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TO "SHEEP OR NOT TO SHEEP"

John 10:22-30   “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.  So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about Me,  but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus calls us sheep?  I think it’s because of what they are and who they depend on for everything.  By their very nature, they are followers and depend on their shepherd for everything,  What do Jesus’ sheep do.  John 10:27 says Jesus’ sheep, hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him.  Sounds pretty simple doesn't it.  We listen to Him, He knows us and we follow Him.  

The Jews had the biggest question for Jesus anyone could have possibly asked.  “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Sounds like a simple request doesn't it? The Old Testament predicted the Messiah would come as a Shepherd, but the Jews had a different kind of Messiah they were looking for. What kind are you looking for?    

I love the way  Albert Barnes’ in his notes on the NT explains verse 27... 

“27. My sheep. My church, My people, those who have the true spirit of My followers. The name is given to His people because it was an illustration which would be well understood in a country abounding in flocks. There is also a striking resemblance, which He proceeds to state, between them. 

Hear my voice. See John 10:3, 4. Applied to Christians, it means that they hear and obey his commandments.  I know them. See John 10:14.  They follow me. A flock follows its shepherd to pastures and streams, John 10:3. Christians not only obey Christ, but they imitate Him; they go where His Spirit and providence lead them; they yield themselves to His guidance, and seek to be led by Him. When Jesus was upon earth many of His disciples followed or attended Him from place to place. Hence Christians are called His followers, and in Rev. 14:4 they are described as “they that follow the Lamb.” (bold mine)

In the next few verses Jesus lays out what His sheep receive when they follow Him.  “He gives them eternal life, and they shall never perish and no one can snatch them out of His hands”. And just in case they missed it, He repeats it in the next verse again. 

“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

It's good to be a sheep!

Posted by Jerry Hull with

THE SLUGGARD AND THE DILIGENT

The Bible has a lot to say about “sluggards” (and it’s not pretty)!

Have you ever thought about why God wants us to be hard workers and not give in to laziness?  Proverbs 13:4 says, The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat”.  NASB.   What is it that makes that “soul” different in our life and leads us to enjoying a full life - the kind of life God intended for us. As we look briefly into this verse today we see a great comparison between being lazy and just desiring stuff, and working hard to achieve something and have something.  I like the way the NKJV version and the ESV versions of the Bible bring this verse to life. 

NKJV says… 4The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

ESV says… 4The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent xis richly supplied.

On page 39 of the Tyndale Bible Commentary he brings out that … “13:4. A lazy person (on sluggard see [Vol. 1, p. 933] has desires (craves refers to a deep-seated physical drive or appetite; cf. “craving” in 13:2), but his desires are not satisfied because he is not willing to work. However, diligence enables a person to be satisfied

Proverbs (13:4; 21:25, 26) bring out that the sluggard is restless and lives with unsatisfied desire. Proverbs 21:25-26 give us more insight onto the plight of the sluggard and the heart of the hard worker. It says, “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work; All day long he is craving, while the righteous gives and does not hold back”.  Don’t miss that the righteous give and do not hold back.  Let’s use our diligence to give to others and be a blessing to everyone we meet. 

I think the challenge for us today when we are tempted to sit back and do nothing is to remember that it just breeds trouble for us. It puts us in a spiral of discontentment, frustration, and robs us of being happy and living a life full of purpose, meaning and seeing God bless the work of our hands.  “Who really wants to be sluggard?  The flip side is working hard and enjoying a rich soul, and seeing God bless the work of your hands. Let’s go for that real soul food that drives our life. Let’s choose the life of being hard workers in God’s kingdom and in everything we do. Proverbs 12:27 “...the precious possession of a man is diligence.”

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