Safe in the Shepherd's Hand
- David Fairchild
- Jul 6, 2003
- Series: Gospel of John
Tonight we will be continuing in chapter 10 of the Gospel of John. I pray over the last several months this book has been as much a blessing to you as it has been to me.
So far we have listened to John the Baptist (Jesus freaky afro, bug eating, loin-cloth wearing cousin) declare that Jesus is the “lamb of God,” we have seen Christ call the first disciples, we have seen Christ turn water into wine at a wedding feast, we watched as He went “Braveheart” and drove out the money changers from the Temple, we listened to Jesus speak to Nicodemus and explain to him the great truth that he must be born from the Spirit above, we have read Jesus dialogue with the outcast Samaritan woman and her subsequent conversion, we have seen Christ heal the nobleman’s son simply by telling the man his son will be well, we have watched as Christ healed a man that had been paralyzed for 30 plus years by the pool of Bethesda, we read the story of His feeding of the multitudes of some 20,000 people, we heard Christ declare in the Temple that He was the “light of the world” to the frustration of the Pharisees, we saw Jesus lovingly save the woman caught in the very act of adultery, we listened to Christ dialogue with the Jews telling them that they are “of their Father the Devil” and His powerful statement that before Abraham ever existed “I AM” declaring Himself as God, we have seen Christ heal a man that was born blind from birth and then save His soul, and we read last week Jesus declaring that He is the only “good Shepherd” and all else are thieves and robbers and liars as He spoke to the religious hypocrites called the Pharisees.
This study through John has truly been filled with example after example of Christ healing the broken, and breaking those that are prideful and think of themselves as healed. It is no wonder that the scriptures declare “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
This study has also been filled with rich doctrine that teaches us truths about God the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son.
This week we will be looking at one of the most comforting and encouraging truths, for you His saints, in all of Scripture. This truth has had a profound impact on my life and has radically changed my understanding of God’s faithfulness in times of my greatest despair and sin.
The title of tonight’s message is this “Safe in the Shepherds Hand.” I could find no better title for this message because that is exactly what Christ will be telling us as we dive into the text.
In preaching this message we will be looking at great deal of Biblical references so it is important that we each have a Bible and read as this great truth is discovered.
I recognize that there are many that do not like this doctrine because they believe it gives a Christian a license to sin without regard to any discipline from the Lord. Let me just say on the outset, this is not at all what I, or any other Bible believing Christ believes. That we can live in as much sin as we would like without concerning ourselves with the repercussions of our actions.
Because of the fear of what some may think of this truth if it is clearly taught, some have chosen not to teach it or believe it though the Scriptures are replete with this theme. I certainly have no interest in looking away from truth because of my fear of human misunderstanding. God has given us this truth so that we know it, love it, and live in its enveloping comfort.
Let’s dive in to tonight’s text.
Please turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 10 verse 22.
Verse 22-23- Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.
This section starts with an explanation of the season (winter) and the events that were taking place during this time.
“The Feast of Dedication” Hanukkah (or Chanukah) - is an eight day festival of lights to celebrate the ancient victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians. This festival is known as the “Festival of Lights” because of the miracle in which the lamps stayed lit for eight days while the temple was re-dedicated, although there was only enough oil to light the Temple's lamps for one night.
Antiochus IV named himself Epiphanes which means “god manifest.” He was the prophesied evil monarch from Syria -- the ultimate king of the north - who came down and defeated the king of the south and took possession of Judea (Daniel 11:21-30).
Antiochus had the Jewish High Priest assassinated, and installed a man of his own inclination in his place. He instituted Greek customs throughout the Jewish population and finally ordered the Jewish religion abolished completely and replaced with his own pagan gods. Anyone who failed to abide by his decrees he killed. His forces desecrated the temple and its altar of worship in Jerusalem by slaughtering a swine on the altar.
Led by a man named Judas Maccabees (maccabee means “the hammer), the Jews rebelled. Under his leadership, they formed an army of Hassidean warriors that would descend from the mountains and would strike the Syrians with swift unexpected attacks. After three years of fighting against overwhelming odds, the Maccabees regained control of the Temple. After cleansing the Temple, the lamps of the sacred lampstand needed to be lit. There was only enough oil found to keep the lamps burning for one day. It would take a messenger a week to bring fresh supplies, but no one wanted to wait that long to rededicate the sanctuary. Miraculously, they lit the lampstand and the oil lasted a full eight days.
Verse 24- Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Here the Jews surround Jesus, determined to get an answer from Him. Though they were told they were of their father the devil. Though Christ told them they would die in their sin if they do not believe in Him. Though they have seen and heard of the great miracles that Jesus performed, yet they are still blame Jesus. They think Jesus is keeping them in doubt, when all along it is their own pride, their own arrogance and their own willful ignorance that keeps them in their sinful doubt.
Jesus answers them..
Verse 25- Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.
Jesus tells them plainly “I told you and you do not believe.”
Jesus then appeals to the works that He has done in His Father’s name. Those very works testify that Jesus is all that He claims that He is. The purpose of these works were to authenticate His authority and relationship to the Father.
It isn’t works that people need to see in order to believe. Jesus walked and talked and performed so many miracles that John says to us later in this Gospel John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
And why did Jesus perform these miracles? Verse 31 of that same chapter “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
People assume that if they have a personal miracle from God performed just for them that they will immediately believe. We see in the Gospel and through the Scriptures that this is not the case. Did Pharaoh believe unto eternal life? Did Judas the betrayer of Jesus? Did the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes? No, they didn’t believe.
For God to run around proving Himself to as many as demand a sign, when He knows their hearts, when He realizes their state, when He has not granted them repentance and faith, would be utterly useless.
The heart of man is so wicked that we will either write off any miracle with a naturalistic explanation from science or we will ignore it completely, claiming a hallucination or some other psychological imperfection.
Jesus tells us the reason they have not and will not believe…
Verse 26- "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.”
The reason that Jesus gives us is this; “you are not of My sheep.”
Jesus says because He has not given to them eternal life. Because they have not been given to Jesus from the Father, they do not believe.
Turn with me to chapter 6 of this Gospel.
John 6:28-44 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." 30 Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 "Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." 35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." 41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." 42 And they said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, 'I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Later in that same chapter Christ repeats Himself.
John 6:65-67 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
Jesus tells us by His own words that unbelief is only remedied if He gives them eternal life. No other way will a person believe if the Father does not draw them to Christ who will give them life.
Jesus then tells us what His true sheep will do.
Verse 27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Jesus children hear His voice. Those that the Father has given to Christ, who Christ has washed them of their sin, who are His sheep, will hear His voice.
We looked last week at shepherds in Biblical times, and how they would simply call out their sheep by name, and their sheep would come to them because they knew who their master was. Jesus continues this thought and shows us that our true identity to His sheepfold will be known by hearing His voice and following Him.
My daughter is 6 years old. She knows my voice. When she is wondering off in a crowd or when she is about to do something to bring her harm, she doesn’t respond to another fathers voice, she responds to her fathers voice. She knows my voice, and she knows that love her and that I care for and protect her. When I call out her name, she responds.
It is very strange, but even when Grace and I are together, for a reason that I think is mirrored from the bible, when Grace’s voice does not seem to be getting her attention, my voice, spoken in the tone which implies authority and discipline, will cause her to stop in her tracks and do an about face. Much as our Father does for us. He calls us, and we recognize that voice of our Dad, and we listen. We stop what we are doing and we listen and follow.
If someone is not a child of the Father, if someone is not part of the sheepfold of Christ, they will continually show their illegitimate birth by ignoring the voice of God. They can’t even hear His voice, because they are not His. Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are of their father, the devil. They hear his voice, they do his will, they are obedient to his slavish orders, because that is their real father.
Yet since repentance was a gift, since belief was a gift, this next promise to us His sheep is so incredible it has caused me much prayer on my face because I almost cannot intellectually grasp its implications.
28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
Did you hear that?
Jesus says that He gives us eternal life, and we will never perish, and that no one can ever snatch them out of His hand.
The question we ask which is “can a Christian lose his salvation” is a wrong question. If you want right answers, you must ask right questions.
We ask that question as if salvation is a personal possession of ours. Like a pair of car keys, or a blockbuster card which can be misplaced by our carelessness.
The way this is asked places the emphasis of salvation upon the person. It is the same as asking whether a Christian can lose Christ. Some would say yes, others would say no.
The right question is this; can Christ lose a Christian?
A Christian is someone that has been redeemed or purchased for God through the blood of Christ. As the scriptures tell us “we have been bought with a price” that price is the blood of the perfect Son.
If someone that is purchased by Christ, ends up in Hell, then who has lost that persons salvation?
Christians cannot lose their salvation for the simple reason that their salvation does not belong to them. It belongs to Christ. If anyone is to lose it, it must be Jesus Himself. And He just promised to us in this text, He would never allow that.
He even tells us in the next verse…
Verse 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
He appeals to the relationship of His Father. He tells us that because the Father has given them to Him, and because the Father is greater than anyone or anything, no one is able, not one is able, to snatch them out of His Father’s hand.
He not only tells us the promise in His faithfulness as a Good Shepherd, but then promises that the Father will not allow it.
In Revelation 5:9-10, the new song in honor of the Lamb states that “He has redeemed us to God by His blood from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
And in 1 Corinthians 6:20, it says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Christ does not become our property to lose, we become His property.
Someone that wants to say that he or she can lose their salvation is really saying that he or she is the one that owns it and maintains it and loses it.
It is to merit salvation by a work that we keep up. A good standing that we maintain by doing good works that God is so impressed, He decides to keep us around.
Do you think you can lose your salvation if you commit a sin? If you were to sin tomorrow and then die in a car crash, where would you go? Heaven or hell?
If it is hell, you are saying that it is entirely up to you. If it is heaven, than you understand the biblical teaching that it is not yours to lose and that you are kept by God’s power.
This thinking produces two kinds of people.
One group is confident in their righteousness, but they have watered down the righteous standards of God in order to believe they are righteous.
The other group are sincere people, and because of their honesty, realize that they are under condemnation.
If salvation is maintained by you, and you are still a sinner wrapped in flesh, then you have every reason to be fearful of keeping your salvation. If you think you purchased Christ instead of Him purchasing you, you should be very worried.
You may ask the question, what will prevent someone from saying they are saved and then sinning as much as they want?
The answer is this. Nothing. People can claim whatever they want to about salvation, until they stand in judgment before God.
Paul asks the same question in Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
If you have died to sin, you won’t live in it. It is that simple. A Christian is not proven by what they claim, they proven by what they do in truth before God.
Grace did not and does not belong to us to that we can abuse it. Grace belongs to God, and He never abuses it.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, we learn that we are saved by grace through faith. It is a gift from God, we don’t earn it. In the next verse, we learn that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works prepared beforehand by God. God’s grace is never truly abused because it belongs to God.
Let’s consider some other verses from Old to New Testament which clearly deal with God’s faithfulness to us.
Prepare to play finger jockey!
Psalm 37:28 For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalm 97:10 You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 121:2-8- 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Jeremiah 32:40 'And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
Matthew 18:14- "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:36-"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John 6:37-39- "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
John 6:47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Romans 5:8-10- 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:34-39- 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:14- knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
Ephesians 1:5- having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Ephesians 1:13-14-In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 4:30- And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Philippians 1:6- "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24- 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
2 Timothy 4:18- "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 1:4-5- 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Is this teaching speaking to some of you tonight that have thought you have so sinned that God will never forgive you?
Or do you assume that you need to earn salvation and keep salvation yourself?
The difference between a true Christian and a false one is the difference between a pig and a lamb.
The pig will not only dive into the mud, but will wallow in it. The lamb, though it may fall into the same mud as the pig, will desire to get out and be washed by its shepherd.
Which are you? Are you wallowing in sin, and thus proving your identity, or are you God’s lamb that desires to come out and be washed? God knows.
Who is saved or not? God knows.
John tells us in His 1st Epistle 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
Let God be God. Let Grace be Grace. Accept that you are kept by the power of God if you are God’s child. Let your life be evidence that God saved you and is keeping you until the day you stand before Him.