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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

Monday, October 24, 2005

Missing the Point

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day: John 10:5-6
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.

Daily Scripture Reading: 1 John 1

The Puritan Catechism
Question #3 - What do the Scriptures principally teach?

Devotional Thoughts
As Jesus continues with the illustration about the shepherd and his sheep He lets us know those who belong to Him will not follow strangers. Those who are false professors and false teachers will not be able to draw the true sheep away from their shepherd.

The sheep know the voice of their shepherd - after all, He calls them by name, individually. He leads them out to pasture and cares for all their needs. So when a stranger comes along and tries to persuade the sheep to follow him, the sheep know and refuse.

Jesus goes as far as to say that when the sheep hear the voice of the stranger they run the other direction. They flee. True believers have no desire to confront the stranger or expose him, their only thought is to get away because the stranger is not the shepherd and therefore is not trustworthy!

When we come across false teachers and we recognize that they are not followers of Christ, we don't need to stick around and try to duke it out theologically - we should flee and warn others about the danger! Too many Christians today are looking for a fight! Jesus didn't fight – he loved, exposed, warned, preached, led, and forgave - but He NEVER fought! Even while they mocked Him and killed Him He did not offer resistance! I truly believe that too many believers today are far too combative in their witnessing and their relationships! We are salt and light as we love, stand firm, and flee wickedness! We are not super-christians who are called to fight and claw and scratch and attack. We are ambassadors of reconciliation between men and God!

We need to learn to relax, and if we hear the voice of a stranger we are called to flee (get away) and warn others. That's it! Not fight and devour and kill and expose. Just flee and warn. Even Michael the Archangel did not fight against Satan - he stood aside and proclaimed "The Lord rebuke you!" Only the Lord can and has defeated Satan. We simply need to turn him over to God, he is stronger and smarter than we are. He is powerful and sneaky, but he is also defeated! Ask God to rebuke him and get on with your life and ministry!

The lesson is simple. Your parents taught it to you as a child. "Don't talk to strangers!" If you hear a teacher or so-called believer and you don't recognize His voice in them get away and warn others! And hopefully by now we are able to hear His voice day to day. Remember, sometimes it takes time to listen! Also be very careful, the things we expose ourselves to emotionally, physically, and even spiritually will affect our ability to listen and discern. We can harm our hearing! If we play with strangers and listen to what they teach and embrace "dialogue" with them to further the cause of truth we are in danger of losing our ability to hear their voice and recognize that they are strange and false! Listen to His voice and then you will easily hear the voice of the stranger when he appears!

The crowd Jesus was speaking to totally missed what He was teaching. He was trying to show Himself as the true, good shepherd and believers as the sheep in His fold. As He used the illustration of the shepherd and the sheep the people simply did not get it! They failed to understand what He was communicating.

Jesus will go on in the rest of the chapter here to explain further how He is the shepherd, and the gate to the fold. He will expand on what He is saying in order that the crowd might get the point, but for now we simply have this commentary from John. The people did not understand what he was saying.

That is the chief danger we face in preaching and teaching the truth of God's Word. There will be those who just don't understand; the gospel will do them no good if it is not understood. As a matter of fact, in the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that the seed that fell on the wayside was the Word that was not understood and as a result Satan came and snatched away the truth that had been taught. To hear and misunderstand is to be hardened to the truth!

We must strive to present the gospel with what we say as well as with what we do and how we live, that way all confusion should be put away so that the gospel message can be heard and understood by our hearers! We must be clear, and even if we do all we can, people still will not understand at times. After all, they misunderstood Jesus here! His sheep hear and know His voice. His sheep follow Him and flee from strangers. So if someone just doesn't understand the Word of God and follows after every false teacher and newfangled doctrine presented by unsound theologians, then we have Biblical evidence that they are NOT His sheep! His sheep know Him and follow Him! And His sheep are wary of false teachers and strangers. They don't fall for it, at least not for long!

The key to understanding Him is understanding His Word. Express to Him your desire to know Him and His Word. Read His Word today and work at understanding! Look for the truth He would have for you today, and don't settle for shallow understanding. Search for the deep things in the Word. Read past the surface and find Jesus on every page of your Bible - the Word after all is simply God's way to present to us Jesus! Today, don't lean on your own understanding, trust Him and His Word. He will not fail you and He surely will never mislead you!


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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