Letter to a Sheep… part one

In Bible study we have been reading the book of John.  I have been struck with how wonderful it is to read the words that Jesus said, to read what he says about himself and what he says about the love he has for his own.

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” ~ John 10:27-28

From these verses it is clear that the sheep (believers) are guaranteed the things necessary for life and for peace.  First, the sheep are guaranteed the leadership of the Good Shepherd.  Christ speaks to his sheep effectively — they hear his voice.  Neither the wind nor any circumstances can drown him out.  Like the first call of Christ that leads to salvation, the calls that guide the believer in sanctification — indeed like all of his words — “shall not return to [him] empty, but it shall accomplish that which [he] purpose[s], and shall succeed in the thing for which [he] sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).  So, be listening, little sheep, to the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Next, the sheep are guaranteed to be known by the Good Shepherd.  There is not one sheep that the Shepherd will not or does not know his/her name, his/her fears or his/her needs.  Never will the Shepherd pass one of His sheep and not know that it belongs to Him.  Never does a sheep need to fear that it will be forgotten.  So, just as He pursued you, little sheep, pursue knowing the Shepherd, and rejoice that one day you will know fully even as you now are fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Third, the sheep are forever led by the Good Shepherd.  Those whose hearts are hardened do not and cannot follow the Shepherd.  Who is it that grants the ability to follow? Who is it it that keeps a heart softened? Christ.  So, do not despise the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, little sheep.  Instead, persevere because “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). So, pray for a humble and submissive heart that seeks to obey the Good Shepherd, and follow your leader.  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

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