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Saved – and KEPT by Christ. John 10:22-30


Kept and Defended by Christ

Text: John 10:22-30   

In this study, we learn that when you have been rescued from your sin, by our Lord Jesus Christ, it is Christ Himself who calls you, brings you into his flock, and like a shepherd guards the flock, watches over you, until you arrive safely in heaven. 

Jesus holds you in the palm of his hand, and his hold on you is so strong that he will never let you go, and no-one can wrest you from his grip. At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

Heidelberg Catechism LD19 Q51, How does the glory of Christ, our Head, benefit us? A. First, by his Holy Spirit he pours out heavenly gifts upon us, his members.  Second, by his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies.

  • See WHEN this happened. It was the winter ‘Feast of Dedication.’ it later became known as ‘the feast of Lights’ or Hanukkah, – celebrated by Jewish people even today, – every December. So, as John records, the weather was wintery and Jesus and his disciples were sheltering in Solomon’s porch.
  • See WHERE this happened. Solomon’s Porch, –  We are told here that Jesus was walking in the colonnade, – it s highly likely that he was teaching, and that these Jews were listening to him instructing his disciples, when they approached Him. This place later became a meeting place for Christians (Acts 3:11; 5:12).

So, our teaching from Jesus has a historical component, which adds to its authority and authenticity.  

1 The Lord’s Sheep. …v27, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

So now we get to our text, and Jesus uses a very familiar analogy to teach about the safety of those who follow him. He likens them to ‘sheep.’

  • Jesus has followers – he refers to them as ‘sheep.’ Jesus likened his followers to sheep because in an agricultural society like Israel, everyone knew what a sheep was and how it behaved. So he talks in this passage about those who are his sheep and those who are not his sheep. Later in his ministry he’s a lot more direct READ Matthew 25:32-33  Now he talks then about sheep and goats – two distinct species. There’s a kind of a sub-group too. Not only are there sheep, but there are ‘lost sheep.’ READ Luke 15:4-6  A baby goat doesn’t ever decide to change itself into a sheep! A goat is a goat is a goat! Jesus has sheep, who are his, and lost sheep, who he will rescue, who will be his.
  • When Jesus speaks – his sheep understand. The eastern shepherd spoke to his sheep, and they heard his voice, and he could call them to him. Jesus has sheep who are lost! People who are his, who have been chosen by God from all of eternity, from before the foundation of the world, – predestined if you like, to come to him and to be saved. READ John 15:16  That’s why we speak of the irresistible call of God’s grace, the ‘effectual call.’ His sheep hear his voice, and thy come to him. He calls us by his word, applied by the Holy Spirit. 
  • Jesus knows who these people are. Here’s great truth – God knows who are his – not only those who are already in the fold, but those who are still lost, still wandering in the hills and deserts of hopelessness. 
  • Those who are his follow him. A sheep in Israel wasn’t driven along by a dog, or a farmer on a four-by-four quad, the shepherd walked, and the flock followed behind.  We are FOLLOWERS of Jesus.

There is a great challenge for us too – in this passage. Jesus is searching for his lost sheep. I wonder do you have Christ as your shepherd? I wonder do you know his grace, his forgiveness? Perhaps today this is becoming apparent to you – that you are a sinner, who has rejected and rebelled against God, and you are gradually learning that Christ has died for your sins, taken your punishment upon himself, the just for the unjust. Perhaps God is calling you too, to come to Christ and trust him for your eternal salvation? If so, simply believe and repent and be saved!

2 The Security of the Sheep-FoldV27-28  

So, we have established that we are Christ’s, and that we have been chosen in him from before the foundation of the world. We are his, – his purchased possession, for we are bought with a price, for the Good Shepherd has laid down his life for his sheep.   Because he has chosen us, and we are his, we are safe in the shepherd’s care. Let’s see why…

  1. Because we already have ETERNAL life. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; and yet we WILL have eternal life. Look carefully at the text. “I give them eternal life” is PRESENT TENSE. It is happening right now, yet “they SHALL never perish” look ahead to the future. There is a continuity, for the Christian, from this life into eternity, We shall never perish!  And of course there is the wonderful prospect of the return of Christ and the general resurrection of the dead, and a glorious new body for the believer.
  2. Because of the tightness of Christ’s grip. neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. Many foes will try to pluck us from Christ’s hand – the devil doing his evil work, wanting to kill the souls of believers and drag them into the lake of fire, with himself and his minions. And perhaps even my own heart – my greatest enemy.  Yet we are held fast. I imagine that sometimes the tension may be painful! It can’t be pleasant being pulled and hauled, while being held fast. But let us be assured that if for one minute Christ was to slacken his grip upon us we would be eternally damned.  
  3. Because of the great power of God. 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.  Ultimately the power that holds us in the hands of the Lord Jesus is that power of God that created and sustains the universe, the power that overshadowed the Virgin Mary, the power that resurrected Jesus from death, and raised him to glory, and seated him at God’s right hand.   There is NOTHING that God can’t do! There is NOTHING that is too difficult for him. He chooses you and redeems you and saves you and he keeps you safe in his care.

So, what have we learned? That God has his people, people that he has chosen to be his from before the foundation of the world, people for whom Jesus died on the cross. He actively rescues them from their sin and gives then new life that is eternal. But he does not choose his people and then change his mind and let them slip away. He keeps them, until the day when they are no longer in danger, when they are with him forever in the new heaven  and earth.

© Bob McEvoy

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