Thursday, June 4, 2020

John 10 - Part 2

Read John 10

And so now we have come to the verse we know so well.  Many have memorized it.

So just who is this thief?

It sounds a lot like Satan but Jesus has been talking to and about the Pharisees.  So, is the thief Satan or religious hypocrite?

The answer is yes.  Jesus noted that his Father sent him.  He and his Father are one.  He is in the Father and the Father in him.  Nobody comes to know the Father except through him.

OK, what’s that all about?

Do you remember when Jesus confronted the religious Jews and told them that their father was the devil?  Now consider that they are in their father and their father in them.

The thief is both Satan and those who do his work, those who listen to his voice.  What is his work?

To steal.

To kill.

To destroy.

Jesus came to give us life, life abundant, and life eternal.  In one verse, we have a simple but powerful dichotomy.

It’s Jesus or the devil.

It’s life or death.

It’s love or hate.

It’s fulness or emptiness.

Who is our Father?  Does he live within us?  Yes, the Holy Spirit counts for our Father living in us.  The Spirit is the Father’s good deposit of the fullness to come.

Many would claim that we live in a complicated world.  Perhaps, that is true but our choices or simple.

Good or evil?

Love or hate?

Father who is creator and known by love or Father who is destroyer and known by hate and deception?

If you believe in God the Father, then you know his voice.  You enter into his presence through Jesus alone. 

You know that his love endures forever and his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I have seen so much ignorance these past few weeks from people who I thought knew the voice of the Master.

We must take actiontake matters into our own hands.  Prayer just makes you feel good.  We must return hate for hate. Destruction is the only way to get people’s attention.

Whose voice prompts these responses?

People have stopped listening to their Master. They have consumed the placebo of righteous anger and set aside the voice of the Master, and that will not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

The emptiness, restlessness, and dissonance that so many know today comes from not listening to the One who is truth and brings peace in the midst of a troubled world.  So many listen only to the voice of the world.

So many feel helpless over the strife and violence that is all around us.  Finger-pointing abounds but the only finger-pointing that we who follow Jesus need to do is at the man in the mirror.

We have been working God into our lives where he is convenient.  Our families, our work, our school life or our home schooled life, our sports, our bills, our college funds, our mortgage, our time waiting in line at the drive-through all seem to take precedence over living for God.  And we wonder why we feel distress at the trouble in the world.

Do we have problems in this country?  Absolutely.  We live in the worst country in the world, well, except for all of the others.  I am glad that we live in a place where we have a voice.  In about half the world you can have a voice or you can live.

We are so blessed here.  We have it easy.  We can sit on the sidelines with our penalty flags and feel like we accomplished something.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and whatever the online flavor of the month is give us outlets to reign judgment upon those who do not follow the Master the same way we do.  We can be modern-day Pharisees.

Yes, these things are platforms to other things that are good, but too often we think because we post something that we have accomplished something.  The voice of our Master calls us to more.

We can know the voice of our Master and come off of the sidelines and do what he has commanded.

Here is the thing.  Jesus did not wait until there was a tragedy or crisis on television.  He commanded all who love him to follow him to be known by our love.

That’s a daily command.  That purpose must be so evident in our lives that we are unmistakably known by our love.

Why is there such an outcry in our nation?  We have not been known by our love.  We do not know our Master’s voice.  We—and I am talking Christians here—have become Pharisees.

I am not talking about those who don’t know the Lord.  What else should we expect of those who do not know the Lord than hate, greed, and violence?

In our age, there is a collective term to define those who do not know the Lord and it’s not pagans.  They are the—our—mission field.  

But back to those in our country who profess to be Christians, why is there such an outcry among us?  Of course, we detest murder and injustice and disorder, but at the heart of this is that we have stopped listening to the voice of our Master and have tuned into the voice of the world.

If you think that trusting the Lord is insufficient, you need to find his voice again.

If you think that prayer is just to make ourselves feel good, you need to find his voice again.

If you think that you are doing nothing if you are not part of a national movement or organization of some sort, you are not listening to your Master who told you to love one another.

We are sent into the world and that includes our states and nation and even beyond our borders, but we are to start with each other.  We bring good news and love like the world does not know.

If we hear his voice and know his voice, we start with each other.  We practice on each other.  After two millennia you think we would have a little momentum.  But so many will not hear his voice.  So many who have professed Jesus as Lord find him inconvenient at this time and will not hear his voice.  They will not learn from him.

If you think that loving one another has no efficacy, then you have been deceived by the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

But we have to take action! Right?

We have been commanded to action for the past 2000 years.  You know that if you have listened to his voice.

If you know his voice and he has called you to go to Minneapolis or Atlanta or Gotebo America, then go.

If you know his voice, and he has called you to lead or join some national or international endeavor, then do not kick against the goads.  If you know his voice and he has called, answer and go where he sends you.

If you are not sure it is his voice that is calling you, it’s time to come home and know the One who brings life and life abundant, before you wander off on some crusade where a couple months from now find yourselves just as empty as when you began.

If you are not sure it is his voice that is calling you, it’s time to come home before you embark on a Facebook posting campaign that will give way to Forrest Gump memes and college football banter by summer’s end.  There is no efficacy in immediate gratification of our self-righteousness.

If you are not sure it is his voice that is calling you, it’s time to come home and sign up for caller ID.  We know who is calling us by diligent study of God’s word, continuous prayer, and a heart that seeks God and longs to bring glory to his name.

If you are not sure it is his voice that is calling you, how can you live out your salvation as the most important thing you do?  You must know his voice for his call will take you out of your comfort zone.

You must know his voice if you are going to answer his call in your life.  I think many among you do know his voice and some will be called to do great things in reconciling strife in our nation, but all are called to love one another.  That includes those who don’t like us very much.

Do not listen to the voice of hypocrites.

Do not listen to those who mock God.

Do not listen to the voice of the devil.

God or Satan.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The thief steals.  God gives good gifts.

The thief kills.  God gives life, life abundant, and life eternal.

The thief destroys.  God creates and loves his creation more than we can imagine.

God chose you to be his disciple.  Will you know his voice when he calls?
Will you know his voice?

Know his voice.


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