Friday, May 18, 2018

The Vision (5.18.18): And the stranger they will not follow

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 9:39-10:6.

And the stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers (John 10:5).

Jesus here makes the point that not only do the sheep know the voice of their shepherd, but they also know the difference between his voice and the voice of a stranger, an imposter (v. 5).

This verse stresses the importance of discernment among believers (cf. 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”).

Calvin says of John 10:5: “This is the spirit of discernment, by which the elect discriminate between the truth of God and the false invention of man.”

Believers know the difference between Christ’s voice and the voice of a stranger.

I have heard that when persons are trained to detect counterfeit currency, they do not study phony money but the real thing. If they know the real currency, they will recognize the false when it comes before them.

Because believers know the true Christ they can recognize his voice and reject that which is not his voice.

I have heard some lament those who profess faith and then leave it for a false belief—like Mormonism. The problem is poor evangelism. Such persons were never actually converted. They never truly knew the voice of Christ, or they would have known and rejected the voice of the stranger.

Consider the discipline known as apologetics. They key is not necessarily knowing everything about every religion or religious group out there but about knowing Christ.
I read sometime back the memoir of Charles Marsh, longtime Brethren missionary to Northern Africa, who noted that some of his fellow missionaries made the mistake in evangelizing Muslims of thinking that they must first explain Islam to them. In so doing, they inadvertently become teachers of that religion, rather than Christianity. No, Marsh said, we must focus on explaining Christ to them.

The elect will not abandon Christ, but false professors will. The sheep will hear the voice of their shepherd in Christ, and they will turn away from the voice of the stranger.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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