Morning Bible Study
Play “A Very
Special Daddy” clip for Father’s Day
Last week we saw Jesus use a story to explain why some believed in Him and
The people were
like several flocks of sheep spending the night in the same sheepfold.
When He, Jesus,
the Good Shepherd, comes along and calls out, the sheep that are His are the
ones that respond and follow Him.
We now get our first jump in time, a couple of months later.
:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
:22 Feast of
We call this the Feast of “Hanukkah” today, it celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus
over Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BC. It
is celebrated in December.
:23 And Jesus
walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
:23 Solomon’s porch
– located in the outer
court, the “Court of the Gentiles.
On the eastern edge of the Temple Mount was a covered area, a roof held up by columns. See Pictures.
:24 Then the
Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You
are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
– literally, “until when do you lift up our soul?”
– parrhesia – freedom in speaking; openly,
without concealment; without the use of figures and comparisons
They make it sound as if Jesus has not been very clear as to who He was.
Last Thursday we watched “The Gospel of John”, the first ten chapters. One thing that hit me over and over again in
thinking about this particular verse today – Jesus was actually quite clear as
to who He was.
We saw back in John 8, Jesus said,
(Jn 8:58 NKJV) …“Most assuredly, I say to
you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Some of you might find that a little difficult to understand. But the Jews knew exactly what He was saying. He was claiming to be the “I AM”. He was claiming to be God.
And they picked up stones to throw at Him because of it.
The people around Jesus knew who He was.
When Andrew first told his brother Peter about Jesus, he said,
(Jn 1:41 NKJV) …“We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).
Nathanael realized who Jesus was:
(Jn 1:49 NKJV) …“Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
The Samaritan woman found out:
(Jn 4:25–26 NKJV) —25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who
is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I
who speak to you am He.”
The healed blind man also found out:
(Jn 9:35–38 NKJV) —35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had
found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said,
“Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him
and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he
Along with the clear claims of being God’s Messiah, Jesus also made it
clear what people needed to do. They
needed to believe in Him.
(Jn 5:24 NKJV) —24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and
believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into
judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Some people really just don’t want to know the truth, despite what they
:25 Jesus answered
them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s
name, they bear witness of Me.
Rather than just repeating Himself, Jesus points to something that should
have been obvious, the works or “miracles” that He had done.
Jesus do all sorts of miracles like turning water into wine (John 2), healing
the nobleman’s son in Capernaum (John 4), feeding the five thousand (John 6),
and walking on water (John 6).
that John recorded Jesus doing specifically in Jerusalem included:
The lame man at
the pool of Bethesda (John 5)
The man born
blind (John 9)
The man who had been blind said it best:
(Jn 9:33 NKJV)
If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
:26 But you do not
believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
From the human
standpoint, we become Jesus’ “sheep” by believing in Him.
heavenly standpoint, we believe because we are His sheep.
Does it make sense? Not really. It’s a “God” thing.
Charles Spurgeon used to describe it this way: In heaven there’s a big sign hanging over the gates of heaven
that reads: “Whosoever will, come”. But once you pass through the gates, if you turn around and look
back you will see
another sign on the inside of the gates that reads, “Chosen before the
foundation of the world”.
From this side of heaven, all we can see is the truth that we must choose
to believe in order to be saved.
From Heaven’s side of eternity, we will look back and realize that God had
chosen us all along.
Some people like to emphasize the fact that we choose to believe, others
like to emphasize the fact that God has chosen us.
I’d rather teach the fact that the Bible says that both are true, even if I
have a hard time understanding how they can both be true.
How do I know if I’ve been “chosen” by God?
How do I know if I’m one of God’s “sheep”? By choosing to believe in Jesus.
:27 My sheep
hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
:27 hear My voice
Last week we talked about the relationship between a shepherd and his
Jesus’ day knew their sheep. They had
names for each of their sheep. The sheep
knew the voice of their shepherd.
Sometimes several different flocks would share the same enclosure at
night for protection, but in the daytime all the shepherd had to do was to call
to his flock, and they would separate themselves from the other flocks to
follow their shepherd.
Jesus is saying that these people who are challenging Him and who do not
believe in Him are simply showing that they are not from His flock.
Hearing His Voice
The word “hear” is a “present tense”.
It speaks of hearing “now”. Not
just hearing ten years ago, but a living, active “hearing”, now.
The people in the Bible were people who often claimed that God was speaking
(Ac 13:2 NKJV) As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to
which I have called them.”
Here are some ideas that have helped me as I’m learning to hear the voice
Sometimes the greatest hindrance to hearing God is the
fact that it’s too noisy around you.
I think that I’m starting to lose my hearing. Perhaps it’s from playing in a band all these
when I’m in a restaurant with someone, it’s really, really hard to hear what
they’re saying with all the noise going on.
you just have to go outside where it’s quiet to finish a conversation.
Jesus sets the example for us:
(Mk 1:35 NKJV) —35 Now in the morning,
having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a
solitary place; and there He prayed.
If you want to grow in hearing the voice of the Lord,
perhaps you need to find a place that’s quiet.
Maybe just learn to turn the TV off for a few minutes.
Get familiar with God’s voice.
The sheep know the voice of their Shepherd because they
spend so much time with Him. We saw a
few weeks ago:
(Jn 10:4 NKJV) —4 And when he brings out
his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the real thing from the
you know the sound of Sylvester Stallone’s voice (Rocky? Rambo?)?
to “Stallone Fake Dark”. Was that the
real Sylvester Stallone? Play “Stallone Fake
How about this one? Listen to “Stallone Real Dark”. How many of you think that was the real
one? Play “Stallone Real Full”.
you know the voice of Morgan Freeman?
He’s the guy who played “God” in the movie “Bruce
Almighty”. Play “Bruce” clip.
How about this?
Does this sound like God? Listen to “Morgan Freeman
Fake Dark”. Was that the real Morgan
Freeman? Play “Morgan Freeman Fake Full”
it’s hard to tell God’s voice from all the others. It seems that some people are quite good at
doing “God” imitations.
Satan is quite good at it.
Some people would like me to think they are God.
Sometimes I can do a pretty good impression myself – I can
talk myself into pretty much anything.
If we want to be able to tell God’s voice apart from the
rest, we need to become familiar with His voice!
There are some people that I recognize on the phone right
For the most part they are people that I have spent a lot
of time with, especially when I’ve spent lots of time on the phone with them.
There are others that I would also probably recognize
right away too.
Chuck called me up on the phone, I’d probably recognize him right away, even
though he’s never spoken to me on the phone, and I’m not sure he’d recognize my
I’ve listened to a few hours of his tapes and radio
programs, and know the sound of his voice.
I find it amazing when I call a person’s house, that
people who go to our church recognize my voice, even though I barely know them.
When I spend time in God’s Word, sometimes God will use it
to speak directly to my heart.
Sometimes it’s just kind of like listening to a CD – it
might not be “live”, but it helps me learn the sound of His voice.
But either way, as I stay diligent to read God’s Word, I
find that I’m becoming more and more acquainted with God’s voice.
And when He does speak, I’m more likely to recognize it!
It’s not just hearing the voice of Jesus that counts.
Even the Pharisees “heard” His voice to some extent.
The question is, will I do what God says?
(Mt 21:28–31 The Message) —28 “Tell me what you think of this story: A man had
two sons. He went up to the first and said, ‘Son, go out for the day and work
in the vineyard.’ 29 “The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ Later on he thought
better of it and went. 30 “The father gave the same command to the second son.
He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. 31 “Which of the two sons did
what the father asked?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell
you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom.
What really shows a sheep who his shepherd is is determined by whose voice
That’s one way we can know whether or not we’re a real Christian – are we
actually following Him?
Zac Levi, the star of the NBC spy comedy Chuck, playing the role of
an average guy whose life gets turned upside-down as a government spy is not
much different than suddenly becoming the star of a TV show. “Just as Chuck was
struggling through the newfound world of spydom, I was struggling with a
newfound world of celebrity.” But despite his near-celebrity status and the
unique pressures and temptations that come with life in Hollywood, Chuck’s
alter-ego is grounded in his faith, family, and an intimate church community.
The key, Levi says, is to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit in whatever
you say and do. “If you’re someone who puts their faith in Jesus, then trust
him in being led. To me, it’s not rocket science. Go about your day putting
your faith in God and standing on truth. It’s pretty easy: are you a jerk or
not? Are you doing things to benefit you or others? Are you available to be
part of the solution and not the problem? Walk in love and that opens some
doors of dialogue. How about just starting to talk and see where it goes? I don’t
think there’s any clock on it—your life is God’s, so let him do as he wills
Grand Rapids, Michigan; source: Carl Kozlowski, "The Life and Faith of
'Chuck' Star Zac Levi," Relevant magazine.com (January/February 2010)
:28 And I give
them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch
them out of My hand.
:28 snatch them
– harpazo – to seize, carry off by
force; to snatch out or away
Jesus has such a good grip, that nothing can take us out of His hands.
:29 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.
:30 I and My Father are one.”
He has just said that He and the Father both had the same capability – no
one can snatch us from either of their hands.
In verse 24, the Jews had asked Jesus to tell them plainly who He was. He does.
We will talk much about this verse next week…
:29 no one is able
to snatch them out of My Father’s hand
But before I talk about true security, I want to first deal with the wrong
kind of security.
There will be some folks who will take promises like these and abuse them
to the point where they might think that now they have “prayed the prayer”, they
now have “fire insurance”, and they can go off and live whatever kind of life
they want and in the end they will be in heaven.
Vernon McGee: “I believe in the
eternal security of the believer and in the insecurity of the make-believer”
These verses deal with the safety from outside threats. No outside force can come in and dislodge you
from being part of God’s flock.
The danger still exists from inside threats, things that we do.
There is an awesome wall of protection around you from outside predators.
But there is no chain around your neck keeping you in the
Sheep tend to wander off.
They get lost.
There is danger
Not staying with Jesus.
(Jn 15:5–6 NKJV) —5 “I am the vine, you are
the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without
Me you can do nothing. 6
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is
withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are
“Abiding” simply means to “remain”. Stay connected to Jesus. It’s not safe to stop being connected to
Not stopping the “practice” of sin.
(Ga 5:19–21 NKJV) —19 Now the works of the
flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery,
hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,
dissensions, heresies, 21
envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you
beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom
Don’t misunderstand me.
A Christian is not a person who is perfect. A Christian is not someone who has none of
these qualities. But a Christian is one
whose life is continually (even if slowly) moving away from these things.
Is this “salvation by works”?
Not at all. My salvation is bought
and paid for by what Jesus did on the cross.
I still only need to trust in Him to find salvation.
But I do need to be sure that I’m staying “in the
fold”. It doesn’t take work to stay
close to Jesus.
I need to be sure that I’m staying close to Jesus.
Is it possible for a person to cross the line from being a backslidden
Christian to actually losing their salvation?
There are some who would say that they simply were never saved to begin
I’m okay with that.
But I’m not sure it goes quite far enough.
If your life is looking like some of these warning scriptures, it’s time to
God does not want you living a life of anxiety, wondering if you are safe or
A father writes, “During a recent visit to the zoo with my daughter and
grandchildren, we visited the orangutan exhibit. The only thing separating us from these
awesome creatures that possess the strength of at least five men were panes of thick glass,
each 20-feet tall. My two-year-old grandson, Trevor, was amused at first by the
orangutans’ antics. Then one of the hairy beasts suddenly began to beat on the glass. Trevor leapt
into the arms of his mother, crying, “I scared! I scared!” His mother tenderly
took him, placed his little hand on the glass, and showed him that the glass shielded him from
the animal, so there was nothing to fear. Afterwards, any time Trevor seemed
uncertain, his mom would simply say, “Remember the glass.”
Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky
The early church faced the constant threat of persecution. They were like the two year old facing a
giant orangutan. They faced constant
threats to their safety, and when you are faced with that kind of threat over
the fact that you believe in Jesus, do you think that Jesus will really save
the pastor of the church in Antioch around 100AD. He would be put to death for his faith by
being eaten by wild animals. He wrote,
“Come fire and
cross and grapplings with wild beasts, cuttings and manglings, wrenching of
bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body, come cruel tortures of the
devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ.”
Ignatius knew that he would make it safely to heaven.
(Ro 8:35–39 NKJV) —35 Who shall separate us
from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed
all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these
things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded
that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor
things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be
able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
the glass. If you believe in Jesus, then
you are safe.