Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Good Shepherd Came to Give Life (Jn. 10:7-18)

This is a personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 31 July 2011 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 10:7-18

John 10 portrays Christ’s relationship with His church as that of a shepherd with his sheep. Jesus said “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I come that my sheep might have life abundantly.” (See Jn. 10:11-12)

Christianity is about life. Other religion focuses on morality, on good and evil. Science is about knowledge and ignorance. Philosophy is about wisdom and ignorance. Christianity is about life and death. While Christianity also concerns itself with morality, good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, the central theme is life and death.

The Scripture says, when the time comes, those who hear the voice of the Son we will be resurrected to life. The Bible talks about 3 kinds of deaths – the first is the decay of physical body, the second is the segregation of the spirit from the Source of life, God Himself. The third is eternal separation from God the Father, where the unrepentant are thrown to the lake of fire and suffer forever and ever. Most of us only understand the first kind of death. Science also only confines the concept of death to the first one.

God commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and on the day he eat he will surely die. However when he ate, physically he did not die immediately but at that instant he did die spiritually. He was cut off from his relationship with God. This is the second type of death.

Christianity speaks of the One who came to give us life. He saved a people chosen from the foundation of the world. The angel said He is to be named Jesus as He will save His people from their sin. Jesus said He came that they may have life and have it to the full (Jn. 10:11). There are two kinds of Christian. The first group are those have been born again the second group are those who, after being born again, have life to the full. It is not enough just to have a new life, but Christians have it to the full.

We wonder why many Christians do not seem to grow, why after 10 years nothing has changed and the prayers remain the same. There does not seem to be evidende of abundant life and fruits of the Spirit. It appears that for many Christians, after salvation they are just waiting to go to heaven. We need to remember that the person God wants us to become is not the person we are now. We cannot be satisfied where we are. In the tension of two different states of our nature we need to find harmony. Instead of pursuing material things, we need to pursue life to the full spiritually.

Jesus teaches that the true shepherd will lay his life down to the sheep. The church need to build up true shepherds, not hirelings who do not care for the sheep (Jn. 10:13).

In this passage, Jesus also teaches another principle: “My sheep hear my voice and follow me” (Jn. 10:14). To hear is a very important verb in Hebrew culture. The God of the Hebrews is the God who wants His people to listen to His word, to believe and obey His word. Believing comes from hearing. Yet often times church pastors are the ones who cannot listen. They think they are the preachers so they do not need to listen and they are better than their congregation, not realising that their congregation might have been listening to a lot of better teaching elsewhere. Christians need to keep listening and learning.

Further Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (v. 17) This kind of love for lost sheep is the love of the shepherd. We need to have the heart to bring more lost souls to Christ. Many Christians have no interests and empathy towards non-Christians. But they too are made in God’s image and likeness. They too need the salvation of Christ. If we never love the gospel, we will never have fervency to preach. The church which only looks after the congregation within the four walls and are indifferent towards those outside is not in a right state. There are lost sheep outside the four walls of the church. We need to have the heart to reach out to them.


At 3:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberty could bring peace and prosperity..
but life precede liberty...

Government exist to protect liberty and also life.

listen to Ron Paul promote Life and liberty:


Post a Comment

<< Home