11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Jesus explains what a good Shepherd is.
Every time that John gives me a ‘verily, verily’ I need to pay close attention to what Jesus is saying. He says: “I am the gate for the sheep.” Notice His comment about the gate: He is the gate, and later He tells us that he who comes in by another way is not one of His sheep. There are many false teachers who do somehow seem to get in the sheepfold; the sheep should know His voice and follow Him. We see a lot of popular TV preachers, not, I am afraid, unlike the TV evangelists of the 80s that got exposed as fraudulent. Some of today’s TV preachers are fraudulent, and each one should be tested to see whether they follow the Word or not.
Thank God for Billy Graham. His marks of humility, and unwillingness for any to besmirch his reputation led him to avoid all gloss and glitter, and to walk circumspectly so to avoid getting the wrong reputation. Those who are following God should likewise be marked by the same humility. Christianity is marked singularly by its fundamental allegiance to the Bible, and it is only against the template of the Word that I will be able to discern those who are truly His sheep. When I look at the church today, part of what I find so appalling is the lack of dependence on Scripture. People simply are not reading their Bibles. This morning I watched a short movie offered by my pastor, telling of a tribe of people who were receiving Bibles for the first time in their own tongue. Many in the tribe were simply overwhelmed to the point of tears gushing down their cheeks, weeping for the privilege of having God’s word. Many of the older saints had spent their lives memorizing, not verses, but entire chapters of the Word of God. When I compare that to America, where we average many Bibles per household, but where I see so little allegiance or knowledge of the Word, it frightens me for the next generation. Without God’s Word acting as our signposts we will follow any of the many thieves that break in to steal and destroy.
There are some encouraging signs that I see. I see my children eagerly following God, and carrying along others of their age groups along with them. I see my children’s children growing and caring about the things of God, and many others of their age groups along with them. But I am mindful of what I have been taught: that we are but one generation from extinction, that if we older folks do not successfully pass along the traditions that we were supposed to, that we will not see America holding to its spiritual truths at all.
I think of my father’s generation; the great generation that gave the sacrifice of their lives for my freedom, but I think today’s children, growing up, do not appreciate at all. My father essentially followed the Christian code of right and wrong, and tried hard to pass those thoughts along to me. But the problem was that my father did not know Christ, and thus the principles he tried so hard to impart to me, became principles that I questioned. When I was saved as a young man, one of the pieces of life’s puzzle which dropped into place, was that God has ordered our lives, and that as we follow Him, we breed prosperity for ourselves and our country.
I see a great need for today’s generation to be brought back to the Bible. I see a great need for us to pull closely to Christ, to be changed by His Spirit, to be transformed by the renewing of His Word to us. My prayer is for revival, that the Mighty Spirit of God may rekindle His flame in us, that we may yet live to see another great awakening for America.
Revive Us Again
1. We praise Thee, O God, for the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died and is now gone above.
2. We praise Thee, O God, for Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior and scattered our night.
3. All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins and hath cleansed ev'ry stain.
4. Revive us again fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah, Thine the glory!
Hallelujah, Thine the glory!
Revive us again.
Lyrics: William Paton Mackay
Music: John Jenkins Husband