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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, October 21, 2005

His Own Sheep

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day: John 10:4
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Daily Scripture Reading: Galatians 5-6

The Puritan Catechism
Question #2 - What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?

Devotional Thoughts
Once again Jesus reiterates this thought about the sheep and their shepherd. The sheep KNOW HIS VOICE. He brings them out to take them "out to eat" in the pasture he has chosen and prepared for them to graze in. He leads (not drives) them to their destination - and all along the way the sheep willingly follow because they recognize their shepherds voice.

He leads the way, they follow. Jesus takes us down the narrow way and through the straight gate, and we are to follow. If we are His sheep, we will; if we aren't His then we won't know to follow because we won't hear or obey His voice.

This is such an example of the relationship Jesus has with each of us. He knows us by name, He talks to us often, He leads us where we need to go, and He makes every preparation for us to be fed and nourished while we are with Him. He leads so that we have the opportunity to follow (or not if we disobey).

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this passage says that the 2 keys to the passage from the sheep's viewpoint are a discerning ear and an obedient heart. We must hear and recognize His voice and we must obey Him. There is a lot of preaching and teaching and ministry taking place today that is not His! (remember Matthew 7 - many say Lord, Lord and do many wonders but He doesn't know them!) We must take the time to know His voice among all the many voices that present themselves as His throughout the world.

What are some practical things we can do to ensure that we are listening to HIS voice and not another's?

1. Acquaint ourselves with His Word. Jesus will never "tell" us something that is contrary to the Word of God - never!! So we must know His Word. None of us can know it all - the Word seems to grow deeper and deeper the more we learn of it. But we must be growing in our knowledge of His Word. Then we become familiar with Him and the Way He does things. This step is accomplished several ways, personal Bible study, a good solid church, radio and tv ministries that we know are of Him! There are so many different ways we can feed on His Word and become accustomed to it!

2. Obey what we have learned. What good is it to learn to discern God's Word but not to obey what we hear? Many though do this. The Bible says that they are always learning but never coming to a true knowledge of the truth and that they have an outward form of godliness but deny any power available to true believers. G.K. Chesterton has said that we fail most miserably when we believe in ourselves! If we believe in ourselves then we are idolaters - we worship self! We aren't called to believe in ourselves; we are commanded to believe in Christ. Obedience to the Word we know is the first step to maturity and a sign of true belief. As we obey the Word we come to understand more of the Word so that we can obey it as well.

3. Learn to identify the false teachers. We do this just as bank employees learn to identify counterfeit currency. In training they are given only real money and are told to learn how it feels and looks. They become so familiar with the real thing that when a fake one comes along it stands out immediately. Likewise we are to be so familiar with truth that the lie stands out to us immediately. Yes the devil is a counterfeiter - he fakes God's miracles - but if we know the real thing then the fake will be obvious. (Just a note - if a stronger or more mature Christian warns you about an activity or a teacher LISTEN to that brother or sister! Too often I have seen Christians wreck their lives and make bad choices after another believer warned them and told them what to do or what to avoid. Yet the immature believer went ahead and disregarded the counsel of another - how foolish!)

4. Walk with Him daily by faith. Then your faith will grow day by day. If you want to follow Him, listen to what He says and go where He leads. Following is just as simple as choosing to lay aside your will and listen to someone else's!


So today - learn to listen and follow - exercise a discerning ear and an obedient heart! Know His voice!


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

BONUS - The Treasury of David
by Charles H. Spurgeon
Psalm 23
(It is recommended that the reader take a small section of this work each day and meditate on the truths gleaned from Holy Scripture - today focus on the sections on verses 5-6).

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