Gospel: John 10:22-30
Epistle: Revelation 7:9-11
Lesson: Acts 20:17-35
Psalm: Psalm 23
CLB Commentary – Rev. Omar Gjerness
Preachers often take on part of a suggested text and preach on it. This can easily be done with this text in the following three ways.
First, you can approach it with the claim of Jesus to be Messiah and to be God. If I were to take it from this section of this text, I would bring in the evidence of His deity and His claims. C.S. Lewis said you are left with one of three conclusions.
- He was mad (see John 10:21)
- He is a liar and deceiver
- He is God.
Take note than when John the Baptist was in jail and having doubts he sent to Jesus to ask for confirmation and Jesus used the same argument he uses in verse 25. John’s gospel also ends with this approach in John 21:25.
A speaker at a Fergus Falls prayer breakfast defined faith as “believing in something for which there is no proof.” A faulty definition. Josh McDowell wrote “Evidence that demands a verdict.” If you take this approach you will want to take note of the many attempts in America at the present to eradicate faith from the earth.
Second, you can approach this from a doctrinal viewpoint and speak about Eternal Security. This is one of the proof texts for those who believe in Eternal Security. Lutherans do not accept Eternal Security (Augsburg confession article XII ) If you have my book “Answers for Today, there are 6 articles on the subject 46-49 Also in Volume 2, 21-22
The third way, if you divide the text, is to preach on the Shepherd and Sheep theme.
I Think it is always stronger if you find a way to integrate the text. How can we pull these varied themes together?
I would start with the approach of the Shepherd and Sheep. This chapter in John starts with a beautiful sermon by Jesus on the Sheep and Shepherd. First of all, let us look at the Shepherd. He is the door (10:7).
In the N.Y. museum of natural history it shows a sheepfold. In a cliff above there is a mounted cougar looking at the sheep fold. There is no gate. The shepherd would lie in the opening when the sheep were in the fold. For a predator to take a victim from the fold would require walking over the body of the shepherd, who is the door. And we enter by the door.
The sheep belong to the shepherd. He loves us enough to give his life for us. And there are “wolves” (vs 13). The “wolves” are seen in this text, and this is also an opportunity to discuss the “anti religion” spirit of the age
You might want to add other applications to the relationship between Sheep and Shepherd. I believe you would be remiss if you didn’t deal with the issue of eternal security in this text. Consistent Calvinism teaches that true faith can’t be lost. It holds that even enormous sins cannot destroy spiritual life. We believe God protects us in faith, but if you fall away from faith you do it by rejection of God’s word and returning to the world.
This text tells us that no one can remove us from Grace. It does not say we cannot leave. There are six chapters in Hebrews that warn against backsliding and the book was written to people who were reverting from Christianity to Judaism. Look up Galatians 5:4; John 15;4-6; Romans 8:13, 11:19-22; 1 Timothy 1:19, 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:10.
Eternal Security believers accept the fact that there are many who once confessed faith and no longer walk with God. They explain it in two ways.
- They were never really saved.
- They still are Christians but not very sanctified.
One problem exists with the doctrine of infant baptism. If children become Christians in baptism, why is it necessary for them to come to personal faith if they are eternally secure? And sadly, even in the Lutheran church there are some who lean in this direction. But “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” “He that believeth not is damned.” But this is also a problem for the Baptist believer. They teach that a child is “under grace” until “the age of accountability.”
If they are “eternally secure” why is it necessary for them to accept Christ as savior? They also are taught “once a child always a child.” If this cliché is true, how can a child of Satan ever become a child of God?
May the Lord warm your own heart as you ponder this text and make you a blessing as you proclaim the Word.
Rev. Omar Gjerness