Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Sheep Hear My Voice (Jn. 10:19-30)

This is a personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 21 August 2011 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 10:19-30

The Jews were divided into two groups when they heard Jesus’ words. One group said He was demon-possessed, the other group asked how He could open the eyes of the blind if He was demon-possessed. Nicodemus (in John 3) said to Jesus that nobody could perform the miracles He did if it were not from God. Thus Nicodemus is objective and honest unlike the other Jews who continued to hold a biased view against Jesus.

After this, the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem in winter arrived. This is the most crucial moment. Jesus appeared in the temple, walking in Solomon’s Collonade. The Jews were impatient and asked Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (Jn. 10:24)

They are now shifting responsibilities. They did not blame themselves for not listening and believing instead they blamed Jesus for not making Himself clear. Many Christians blame the preachers for not speaking plainly but never blame themselves. If students do not learn well, often the teachers are blamed for not teaching well. The fact is some students simply cannot be taught.

In the first few chapters of John, many things testified of Christ. The miracles were real. The prophecies were true. Jesus’ testimony was true. He had told them from the start but they were slow in learning.

Many people do not analyse what they have heard. They hear important sermons over and over again but their lives never change. The truth just slips past them. Many of us have not got hold of the truth. We have not been awakened. We do not thirst for it and we think we already know.

Jesus responded, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.” Unbelief is the worst response to the Son of God. The greatest sin of humanity is not murder or adultery or violence or drug addiction, it is unbelief in Jesus Christ, the only way to save mankind from sin.

Jn. 16:8-11 mentions that the Holy Spirit comes to convict the world of sin, judgement and righteousness, and in regard to sin because they do not believe in the Son of God. This is what sinners often commit. God has saved us and given us new life so that we can live a life of righteousness. But we are slow to listen and continue to live our old ways.

If we carefully analyse all we have heard in the past, we will realise how little we properly listen. We like to say we know about it and have heard about it. But do we really know? God has already told us the most important things in life. How could we not understood until today? That is because we have not listened.

If we do not listen intently to the gospel, we cannot preach the gospel. What we hear, what we see, that is what we can testify. If we properly listen we will be different. All of us are sinners. Some of us are not sensitive to sin therefore not sensitive of how much they have been forgiven. And many Christians do not listen carefully to discern between truth and falsehood.

Jesus said, “I have told you, you did not listen. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (Jn. 10:26-27)
So who are God’s sheep? Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn. 10:27) Those who listen to Christ’s teaching and follow Him are truly God’s sheep. This is the mark of belonging to God and being known by God.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (Jn. 10:28-30)

In verse 28, Jesus said He gives eternal life to His sheep and His sheep are in His hand. In verse 29, He said His sheep are in His Father’s hand. Finally in v.30 He said He and His Father are one.

God’s sheep listen to Christ and follow Him. God gave His sheep eternal life. God personally preserve them so nobody can snacth them away. They belong to God forever and ever. God is their shepherd, the keeper of their soul.


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