23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
There is no “middle” ground as far as Jesus is concerned; there are only those who keep the sayings of Jesus, believing in Him, or there are those are following the prince of this world, hearing not the words of God.
“My sheep hear my voice and come to me.” I have often thought of the analogy of the stockyard filtering cattle through it. As I understand it there are chutes of narrow fencing that the cattle go through on their way to the stockyard. I imagine that there are two chutes; one a chute of life and happiness, the other a chute for destruction and death. There is a common chute through which all cattle have to go—to the left is the chute of destruction, and to the right is the chute of life. Imagine that the common chute has pictures advertising the coming choice; cattle may turn to either chute, but the advertising along the way clearly tries to tell the cattle of the very different choices.
On the one side you have a skull and cross bones sign, with perhaps lots of fast food signs indicating what the left side will bring. On the other side you have pictures of beautiful green pastures with lots of hay on the ends of the fields. Further on this side is the Good Shepherd calling to those cattle. Most ignore His voice, and end their lives in violent judgment; a few hear the voice of the Shepherd, and instinctively turn to follow it, that they might find the Shepherd and finding Him, find life.
There is no middle ground; some of the cattle seem to hear the Shepherd’s voice, but do not turn from the “wicked way”. Others seem oblivious to His voice, and continue blindly to their desserts. But there are only two choices; all really is black and white, saved or unsaved, lost or found. That is not as I see the world and perhaps I am not meant yet to see it that way. I see good and bad in most of us—even those that have become saints often struggle against sin (as I do) unsuccessfully. Certainly I see different degrees of “badness” in the evil world about me—some of the horrific deeds that plaster our headlines so often tell me of the tragedy of the human heart gone wrong.
But at the base of it all there is right and wrong; people choose life or death, and there is nothing in the middle. Either you follow Jesus, or you follow the prince of this world. Today it is not fashionable to even mention evil, let alone the name of Satan. All is tolerated, and tolerated in what I think is the very wrong sense—it is embraced as a valid alternative lifestyle. The more people accept evil without condemnation, the more civilized they are thought to be. Nothing could be further from the gospel. Make no mistake, as Jesus loved the world, so I am supposed to follow His example. The responsibility for carrying the Word of God is mine, and surely it amounts to madness that my God should trust me to carry it. But He does, it is not madness, it is His very plan, and the Scripture says, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Cor. 1:21) Our attitude should be that which is given in the book of Jude, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
Did you read that last? Toleration of the world for saints is never approval of sinful lifestyles. We should not follow the wise men of our times, who tell us there is no right and wrong, there is only right and wrong for you. The Bible stands in the chute today telling us to turn towards life, and in the turning to repudiate every deviant lifestyle, even while showing mercy and love. A very high calling indeed.
Make Me a Channel of Blessing
1. Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is the love of God flowing through you?
Are you telling the lost of the Savior?
Are you ready His service to do?
2. Is your life a channel of blessing?
Are you burdened for those that are lost?
Have you urged upon those who are straying,
The Savior Who died on the cross?
3. Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is it a daily telling for Him?
Have you spoken the Word of salvation
To those who are dying in sin?
4. We cannot be channels of blessing
If our lives are not free from known sin;
We will barriers be and a hindrance
To those we are trying to win.
Make me a channel of blessing today,
Make me a channel of blessing, I pray;
My life possessing, my service blessing,
Make me a channel of blessing today.
Lyrics: Harper Garcia Smyth