Last week, in The Shepherd and
His Flock, Part 5, we saw that when we follow our
Good Shepherd, when we let Him lead us, not only are we assured life
eternal, but we are assured that He will be our provider, our protector,
and our guide throughout life. God doesn’t promise us that there won’t
be problems, He simply promises that our lives will be full!
The focus of today's lesson, this last one from the Shepherd and the Flock study, is an obscure statement Jesus made towards this end of this famous discourse: "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." (John 10:16 NKJV)
To fully understand this text we must also remember that Jesus is speaking to the house of Judah. In other words, He is saying, "I have sheep here in Judea, but I have others too, who aren't Jews!"
Who is Jesus talking about?
The rest of the house of Israel, yes, and the Samaritans, and the Africans, the Arabs, the native peoples of North America, the Asians, and the Europeans! He is talking about each one of us! That's the good news! The Gospel of the Kingdom is not just for Jewish people, it is for the world!
But not everyone is one of Jesus' flock. Remember what Jesus said a bit earlier in the discourse? "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." (John 10:2-3 NKJV)
Let's remember the sometimes these sheep pens were large enough to hold many different flocks. In the mornings the shepherd would call out, and only his sheep would follow him, because his sheep knew his voice. In saying these words, Jesus is indicating that not every sheep in the sheep pen is His!
This concept holds a couple of vitally important facts here, friends! First of all, we can be assured of our Salvation!
Let's remember that Jesus is saying that not everyone is God's child. Some will not ever respond to Jesus' call.
Does this mean we are pre-chosen in advance?
Yes. The Bible teaches that God knows us while we are still in our mother's womb. He knows what decisions we will make. He knows that someday we will (or won't) make a decision for Jesus. It is known even before we are born if we are God's sheep or not! This doesn’t mean we don’t have the power of choice! It simply means God knows in advance what our choices will be!
So what differentiates God's flocks from the rest?
Simply this: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27 NKJV)
Want to be assured that you are part of God's flock? It's simple, really! You are part of God's flock when you listen for His voice and when you follow Him!
One more vitally important lesson can be learned from this passage of scripture.
When Jesus says: "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" (John 10:16 NKJV), He is assuring us with confidence that His worldwide saving purpose will be successful!
Does this mean, then, that we can sit back and watch Him bring those other sheep into the fold?
Not at all. Otherwise Jesus would have never given His last great command while here on Earth: "...Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matt 28:19-20a NKJV)!
Even when He was here on Earth, Jesus sent out others to work towards accomplishing this purpose: "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go" (Luke 10:1 NKJV).
The point is, Jesus has called us to help bring the lost sheep of the world into the sheepfold of our Lord and Savoir!
Therefore, the message for us today from John 10:16 is two-fold: First of all, those who are God's sheep will know His voice and will follow Him. No one can take them from the flock, and their reward is life eternal. And secondly, our job as followers of the Good Shepherd is to go out and call the lost sheep to the fold!
Have you heard God's voice calling you? Are you truly following the Good Shepherd, going where He leads? Are you working to call more of the lost sheep home?
This is the last lesson from The Shepherd and His Flock. If you've missed any former lessons, you may access them by clicking here, or email me here.
May God bless you abundantly as He draws you closer and closer to Him!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.