15 April 2014

HEARTBROKEN



Luke 19:41-44

What are some of the things that break the heart of God? Death and sorrow breaks the heart of God. Sheep without a shepherd break the heart of God. Broken marriages break the heart of God. Delinquent and self-absorbed parenting breaks the heart of God. Disobedient children break the heart of God. Unbelief and rejection breaks God's heart. My sin, your sin, breaks the heart of God. God’s heart was so broken over sin, we read “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." Gen 6:5-7. The list is endless to what breaks the heart of God because He knows the consequences to these actions and the ignorance of man. And as we look at this passage we read“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42

There is one thing that should break our hearts as it does God……..to witness people we know and love who sin against God! We come to a passage of scripture that shows us the heart of God penned through the heart of a man who saw sin as God sees it. Do you know that it breaks God heart to see His children, His creation walking aimlessly under the ignorance of their own hearts? Let me ask you! Do your eyes flow like rivers over the sin of this world? Does your heart ache when people disobey the Word of God? Does your heart ache when you see people walk away from the church? Does your heart ache when you at times find yourself disobeying the Word of God?If you look at this verse closely we see the heart of a God who saw the hardness of hearts. It makes him weep because of the wickedness of man. It makes him weep because of their love for sin. It makes him weep because they are haters of God and His word.

Nehemiah was also another man who weep for the sins of his people! “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.' Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer. Neh 1:4-11

Is this you this morning? Do you feel like Jesus here in this text this morning? When your at work listening to conversations around you. In your car as you look around and see what’s going outside in the communities around us. At school seeing how young people treat each other and the disrespect they give to those who are older than them. At the store where people are in such hurry to go nowhere and the selfishness as they get through the check-out lines at Walmart. At church were people put on their Sunday cloths and faces and disregard everything they heard proclaimed about our sovereign LORD. SO MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, DOESN'T THIS CONCERN YOU? What does your heart tell you right now, after reading a passage that expresses the heart of God who see’s man depravity for what it is! SIN. Especially after the so-called heart felt welcome as Jesus entered a city where He would die for the sins of the world. God said He would never flood the whole earth again, but He didn’t say He wouldn’t pour His wrath upon the sinner. This is why He came! And as Jesus looked over the crowd of people He “wept over it” (v41) “Over it” is referring to the nation of Israel! Showing His compassion for the guilty city, and His strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it if they continued down this road of destruction.

This is the second time Jesus wept! The first time being at the tomb of Lazarus, in John 11, the second being here. The only difference between the two is that Jesus wept quietly at the tomb of Lazarus. Here in this portion of scripture, He expressed His heart with a loud lamentation, like you would see someone mourning over the death of a loved one. Why? Jesus saw that the nation had wasted its opportunities and been ignorant of their “time of visitation” Jesus saw the spiritual ignorance and blindness in the hearts of the people, because they should have known who He really was. Jesus saw the religious activity that accomplished very little if nothing for the Kingdom of God and His glory. This people were so filled with celebrations, festivals and other things, but sadly their hearts where heavy with sin and life burdens that none of them could ever carry on their own if they could only see Christ and His sustaining grace that he offers to sins like these people. That’s why He says "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." Luke 19:42-44. See, Jesus knew the terrible judgement that was coming to the nation, the city and the temple. In 70AD, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, they killed 600,000 Jews, then they would take thousands more captive, and destroy the temple and the city. Why did all this happen? Jesus summarizes it in this statement “because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (v44)

Just as it was in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, just as it was in the time of Noah, just as it was in the time of visitation. Again going back to Genesis “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen 6:5. Just as it is here, the sins of man have blinded the hearts of man to see the glory of God in Christ Jesus during His earthly visit. I want to stop here for a moment and ask you, do you weep over the sin of others? This is not a game! As Matthew Henry said “The eye is the inlet and outlet of a great deal of sin, and therefore it ought to be a weeping eye.”When was the last time you wept over your sin or sin that is around you? Do you shed tears for the lost people around you? Does the sin of our nation, continent, world, grieve you? Are you even affected by the depravity of your culture? Better yet……..Do you even care? Do you love others? I say this because we need to remind ourselves daily about the beauty of the gospel in our lives. “Hosanna in the Highest” in Matthew’s gospel which meaning “Save us now, Oh supremely great and glorious God; save us by the Messiah that comes in Your name.” A holy God who came to save us from holy God who hates sin. A holy God who was grieved over your sin, my sin and He displayed this grief and anger over our sin through the “Messiah”…………His Son….Jesus Christ. That’s what makes the gospel so beautiful and precious to sinners like us. We need to be reminded daily of that truth.

As Jerry Bridges wrote “To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means to continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you. … You can be sure of one thing, though: When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.”
We have Christians who don’t weep over the sin of others because they are too busy or self-absorbed with their own cares of life….and sadly this type of person has a tendency to forget about the gospel that saved their wretched souls from His perfect and pending wrath.So what are some things that we can do as God’s children when it comes to ignorance of Christ and sin and this pending doom for so many?

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING FOR THOSE WHO ARE ENTANGLED IN SIN......As Paul said “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Eph 6:18. It’s that idea of “pray without ceasing” which means never stopping because there is simply too much to pray about. Prayer is work, plain and simple, which is why most believers don't do it and struggle in this area of life. And it’s one of the reasons we don’t concern ourselves with the cares of others….but it should as it did Jesus here in this passage.

GENTLY AND CAUTIOUSLY COME ALONGSIDE A BROTHER OR SISTER AND HELP THEM TO BE RECONCILED WITH GOD.......Jesus said "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matt 18:12-15. Our desire is not to find restitution to fill our prideful hearts, when we have been wronged. Our desire should be for a sinner to reconciled back into the fellowship with our Lord and King. We should desire the same God desires for sinners to repent and find their comfort and peace in the Son of God.

PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THEM IN EVERY OCCASION WITH THE WORDS OF TRUTH......As Paul said “Preach the word [the gospel truth]! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. In all occasion share the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ; which is to be preached always. Faith in Christ comes by hearing the word of God! Rom 10:17

NEVER GIVE UP ON A SINNER, DESPITE WHAT THE OUTCOME MIGHT BRING....In the gospel of John we read “And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:2-5. Jesus washed his feet. It was only one example of the agape love of Jesus Christ and the way He reached out to Judas. This example of love He took to win Judas even at this late hour made His love all the more wonderful. Never giving up because God’s desire that no one perishes even though many will in the end. Never give up on a sinner no matter how wicked or reckless a person might be.

LOVE THEM AS CHRIST LOVED THEM AND WEPT OVER THEM BECAUSE YOU KNOW THEIR COMING JUDGEMENT........As the Hebrew writer said “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Heb 9:27. What does this judgement look like? We read in Rev 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Can you see why Jesus wept at their celebration on this Palm Sunday? Many according to His powerful Sermon on the mount would end in this terrible place. He loved them so much He died for them despite how they felt about Him. The gospel saves and need to tell the world about this message! Remind yourself of that truth in the word of God and others as this one writer said, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. Follow its precepts and it will lead you to Calvary, to the empty tomb, to a resurrected life in Christ; yes, to glory itself, for eternity. Don’t miss this truth as so many of the people that Jesus came to saved did! For some it may be too late…..for others it’s the power of God that some will be saved by His amazing grace. As this amazing story of a man incarcerated as He was asked “What would YOU say in a letter to your younger self?”

Dear Peter,

It’s great to be able to talk to you, I’m 55 years old now, and living in prison for the past six years. Let me tell you kid; it’s no way to live. A lot if the things you’re going to do are good, a few of them are really stupid. If you think something’s might be a bad idea…..BELIEVE IT! Don`t do it. If you think you feel the Lord in your life, believe it! You will receive many blessings, many signs of what you should do. Keep your eyes open wide and pay attention, do what is right and you won’t need to go to prison. God loves you, live by His word.  Love Peter!

What do you think the people who physically witnessed Christ but loved their sin instead would write if they had a chance to write their younger self? "Listen to Jesus, love Jesus, because He came to give us peace through his death and resurrection." Don’t miss the invitation of His visitation found in the gospel that saves. He came to save the lost! Though He wept over her, He loved and gave Himself for her. Today is the day of salvation.

07 April 2014

GOD IS BETTER ALWAYS


Jeremiah 2

Our society is very anti-God and wants nothing to do with God and will try very hard to win your heart…..or better yet steal it from you. This is a message to the believer who struggles in their Christian life, trying to find a balance between these two worlds. See, it doesn’t happen overnight it’s that subtle deception like an “I V drip”. As one writer said “There is really no such thing as a sudden fall. Oh! the last step is only the last of a series of steps. I believe there are always many steps before a child of God reaches the verge of the precipice. I believe, further, that even when the edge of the precipice is reached, very few jump over. Most of them slide down, slowly at first, and it is so easy, so gentle, so effortless, so natural, so pleasant, that, alas! They seem to enjoy the sensation. It is only when the pace begins to accelerate terribly, it is only when control is slipping away, that this pleasant enjoyment gives way to anxiety and alarm.” This is where we need to proceed with extreme caution! It’s easy to stray down the wrong path and think that everything is ok. It’s easy to forget your first love when your appetite is being filled with the other things of this world. John Piper said “We need to ponder the superiority of God as our great reward over all that the world has to offer. If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like everyone else.”

We need to do a self-evaluation to see what we love the most! See, what’s worse for the soul is a person who has tasted the available truth of forgiveness and choses to continue to follow after the things of this world as a way of satisfaction. It’s the idea, content at first, but as time goes on they get bored or dissatisfied with what they have………meaning God. Maybe you know someone or maybe you feel this way?
  • Your Time with God dwindles.
  • You desire to fellowship with other Christians diminishes
  • You hardly ever read your Bible.
  • Your church attendance is inconsistent and less important to you.
  • You become more concerned about yourself rather than the things of God.
  • Your giving is almost nothing.
  • Your lifestyle has become more sinful rather than more holy/pure.

The focus of your heart changes from the things of God to the things of the world. Maybe the problem is that you’re sliding down the hill as well and you don’t realize your backsliding in Christian life. WHAT IS BACKSLIDING? First, all Christians are sinners, but not all Christians are currently backsliding. Backsliding is not the loss of one’s salvation (this is impossible), nor the loss of God’s love and care (his faithfulness endures forever). To say it simply, a backslidden Christian is one whose communion with Christ is whose faith is weakening. This passage displays to us where backsliding leads too and the compassion and great concern that our God has for us when we stray away from what’s most important and serve self or idols. The Lord said “I remember the devotion of your youth” this God speaking to His people. (v2). As a bride is to her husband………. you loved me at the beginning of our marriage, but know you are different! And that pure excited devotion you had for Me at the beginning has quickly changed and gone in the other direction to serve other things.

Doesn’t that sound like many of us in this room? With one hand were satisfied in God and with the other we are continued to look for other satisfactions to feed selfish lusts or passions. When we can’t get what we want from God, we leave Him for someone or something that is better. Sadly the result or outcome of that backsliding leads to this question! What did I do wrong that you have turned away from me? (v5). Let that question soak in this morning! In our generation what is wrong with God that we are not more interested in Him? In our generation why are we not serving Him? Is God doing something wrong? Again in (v5) what sin has God committed to make us turn our backs on Him? What has God done that you would follow after vain thing or idols? Some translations say “vanity” which has the same meaning here as idols. They become vain, foolish having no more sense and reason because idols they are no good and benefit nothing. As John Calvin said “as long as the devil deceives and deludes the world, idols and images will be in repute, though they are in themselves solely useless and worthless, while yet they prove disastrous to the souls of men.” What are some things that draw us away from God?

  • Pride
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment
  • Money
  • Power
  • Possessions
  • Sex
  • Unforgiveness
In the end it leads to pain and a wrong view of God and His everlasting grace in our lives. Look what God says in (v13) “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” My people have committed two evils! First, they have forsaken me and secondly they have crafted their own cisterns. We live among people whom you may know, who have carved out little cisterns for themselves. They will do it on their own, their way and ignore God and His wisdom along with God’s children and seek to fill their own desires and lusts. The major downside to this is that carved cisterns are riddled with holes that are unable to hold water. What picture of the self-righteous man or woman. A person who desires money, fame or power will never be satisfied and they will continue to seek out their own passions. Have we not witnessed this in the life of most men who have fallen to image of a naked woman? Have we not seen this is the life of resent celebrities who have everything yet are still unsatisfied?Have we not seen this in the divorce of marriages when times get tough? Have we not seen this in the life of some of the youth who try to grow up so fast and refuse to listen to their parents [especially as it pertains to modesty and purity]? Have we not seen this in the church where people are always dissatisfied, because the church is not doing what “you” want them to do? This is the warning to all Christians! A person will never find true satisfaction in these…..it only leads to sin and hardened heart to the beauty found in God alone. And sadly this leads to a backslidden life of vain [idolatrous] pursuits because you’re dissatisfied with God and His children.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS! What does it mean to be an idolater? Some say it’s:
  • Its worshipping other gods
  • It’s a craven image
  • It’s a person
  • Its self-worship

They‘re all good answers! But the word idolatry goes much deeper than that! Webster’s defines Idolatry as: An image, form or representation, usually of a man or other animal, consecrated as an object of worship; a pagan deity. Idols are usually statues or images, carved out of wood or stone, or formed of metals, particularly silver or gold. I think Erwin Lutzer explanation of idolatry goes even deeper than that..... He leaves no room for compromise for today’s generation when it comes to idolatry!
He says……..“an idol can be a physical object, a property, a person, an activity, a role, an institution, a hope, an image, an idea, a pleasure, a hero. If I can simply define idolatry! It is something that gives you and me more pleasure (fulfillment) than GOD." Idolatry is more that bowing down at an image on your wall or a Buddha sitting on a mantel. It’s what you give your most time tooAGAIN! What have you turned from to follow the Lord Jesus Christ? What was your idol or your god before salvation came? What is your idol possibly today? See we need to understand that God wants nothing greater in our lives than Him………ALONE! If we are not.....Consuming our lives with more of Him minute by minute. If we are not.....In drenching our lives or families our churches, in the Scripture, in prayer, sharing the hope of Christ and communion with the saints! Then, we are at risk of becoming an idolater as these men and women in this passage! Let me explain as we look at what idolatry has done through the ages starting with the Bible:
  • Self-worship in the Garden found in the book of Genesis (Chapter 3)
  • Tower of Babel found in the book of Genesis (Chapter 11)
  • The Golden Calf found in the book of Exodus (Chapter 32)
  • The Battle of Elijah and the prophet Baal in the book of 1st Kings (Chapter 18)
  • The Fish god in Nineveh found in the book of Jonah (Chapter 1)
  • Nebuchadnezzar and his statue of gold found in the book of Daniel (Chapter 3)
  • Rituals and traditions of the Pharisee’s found in all the 4 Gospels
  • Worship of man the apostles and faithful men of God (1 Cor 3) 
  • The “unknown god” found in the book of Acts (Chapter 17)
  • Angels found in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 22)

We need to understand that God hates our idolatry! Listen to what God says about this problem.....not me! GOD SAYS as He does in this passage of Jeremiah. The Lord uses strong language of rebuke here! Again, He says “for my people have committed two evils…”

“evil” in its most general context, is taken as the absence of that which is ascribed as being good. Often, evil is used to denote profound immorality. Israel has not merely offended God, like the unregenerate man or woman, by idolatry, but by deserting the only God who can satisfy the needs of human nature. His covenant people committed two evils, they abandon the true God and they serve idols. What is the outcome of these two evils to a backslidden Christian…..these sins to build cisterns for your own pleasure.


Idolatry is an Abomination and an affront to a holy God who love us. “for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deut 7:25

Idolatry is unprofitable and it will continue to leave you empty and unsatisfied. “....They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship. They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it And set it in its place, and it stands; From its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble.” Isa 46:6-7

Idolatry is forsaking God and brings about judgement. “because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands” 2 Kings 22:17

Idolatry changes the truth of God into a lie “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Rom 1:25

Idolatry is only having fellowship with the Devil “My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, And their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, And they have played the harlot against their God.” Hosea 4:12

Idolatry is false worship and dishonoring to God “He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire." And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" Isaiah 44:14-17

So I can’t stress this enough that the Bible is abundantly clear that idolatry is and goes against everything God desires and wills.....that He created for His good pleasure! This is the concern that God has for His people in this passage! We should examine our lives in light of this passage. Have we forsaken God with something and not realize it? Have we been worshipping and following after our own desires and passions instead of God. Have we been complacent as we slid gradually down the slippery slope of backsliding to serve self over God? Have we been so busy we forgot about our first love as the church of Ephesus did? We  are not to serve self but to serve and continue to follow the living God who loved us and gave His Son for us......WHICH MEANS WE FOLLOW……….

  • A breathing God
  • A caring God
  • A loving God
  • A sovereign God
  • A merciful God
  • A righteous God
Not a god made of wood, silver, gold, or a statue, a cross or fallible men and women. Not a god created in our image or by our hands. We serve a God who desires and deserves our adoration and thanksgiving. We serve a God who transformed our ways to serve the One who created man in His likeness. We serve the GOD of the Bible (YAHWEH, ELOHIM, EL SHADDAI, JEHOVAH, AND ADONAI). We follow and worship the true living God through the Gospel! We have also been delivered from the wrath of almighty God (The Just and the Justifier). To all Christian have you committed these two evils? Have you chosen sin over Him because you thought you dig a bigger and better hole to hold water? Things that draw us away from Him to pursue vain worthless things! Please think before you’re tempted to commit these two evils……..GOD IS BETTER!
  • God is better than money
  • God is better than education
  • God is better than career or aspirations
  • God is better than family and friends
  • God is better than entertainment
  • God is better than sex
  • God is better than popularity and power
  • God is better than anything and everything you could imagine

My question for us is………………….Do you believe that? And if so, come back! Why? Because as the song goes “One day in His house is better than a thousands elsewhere.

24 March 2014

WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO


John 10:30-42

What makes a person hate someone so much that they want to take their life? Take for example: More Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined. About 170,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year (over 400 per day). Currently over 200 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide. Christians are persecuted in 131 of the world's 193 countries. North Korea: in 2014 it continues to be the worst country in the world for persecution and the list goes on! As one person said “Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured.” What makes a person so angry that it fills their heart with murder? Especially towards someone who’s desire to see….
  • People have clean water
  • Cloths on their backs
  • The ability to think and read
  • The shelter of a home
  • The care and well-being of others
  • The care and concern for one’s soul

The answer to that question is one thing! They hate God and anyone who follows after Him. Do we not see this is in this passage of scripture? The religious men didn't just disagree with Jesus; they hated him from a pure evil heart of rage. Think about it for a moment! Not once did Jesus display any form of hatred or hostility towards these men. Not once did Jesus try to trick people or to cause harm to another human being. Not once did Jesus say or do anything that would cause someone to be filled with rage. So the question is…Why were these men so enraged to kill him? I think it comes down to this truth! These men saw what they thought was good and righteous in their own eyes seemed to be worthless as it compared to Jesus. Remember everything Jesus did was perfect and the standard of God’s perfection. His perfection was revealed to their imperfection and that no matter what they thought of themselves it was a wrong view of who they truly were! Wretched sinners who desperately needed a perfect Saviour.

But isn’t that so? Our righteousness is considered as “filthy rages” Isaiah penned these words “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6. The bible declares our righteousness as unclean! Isaiah 6:5  “So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts." Job 14:4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!” In Psalm 51:5 David said “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Rom 7:18  “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Paul wrote to Titus and said “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”Titus 3:3

The natural man hates the things of God! This is natural to those outside the camp of Jesus Christ the beautiful Shepherd. Maybe this is what made these men so angry and filled with hatred! See “hatred” by definition is “a deep and emotional extreme dislike that can be directed against individuals, entities, objects, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger and a disposition towards hostility.”These men hated so much the bible says they picked up stones to kill Him. BUT! Before we jump on the band wagon of disgust because of these men, we need to remember every single one of us in this chapel is CAPABLE of turning into one of these raging lunatics.

Think about! You’re having a good day, your happy things couldn’t be better, then all of a sudden someone or something disrupts your peaceful day of serenity. It could be triggered by……

  • Memory
  • Someone’s behaviour
  • A conversation
  • A phone call
  • A letter
All these can cause your attitude and behaviour to change drastically! Your temperature begins to rises along with your blood pressure. Your face begins change and you begin to use muscles that you thought you never had. There are veins in your head and neck that becoming more noticeable and your day that was once a happy time, is now become a time of irritation. It can happen that quickly and we can become no different than these men in this passage. As one writer said “if  I were to rank a list of sins from the worst to the least destructive…the top two sins would be anger and deceit….not everyone is an alcoholic; not everyone steals, or swears, or commits adultery. But everyone struggles with anger. This is a universal problem and we need to be aware of this issue in our own lives.

Here is the flip side! Is anger always wrong? No …………as Paul said “be anger and sin not” Eph 4:26. It is an emotion that can be used in a constructive way, but also can be used in a destructive way as well. We can see that being used constructively in the life of Christ and the destructive use of anger in the life of Cain. So were these men right to have such anger….a hatred for wickedness that leads to killing someone? Keep in mind again that……..
  • Jesus was no robber
  • Jesus was no murderer
  • Jesus was no rebel against the Law of the land
  • His life was filled to show the love of God, who always went about doing what, was right and good.

As we read “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38. There was no crime to be upset with, yet these men had such hatred and vengeance towards Jesus. As John wrote a few chapters later they hated Him “without cause". It’s as J.C Ryle said “unconverted men would kill God himself if they could only get at Him.” The world and these men hate to see anything of God’s image! Remember Cain and why he killed his brother?1 John 3:11-12 “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.” They hated Jesus because His righteousness reflected the unrighteousness of these men who thought they were a perfect example of righteousness. If these men were righteous in their right to angry with Jesus we need to consider 3 things

RIGHTEOUS ANGER REACTS AGAINST ACTUAL SIN

We must look at sin first as a violation against God, not us! David summarized this truth when he said “For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.” Psalm 51:3-4. Righteous anger arises from an accurate perception of true evil of sin as defined biblically as a violation against God. Jesus did nothing wrong as He said “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" (v32) Healing the sick, and all manner of diseases; cleansing lepers, giving sight to the blind, causing the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. This were not only works of power, but of mercy and goodness; and therefore are called good works, as well as they were great and miraculous ones. The unbelieving Jews at Jerusalem were neither moved by our Lord's miracles nor by His preaching. They were determined not to receive Him as their Messiah "they took up stones to stone Him." See righteous anger does not result from merely being inconvenienced or from a violation of personal preference….and especially human tradition. It responds to sin accurately according to God’s word. It’s too easy to fly off the handle….especially when we think someone has wronged us personally! Don’t get me wrong, it hurt when someone sins against us….but remember it hurt God first before it hurt you.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER FOCUSES ON GOD AND HIS KINGDOM, RIGHTS AND CONCERNS, NOT ON MY KINGDOM, RIGHTS AND CONCERNS?

According to the scriptures righteous anger is God centered, not self centered or motivated to make me come out on top in an argument. My first response should always be concerned with the Kingdom of God and does it offend a holy God. It focuses on how people offend God and His name. Remember as James said “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20. For example when Jesus cleared out the temple merchants He did this because what they were doing was a violation against God. Just as here the traditions of men and their kingdom were more important than God and His kingdom. These men only cared about themselves and their own agenda….as long as everyone agreed with them and followed after them, they were ok! But Jesus and his unorthodox Christianity threw these men into frenzy of rage and hate. All because Jesus went against everything they wanted the people to believe. To go against them was too personally attack them and their character….and sadly these men were more concerned of saving face then the glory of God being defended. Wolves and robbers who were trying to pull the wool over the sheep’s eyes. What they thought was righteous was nothing more than selfish gain and an obsession for power to manipulate.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER IS ACCOMPANIED IN A GODLY MANNER?

All true anger must be handled with self-control. It must be restrained and controlled! Is that possible? Solomon said “Good sense makes one slow to anger,” Prov 19:11. The question you need to ask yourself is, when you have been placed into a situation of conflict….did you chose to speak comely when dealing with a situation properly? Or did you fly off the handle screaming, throwing things and so on? Remember what Paul said “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Rom 6:12. As one writer said “it keeps it head without cursing, screaming, raging, or flying off the handle. Nor does it spiral downwards in self-pity or despair. It does not ignore people, snub people, or withdraw from people.” Take the situation…….between David, Jonathan for example in 1 Samuel 20, when his own father tried to kill him because he believed what was right and the best for his people. Saul was filled with selfish pride and ignorance and his rage against David was so powerful “Then Saul's anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, "You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? (v30). Jonathan on the other hand handled this situation is a godly manner by standing his road firmly in the truth of God’s plans and promises. And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, "Why should he be killed? What has he done?" (v32). This only enraged his father’s anger more and Saul lost control of the situation by throwing a spear at his son “Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David.”(v33). This is where we see Jonathan continuing to handle this situation with righteous anger, even though he almost lost his life. “So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.” (v34)

So who as in the right and who was in the wrong according to John’s letter? If these men didn't meet the criteria of righteous anger then who is in the wrong Jesus or them? The same rule can be applied to you and me when we think someone has wronged us and we think we are entitled to have righteous anger. Before we claim righteous anger as a healthy anger……..remember these three questions…..Is there a sin to angry with? Is this sin against God or me? Can I handle this situation in a godly manner? The answer to those questions will determine whether or not I was just in my anger. Remember as Solomon said “a gentle answer turns away wrath” Prov 15:1. Don’t be like the fool who has foot and mouth syndrome like this man…..“…..who hates to be slapped on the back, once packs his coat with TNT and waited for the man who always slaps his back? His brilliant idea is that…..when he hits me he said “I will get him, I’ll blow him up.” Hate kills both the person who you hate, but also yourself as well. Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat. We need to swift to listen….slow to answer and slow to wrath! James knows what he’s talking about! Because he knows this is a universal problem.

17 March 2014

THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD KNOWS MY NAME


John 1-30

You may not realize it, but you’re mentioned in this chapter of John’s letter? Look back to (v 16) and read what it says “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”  This is speaking of His redeemed church [you and me]. We are the “other sheep” who would taste the grace after the Good shepherd would lay His life down for the sin of the world. I want you to really think about this passage of scripture for a moment! Several times Jesus makes this statement “I know my sheep” What is Jesus saying? What does He mean He knows His sheep Before the foundations of the world my name, your name were written in His book of promises……Why? Because He knows His sheep “other sheep” you and me! See, it’s not that He knows us like he is meeting us for the first time. He knew us before He created the cosmos and the planets. That’s why Paul reminded the true believers with this opening statement…..

In Eph 1:14 we read “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Before He created……..
  • Heavens and the earth
  • The sun, moon and the stars
  • Mountains, streams, rivers and oceans
  • Plant life and animals
  • You and me

He knew our names……………….WOW, WOW, WOW, that’s amazing! David spoke these words about our omniscient God in Psalm 139:16 we read…“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. I wasn’t even a clump of cells and you were already preparing my days. We also read in the gospels! Here is Jesus speaking of the final judgement that is a future promise. In Matt 25:31-34 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

Not only does He know His own sheep, but He also knows the unbeliever [the goats] before the foundations of the world. The Shepherd [the Good Shepherd] or the better translation “the Beautiful Shepherd” knew our names and He made Himself known to us through the precious gospel and the written word of God. The word “know” here is used in the sense of affectionate regard or love. It implies such knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in their welfare. What does Jesus know according to this passage in John’s gospel?

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD KNOWS HIS SHEEP (v14, v27)

This passage points to the close connection or intimate relationship Christ has with the believer. He is not a distant God who is just learning about you for the first time. He is not a disconnected God with His creation when it comes to out every being. He is not an unloving God that is completely ignorant to your life…..He knows you better than you know yourself! He knows His each and every one of His sheep….this indicates he knows our individual traits and special needs. When you read the word “know” it means much more than an intellectual awareness. It reveals to us a personal intimate relationship that He has with each and every one of His sheep. He knows you weaknesses and strengths, fears, desires and so on; just as sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for food, water, shelter, protection and guidance. Sheep, even need help getting up when they fall down or over on their backs. What picture of the Christian life!
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to find peace in the midst of turmoil.
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to find rest in a dry weary land.
  • I desperately need hear His voice to find shelter in a storm of my life
  • I desperately need to hear His voice to lead me beside still waters.

Why? He is the beautiful Shepherd and I know Him because I trust in Him alone to guard and deliver my soul into heaven.

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD GIVES HIS SHEEP ETERNAL LIFE (v28a)

The Good Shepherd pardons our sin and cloths us with His righteousness and gives us a right or the title to reside in heaven with Him for all eternity. A God who came to this earth to dwell among men came to die so the He could leave the Spirit to dwell in men for the purpose of preserving his property so that we can finally dwell where He is. In Heaven with all His glory! Just as Jesus said to the woman at the well we need physical water to sustain life, we need His living water which is the promise of everlasting life.
  • Eternal life is more than forgiveness.
  • Eternal life is more than a free pass from Judgement.
  • Eternal life is all about Christ, the beautiful Shepherd who loved me and died for my sin personally.

As Kent Hughes wrote “He is altogether lovely, this beautiful Jesus, our shepherd. Why is he so beautiful? Because of the way He relates to us, calls us by name, and knows us, and because we know Him and He sees to our every need. Why is He so beautiful? Because He is door, and when we go in, we find protection and salvation. And when we go out, we find pasture and abundant life. Why is he so beautiful? Because of his heart. Because he laid down his life for His sheep. And offers us all a place with Him.” Our beautiful Saviour not only knows us individually, but he also keeps us according to His mercy and grace….through the promise He gives to His sheep……..a permanent home where he is in Heaven. As Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3. As a sheep [a child of the Living God] do not be troubled by this world and the situations that He has allowed in your life. He has promised you that he will never leave you or forsake you……because you are His property. This brings me to my 3 point in this passage!

JESUS, THE BEAUTIFUL SHEPHERD DECLARES THAT HIS SHEEP WILL NEVER PERISH (v28b, v29)

Though we are weak, prone to flee or give in or give up by throwing in the towel. Easily persuaded to go back to what or were we feel comfortable. The Shepherd will see to that doesn’t happen as He shepherds us home, “my sheep shall never perish” you should underline the word “never” because as New Covenant believers this is where I find great comfort in my day to day struggles of life. Think about it for a moment! The God and Creator of the universe who spoke life into existence is the one who says the “true believer” will never perish.
  • The same God who parted the Red Sea and held back the Egyptian army. 
  • The same God who made the Israelites walk on dry land, not once, but twice.
  • The same God who prepared a flood and dried it up after His promise to Noah.
  • The same God who took a barren woman of old age and gave her a child.
  • The same God who gave a young boy named David the ability to defeat Goliath.
  • The same God who stood in the midst of the fiery furnace with 3 young men.
  • The same God who shut the mouths of the lions from devouring Daniel.
  • The same God who created a fish big enough to swallow a disgruntle prophet
  • The same God who took dry bones and brought life back to them.
  • The same God who came in the likeness of man born of a virgin.
  • The same God who willing went to the cross and faced the wrath that I deserve.
  • The same God who has the power to resurrect the dead, heal the blind, make the lame man walk, save sinners.

This is the same God who proclaims these words to world and the religious blind men who are before him. “I know my sheep”…….and “they shall never perish”. My question to you is this! Do you believe that the sovereign God of the universe is able to keep you? Not even thieves, robbers or wolves can harm or separate you from His sovereign power. Remember what the apostle Paul said “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Rom 8:28-32. The beautiful shepherd will keep His own safe by His mighty hand (v28). You [personally] have been placed into the sovereign arms of the Good Shepherd, who loves you and will care for you because you’re completely dependent upon the Shepherd for life. Just as a sheep are completely dependent upon the shepherd for all things to survive.

When Jesus performed His miracles they were always done perfectly! When Jesus came to die for the sin of the world, He did it perfectly once and for all. When Jesus called you out of darkness, He did this perfectly and He will completely keep you unto the end. As Paul said “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil 1:6
Embrace this wonderful truth, because its all of grace………….His grace in the life of His sheep [the true born again Christian]. Do not treat this truth as means or a licence to sin because if that’s how you look at the Shepherd and this passage, then you are not truly His. Remember what Jesus said “you are not of my sheep” (v26). But for us who are His…….. It’s liberating and exciting! I’m so thankful he knew me and that He has the power to keep this wretched sinner saved by grace. As one writer said “God, our great owner, the sheep of whose pasture we are by creation, has constituted His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Shepherd. He has all that care of His people that a good shepherd has of his flock. Trust in those promises because Jesus our beautiful Shepherd is incapable of lying. And His promises will always prevail no matter what happens in this life. Let us take care that we belong to His flock…..persevere in His grace of righteousness. Let us take care that we continue to hear His voice and follow Him by faith…..through the written word as we are guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us find rest in His eternal arms of grace……..because this isn't our home, Heaven is we reside. The place where the beautiful Shepherd is calling His sheep home.


10 March 2014

THERE IS NO OTHER DOOR


John 10:1-21

The Lord Jesus has been given many names, He is called……..
  • The Amen [Rev 3:14]
  • The Alpha & Omega [Rev 22:13]
  • The Advocate [1 John 2:1]
  • The Author of Salvation [Heb 2:10]
  • The Bread of Life [John 6:35]
  • The Cornerstone [Eph 2:20]
  • The Great High Priest [Heb 4:14]
  • The Lamb of God [John 1:29]
  • The Son of David [Matt 12:23]
  • The Son of God [Luke 1:35]
  • The Son of Man [John 5:27]
  • The word of Life [1 John 1:1]
  • The Resurrection and the Life [John 11:25]
  • The Son of the Blessed One [Mark 14:61]

But none quit describe the term of endearment that Jesus has towards sinners like the name that He has been given “Great Shepherd” See! A shepherd is someone who guards, guides, protects, tends and generally cares for the well-being of what they are overseeing. The Old Testament predicted this truth about Jesus, “I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Eze 34:23. In Micah 5:4 we read “And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;” Who does the Shepherd care for? According to the New Testament, the Church is compared to many things in the Scriptures. It is described (among other things) as a Bride, a Body, a City, a House of Living Stones and a flock of sheep. If you could pick an animal to characterize who are you are, what would that be? I don’t think anyone would choose a sheep. Why? What are sheep like?

Sheep aren't very smart. If a sheep tries to go through a hole in the fence, and the hole is too small, he will just keep on trying to go forward instead of backing out. Like sheep, we aren't very smart either. We keep on doing the same things over and over and expect different results.

Sheep are followers. If one sheep moves, the others will follow even though it may not be a good decision. If the lead sheep jumps over a cliff, the others are likely to follow. Sometimes we are followers too. We follow what other people are doing, even though it may be harmful to us.

Sheep sometimes wander. They graze without paying attention to where they are going. They may be unable to find their way home even when it's within sight.
We sometimes wander too. We stray away from what God has taught us to do. Like the sheep, we sometimes can't find the way home even when it is in plain sight.

So we can summarize that sheep…..
  • Are creatures of habit
  • Have limited intelligence
  • Are prone to listless wandering
  • Can be very timid and stubborn
  • Easily frightened by the most ridiculous things
  • They are absolutely defenceless if ever attacked

As one writer said “the existence of the sheep was the prime evidence against the theory of evolution, there is no way sheep could have survived.” Let me ask you as we continue in this portion of John’s letter; can you relate to some of those character traits that describe a sheep in your life?
  • We are people of habit, do the same thing over and over again.
  • We are people who are limited in our understanding.
  • We are people who are prone to wander.
  • We are people who are shy but aggressive when we want something.
  • We are people who scare easily.
  • We are people who are defenceless most of the time, 9/11 proved that to the American people south of us.

This is why the Shepherd came, to save us from entering the wrong door because we are just like sheep! What door?
  • The door of deception
  • The door of false promises and dreams
  • The door of misguided truths
  • The door of false religion and religious leaders.

Paul told Timothy “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” 1 Tim 4:1-2. False shepherds, whose consciences are cauterized and hardened to the truth of God’s word. See according to Jesus in this parable, there are certain individuals [religious leaders] who will try to steal your hearts affections and they will do whatever it takes to destroy your soul, even if it means removing you from the flock. Many will try to deceive fallen sheep from entering the right door! Many will or try to pull the wool over your eyes, so that you don’t see or taste the truth of the gospel. Eze 34:1-31 proclaims this clear warning against the false leaders “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

Ezekiel goes on to say for the LORD 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock" therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them." But we see the promise from the true Shepherd of the sheep fold ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

This is who Jesus is addressing here in this parable as He warns the flock to be aware of. Jesus said "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.” (v1) And then Jesus goes on to say “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (v10). This is a clear warning to all who would listen…….including the Pharisee’s about the clear warning of entering the wrong door or way of "Thieves and robbers" 

What does Jesus mean by this statement? Their rip-offs, con-artists of the church, or into an office, and robs God or Christ of their power and authority; and such were the Scribes and Pharisees….and we see this up front and center today in churches, not just in North America but also around the globe. As this one pastor David Yonggi Cho, founder of world's largest Pentecostal congregation, was found guilty by South Korean court for committing breach of trust and corruption of 13 billion won (US $12 million), after stealing from his church family! To that I say “listen to the warning of this parable” because they stand behind pulpits every Sunday deceiving people, robbing people of the true beauty found in the gospel of Christ. Treating people as numbers and not as people created in the image of God.
Listen to the heart of a shepherd named Robert McCheyne, as he warns the people of his day “You know, dear brethren, this is Satan's great object in the world; it is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. This is the object of Antichrist. This is the object of the world. This is the object of all false ministers. This is the object of your enemies, little flock, for whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Satan comes to rob God of your souls; Antichrist comes to rob God of his throne -- to rob God of his laws; and the world comes to rob God of his Sabbath. So with worldly ministers in like manner, they come to rob you of your soul, of peace, of joy, of holiness. Antichrist robs you of the true way to the Father. And the world comes to rob you -- that pleasant world which says, 'Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, (Proverbs 9:17). And so with worldly ministers - this is their object, to rob, to steal, and to destroy. 0 my brethren, be warned to flee; be warned to flee from Antichrist; be warned to flee from an ungodly world!

See, a shepherd’s responsibility is to teach the sheep how to hear the voice of the Lord. We want to be sure we are following Him and not listening to the voice of a stranger or a counterfeit. This passage, this chapter displays for us what a true shepherd does for His flock! Jesus wants to protect us from people who are selfish and untrue, so He tells a story in the Bible to help us to know the truth. The promise of the gospel! That Jesus entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, through His death and resurrection.


A SHEPHERD CARES AND PROTECTS HIS FLOCK (v1-v10)

This, first of all, shows the complete knowledge he has of the sheep. Remember of Zacchaeus? When he was a stray sheep, Christ said to him when he was in the tree, “'Come down; for today I must abide at thine house'” (Luke 19:5). Jesus says “I am the Door of the sheep” Go back to the sheepfold imagery once again. The sheep are with their shepherd inside the stone enclosure during the night. There was no door of any kind in these enclosures. In place of the door there was just an open space. At night after the shepherd called in his sheep and herded them within the fold. The shepherd himself lies down across the opening and entrance into the sheepfold…..literally the shepherd was the door. No sheep could get out and no enemy could come in except over his body. In a very literal sense, the shepherd was the door. There was no way in or out except through him. What picture of our Lord Jesus Christ who is one who cares and guards our souls for all eternity. Jesus is saying, “I, and I alone, I and no other am the Door of the sheep.” Jesus is the one and only gate into heaven. Jesus Christ is the sole way to God. There is no other way. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Remember! If there is no Christ, there is no way to God. If He is not the Door, there is no entrance into God’s presence. As the Door Jesus is the one way of entrance into salvation.

A SHEPHERD HAS COMPASSION FOR HIS FLOCK (v11-v18)

He will lay His life down for the sheep according to (v11). Where else have we seen this statement about Jesus? Paul wrote “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph 5:1-2. That’s the gospel, which is filled with love and compassion for lost, prone to wandered sheep. Where do we see the compassion for lost sheep in the gospels? A prime example of this is found in the Luke 15 when the one sheep wanders off and the shepherd searches endlessly for that lost sheep. And what does he do when he finds the sheep that wandered? Luke pens these words “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” Luke 15:5. See shepherds who tend their flocks according to Jewish custom, did not tend the sheep in order to slaughter them, unless they were used for sacrifice. Shepherds tended them that the sheep might give wool, milk and baby lambs. The bible says “"I am the good shepherd” which means according to scholars “fundamentally good, beautiful or fair”. It described Jesus as one or the model that others may safely imitate. To call Jesus “good” is to call Him “God”. In Mark 10:17-18 we read “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” A God who cares and has compassion for lost sheep! This is why He came to please the father’s wrath for our sin by becoming one of us to lay His life down as a ransom for mine. As the Good Shepherd He is the One who cares for the sheep and provides for their salvation at the cost of His own life.

To enter through the door is the same thing as to “eat” Jesus, “drink” Jesus, or to “come” to Jesus. You must believe on Christ or trust in Him personally to be saved. We are not trusting in things or ourselves to be saved. See, the Door is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ; the only thing necessary for you to do is believe, repent of your sin and trust in Jesus Christ. So my only Sunday question for those who have not tasted that grace of the gospel……………Have you believed or trusted in Him for everlasting life? As for the believer, find great comfort in this passage as the GOOD SHEPHERD leads you along the story book path of your life that He has written for you. Though it’s easy for sheep to wander and leave the God we love as Robert Robinson said in his song. But we also know in the song “Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger,” Though we will face and walk through cold, dry days down some ugly dark valleys as helpless sheep, we can find great comfort in the GOOD SHEPHERD! As David said “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23