Monday, March 15, 2010

Are you a Sheep?

Jesus continues His metaphor of the Shepherd in John 10:22-42, how being the Shepherd means He is the Holy One who gently leads us and guides us and empowers His leaders to care for His flock, the Church.

So are you a sheep? If so do you listen and follow the Master?

This is a metaphor for Christians and the Church, people whose faith is in Jesus Christ. Even though there are many churches and denominations, there is ultimately only one Flock, one Christ, the Body of Christ, and One Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

Sheep, like people, are prone to wander and hurt themselves and make bad choices, and thus must have a good, nurturing shepherd to guide them.

Sheep were also used for sacrifice, a depiction of our need to sacrifice our will, our mindsets, our hurts, and our fears over to Christ.

Sheep also produced essential goods for an agrarian culture like wool for clothes, especially when it was cold. There was no better material; there was also the milk that was made into cheese, a necessary life sustaining food, and there was the meat (Psalm 23; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 8:36; 12:1-2; Acts 4:32; 1 Pet. 2:25; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

So are you a sheep? Jesus compares Christians with sheep that were cared for and loved, used to produce the livelihood of the community, and sacrificed to God in the Temple. How is this like your life?

Good sheep listen, do you? God allows us to hear and to come to Him; for, without His lead we would not be willing or able to be saved. In theology, this is called “elected grace.” We are not forced; rather, we are inspired and given the ability to respond by the work of the Holy Spirit. Sheep have the uncanny ability to hear only their master, and will only follow that one person. A multitude of sheep from different owners were penned together then (as today); each shepherd would call to the sheep, but only their sheep would respond. This is also a metaphor of hearing God’s voice calling us by name, meaning by intimacy, true knowledge, and relationship. Additionally, this is a call to Christians to renew our faith with further dedication, confidence, and submission (Ex. 33:12-17; Isa. 43:1; John 16:13-15).

Being a sheep is good! For, The Supreme Omnipotence of God gently leads us to Christ and gives us the ultimate guarantee for spiritual safety and salvation. If God does not call you, you can’t come, because you will not want to. This is also a warning to those pretenders who think they know God but only use Him for their purposes of power and control, or people who teach falsely. The Good Shepherd also protects His sheep from perishing spiritually and gives us everlasting fellowship and abundance beyond description. Jesus makes it emphatic; He is the only way, and we must believe in and trust Him by faith. It is faith in Christ, not faith in one's religion or self or ideas that saves, no matter what the origins are, even from Moses himself.

We are given a picture of an intimate, caring God who asks us to follow, who cares enough to listen and to communicate and commune with us, and who justly calls us to obey. These powerful words of follow me can easily be hindered when we are too puffed up with ourselves so that the Word He sends to us cannot be seen; the faith to respond will never grow in the shallow soil of pride. Thus, we must, allow Him to lead us rather than people, trends, past predicaments, or future woes. He wants to keep us in His pen, partaking of His wonders and blessings and to better grow and be used for His glory and our benefit. God wants to keep you. The question is do you want to be kept? We can only leave the sheepfold by our own volition, by our willful choice to disobey and go astray. Yet, He still calls us and wants to love and care for us. This is our motivation, by our gratitude for what He has done, to not only remain in Christ but also move forward in Him by a commitment of our will through our trust and for His glory.

Questions to Ponder

1. God wants to keep you; the question is do you want to be kept? How do you feel that no one can hurt you spiritually? How can or how have you hurt yourself?

2. Are you a sheep under His care or out on the lamb (pun intended) on the run? What have you done to declare your faith in Jesus Christ?

3. What gets in the way of His leading in you? How can you be better at producing milk and meat and be a sacrifice of your praise and will to His glory?

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At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Philip G said...

"The supreme omnipotence of god"

Are there different levels of omnipotence then?


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