THIEVES AND ROBBERS
SHEEP KNOWN BY NAME
SUNDAY MAY 23, 2021
Scripture To Consider:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
“Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.”
Something To Consider:
In our next Scripture to consider, Jesus will declare Himself to be the Door of the sheep. Therefore, whoever attempts to take the position of shepherd over God’s people any other way except in and through Jesus, is a thief and a robber. In the Middle Eastern area, good grazing ground is hard to come by. Since it is scarce, some of the sheep wander off in search of food.
It is not unusual for thieves and robbers to take advantage of hungry lost sheep seeking food in other unguarded pastures. Spiritually speaking, the same is true of some believers today who wander off in search of greener pastures. In Psalm 100, God’s people are likened to the sheep of God’s pasture.
Throughout the Psalms we are given word pictures of the similarities between sheep and God’s people. One of those similarities is our desire to wander from one pasture to another. As the sheep of God’s pasture, it is imperative that we learn to be content in the place God has located us!
The apostle Paul wrote of himself in Philippians 4.11, by stating; “I have learned in whatever state [condition] I am, to be content.” He also proclaimed, “I know how to be abased [to live with little], and I know how to abound.” Paul learned to be content when full or when hungry. He realized he could do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthened him at all times.
Something Else To Consider:
It was customary in those days for several flocks of sheep to be gathered into a common sheepfold at night. In the morning shepherds would stand outside the holding areas and one by one they would call their sheep. According to Jesus, the true shepherd calls His own sheep by name and they follow Him.
In those days they raised sheep not so much for food, but for their fleece. Therefore, many of the sheep, would be watched and protected for several years by the same shepherd. It was not uncommon for shepherds to give their own sheep names that reflected their character or personality. It would not be a stretch to say a bond of trust was often formed between the two.
Would it be a stretch of the truth to say a bond has been formed between us as God’s sheep and Jesus, the true shepherd? Before answering that question, let us be reminded that the Word of God became flesh, in the person of Jesus. Therefore, has a bond been formed between us and the Word of God? And if so, is that bond unbreakable?
Something More To Consider:
In Revelation 2.17, John records the words of Jesus regarding believers being given new personalized names, when Jesus said, “He [or she] who has an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him [or her] who overcomes [endures to the end] I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him [or her] a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him [or her] who receives it.”
To those who overcome, to those who endure to the end, to those who avoid the evil influence of thieves and robbers, Jesus will give a new name which reflects our character or personality from His perspective. Therefore, do not be moved or directed off course by the voice of strangers, thieves, or robbers. But rather, let us follow the protective voice of God’s precious and most powerful eternal Word.
If we are true sheep of Christ, God will provide for us and protect us! Paul also affirmed before ending his letter to the Philippians, “And my God shall supply all your need [not wants] according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Therefore, are we able to declare as did Paul, “Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
A Few Final Words:
Are we more comfortable in the midst of thieves and robbers, or among the sheep of God’s people? Have we learned to tell them apart? Do not be deceived, there are thieves and robbers living among the sheep of God’s kingdom. How might we determine the evil from the good?
Jesus said you and I will know them by their fruit. Leaders who have become a thief or a robber come in the same character as their father of lies, Satan! And he has come to steal, kill, and to destroy our relationship with Jesus, our heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit of God, and the Word of God.
And while attempting to steal, kill, or to destroy our faith in Christ, he is certainly attempting to create discontentment among the masses of every nation and especially this end time generation. Therefore, his lying and deceptive voice can be heard loud and clear through our politicians, through the mass media, and God forbid through many of the religious leaders who are moved by the false doctrines of demons but espoused by men appearing to be religious shepherds.
The world is full of voices calling to us from many different directions. But let us heed the one clear voice of our very own Good Shepherd Jesus. Therefore, are we willingly following thieves and robbers dressed up in religious moth-eaten garments of self-righteousness. And if so, they will steal, kill, and they will destroy our faith in God and our faith in His everlasting Word.
According to Jesus, “And when he [the shepherd] brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” Do we know the voice of our Good Shepherd Jesus? If we are studying His Word which includes observing all things Jesus taught for ourselves rather than relegating that personal responsibility to spiritual thieves and religious robbers, then we will know His voice and we will follow and heed His voice.
Our Father in heaven, teach us to follow the voice of Your Son Jesus, our eternal Good Shepherd. And may we greatly anticipate our new name. In Him Always, Amen!