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Posts Tagged ‘John 10’

Recently and close more than 140 cars piled up in an accident. Fog was so thick one could see no more than ten (10) feet ahead but they were traveling at highway speed anyway.

In a sense we are all like that. None of us can see what is in front of us in time yet we can not stop. Like it or not we are careening forward in that fog making decisions only guessing what will happen next and hoping for the best.

But while we have no eyes to see the future we were made to hear. Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

We have the capacity to hear God. When we give ourselves to Christ we begin to “hear” his peace in our inner being.

Christ’s sacrifice not only saves us into eternity, it removes the figurative “wax from our ears”. We start learning to “listen” to his peaceful urging how to live, when to act, when to wait, what to do.

As we learn to listen we crash less and discover God sees, he cares, and he speaks.

Prayer: Jesus, like your apostle John leaned on your chest at the last supper to hear your heartbeat, so I desire to “hear” you moment by moment.

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Set these persons over the people as officers of groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Let them sit as judges for the people at all times. They should bring every major dispute to you, but they should decide all of the minor cases themselves.” — Exodus 18:21b-22

Moses, on the advice of his father-in-law, built an authority structure like a large pyramid — leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds, thousands with Moses on top. If someone had a need they would go to their local leader, working tougher issues up the pyramid as needed to Moses.

But the Church is NOT intended to be like that, though many are. Jesus had a different model.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice …. they know not the voice of strangers. — John 10:2-5

A cursory reading leads one to think Jesus is referring to himself as the shepherd but he is not!

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. — John 10:7

If Jesus is the door who, then, are the shepherds? Our pastor’s, of course. And how should they lead? By example and by knowing their sheep by name. You can’t do that with a pyramid!

The New Testament model for Church is not a pyramid but a relationship with individual members. If your pastor doesn’t know your name find a real pastor. If you think God called you to pastor get to know your sheep not just your leaders. Eat with them, visit them, live with them, love them. You’ll be surprised at what you discover.

— fritz@langgang.com

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Abraham …bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar … But the angel of  the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” …  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” …  Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram … and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. – Genesis 22:9b-12-13 (NIV)

Why such a story like this in our Bible? A man being told to kill his son on an altar – the idea is repugnant to us today!

But human sacrifice was often demanded by the gods and religions of Abraham’s day.  What could be more dear to a man than his only son, and what could show his devotion more than sacrificing that son on an altar.

But the God of the Bible is different; Abraham had to learn that and so do we.  In this one event God established two (2) critical lessons:

  1. God doesn’t want human sacrifice like the other gods (demons) required. He’s not interested is us giving him some thing, no matter how dear, he wants us to give him ourselves.
  2. God institutes the concept of substitution.  God, himself, provides the substitute – here it was a ram for a son, but later it would be Christ tasting death1 for us that we may go free.

So, how was the sacrifice of Christ NOT human sacrifice?  Because it was Christ’s self-sacrifice.  Jesus was not the victim2 but the instigator and voluntary participant. He was on a mission – not to satisfy some whim of a deity but to free mankind from the bondage of sin.

Charles Wesley, an Anglican priest, brother to John Wesley and co-founder of Methodism expressed it this way,

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
3

– fritz
1 – Hebrews 2:9
2 – John 10:17-18, Matthew 26:53
3 – Hymn, “Oh For A Thousand Tongues” by Charles Wesley

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“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” – 1st Timothy 1:8

Interesting phrase – using the law lawfully – implying, of course, the law can be used un-lawfully and not be good.

Proclaiming “Our Creed is the Bible” just isn’t enough.

Though the Bible is now available in our own language and, for many of us, free to use as we may choose, it’s not helpful unless used correctly.

So how does one use the law lawfully?! Hmmm…

Using the law (indeed, all parts of the Bible) lawfully will:

  1. Be Christ centered – see how the Apostle Paul quotes from the law, substituting “Christ” for “Commandment”.(1)
  2. Encourage living God’s kind of love in good conscience and with an open/honest faith. (2)
  3. Bring life in the hearers – Jesus said he came to bring abundant life.(3)

It’s our enemy who steals, kills, and destroys, so we should agree that using the Bible to steal, kill, and destroy is a misuse.

Yes the Bible is used to correct sin and error, but God’s correction applied correctly (law used lawfully) brings hope.

– fritz
1 – Romans 10:8 / Deuteronomy 30:11-14
2 – 1st Timothy 1:5
3 – John 10:10

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I have come to believe that hearing the quiet whisper of the transcendent God is one of the most extraordinary privileges in all of life–and potentially the most transforming dynamic in the Christian faith.

When people hear from heaven, they are rarely the same again. When the sovereign God chooses to communicate with someone–whether eight, eighteen or eighty years old–that person’s world is rocked.”

– Bill Hybels, The Power of a Whisper – Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond Introduction, A Fifty-Year Whisper-Fueled Odyssey

Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice” – Jesus (John 10:27a)

Ask to hear.

– fritz

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>God speaks, we can hear.

>

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you” – 2nd Corinthians 12:8-9a
Lennon’s tomb, 11:00 at night during the changing of the guard, a Russian, a friend, and I discussed the vast changes taking place. Seventy years communism has prevented open discussion about God and all that had changed. As we left we told this man we would pray for him and his response caught us off guard, “You mean, you can talk to God?!”

But that is exactly the point and privilege we have in Christ – we talk to God, he hears, and he talks to us. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice”1

– fritz


1 – John 10:27

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God and Satan talk in the Bible and it looks like a giant chess game with Job’s family as the pawns. In the garden God calls to Adam, “Where are you?”, but doesn’t he already know? Joshua is told by God to leave no survivors; where is the love and mercy in that?! People are offended by these and other scriptures, sometimes wanting nothing to do with God because if it.

There are explanations, sure, and we are quick to provide, but this surfaces an important fact about our Heavenly Father – God doesn’t try to explain Himself.

Our culture demands explanations. From presidents, employees, preachers, parishioners, parents, children, in public and in private, to others and to ourselves we feel explanations must be given; they don’t have to be true only plausible.

God doesn’t play along!

Jesus was (and is) constantly misunderstood; at one point losing all but his closest disciples because of it. His response was not, “Wait, let me explain!”, he kept loving and obeying the Father. He later put it this way,

“ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep … My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” – John 10:26-27 (KJV)

True, we are not to blatantly disregard the feelings of others but we shall be misunderstood no matter what we do. We are not to waste time defending and explaining, but keep loving and serving Christ, always ready to explain our hope which sustains us. (1st Peter 3:15)

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