The Good Shepherd

“I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” John 10:11 (KJB)

Today, on this topic of the Good Shepherd I will share with you the thoughts said by brighter minds than my own…

From F. B. Meyer on John 10:7-18:

“He who came in by the door which John the Baptist opened has become the door. It stands open to all comers-if any man. The salvation here mentioned refers to the entire process of soul-health: go in for fellowship; go out for service.
Wherever destruction is uppermost in speech or act, you may detect the presence of the great enemy of souls. Christ is ever constructive, saving, life-giving. Let us not be content until our life has become abundant life. Our life cost the Shepherd’s life. He did not hesitate to interpose Himself between the sheep and the wolf of hell. There is possible between our Lord and ourselves an intimacy of knowledge which can be compared to nothing less than that which subsists between the Father and Himself.
Note how our Lord looked beyond the hurdles of the Jewish fold and thought tenderly of the Gentile sheep that were far away. In the revelation committed to the Apostle Paul He gave vent to His love, and through the succeeding centuries He has ever sought them. There may be many folds, but there can be only one flock. Men die because they cannot help it; Christ was born that He might die; He died because He would.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

From John Gill on John 10:11:

I am the good shepherd,…. A shepherd of his Father’s appointing, calling, and sending, to whom the care of all his sheep, or chosen ones, was committed; who was set up as a shepherd over them by him, and was entrusted with them; and who being called, undertook to feed them; and being promised, was sent unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and under the character of a shepherd, died for them, and rose again, and is accountable to his Father for everyone of them; the shepherd, the great and chief shepherd, the famous one, so often spoken and prophesied of, Gen_49:24. And discharging his office aright, he is the good shepherd; as appears in his providing good pasture, and a good fold for his sheep; in protecting them from their enemies; in healing all their diseases; in restoring their souls when strayed from him; in watching over them in the night seasons, lest any hurt them; in searching for them, when they have been driven, or scattered in the dark and cloudy day; in caring for them, so that he lose none of them; and in nothing more than in what follows,
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep: not only exposes it to danger, as David did his, for the sake of his father’s flock, but gives it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep; in their room and stead, as a ransom for them, that they may be delivered from death, and might have eternal life: the Ethiopic version renders it, “the good shepherd gives his life for the redemption of his sheep”; so Nonnus paraphrases it, the “ransom price of his own sheep”: this belongs to Christ’s priestly office, and with the Jews priests were sometimes shepherds hence we read (q) of רועים כהנים, “shepherds that were priests”. Philo the Jew speaks (r) of God as a shepherd and king; and of his setting his word, his firstborn Son, over the holy flock, to take care of it: and a good shepherd is thus described by the (s) Jews;
“as רועה טוב, “a good shepherd”, delivers the flock from the wolf, and from the lions, (see Joh_10:12) so he that leads Israel, if he is good, delivers them from the idolatrous nations, and from judgment below and above, and leads them to the life of the world to come, or eternal life; (see Joh_10:10).”
Which description agrees with Christ, the good shepherd; and so the Lord is said to be רועה טוב, “the good shepherd”, and merciful, and there is none like him (t).” John Gill’s EXPOSITION OF THE WHOLE BIBLE

Building Up Yourselves On Your Most Holy Faith

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21 (KJB)

The most holy faith is that we receive through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There is no faith without Him.

After warning His readers in this letter of the false teachers, the wolves coming into their church or churches; Jude, our Lord’s half brother, tells them to build themselves in the faith.

Trust the words of the apostles of our Lord.  Jude does not consider himself an apostle, and he quotes from the words of Peter’s epistles, and it is likely from the apostle Paul, as well.

Let us not fall for the lies, deceptions, and traps of the chief demon who is doomed for Hell.

Beware the Wolves

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”  Acts 20:29-30  (KJB)

Paul, by the revelation of the Spirit of God, knew that when he was departed seducers, voracious, and evil men would come in and try to destroy the word and work of God. There are two types of voracious leadership named here.  I will let some sages from the past clarify who they are…

From John Gills Exposition of the Bible…

For I know this,…. By divine revelation:
that after my departing; either out of this world, or after his leaving them now, and proceeding on, his journey:
shall grievous wolves enter in among you; false teachers, comparable to wolves, for their craft and cunning, and for their greedy, covetous, and voracious dispositions; and who would be very grievous, troublesome, and even intolerable to them; these, he knew, would enter privily, at an unawares, into their churches, and set up themselves for preachers, without being called or sent:
not sparing the flock; fleecing it instead of feeding it, making merchandise of it, and like the Pharisees, under religious pretences, devour widows’ houses, and drain the purses of men; and having as little compassion upon their souls, poisoning them with their errors and heresies, subverting their faith, and bringing them into swift ruin and destruction, as much as would in them lie.

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary…

after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you — Two classes of coming enemies are here announced, the one more external to themselves, the other bred in the bosom of their own community; both were to be teachers, but the one, “grievous wolves,” not sparing, that is, making a prey of the flock; the other (Act_20:30), simply sectarian “perverters” of the truth, with the view of drawing a party after them. Perhaps the one pointed to that subtle poison of Oriental Gnosticism which we know to have very early infected the Asiatic churches; the other to such Judaizing tendencies as we know to have troubled nearly all the early churches. See the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and Timothy, also those to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 2:1-3:22). But watchfulness against all that tends to injure and corrupt the Church is the duty of its pastors in every age.

O my friend draw near to Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

…Night and Day With Tears

There was something on Paul’s mind as he stated these recorded words.  Luke sensed it, saw it first hand, then wrote it down for the Church through every age might to read, and to know that there are things which happen in the Church, in every local congregation which will need to be addressed.  The Church in every age needs to hear the warnings of Scripture, and to heed them.

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:26-31 (KJV)

As Paul, so should the Bible preacher, Bible teacher, Bible Christian of 2017  proclaim “All the counsel of God”.  Not part, but all.  Far too often men stand in the pulpit saying words people want to hear, rather then being the preacher of God saying what God says; what God wants us to hear.  May God forgive us.

The apostle had not shunned the responsibility to warn of “Wolves” fierce liars, deceivers, scam artists who would come in to lead people astray, and devour them; devour you if you do not live by the word of God.

Men of God have the responsibility to speak to the Church, who is bought with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son; so yes God has purchased us with His own blood (also see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

It is imperative that the flock learn to identify the false teachers [the wolves] who are coming in to deceive, destroy, steal and kill.  You must know the truth of the word of God.  Read it. Study it. Apply it to daily living.  Know who Jesus truly is; and when you know Him, having the Holy Spirit in you you will not be deceived, but will know a lie when it is about to strike.  Then, you will reject it.  You will warn others of it, and like Paul “…night and day with tears”.

What makes you weep?  Maybe I need to ask, “What makes me weep?”  I have wept about many things; including not having enough money to pay the rent or the house payment.  I have wept over a broken down car, because I did not have the means to get it repaired.  I have wept over the sickness of a child because we had no insurance or money to take them to the doctor.  I am glad to say, though, that I have wept over lost souls as well.  I have wept when I have noticed brethren in Christ being led astray, going down the path of sin and shame; and into false doctrines, and living.

O for my heart to weep over the wayward sheep of Christ Jesus.  If you are a Christian today get into the Word of God, and most of all let the word of God get into you.  There is a place for rejoicing, always.  There is also a time for weeping, and that time is now.

Weep for the deceived.  Weep for the perishing.  Weep for the word of God to have a powerful affect on the lives of all the people you know through the Lord Jesus Christ who has purchased us with His own blood.

Heaven’s News – Wolves in the Kingdom

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 7:15-20)

When the LORD has not Spoken

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, say unto her, ‘Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.  There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.  Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.  And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD hath not spoken.  The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.  Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads,’ saith the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 22:23-31 (KJV)

There is One who stands as our hedge of protection and is the one Man who stands in the gap between God and men; the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy2:5).

-T.A.

Councils, Sparrows and Enemies

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.  And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, ‘Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.’  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”  Matthew 10:16-39 (KJV)

Notice the three “Fear nots” in the text above.  The word also of Whom we are to fear.

-T.A.

God’s Answer to Habakkuk’s Questions

GOD’S ANSWER

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.  For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.  They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.  Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.  They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.  And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.  Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Habakkuk 1:5-11 (KJV)

The prophet has asked, ‘How long?’ He has even insinuated, possibly, that, the LORD was slack in His duties of being God – particularly Judge.

God gives Habakkuk the answer, but not one he wants to hear. For seven verses God describes to the prophet what He has in mind for the people of Judah.

Basically, God says to Habakkuk, ‘The work you are about to see is going to be beyond your belief’. Notice what God tells the prophet –

Regard – or ‘look intently at’ – this would be a pleasure to those who Judah would call the ‘heathen’;

Wonder marvelously – amazed to the point of confusion.

Really take notice of what I am about to do, what is coming to pass. Mouths will drop open in wonder. Shock will accompany the wonder.

“Though it be told you” How could anyone who knew God think that God would use an unholy people to judge His unholy people.

It seems to me, that we see God’s sovereign hand here. God had intended that His people Judah and Israel be messengers to foreign lands; messengers of His grace, mercy, and goodness; but they had not only failed in that, they had become just as sinful and lawless as the ‘heathen’.

God was going to send some of His holy servants into the very jaws of the lion, the fires of Babylon, for judgment of Judah, and inform Babylon of the one true God.

In verse six God says the Chaldeans are a “Bitter and hasty nation”. By bitter it seems they have a hatred for Judah and ‘hasty’ seems to imply swiftness without much hesitance. They would possess what was not theirs and they would do it with all speed at their beckoning. It would seem particularly speedy since God was initiating the attack.

In our day we tend not to understand how God could use people like this to judge His people. It happens when God’s people have not lived up to the standards He lays out for us, and those standards are in His Word. God is not so concerned with our happiness or health, as much as He is our holiness, and most of all His own glory. He will do whatever it takes, within the attributes of His character, to make us holy. That is what He is doing in the nation of Judah.

The Chaldeans are said to be frightening, and they would put fear in your heart according to verse seven. The New Living Translation says, “They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like and no one can stop them”. They would be the source of God’s judgment upon Judah, however, they would get theirs too (See Daniel 5).

In the eighth verse we find that the Chaldeans/Babylonians will come with power and speed. They are also fierce, not only in countenance, but temperment.

Verse nine, violence and conquering is what they have in their minds and heart. They thrive on blood, the blood of their enemy, and that was anyone who got in their way. When you pick up sand in your fingers all of it cannot be kept there. This is almost like a randomness in some ways, but most likely means taking captives in great numbers. Captives of Judah.

Mockery will be on their tongues and in their hearts (vv. 10-11). Captured kings and princes – leaders will be scorned and some will die.

Walls built to resist their attacks will be overthrown by mounds of dirt laid against them. Because of his victory Nebuchadnezzar will attribute his victory to his god.

How pitiful it is when God’s people do not live by God’s Spirit and His Word. We bring shame to His name and pain and reproach to our name. O, how this must have pained the heart of Habakkuk. Do you think he liked the answer? May God forgive me.

This begs the question will God refrain from judging those who turn their backs on the nation of Israel today?  Will He count guiltless those who say that God is finished with Israel?  We could also ask, If this nation called the United States of America, was truly built on Biblical, Christian/Judeao principles and values; will we be any less guilty before God, than was Israel for turning their backs on God?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Originally published January 03, 2008

Who Can Abide It???

Most Christians have heard of a day called, “the day of the LORD”, and know that it is a day of reckoning for those who are out of His will, rebelling against Him, and just living a life of debauchery.  There was a time in the Nation of Judah, that a prophet by the name of Joel warned the people of the “day of the LORD”.  He has asked them the question, “…Who can abide it?” Joel 2:11 (KJV)

There are days we hear of as followers of Jesus which we long for.  One of those days is the day of the rapture of the Church.  It will not be a good day for those who remain behind; it will in fact be a day of chaos.  We as Christians need to be sure that our lives are right with Him, and not put on false pretenses of repentance, and sorrow over sin.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.” Joel 2:12-13 (KJV).

False repentance is just as bad, if not worse than no repentance.  False repentance is just what is seen in the above verses.  The religious Jew sometimes to show sorrow, grief, and/or a repentant attitude tore a portion of their outer garment.  This they did for show in these days.  As followers of Jesus, and just as then, God knows our hearts, our attitude of mind.  We cannot fool God, the One who knows all things.  False repentance is an act to show others how religious, and how badly we seem to feel concerning sin.

There is a word for that which Jesus used for many of the religious leaders of His day.  That word is “Hypocrite”.  That is ‘A pretender’, an actor.  Another term for that could be, “a wolf in sheeps clothing”.  Why is it that too many times Christians are sheep in wolves clothing? Let’s be true, and show forth a true repentance.

-Tim A. Blankenship