Friday, February 4, 2011

This Week's Reading - John 10 - The Good Shepherd

John 10 - The Good Shepherd

Hello Project Ezra! I pray that you are having a wonderful day in the Lord. This week’s suggested reading is John chapter 10. It is laid out in a longer format, and I would suggest you read through, make up your own outline of the primary points, and maybe add some of your own. Although I try to be careful in how I explain the scripture and lay out the gospel presentation, please keep in mind that it is OK to be true to your own style of communication. The gospel never changes, but the supporting scriptures, the order of presentation, the analogies used, and the like can and should be tailored to you. You don’t want every presentation to be a canned, repeated message that obviously came from someone else. Your audience will be able to tell the difference. Make it your own, and the more time you spend in public evangelism, and the more time you spend in studying the scriptures and in prayer, the easier this will become. Also remember that nothing I present here should be taken for granted. Test everything I say by the word of God, and if you see something that does not seem to plumb with scripture, please let me know.

Jesus made some outrageous claims during His life, and many of them are chronicled in this book, the Gospel of John. Jesus called Himself the good shepherd, the only door to the sheep fold and the source of eternal life. In the same book he called Himself the Bread of Life, making Himself the source of life and spiritual nourishment. He called Himself the Light of the World, indicating that without Him no one could see the truth. He called Himself the I AM, taking God’s personal name on Himself, and said He and the Father were one, making himself equal with the creator of all that exists. This claim led to the Jews wanting to stone Him for blasphemy. He said He was the resurrection and the life, and he who believed in Him would never die.
But why should you care? Why should it make a difference what a carpenter and itinerant preacher claimed 2000 years ago? You should care because Jesus has authority, the authority of God. You should care because if what Jesus said about Himself is true, then He is the creator and Lord of all, for whom and through whom all things exist. And you should care because He said God the Father has also given him another title, the title of judge. His word says that one day He will judge the living and the dead by the standard of His holiness.
God is holy, and Jesus Christ, as God in human flesh, is holy. That means he is perfect, pure, and set apart from His creation. He is always good, and always does what is right, and He expects the same from us, His creation. Jesus said “Be perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect.” How have you done so far? I know my life has been a mess, and mankind has been making a mess of God’s creation since the beginning. God made the world perfect, and made mankind perfect. Mankind chose to rebel against God out of pride, and because of that rebellion, God cursed the world. Man continues to rebel today, and we continue to feel the effects of that curse. That’s why bad things happen to “good” people. Because of man’s sin and God’s justice.
We talk much about justice in our society. We like justice, particularly when it is in our favor. We have dozens of TV shows focused on the good guys bringing justice to the criminals. Jesus Christ is our just king, our just sovereign ruler, and we want rulers, those in positions of authority, to be just. But not toward us. You see, sin is not the small thing we like to make it out to be. Sin not just a mistake that we make. Sin is open rebellion against our God and king. We know God’s law, which he said is written on our hearts, and we break it. And because of that rebellion, God will see that justice is done.
What does God’s word say about you, and the things you have done? It says that we will be judged by what we have done, and gives us clear direction on what actions are worthy of our king’s justice
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:9 - But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The bible says is it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and hell is a very real, and very terrifying place. And by God’s perfect moral standard, we all deserve to go there.
That is why Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is the only door of the sheep. That is why His sheep, those who hear His voice, can only enter the sheepfold through Him. He lays down His life for His sheep. He lays His life down, and he has the authority to take it up again. Listen to what Hebrews says about this fact.
Hebrews 7:23-25 - The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
He is the judge, but He is also our advocate. He demands justice, and He satisfied justice, in His own blood, on the cross of Calvary. He came to earth, lived the life of perfection that was demanded, and then died the sacrificial death that was required as payment for sin. Isaiah 53 says it was the LORD’s will to crush him, and to bring Him to grief. All God’s anger and hatred toward sin, the sin that offended His holiness and caused Him to pronounce a death sentence on you, and on all of mankind, was poured out on Jesus Christ. The same chapter says He was wounded for our transgressions (sins), and crushed for our iniquities. On Him was placed the chastisement, the punishment, that brought us peace. The legal demands of justice, demanded by our king, were satisfied, nailed to the cross.
Now, the good shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep calls their name. He calls them to repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His sheep hear His voice. Do you hear His voice? Will you follow your true king, the king who sacrificed Himself for you, or will you continue in your open rebellion against Him? I plead with you to turn to Him today and be saved. You need salvation from sin, from your own evil heart, from the temptations of the enemy, and from the just wrath due you because of your sin. He has paid for your deliverance, and commands your obedience and allegiance. He is a good king, but a king none the less, and no other king, no other so-called god, can save you. Your own goodness can not save you. Do as the bible says. Turn from your wickedness and throw yourself on God’s mercy. Repent of your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone, while He has given you time.

For the praise of His glory,

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