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The Voice of God (1) Security - 3rd July 2005 am

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The Voice of God (1)

Security

John 10 vv 27-30

27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30  I and the Father are one."

We return this morning to John’s Gospel and to Chapter 10, in which the evangelist tells us of the sayings of Jesus about Himself as shepherd – on two occasions – and how the hearers of His voice then failed to listen to what He was saying.

John weaves together the words of our Lord and the reaction of the people so that we see in bold relief what it means to really LISTEN to God’s voice.

We also see something that we shared with the children a few moments ago – that the familiar voice brings security.   (Tonight we shall look at the other side of the coin and consider the Voice of God and our responsibility.)

On two occasions at least Jesus taught the people about His ministry as Shepherd.

At the beginning of the chapter He seems to be speaking to them at about the same time as the healing of the man born blind – in verses 22 onwards he is speaking on the occasion of the Feast of Hanukkah – the festival of lights.  On the first occasion His words are not understood:

10 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

In the second occasion they not only fail to understand – but they turn on Him and accuse Him of blasphemy.

I want to look at what Jesus says about HIS VOICE in both instances and draw out from it some teaching to remind us of the significance of hearing the voice of the Lord.

As with the crowds of His day – so with the sheep He describes –

Hearing His Voice is a Matter Of Relationship

Jesus makes this very clear in what He says about His sheep:

In the opening verses Jesus points out that the sheep RECOGNISE the Shepherd, they do not recognise a stranger.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.”

 

That part I can voice for by experience.  The sheep might hear my voice – but they don’t follow.

Notice how Jesus emphasises the BELONGING of His people:

By name

Leads them out

Brings out His own

Goes on ahead of them

They know His voice

This thought is extended by Jesus to the non-Jewish members of His flock:

16 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.

There are two essential components to that relationship:

·        My Father has given them to me   v 29

·        They believe in Me v25

Throughout John’s Gospel we see that being worked out – those who are His and those who reject Him.

The Christian faith is a matter of RELATIONSHIP by order of the Father in Jesus His Son.

Those who trust Him hear His voice regularly.   They recognise Him.   Vv25 & 26

“I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.



What a precious relationship it is!

·        The Father has given to Jesus the ones who are His.

·        They hear His voice and recognise it

·        They are called by name

·        They follow Him

·        They do not listen to other voices.

·        There will be one flock and One Shepherd.

Secondly,

This Relationship Exists Because Of What Jesus Has Done

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.     V 3

9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.a He will come in and go out, and find pasture.                                      V9

 

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  V11    I lay down my life for the sheep    v15b

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;       v28

Jesus makes it very clear that His sheep are His because of the Father’s will – but they are His because:

·        He calls them by name

·        He is the gate – the Way

·        He gives His life for the sheep

·        There is no avoiding of His voice

·        No avoiding of His exclusive claim

·        No avoiding of the Cross

If you would hear the Voice of God you must know Jesus – Jesus who died for you.

You must come to Him at His call and trust in Him – and listen for His words.

Thirdly

Hearing His Voice is a matter of profound Security

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

We live in the most uncertain of times – despite the material benefits of our age we are fearful of what waits around the next corner.   Like the flock of which Jesus speaks – there are those who have no regard for the sheep:

the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.

 

5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.”

 

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

Against such enemies we need a defence – in the face of such threats we need the Saviour’s blood bought security – who protects because He lays down His life.

See what manner of security Jesus promises us in these verses:

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 


There are FIVE POINTS TO IT:

·        My sheep

·        My voice

·        My hand

·        My Father

·        My Father’s hand

When we were speaking with the children we reminded them that the voice of the mistress can be a source of re-assurance to the dog.

(I guess in the case of Bosley, my dog, the sound of voices on the radio is as good – but I’m not sure of that because to test it I’d have to be there – and Bosley is somewhat reassured when Val goes out – if he finds me still in the house.)

MY SHEEP

David saw that in reverse in Psalm 23 – where the emphasis is on MY SHEPHERD.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2      He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3      he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

for ever.

“I know MY sheep and my sheep know me” v14

Nothing so diminishes loneliness and insecurity like belonging and being in the presence of the One who loves us.

He knows MY NAME – He knows ME

This is the belonging that comes out of His saving work:

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed

But yet in love he sought me

And on His shoulder gently laid

And home rejoicing brought me!

MY VOICE

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

When we see sheep we are acutely aware of THEIR VOICES – the plaintive bleating of lambs, the answering call of the ewe.   They can be a noisy lot!

But in the Biblical setting it is the VOICE OF THE SHEPHERD that is heard – giving direction and reinforcing security:

the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.”

His shepherd’s voice!

At the heart of that message of security is RECOGNITION – a principle repeated over and over again in the New Testament story of Jesus and His disciples – the disciples on the lake – Mary at the tomb….     His Voice!

MY HAND

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.

 

As the shepherd psalm reminds us – Christ’s care of us is not a remote thing – a voice calling only from a distance.  Often the sheep needs to know the TOUCH of the shepherd :

Where streams of living water flow

My ransomed soul He leadeth

And where the verdant pastures grow

With food celestial feedeth

 

…on His shoulder gently laid…

 

Thy rod and staff my comfort still

 

Thy unction grace bestoweth

And o what transport of delight

From thy pure chalice floweth…

 

But the security goes further than the reassuring touch – it extends to a belonging that cannot be dissolved, a relationship that will not break:

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.

 

My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase:

Impressed on His heart it remains

In marks of indelible grace

But even more secure….

MY FATHER

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all

                             

In words that provoked the crowd’s attention and the criticism of Christ’s claim, Jesus reinforces the security of His people.

His belonging makes our belonging a relationship that is unshakeable.

Theology is not simply a study – it is all the strength we have!

We are His choice

There is no challenge to His power – He is greater than all

MY FATHER’S HAND

 

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;  no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

 

So are five strands of security made for us

My sheep

My voice

My hand

My Father

My Father’s hand

Real security – eternal security is a matter of hearing His voice – a RELATIONSHIP

Such a relationship is BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS HAS DONE

Such security is guaranteed by THE VERY NATURE OF THE GODHEAD.

Have you heard His voice?

Beyond this turbulent universe the rock of our salvation is secure:

Though waves and storms go o’er my head,
Though strength, and health, and friends be gone,
Though joys be withered all and dead,
Though every comfort be withdrawn,
On this my steadfast soul relies,
Father, Thy mercy never dies.

Fixed on this ground will I remain,
Though my heart fail, and flesh decay;
This anchor shall my soul sustain,
When earth’s foundations melt away;
Mercy’s full power I then shall prove,
Loved with an everlasting love.

HYMN 485


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a Or kept safe

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