Sermon: Saved and Kept by God John 10:22-29

John Banner website_edited-1Saved and Kept by God
John 10:22-29

Primary Truth Taught- God always takes the initiative in salvation and once saved He eternally keeps His own.

Introduction

This morning’s text is simple and clear and basically goes against everything the modern church teaches about Jesus and salvation. The church in our day is man-centered placing everything in our control. In the theology of the day we are sovereign and in control. We call the shots, we decide. The gospel, cross, our Lord’s life and resurrection came about to offer us a choice. It’s up to us to accept the offer or reject it.

That’s not what the Bible teaches. That’s not what this morning’s text teaches. God is sovereign not us. He calls the shots not us. His gospel does not present something and then we choose, but rather actually saves.
In this and other passages like this we must ask ourselves a question: what happens when the Bible teaches something different than I’m used to or different from something I’ve always heard? Where does my allegiance lie, is it with God or in what I think is right?

Human Need Met

We have the great need today to believe and submit to our Lord and His teaching over what we think and reason to be true. Not only submit to but praise Him for it. The theme that salvation is of the Lord should excite us to the point of praise.

John 10:22–29 (ESV)

22 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. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

  1. The Reason for Unbelief
    22 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. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

Back in verse 6 John tells us that the analogy Jesus told the Pharisees was a figure of speech. In other words we would probably call it a parable. Parables reveal meaning to God’s people and hide meaning from those who are not His people. In this case, it opened meaning of who Jesus is to His followers but hid meaning from those who were not His sheep.

So we see in this section that they are demanding that Jesus just come right out and tell them.
What is our Lord’s response to them…25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. I told you in my parable and because you’re not My sheep you did not understand. They didn’t get the meaning of His story because they could not understand. They are still dead in their trespasses and sins. There is no spiritual life in them. They cannot understand because they are not part of Jesus’ fold.

Our Lord went on to tell them that they didn’t even get His works. Jesus did miracles in His Father’s name to prove that He is the Messiah, the Christ and they didn’t get it.

We must see today that there is a supernatural step that must take place if we are going to believe that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah. God has to cause life to happen within us before we can believe appropriately.

Jesus tells a parable about sheep hearing their shepherd’s call and following Him. So the connection is we must hear our Good Shepherd’s call and then follow Him just like the sheep followed the shepherd.

Do you see how when they keep asking Jesus to tell them plainly that they are exhibiting the fact that they are not of His sheep fold?

So, Jesus said things only the Messiah was to say and did things only the Messiah could do and they were still left scratching their heads…they didn’t get it.
Parables work in two ways at the same time.

Matthew 13:10–17 (ESV)

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

       “ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand,

and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

15    For this people’s heart has grown dull,

and with their ears they can barely hear,

and their eyes they have closed,

       lest they should see with their eyes

and hear with their ears

       and understand with their heart

and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

For those who belong to Jesus parables are stories that picture spiritual truth. For those who are not Christ’s they hide// spiritual truth.

If today, you see this truth then you are not like the Pharisees who needed Jesus to speak in yes or no ways. If you understand the sheep and shepherd parable then your eyes have been open and you belong to Jesus. When we hear His voice through the Word of God we follow.

The reality is that these Pharisees could not understand but His disciples did.

26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

Do you see that believing is a result of being one of Jesus’ sheep, it’s not how we get to be one. They didn’t believe which was the result of them not being one of His followers. God always works first then we believe. He opens hearts, gives faith then we believe.

Jesus does more than just tell a story; His works are also showing who He is. Works alone would be unclear. When works and words are connected then everything is clarified and authenticated.

  1. The Reason We are Eternally Secure

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

To Jesus’ followers, we hear Him. We can make the connection between what He says and His Messiahship. We see the works He does and it clicks. We have the supernatural piece that makes the connection for us because the Holy Spirit has given us life and now we can see and hear and believe.
Notice this amazing truth…If you get it and believe it’s because you are His. Again see that as Jesus’ sheep, we didn’t hear His voice and follow to become one of His but it’s because we are His that we hear and follow.
If you are following Christ today, praise His name because that is the proof that you are His.
How does God love those who are following His Son? Jesus says, I give them eternal life and they will never perish.
The contrast here is what John wants us to get…
First, those who are not Jesus’ sheep in the story or followers in real life cannot hear, understand or believe. The reason is given clearly by Jesus…they are not His sheep. So, on the one hand we see the total inability of mankind apart from God’s work to bring us to life. If God does not first work, no one can come to Christ…
John 6:44 (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Then Jesus repeats the same saying a few verses later in 6:65. Here is a case study in what those look like who cannot come to Jesus. Their interest in Jesus is simply to catch Him in something so they can kill Him.
Second, Those who are His followers cannot stop belonging to Him. Let’s trace this dynamic for a moment. Jesus says that He knows His followers. Notice, He does not say that His followers know Him, although that is assumed in the context. The stress Jesus places on knowing is that He knows His followers. This knowing is a very important piece of the puzzle. You see Jesus knows us as His followers from eternity past. Before we were ever created He already knew us. God’s knowing us is not simply that He knew of us or was acquainted with us but loved us even before we were ever created.
Here’s what it looks like to be loved and known by God…
Ephesians 1:3–14 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Oh, what blessing and gifts of grace God has lavished upon us as His people.
All this is not offered but given. In other words, just as impossible as it is for a non-follower to hear and respond to the gospel, it is just as impossible for His people to not receive what God gives.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

We are given eternal life not offered eternal life. An offer can be refused there is no refusing what God gives. God gives eternal life to all Jesus’ followers.
I’ve heard people say things like well it is true that God gives us a gift but at the same time we have to reach out and accept it. That is NOT what is going on here. How can a dead sinner reach out his hand to accept the gift of eternal life. Either you are a non-follower and eternally dead or you are a follower and eternally alive. There is nothing in between and nothing we do. God does it all.
Not only are we given eternal life but this eternal life is guaranteed to never end. We cannot die spiritually. It is an impossibility for a follower (one of Jesus’ sheep) to ever stop being one of His sheep. We are eternally secure.
There are two impossibilities here. Those who are not His sheep will never come to Him, in fact, they cannot and the other impossibility is for one of His sheep to ever stop being one of His sheep. We are secured within the Trinity…
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

The focus here is not so much on eternal life being eternal…which it is but on the power of God to keep all who are His. To put it in simple terms, no one can steal from God. No one can jump the sheep pen and carry off one of God’s sheep.
Colossians 3:3 (ESV)

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

According to Jesus, no one can snatch us out of the sheepfold. Remember back to the parable? Jesus tells us that the robber and thief come and try to snatch us out of the sheep pen, but we learn here that they are always unsuccessful because of the power of God. Our Lord declares that no one can snatch us out of His hand. But look closely and read carefully. He says that God has given us to Jesus and no one can snatch us out of God’s hand. How can God the Father give us to God the Son and we still be in the hands of both?
30 I and the Father are one.”
Everything Jesus does is dependent on His Father.
Application
What we have in this passage is Jesus’ promise to all who truly believe that He is the Christ the Son of God. All who believe will be kept by the power of God for all eternity. Our future is completely secure.
The great thing about eternal life is that it has already begun. We don’t need to wait for it to begin, if you are in Christ, it has already started. You do not need to worry about it, work for it or even question or wonder…if you believe you have been given eternal life by God.
Sometimes we struggle in this world and we may feel that we don’t have eternal life. You may feel that we right now. Remember, it’s not a feeling but belief. The question to ask yourself when you’re feeling like you are not in possession of eternal life is this: Right now am I believing Jesus is the Christ the Son of God?
John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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