John 10:22-30

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 20, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Play “A Very Special Daddy” clip for Father’s Day

We have just spent chapters 7-10 in a single time spot, the Feast of Tabernacles, six months before Jesus would die.

We saw Jesus stirring up greater and greater controversy, making fantastic claims like, “If you believe in Me, you’ll have eternal life”.

We’ve seen how some people respond by believing in Jesus, some respond by rejecting Him.

Last week we saw Jesus use a story to explain why some believed in Him and others didn’t:

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.

:22-30 The Real Flock

:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.

:22 Feast of Dedication

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.

In 168 BC the Jews were being ruled by the Greek Antiochus Epiphanes.  Antiochus sacrificed a pig to the god Zeus in the temple in Jerusalem, desecrating the Temple.

Judas Maccabeus led a revolt against the Greeks, got the Temple back, cleansed it, and set it up again for the worship of God. (165 BC)

Judas Maccabeus set up an eight day, annual feast to remember the event.

It was to occur every year on the 25th day of the ninth Jewish month of Chislev, which would put it in our month of December.

Today, the Jews celebrate the Feast of “Hanukkah” 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.”

:24 surroundedkukloo – to go around; to surround, encircle, to close in on

:24 How long to You keep us in doubt? – literally, “until when do you lift up our soul?

:24 plainly – 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 worshiped Him.

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.

(Jn 8:24 NKJV) —24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Some people really just don’t want to know the truth, despite what they say.

: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.

We’ve seen 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).

The miracles 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.

From the 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 … follow

Last week we talked about the relationship between a shepherd and his flock.

Shepherds in 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 to them.
(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 of God:
1.  Quiet

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 years.

Sometimes 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.

Sometimes 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.

2.  Familiarity

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.

The sheep will not respond to a stranger’s voice, but only their shepherd’s voice.


Sometimes it’s hard to tell the real thing from the imitation

Do you know the sound of Sylvester Stallone’s voice (Rocky? Rambo?)?

Listen to “Stallone Fake Dark”.  Was that the real Sylvester Stallone?  Play “Stallone Fake Full”.

How about this one? Listen to “Stallone Real Dark”.  How many of you think that was the real one?  Play “Stallone Real Full”.

Do 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”

Sometimes 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 away.

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.

If Pastor 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 voice.

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!


Following Him

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?  Jesus said,
(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 he follows.
J.Vernon McGee:  “The brand of ownership on the sheep is obedience”
That’s one way we can know whether or not we’re a real Christian – are we actually following Him?
According to 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 with it.”

Rich Tatum, Grand Rapids, Michigan; source: Carl Kozlowski, "The Life and Faith of 'Chuck' Star Zac Levi," Relevant (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 give themdidomi – to give; to bestow a gift

Eternal life isn’t something that the sheep have earned.  It’s something that the Good Shepherd has “given” to them.

Paul said,

(Eph 2:8 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

:28 never perishapollumi – to destroy; to give over to eternal misery in hell; to be lost

Literally, “shall not perish unto eternity

This is the same word Jesus used in:

(Jn 10:10 NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

:28 snatch themharpazo – 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.”

I and the Father, we 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


False Security

Verses 28 & 29 can provide a huge sense of security when we find ourselves going through difficult times.
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.

There is a problem with that kind of thinking.  This is not what Jesus had in mind when He said we must believe in Him.

J. 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 fold.

Sheep tend to wander off.  They get lost.

Nobody can take us from His hand, but sometimes I wonder if the danger we face is that we might be able to walk away.
There is danger with:
Not staying with Jesus.

(Heb 3:12–14 NKJV) —12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

We are to hold on to our confidence in Christ.

(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 burned.

“Abiding” simply means to “remain”.  Stay connected to Jesus.  It’s not safe to stop being connected to Jesus.

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 of God.

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.

(Mt 7:22–23 NKJV) —22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Jesus speaks of people being able to even perform miracles in His name, but they won’t make it.  Why?  Because they “practice lawlessness”.

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 with.

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 turn around.

When does a person cross that line from being a backslidden Christian to losing their salvation?

I’m not sure.  I’m not their judge.  But why would a person want to ever risk getting close to stepping over that line?  How about staying as far from that line as possible?


True Security

God does not want you living a life of anxiety, wondering if you are safe or not.
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 you?
Ignatius was 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.
Paul wrote,
(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.

Remember the glass.  If you believe in Jesus, then you are safe.