If a follower of Christ backslides, does that mean they no longer belong to God? Like rebellious sheep, we can wander away from the fold. Pastor Lutzer provides three compelling reasons why we can make it home to the Good Shepherd. Belonging to the Lord is the greatest privilege imaginable so let’s listen for His voice.
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” Thanks for joining us in this last episode, entitled, “When the Shepherd Holds Our Hand.” It has to do with Jesus Christ. We of course are his sheep. Today we end with that remarkable passage in John 10.
I want to read these verses to you because we’re going to be speaking about the security of the sheep. If you belong to Jesus Christ you are secure all the way until nightfall. Jesus said this, speaking of those who were around him, “You do not believe me because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give to them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” Now you know that one of the great conflicts in the Christian church when it comes to theology has to do with what we call eternal security. There are those who believe that you can be genuinely saved as sheep, if I might put it that way, and then you can be no longer a sheep because you have backslidden and you have turned away from God.
I’m certainly not going to be able to resolve all the questions in your mind about that in the next few moments but I want you to hear me very carefully. There’s good reason for us to believe that every single one of the sheep that belong to Jesus will make it all the way to the finish line.
Let me give you three reasons and they will all center on the Father.
First of all, because of the Father’s purpose. You’ll notice that Jesus said the sheep are a gift “from the Father to me.” If you read John 17 you will discover at least six times that Jesus referred to his disciples as “those whom the Father has given me.” Look throughout the New Testament and you’ll discover that the Father gives a gift to the Son and that gift is the people of God. It is the sheep of God’s pasture. So that purpose is going to be fulfilled, not only the purpose of the Father but also the Father’s person, and power.
You’ll notice that it says, “My Father gave them to me and he is greater than all.” I love to speak about the sovereignty of God. I think it was Spurgeon who said that there is not a molecule in the universe that is not ultimately under God’s control. The point to be made is simply this, that the Father is great enough to bring those whom he has given to the Son all the way home.
And of course we also have the Trinity involved. Notice that Jesus says these words. “I hold the sheep. No one can snatch them out of my hand.” And then he says, “My Father who gave them to me is greater than all” and “No man is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hands.” This is hands in harmony. You have the hand of the Father you have the hand of the Son and together they hold God’s sheep.
Now let’s ask ourselves this question: If a shepherd is given 100 sheep in the morning and he has the responsibility of finding grass for them, taking care of them during the day, if he comes back with 95, he would a laughing stock. Obviously, if he’s given a hundred he should return with a hundred. Oh you say “But some sheep are so rebellious!” They keep taking false paths. They keep rebelling against the Shepherd. Yes, of course, there are some sheep just like that. But it’s the responsibility of the Shepherd to say “No matter how far you wander, I will use my rod; I will use my staff. I will bring you back. If I am given 100 sheep in the morning, 100 sheep return in the evening.”
Now it all comes down to this, my friend. Have you heard His voice? Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them.” In ancient times sheep were identified with a shepherd. I’m told that there were permanent marks put on their ears. So that they would know to whom they belong, that is the shepherds would know, but also the sheep would know by the voice of the Shepherd.
I want ask you a question today. Are you actually one of God’s sheep? You can’t make yourself a sheep. Only Jesus can if you hear his voice. But the Bible says clearly, “Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your heart.” If you have never come to saving faith in Christ even now as you find that faint desire to belong to the Good Shepherd, you can respond to that and that will prove that you have heard the voice of the Good Shepherd through repentance and faith. So I say to you again, those who belong to him hear his voice. He knows them and they know him.
I spent some good time with the Good Shepherd this morning. I hope you did too. Belonging to him is the greatest privilege imaginable. As you frequently hear me say, I hope that you will subscribe, that you will follow, and you certainly will share with others because we are here to bless you in a world that wants to tear us apart. Belong to the Good Shepherd and you will arrive at evening time. Thank you so much for joining us. Join us again next time and as for today, you just go with God.