirit of the mind is the work of the new birth. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. They are the credentials.
The Jews asked, " How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." JOH 10:24. "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." JOH 10:25.
Our text is Jesus' answer to a question, the question that the Jews asked Him in the preceding verse to tell them plainly if He was the Christ, and Jesus answered them, "I told you." What He is saying in other words is, He has told them, but they refuse to believe Him. Now, they want Him to say it again. If they would just watch His attitude and His works, they would have evidence that is unrefutable. He said, "I told you, and ye believed not."
Then He gives them His conclusive evidence, "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." The Lord Jesus tells you and me how we can identify a false prophet. We identify them by their works. We identify them by the fruit of their labors.
Now lets look at the times Jesus had told them. Notice in JOH 5. Lets start reading in Verse 24. I want you to see how Jesus had told them. Look at Verse 24 and read it on through Verse 29, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life [did He thereby identify Himself as the Messiah? Yes.], and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good [see how He identifies them], unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Do you see how their works identify them? Our text is teaching us that it is by His works that His credentials are sealed.
You and I may have many rich experiences, and I dont slight those. They are great blessings when we have the nearness of the Lord. When we have His Spirit coming upon us with His Word and giving us in the seasons of the night that we can sing in joy. I dont slight these, but if a man claims he has this while he goes with a heart filled with bitterness and hatred and it says here that in the Judgment Day"shall come forth; they that have done good." What we do is not irrelevant. That is not a duty religion; that is the Word of God. "They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
Our works shall bear witness of us in the Day of Judgment as the works of Christ do throughout His entire ministry. I have said many a time, the oral, gospel ministry of Christ, His preached ministry, is a profound ministry, however, if His walk of life did not correspond, it would have no witness at all. Our profession is nothing more than just making noise if our walk of life does not correspond. ECC 7:6 says, "For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity." We see in the Day of Judgment there will be a resurrection of damnation to whom? To those who have done evil.
In JOH 5:26 it is talking about the Son of man. "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." Verse 28 tells who will hear His voice; "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice."
Jesus had told them plainly enough "I am come in my Father's name" in JOH 5:4347. "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
In JOH 5:43 Jesus said, "I am come in my Fathers name." He is making it very personal. He is making it very clear that He is telling them that He is that Son of man that He was speaking about in Verses 23 to 29. "I am come in my Fathers name, and ye receive me not." That is basically what He says in our text, "I told you and ye believed me not."
In JOH 5:43-44 we read, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" Jesus is pointing out that He didnt come in His own name; He came in His Fathers name. He came for the sole purpose to glorify His Father, and He did not glorify His Father with an earthly kingdom and with pomp and with money and with wealth and with glory in the flesh. He glorified His Father by humbling Himself unto death, even the death of the cross. He did not come in His own name. He came in His Fathers name, and they will not honour One coming from God.
Verses 45-47 continue, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. [How will Moses accuse them?] For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
Jesus is telling them, and has plainly told them who He is, where He came from and how they are to know this is true. He said they are claiming that they believe in Moses, who wrote about Him, but they dont believe what Moses said or they would believe Him.
Jesus enemies said, "If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." That is the song of unbelief. That is the religion of the unregenerate, who desire to lay the blame upon the Lord. They had been told, and they had been told very plainly. the Lord Jesus answered them, "I told you, and ye believed not." That is the missing element. The missing element is not in the fact that they have not been told, but in the fact that they refuse to believe. The same is true with people today.
Jesus told them plainly enough in JOH 6:51. I want you to see how He did reveal who He was. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." He spoke of Himself. He identified Himself. "I am the living bread." I am that great Jehovah, the great I-Am. Yes, He identified Himself. Yes, He told them, but they refused to believe.
How much plainer could He have told them whether or not He was the Messiah? That was their question. They were putting on a pretense. They came round about and said unto Him, "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Do you know where their problem was? They didnt understand what the Scriptures prophesied about the Messiah. They did not understand Isaiah 53, where it says that by his stripes we will be healed. They did not understand the prophecies of the Messiah, or they would have understood what He told them in JOH 6:51. He said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
If they had understood the Scriptures, then they would have understood what He said in JOH 10:14-15. "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." If they had understood Scriptures, they would have known, but they were blind. They were looking for an earthly kingdom.
Jesus told them in JOH 8:56, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." Was He telling them who He was? Yes. He did not leave them in obscurity and darkness. It was their rebellion and unbelief. They refused to hear, "Thus saith the Lord." Their hearts were filled with rebellion and enmity, and they refused to hear the power of His Word. The Lord Jesus told them, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."
Now, all this testimony of our Saviour was not enough to convince them that He had truly fulfilled all that was prophesied of Him. All of these prophecies, such as we see in Isaiah 53, such as we see throughout the entire books of Moses, all the prophecies of Christ, He fulfilled, and they were too blind to see it. Our text puts an end to all questions. This is what Jesus is pointing out, and this is what you and I need to understand. What puts an end to all disputes about whether you and I have salvation? Have we been renewed in the spirit of our minds? Do we walk in the way of life? Do we walk in the footsteps of Christ? Do we have a heart filled with love for our fellow man? Do we have a self-sacrificing spirit? Do our actions correspond with our testimony? Jesus is teaching us about these things here.
All the testimony of Jesus that He had told them was not enough to convince them, but our text puts it all to one question. "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" (JOH 10:25). Those are indisputable. Do you know why? His works, which He openly declared to be in His Father's name, were un-refutable. I want you to see how far human rebellion goes. They not only defy the Word of God, but they defy all logic. They defy everything they see with their natural eyes. In the face of all logic to which there was no answer, they put the man who was born blind out to silence his testimony. These are the works that Jesus says testify of Him. He took a man who was born blind and gave Him sight.
The man argued with them. Look what he said in JOH 9:30-34, "The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know [he is defying them with logic] that God heareth not sinners." They were trying to make Jesus out for a sinner.
I want you to take notice here in JOH 10:32-33, "Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
They wanted to make Him out to be a sinner. The man born blind is using logic here. He said, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will [its just logic that Jesus is telling us here], him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing."
They had no answer. What he said was so profoundly true and so profoundly logical, there was no answer for it. So, what was their solution to the problem? Shut off the light because that light was condemning them. So, how did they do it? "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out."
In other words, if you cannot stand the reproof that you get, then show that the man who brought the reproof had something wrong with him. Therefore, the reproof doesnt mean anything, and you dont stand reproved. Since the man born blind was born in sin, they could disallow what he said and condemn him for daring to teach them--the educated leaders. That is the religion of the reprobate; it is a horrifying thing when you see this take place. When somebody comes with reproof that is so logical and so profoundly true and so godly, according to the Word of God, it is callously rejected. Then they can say, "Well, but you were born in sin, therefore we will throw that out." That is what the Jews and the Pharisees did to this man who was born blind. They refused to believe.
Now, the Jews were determined to prove that Jesus was a sinner, but Jesus points to the works He had done in His Fathers name as His indisputable credentials of who He was.
I want you to see how that John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. John the Baptist was in prison. John the Baptist had many, many rich experiences. Now this is a very important point that I want to make here. Can you tell me outside of the Apostle John of a human being who had richer experiences than John the Baptist? John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, the very man who was chosen by the Father to be the one who baptized Christ is the one whom the Lord told, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
MAT 3:14-17 tells the story of Jesus baptism. "But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Friends, if there were such a thing as an experience that could have the basis for the hope for eternity, John the Baptist had rich experiences. Now, is that the basis on which we have proofbecause they have had rich experiences?
I want to show you something, as there is quite a lesson in this. Look at LUK 7:19-23, "And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? [When the Lord had withdrawn His presence and John the Baptist is in prison and he is asking, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? So, did the Lord Jesus tell him, No, go home and tell John to remember, dont you remember that rich experience, and dont you remember what you saw here, and dont you remember all these rich experiences. Is that what the Lord Jesus told him? No. No. No. No. No. What did He tell them?]
"When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard [what were they?]; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
What did He tell them to go and tell John? Jesus told them exactly what He told the Jews. I have told you and you havent been able to believe it, but the works that I do in my Fathers name, they bear witness of me. Do you see how important our works are? Do you see how that even John the Baptist, sitting in prison, unbelief would take a hold of him in his dying hour, in the end of his life? Where was his evidence? I know by experience that your richest experiences can fade as far as being our credentials for salvation.
The things we see become undeniable, and it says here as "Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard." We can see by His works, and we can see by our attitude, and we can see by the grace the Lord has given us to walk in the law of love, and that is where our credentials are.
These things were the very credentials of the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament. Notice ISA 35:5-6. See how those very credentials that the Lord Jesus told them to go and tell John were prophesied. Those scribes and Pharisees, if they were such scholars of the Word of God, if they were such authorities, they should have known from ISA 35:5-6 that those works of His were undeniable evidence of His Messiahship. Look at ISA 35:5-6, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."
Isnt that exactly what the Lord Jesus told the disciples of John to tell him? In other words, Jesus told them that the things He did fulfilled the Word of God. There is your evidence; it is in what you have seen in His works.
These rebellious unbelieving Jews had just been told how to distinguish between the true Shepherd of the sheep and the hireling. Look at JOH 10:11-12, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. [They are saying, "If thou be the Christ [Messiah], tell us plainly." He had just told them, "I am the good shepherd."] But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep." He had just told them who He was, and that is what He says in our text; "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." JOH 10:25. He has told them, and Scriptures that foretold His work have been fulfilled.
"The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, Verse 11, is a dedication, a dedication to redeem His sheep. This is what we learn from JOH 10:22, "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter." That very feast that they were celebrating was the symbol and the sign and the forecast of that very dedication that Jesus was dedicating Himself for the redemption of His sheep. The feast of the dedication, which pointed to His dedication, He was dedicated to the giving of His life for His sheep.
This dedication of the temple points to Christ's dedication as the true Temple. It was a feast of the dedication of the Temple. In JOH 2:19-21 we read, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body."
They didnt understand. They didnt understand the dedication of that Temple was pointing to His dedication to His sheep; He was so dedicated that He would give His life for them. This dedication also points to the atonement as we can see in HEB 9:17-18. See that the Scriptures bear me out that this dedication meant dedicated with blood. HEB 9:17-18 says, "For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood."
Now we see the dedication here is a dedication with blood. That is what He is saying when He says He gives His life for the sheep. He is talking about dedicating the Temple with His own blood.
Now, these blind leaders of the blind could not understand the very symbols of the daily sacrifices whereby the first testament was dedicated, nor did they understand how it was to open the way into the holiest. Notice in HEB 10:19-20 that this dedicating with blood opened the way for the children of God to enter into the Holiest of Holies. HEB 10:19-20, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated [that word consecrated means dedicated] for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh."
He has consecrated and opened the way. He has dedicated it. He has given Himself, and this new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus is that Feast of Dedication that they were celebrating at that time. This is the full meaning of that Feast of Dedication.
It was to this shedding of His precious blood that Jesus was dedicated even after being rejected by His own nation. Now I want you to think about His dedication. You can be dedicated to many things; you can be dedicated to serving the church, but if the church has put you out and has completely put you to open shame, your dedication may waver. Now, I want you to think about what Jesus did. He was dedicated to giving His own blood to open the way into the Holiest of Holies for the chiefest of sinners. He was being rejected, not only by His own nation, but His own disciple Peter, cursing and swearing and denying that he ever knew His name. At the same time, Jesus was before the hall of Caiaphas where He was blasphemed and crowned with platted thorns. Our sins were being placed upon His head, and see how dedicated He was that even in such an hour when His own disciples fled and forsook Him.
In the face of all this He was dedicated. In JOH 10:24 we read, "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly." Can you imagine the profound blasphemy that was thrown in His face? They accused Him of having a devil. They accused Him of many things. They accused Him of being a blasphemer in Verse 33.
Their total ignorance of the meaning of these blessed truths still did not leave those rebellious Jews excusable. Even though they did not understand the prophecies, even though they did not understand what He had told them, they were still not excusable because what they witnessed with their eyes was a positive evidence of His credentials. What did they see? They saw a man who was born blind restored to sight. They saw the dead raised. They saw the lame walk and leap and sing. They saw these things. Our text says in JOH 10:25, "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." They were inexcusable.
He told these Jews and they believed not these positive evidences. Our very logic will be a basis on which we are going to have to stand in judgment. In the Day of Judgment we are inexcusable, and we are not going to put the blame on God if we are not saved. We are inexcusable for not believing if we dont believe. Our bare logic that God has given us will leave those who refuse to believe inexcusable in the Day of Judgment.
In ROM 1:19-20 we read, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
Even if we only have the creation, the wonderful works of God that He brought forth by the power of His Word, even that will leave us inexcusable. It says that they are without excuse.
Our Saviour goes on to tell why they believe not. JOH 10:26-27 says, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." Their character, i.e., their attitudes and actions, clearly manifested that they were reprobates. He said they dont believe because they are reprobates; they absolutely refused to believe, and Jesus did not hesitate to distinguish them from His sheep.
How do we distinguish between these reprobates and His sheep? The answer is found in Jesus statement, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
Do we follow Christ? Do we follow His example? Do we follow in the footsteps of the cross? There is our evidence. Those are our credentials that will bear us out on the Day of Judgment.
This word follow comes from the Greek word akoloutheo (ak-ol-oo-theh'-o), which means, "to be in the same way, to accompany or follow." In other words, that you have harmony, you are walking in the same footsteps. It means to accompany Him. Do we accompany Him?
Look at HEB 13:13. Now this is why that it is such a positive identification. Do you know why? Because this is against our human nature, "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." That is against our human nature. Our human nature is, we want to be not only in the camp, but we want to be king of the ash box in the camp. It takes self-denial and the crucifying our flesh to follow Christ outside of the camp. We must humble ourselves and come down to where Christ is. We must be able to step outside of the camp and bear His reproach. That is following Jesus.
Our Saviour's sheep follow Him in the way of the cross, bearing His reproach as we see in PHI 3:10. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
The Apostle Paul, after he had been stripped of all his credentials, his wonderful religion, and all that he had placed his confidence in, he had accounted it all for dung. See how he comes to follow Christ, "That I may know him [he counts everything but dung], and the power of his resurrection [how do we know Him and the power of His resurrection? That means to be raised above the things of this life], and the fellowship of his sufferings [now he desires to know the fellowship of Christs sufferings. In other words, to go without the camp and to bear his reproach], being made conformable unto his death."
How are we made conformable unto the death of Christ except as we see in ROM 6:10, "For in that he died, he died unto sin once. [All the things of sin that tend to gratify the flesh get crucified and get cut off. We die unto sin]: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." That is being made conformable unto His death.
The Apostle Paul said in PHI 3:14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Did you know that it is our high calling of God to strive for perfection? Does that mean that we are going to be perfect in ourselves that we can boast of perfection? No. That is not the issue. The issue is, it is our desire to be conformed to the perfect image of Christ, and we strive for it. "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
We are to follow Christ in the way of self-denial under the law of love. JOH 15:12-14 leaves no doubt in the believers mind; "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [The commandment is that we love one another as He loved us. What is that? We lay down our very lives for our friends, in other words, for the friends of Jesus. We dont exalt ourselves over them. We set them over us.] Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
So, Christ's sheep follow by way of example which we find in 1PE 2:18-19, "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully."
That is thankworthy. In other words, That is showing gratitude for what Christ suffered wrongfully in our behalf. Consider what He did in our behalf before Pontius Pilate where He received unjustly a sentence of death. Remember His being brought before Pontius Pilate, before Caiaphas, while He went to Herod, and was sent back and being mocked. Are we going to show thankworthiness? Are we going to show gratitude for what Christ did? Christ was in subjection to His Fathers will and gave Himself. He didnt resist being in subjection. We are to follow His example.
In our own personal relationship with Christ, if you and I are going to walk in the way of the cross and follow Jesus in the way, then we stop resisting, we stop self-defense, and we stop making ourselves strong to try to overcome those who come against us. Then we submit ourselves to it knowing that it is sent of the Lord, and that the Lord controls it, and that the Lord will bring it about to His purpose in the end.
1PE 2:20-21 continues, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well [you do what is right], and suffer for it [Now wait a minute, that in itself does not glorify God. The fact that we merely suffer wrongfully and suffer for doing what is right, but what glorifies God is], ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
Do you know what it means to suffer "when ye do well" means? That means that you cheerfully endure it, that you are not grumbling and murmuring, trying to lick your wounds and seeing if there is some way you can rectify this wrong. No, you accept it. You give it into the hands of One who judges righteously and leave it there, and make no attempt to rectify what they have done against you wrongfully, but "if when ye do well and suffer for it ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
Now the Lord looks upon that attitude and says that it is acceptable. Verse 21 concludes, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."
The Lord Jesus has gone before us. He has laid the trail. His footprints are in the sand, but now we must follow them. We must follow the example that He gave us. Notice that when He was reviled, He reviled not again. That comes against our human nature. That is pretty hard to swallow once in a while. When someone slanders and reviles us, trying to destroy our name, sometimes it is very difficult to obey this command. People who have heard this slander call you and ask, "What is going on here?" It takes a lot of grace try to uphold them and try not to slander the one who is slandering you.
Our text says 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." It is the spirit of self-sacrificial love and the spirit of self-denial that is an undeniable witness. It is undeniable evidence that we are followers of Christ.
Jesus did not say, "Ye are not my sheep because you did not believe." What He said in Verse 26 was, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you." We dont become one of Christs sheep by something we have done. We do believe because we are His sheep because He has given us faith. Faith is a gift of God. That is why it is such a powerful evidence of our salvation. When the Lord has given us that we do follow Him, our works and our actions thereby become our credentials. It is by faith that we are able to obey, and faith is a gift of God.
Our text continues in Verse 27, "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice."
That is how we identify ourselves. This is where our evidence is that we do have Gods grace; we hear His voice, and do what He says. If you tell me that you heard His voice, but disobeyed it, then you didnt hear it. My sheep hear my voice and follow me. Hearing and following are synonymous. You cant separate them.
I had a lady tell me this one time, "Well, I get a little rebellious once in a while. I dont feel like obeying." What does that tell you? When they will openly admit that they are rebelling against the Word of God, because it comes against their flesh, they have no grounds to claim salvation. The Apostle Paul says 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 me. 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."
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." Amen.
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