Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY MAY 30, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus said to them [Jewish religious leaders] again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he [or she] will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 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.’

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

“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. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

“Therefore there was a division again among the Jews [Jewish religious leaders] because of these sayings. And many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?’ Others said, ‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’” John 10.7-21

Something To Consider:
Good and godly shepherds trained by Jesus in the lessons of life found in God’s Word, are willing to give their lives for the sheep. If they do not, they are hirelings, or worse, thieves and robbers desiring only to steal, kill, and to destroy the sheep of God’s pasture. And if so, their judgment will be no different than that of the evil imposters of our Scripture to consider.

Jesus, in Matthew 16.6, stated; “Take heed and beware of the leaven [the self-righteousness of evil imposters] of the Pharisees and Sadducees [religious pretending leaders of Jesus’ day].” This instruction was directed at Jesus’ disciples, or 1st century church leaders in training. But His disciples reasoned among themselves because of their not bringing bread with them.

So, Jesus acknowledged; “How is it that you did not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread, but to beware of the leaven [ever displayed self-righteousness] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew continued by explaining; “Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but [to beware] of the doctrine [false doctrine] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus came to give His sheep abundant life. He did not come to proclaim, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Jesus came to feed His flock, and true shepherds called by God will do the same. True shepherds will feed the sheep on the milk and meat of the Word of God, without the interjection of untrue tradition and unbiblical denominational heresies. They will be willing to lead God’s sheep beside the still waters of the words of Jesus that they might drink freely of that which leads to eternal life.

Eternal life is the ultimate reward for a righteous life! And it is for those who have first come to Jesus, who hear His voice, and who obey His commands. We know of eternal life because we have been allowed to know the giver of the water of life, the Word of God.

John closes out the book of Revelation with the words; “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him [or her] who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him [or her] take the water of life freely.” Why then do not more people come to Jesus that they may partake of the water of life freely? It is because they have allowed the enemy of our souls to steal, kill, and to destroy the willingness and the human desire to be cleansed from our sin and to experience life in Christ.

Something More To Consider:
Jesus, speaking of the inclusion of Gentiles into His plan of salvation, said, “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.”

The message remains the same after two thousand years; the Good Shepherd has given His life for the sheep. Do we as true believers hear His voice on a daily basis? Do we as 21st century leaders in training accept the challenge of His sacrificial example? Or will we be one among the many religious hirelings of our day and age? Let it not be so!

A religious hireling flees the scene at the slightest hint of danger, while trustworthy good spiritual shepherds stand their ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, the greatest of all good shepherds! Jesus declared, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

A Few Final Words:
What is it that we are willing to give our lives for? The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12.1, “I beseech [strongly urge] you therefore, brethren [other believers], by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Wow, a living sacrifice! What does that look like? When we think of a sacrifice we usually think of death. Could Paul be defining an enduring to the end individual who has died to self, and yet is living for Christ?

Paul continued by stating for the record, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And according to 2 Peter 3.9, the perfect will of God is clear. God’s perfect will is that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But, not all are willing to come to repentance! Most are not willing to consider coming to repentance. And yet, the first message Jesus preached was and still remains, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And two verses later in Matthew 4.19, Jesus called some fishermen to come to repentance by stating, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

The Good Shepherd, Jesus, wants to give all who come to repentance eternal life, and life here on earth more abundantly. But it begins with our coming to Him through repentance of our sin, hearing His voice, and then following Him as a living, and holy sacrifice. Have we come to Jesus? According to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Our Father in heaven, no greater love could ever have been given to us than Jesus giving His life for us lost sheep. Teach us to do likewise. In Him Always, Amen!

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