Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: “… whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” ~ Matthew 7:24
John 10 ~ Part 1
(vs. 1 – 6)
“I AM the Good Shepherd”
10 1“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 4And when He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. 5Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Words to note: “thief and robber” – Jesus carries several
themes in this chapter about who He really is. He also contrasts between
Himself (the Good Shepherd) and the thief or hirelings (servants of the Thief -
Satan): paid shepherds that aren’t faithful with their responsibilities. Back
in Jesus’ day, when a shepherd would bring his flock into the fold, the
shepherd would place himself in the only door (or opening) and sleep there to
make sure that he was between those who wanted to steal or kill any of the
sheep! The only way for someone to get in and steal any of the sheep would be
to climb over one of the sides of the sheepfold, and the only reason someone
wouldn’t go through the door was because they didn’t know the shepherd and
wanted steal or harm the sheep. If they had known the shepherd, they would have
been able to get to the sheep easily. Interesting word picture isn’t it? In a
day when many claim to be teachers of God’s Word and yet many of them do not
even know the Shepherd, it is interesting to me to see Jesus identifies all of
these as thieves – those who refuse to make Jesus their Master and Savior, and
make themselves thieves, and to do the duty they are being paid to do (watching
out for the well-being of the flock) – He calls them thieves.
Notes: Words to note: “he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” - For those who see flocks of sheep in the US and similar places, they will notice that shepherds in our country drive the sheep – they follow the sheep and herd them along. The Jewish shepherd did it differently, more like how they do it in New Zealand – he would actually build an individual relationship with each of his sheep (some other countries still do this). So, when the shepherd went out, all he had to do was call them and they would follow Him. What an amazing word picture! Jesus, the Good Shepherd, builds an individual relationship with each and every one of His sheep, and His desire is to lead us by calling our name. But being in a country so confused by idolatry (putting our passion into things other than our relationship with God) and the deceitfulness of riches, it means that His sheep who live here in the United States have to learn to disconnect from the distractions of this world and learn to focus on and hear His voice! And as they get to know His voice, we have to learn to be content in just following Him, and not entertaining ourselves into trouble. I know many people would be amazed at what a difference that would do for them if they learn to hear and obey their Shepherd! It has made a huge difference in my life and I want to keep learning it myself!
Notes: Words to note – “5Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Anyone who looks around at our culture will immediately notice that there are many voices – all vying for our attention, all wanting us to treat them with importance. In this peer-pressure-driven society, where pleasing friends is very important, what a difference it is for Jesus to say that His sheep will NOT follow a stranger! So, the question is who are we really following? Or to put it in another way: how many people are you and I following? Many in our country are so distracted with the voices of many different sins that are only pleasurable for a season but in the end lead to pain, sorrow, and destruction! “7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” With so many ‘shepherds’ in our country giving people the acceptance and approval to do what they want – to ignore God and His voice and His call to repent and follow Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength - we need to learn to daily ask God to teach us to hear His voice more clearly and that He would search our hearts and show us where we are truly at and what our true heart-condition is – and teaching us to ONLY follow His voice. How we need to learn to flee from those who are false teachers! We need to flee from those who pick and choose the parts of God’s Word that ‘applies to them’ and ignore the other parts. All of God’s Word applies to all of us (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) and those of us who know more of God’s truth will be held accountable for the more that we know. Life will only make sense the more we submit (not fun, but necessary) to God’s Word and His beautiful, perfect will. God’s Word says that teachers will undergo a more thorough judgment (James 3:1) and Jesus Himself said “18For assuredly, I say to you, till Heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:18.19. That verse is very important to each of us because we are teaching others what they can get away with, and what they should do – how? By our actions. If we think about it a second, we will discover there are people watching us, following us. Are we leading them closer to God? Or are we causing them to lower their standards? We are in a time were it is imperative that we make sure that we take His Word seriously and learn to obey it down here, so we won’t have to be embarrassed up there. J
Editor’s side-note: God is constantly looking for those who will be “15… diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15) And those who will: “2Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering [patience] and teaching. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2nd Timothy 4:2-5) The question is will you and I stand up to the call and ask God to help us understand His Word so that we will not only be able to understand it for ourselves, but will also be able to explain it to others? That kind of commitment will require hard work, but the rewards are worth it – and that’s an understatement! I believe Pastor Ray Comfort (www.wayofthemaster.com) and Mark Cahill (www.markcahill.org) rightly point out that based on those last verses from 2nd Timothy, there are only two times we should preach and teach God’s Word – “in season and out of season…” – when it’s comfortable and when it’s not, when it’s popular and when it’s not. Are you in?
Here is another verse that captures my attention: “14How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15 – emphasis added.)