Those who are intimate with Jesus know His voice just like sheep know the sound of their shepherd. Proverbs 1:20 says," wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates." Knowing God's voice and walking in wisdom go hand in hand. Without intimacy, we walk in deception; what we think is right is dead wrong as we see with the religious leaders in the time of Jesus. They knew everything about God, but since they didn't know God, they couldn't recognize His voice through His Son.
I don't have sheep, but I have dogs, and one of them like a sheep is white and sees me as His Master, the moment I say His name, he comes, when I move he moves, when I speak up he stands up when I say sit he sits. They say a dog is man's best friend we can learn a lot from dogs in how to be a friend of God. The way Knight follows me, we are to follow God. The way Knight just lives for intimacy is the way we are to live to be intimate with our Master, God!
There is no other way to God, but through Jesus, He is the gate, and He is the Shepherd. If anyone says anything different, they are a thief and a robber. That is why our number one responsibility as under-shepherds is to teach those we lead how to grow in discerning God's voice. If we fail in this, those we lead will be easily misled and devoured by wolves. It is not difficult to teach one to hear God's voice for the promise of the new covenant is that truth is written on the heart. (Jer. 23:1-2). God holds Shepherds accountable which includes, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Teachers, Coaches, Employers, Pastors, etc, on how well they feed those under their care, and if they cause them to be scattered, He will step in and rescue His flock and judge the shepherds severely (Ezekiel 34).
Those who are intimate with the Lord don't just know God's voice but become His mouthpiece. As we allow the Lord to Shepherd us we receive the grace to Shepherd others. The qualities of Jesus as our Shepherd become our qualities as we serve those He places before us. We learn here in John 10:11-16 that the sacrifice of laying down one's life is the greatest expression of a true Shepherd. We also learn that a hireling is a Shepherd with a selfish heart, that doesn't give but takes, he doesn't really care but neglects (Jer. 23:1-2). We all need Shepherds but we need to choose those who are intimate with the Lord proven by their sacrifice and care and then likewise follow and do the same.
In times of testing, people either scatter or draw closer and become stronger. I believe the latter is happening more than the former, the plumbline has been set, and as it says in the latter part of John 10, "those who really know His voice, see Him at work and follow". Will you choose to draw closer to your heavenly Father as it says in John 15:15 to know Him as a friend and to allow Him to reveal to you all that He is doing.
We celebrate freedom in America on July 4th, Independence Day. It was freedom from being under the control of Britain. We have the military who continues to protect and ensure that we remain the nation of the free. We still see as brought more and more to the light recently that not everyone in this nation enjoys the freedom that many soldiers have died for, yet I believe and have hope that we as a nation are progressing and we are moving a bit closer to the reality of Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream.
No matter what legislation changes to bring forth better equality we understand the real issue we have is within. The big issue is sin and the only one that can set us free from it is Jesus. Why do Christians still struggle with sin and how can we defeat it? We will discover that here in John chapter 8 in the Intimacy Series.
Some of the Jewish leaders tried to trap Jesus by bringing a woman caught in adultery to see his response. Now the question is where is the man, the law says, both should be stoned and yet we see already the Pharisees were biased.
Jesus responded, "let the one without sin throw the first stone." This response quickly revealed the hypocrisy of the group as the majority of them were adulterers themselves as each of them one by one quickly left the crowd.Jesus told the woman "where are your, accusers?" Then he told her "go and sin no more."
We learn here that those who walk intimately with the Lord are free from condemnation, they understand God's mercy and forgiveness, and from that place desire to sin no more.
Jesus continues to speak instructing on how one can get free from sin. The key is walking in the light and not in darkness. It is a choice and what path we choose will determine the outcome. One leads to life the other towards death. In the light, the power of darkness dissipates. Freedom from sin is only possible by living in an ever-abiding intimate place in Christ.
The Pharisees continued questioning Jesus, basically saying "who do you think you are?" They tried to convince Jesus that they are the ones who truly know God because they are children of Abraham. Jesus tells them "you don't know me because you don't know my Father." He said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on my own."
Those who are intimate with the Lord are not moved by what others think of them, because they understand where they came from and where they are going. They have security because they understand their identity. Those in the dark don't see, so it is easy to understand that they are ignorant, confused, and blind. So they don't have to take the insults and false labels personal, what else would be expected of those lost in darkness.
Jesus now speaks in verses 30-47 of truth and freedom. How do we stay in the light so we can remain free from sin? It is by continuing to grow in truth by the knowledge of God's Word. Life is filled with choices, we either follow truth or believe a lie. Satan tries to twist the truth with lies but those who are intimate with the Lord see right through it. Our walk deepens with the Lord, the light shines brighter, as we obey the truth that we have heard. So our life in Christ should be one of continual progression towards greater freedom from sin. We will know we have arrived at that place when like Enoch we are taken up.
The Pharisees started telling Jesus that he has a demon, and they began picking up stones to throw at Him. Jesus responded by telling them that "my Father is the one who glorifies Me," then he disappeared for the time of His death had not yet come.
It is never fun to go back and forth with someone, we hope we can change them, but it is only through God, sometimes we are just planting a seed, and later on, through different circumstances, they will change, but for some, they never will, but at least we know we told them the truth.
Those who are intimate with the Lord understand their life is in God's hands and if it is not His will to physically die then He will supernaturally protect them from those who mean them harm. Death has been swallowed up, we have eternal security, so we need not walk in fear but walk boldly in the light, dispelling darkness, and continuing to grow in freedom through the truth of God's Word.